[MUD-Dev] Depth of realism

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Mon Nov 22 22:54:53 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999


On Sun 21 Nov, Jo Dillon wrote:
> Travis S. Casey (efindel at io.com) spake thusly:

> > Also, on a medieval mud, medieval army sizes should be used.  Until the
> > late part of the medieval period, few battles involved more than a few
> > hundred people total.  You can break those up into units of 10 or so, and
> > have only 10 to 50 units to handle for most battles.

>   I'd have thought a couple of thousand and up more typical - it depends which
> area and time you're talking about of course.

A couple of hundred is a fairly good estimate for medieval armies. Romans
had a bit larger armies, but even they rarely brought a thousand soldiers
in the field at the same time.
My history teacher showed me  that the typical siege of a castle was done
by posting ten or so soldiers  in front of the gate,  two of which walked
around to prevent the defenders from slipping out of the back. The defen-
ders rarely numbered  more than that.  The reason for these small numbers
is simply that training a soldier was incredibly expensive.  Sword train-
ing took years of practice and unless started young you never got good at
it. Knights were so expensive in training and maintenance that a duchy or
county could afford only one or two of them.  Archers were incredibly im-
portant and so rare that they pretty much could dictate their terms (they
were the only unit  that could deal with knights  before  they started to
chop up the infantery).  It is also why  much of the armies  consisted of
mercenaries. Those were the only units that could train and work together
Levies  could be used to fill the gaps,  but they really were little more
than a wall of flesh to slow the other army down. Archers or polearm com-
panies and of course the knights were what decided the wars, and very few
nobles could afford to maintain those companies from their own lands.  It
was far cheaper to hire mercenaries.

Marian
--
Yes - at last - You. I Choose you. Out of all the world,
out of all the seeking, I have found you, young sister of
my heart! You are mine and I am yours - and never again
will there be loneliness ...

Rolan Choosing Talia,
Arrows of the Queen, by Mercedes Lackey




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