Could not tell you if it was the same White
but it seems to have gone unnoticed that
we are this time debating the general
advantage north of the Alps in using
horses instead of oxen. Also about the
superiority of agricultural technique.
Jag citerar igen Paul Johnson:
"Naer greker och romare plöjde hade de
använt den laetta traeplogen som koerdes
tvaa gaanger oever fyrkantiga faelt med
tunn jord. "(Resultatet av användningen av den
tunga järnplogen blev dramatisk, den kunde...)
bearbeta aeven den tyngsta jord, foeraendrade
bokstavligen jordbrukslandskapet. De fyrkantiga
faelten foervandlades till laanga remsor som
gick upp och ner over landskapets konturer och
gav alltid någon skoerd, till och med under mycket
torra eller vaata aar." (p. 35)
So it was the iron plough and the horses that
were superior to Roman technique. And then
there was slavery in the empire.
When the so called 'barbarians' moved inside
the empire, it had by then declined so that the
Goths and others regarded the Roman society
as inferior, even if there was some material
wellbeing. The society was unfree. Tacitus skrev
en del om slavar i _Germania_.
"I de gotiska samhällena var husslavar en okaend
foereteelse. Naer slavar anvaendes inom jordbruket,
bodde de i egna bostaeder (de kunde faktiskt ocksaa
aega egendom9 och var i viss maan sina egna herrar.
I varje fall var antalet slavar litet, de som fanns var fraemst
icke-germaner och aegdes enbart av de hoegre
klasserna. Kort sagt, slaveriet var en marginell foere-
teelse i det germanska samhället.". (p. 30)
Besides it was something imported from Roman society.
The sickness of slavery had poisoned society in the
Roman empire, there was a development in the other
direction in Gothic and other societies :the dynamic idea
of freedom in the end came to influence the whole of Europe
in the Middle Ages.
In my opinion the example of the small Icelandic
horses is not relevant in relation to the large working
horses or the big war horses. I must admit I am not
very well versed when it comes to the Icelandic horses
but it has been my impression that it was not used
for plowing, but I may be insufficiently informed.
It is also a little complicated to explain cavalry
campaigning tactics then and up to the 19th century
or the beginning of the 20th. Grazing horses during
campaigning would not have been a very good idea.
A bit further down you are switching from discussing
Gothic and Roman cavalry campaigning to that
of the nomads of the steppe. Horse keeping of
the nomads? I am sure there are lists for Mongol
and Hinnic horsemanship and history.
The White quote serves to illustrate the superiority of
the techniques for farming used north of the Alps.
There slaver and wooden tools plus oxen, here horses
and iron. What a difference !
The argument you here wish to propagate, viz. your claim
that Migration Period war horses could not operate
without large daily supplies of oats, does however seem
both undefined as well as contradictory.
First undefined, because you are not being explicit
whether it was just the Roman horses that needed this
daily supply of oats, or whether you also wish to include
the Hunish horses in your proposition. It is also undefined
because we do not know what kinds of horses the Goths of
the Migration Period used. It is clear, however, that the
Goths, apart from the Huns, were not the only people
in the Black Sea area that used horses. There were
for example also the Sarmatians. We can of course assume
that the Goths, as they settled in their new habitats,
traded horses of the local Sarmatian type. After all,
these were adapted to the local conditions, and probably
the best suited for the area.
Lynn White's statements obviously relate more to the technologies
of Medieval farming than to anything else. For, as we
know - from previous discussions - the invention of the horse
collar brought with it a revolution in European agriculture
technologies sometime in the 13th century, resulting in
the possibility to use horses for plowing the land.
Before that one had to rely on oxen, where the horns
were used to affix the goad for pulling the load.
It is then safe to assume that after the Viking Age
the kinds of horses in use changed, not least through
selective breeding, because the efforts now became focused
on finding horse types that were good at pulling loads.
What you say is also in obvious contradiction to the
information supplied by Einar, viz. that Icelandic horses
live from the foods the horses find through natural grazing
and are not dependent upon regular supplies of special
harvests of oats. Letting horse graze would have been
It would also surprise me if the horses used by the
Asiatic Steppe Nomads are not also pretty much self-supplied
Well, maybe your proposition then ought to be reformulated
to say something like this: "The Romans had difficulty
in meeting the Hunnic cavalry challenge, because they
used horse races that were dependent upon regular supplies
of oats, whereas the Hunnic horses were self-supplied."
I just read about Attila's campaign, that scholars
have been debating whether 75 days was enough to move
from Metz to Orleans and back again to Mets.
Obviously the scholars think in terms of 10 kilometers a
day, or something of that order of magnitude.
They also robbed every farmer and every village that was
along their route. How they arranged their logistics is
of course difficult to know exactly. A horse on the move
will certainly burn a thousand kilocalories an hour
while on the road. For an army of 100 000 horses, that
gives a billion kilocalories a day. Now find somebody
who knows how many hectare of green grass that corresponds
>Relating to the earlier discussion on Gothic horses^^^^^^
>and the importance of cavalry I wanted to bring to
>the lists attention a quote from Paul Johnson's
>_Enemies of Society_ (Swedish edition Stockholm:
>This quote concentrates on the agricultural importance
>of the Gothic horse
>"En haest producerar 50 procent mer skaalpundfot energi per
>sekund aen en oxe och roer sig mycket fortare, den har stoerre
>uthaallighet och kan arbeta omkring tvaa timmar laengre varje
>dag...Det var utbredningen av havreodling som gjorde det
>moejligt att foeda stora maengder haestar....Lynn White: 'Oxen
>aer en graesdriven motor, haesten aer en mycket effektivare
>havredriven motor.' Naer det gaellde havre producerade de
>nordliga boenderna oeverskott och de kunde daerfoer haalla
- On Saturday, April 06, 2002 2:56 PM, Bertil Haggman [SMTP:mvk575b@...] wrote:
> Keth,It is the same Lynn White, who is a 'he' BTW, not a 'she'.
> Could not tell you if it was the same White
> The White quote serves to illustrate the superiority ofIron ploughs were developed and used by the Romans
> the techniques for farming used north of the Alps.
> There slaver and wooden tools plus oxen, here horses
> and iron. What a difference !
in heavy northern European soils - something which has
become clear through archaeology in the decades since
White wrote. And the technological developments White
details took place centuries after the last Gothic kingdoms
ceased to exist in area which had never been dominated
by the Goths.
I'm wondering what exactly the White thesis has to do
with the Goths. Nothing at all as far as I can see, and
I've read 'Medieval Technology and Social Change' and
subsequent works on the medieval agrarian revolution
- Hello Bertil,
>Could not tell you if it was the same WhiteThe reference I had in mind was actually Terry Reynolds.
Yet, Lynn White sounds awfully familiar.
I am quite sure I have run into it before, though do not
have the reference right now.
Then you have some remark on what our topic is:
>but it seems to have gone unnoticed thatWell, I asked you before, why the subject header says
>we are this time debating the general
>advantage north of the Alps in using
>horses instead of oxen.
"gothic" horse. And I wonderer what "gothic" horses
have to do with agriculture north of the alps.
>Also about theI don't know what you mean by that.
>superiority of agricultural technique.
I'll stick to what the subject header says.
>Jag citerar igen Paul Johnson:Below here you have a quote about the light
wooden plow used by Greeks and Romans.
Then further below you mention the iron
plow as being much better.
>"Naer greker och romare plöjde hade deI don't recall discussing this topic earlier.
>använt den laetta traeplogen som koerdes
>tvaa gaanger oever fyrkantiga faelt med
>tunn jord. "(Resultatet av användningen av den
>tunga järnplogen blev dramatisk, den kunde...)
>bearbeta aeven den tyngsta jord, foeraendrade
>bokstavligen jordbrukslandskapet. De fyrkantiga
>faelten foervandlades till laanga remsor som
>gick upp och ner over landskapets konturer och
>gav alltid någon skoerd, till och med under mycket
>torra eller vaata aar." (p. 35)
>So it was the iron plough and the horses thatYes, but the point I was trying to make, was that
>were superior to Roman technique. And then
>there was slavery in the empire.
horses were not used for plowing until in the 13th
century, after the invention of the horse collar.
I do not see the relevance of your quote to a discussion
about Gothic horses, except in a roundabout way.
In fact, it underlines the need to breed horses
that were good at pulling things, after the horse collar
came into use for plowing in the 13th century.
This means that there was a need for bigger and heavier
horses, and that therefore our present day horses are rather
different from Migration Age horses.
>Are you saying that German tribes of Tacitus had no slaves?
>When the so called 'barbarians' moved inside
>the empire, it had by then declined so that the
>Goths and others regarded the Roman society
>as inferior, even if there was some material
>wellbeing. The society was unfree. Tacitus skrev
>en del om slavar i _Germania_.
Doesn't Tacitus talk about slaves being drowned
in a lake each year after a sacred procession?
>"I de gotiska samhällena var husslavar en okaendIt is quite possible that Germans had fewer slaves than
>foereteelse. Naer slavar anvaendes inom jordbruket,
>bodde de i egna bostaeder (de kunde faktiskt ocksaa
>aega egendom9 och var i viss maan sina egna herrar.
>I varje fall var antalet slavar litet, de som fanns var fraemst
>icke-germaner och aegdes enbart av de hoegre
>klasserna. Kort sagt, slaveriet var en marginell foere-
>teelse i det germanska samhället.". (p. 30)
the contemporary Romans. But that seems to me like a different
discussion than "Gothic horses".
>Slavery did indeed disappear in the Middle ages,
>Besides it was something imported from Roman society.
>The sickness of slavery had poisoned society in the
>Roman empire, there was a development in the other
>direction in Gothic and other societies :the dynamic idea
>of freedom in the end came to influence the whole of Europe
>in the Middle Ages.
and this happened in continental Europe as well
as in Scandinavia. I think it happened around the
13th century. It was a gradual process.
Later it was reintroduced by the British and others.
>In my opinion the example of the small IcelandicThe point is that large working horses were developed
>horses is not relevant in relation to the large working
>horses or the big war horses. I must admit I am not
during the late Middle Ages. There were no "working horses"
in our sense of the word, before the advent of the horse collar
in the 13th century. The same with the heavily armored
knights: they are a late phenomenon.
With the Romans the cavalry was counted among the lightly
armed. During the Migration Age the mounted soldiers
did use the lance, but the horse rider was only lightly
armed and used lightweight leather stirrups, as evidenced
by the representation on the silver platter I referred to
>very well versed when it comes to the Icelandic horsesWell, Iceland is probably not like Jylland, covered
>but it has been my impression that it was not used
>for plowing, but I may be insufficiently informed.
with plowland as far as the eye reaches.
But perhaps you ought to see the Iceland horse as
typical representative of what European horses
may have looked like before they began breeding
>It is also a little complicated to explain cavalryThat is perhaps a good point. But then again, a campaign
>campaigning tactics then and up to the 19th century
>or the beginning of the 20th. Grazing horses during
>campaigning would not have been a very good idea.
has several phases. Animals trained for endurance are
able to burn body fat while running, and thus basically
only need water, until they are back in a safe area.
How many days a campaigning horse can live from roadside
grass and water only, I do not know. But I am quite sure
that it depends a lot on the kind of horse it is, and how
it has been trained. The physiological principles are the
same as for other mammals.
The Romans were defeated by the Hunnic tactics of very
fast and light cavalry where the bow was used instead
of the lance.
>A bit further down you are switching from discussingI explained to you that the Goths lived in present day
>Gothic and Roman cavalry campaigning to that
>of the nomads of the steppe.
Ukraina and Hungary, where the landscape is typically
"steppe". Hence for a discussion under the subject header
"Gothic horses", it is quite relevant to take the landscape
the Goths lived in, into account. I assumed that there is
a particular kind of horse that is best suited for the steppe
landscape, and that this may be the same kind of horse that
is used in Mongolia and Kirgistan today.
Here you are being ironic:
>Horse keeping of the nomads?It would be much more straight forward, if you simply said
>I am sure there are lists for Mongol and Hinnic horsemanship and history.
that you believe the Goths had horses that differed significantly
from the horses of the other steppe peoples (Awars, Alans, Huns
and Sarmatians). If you had said it as simply as that,
I could then have asked you as the next question
what your evidence is for your assumption.
As it is, I believe the simplest assumption is that
all steppe peoples used horses that were somewhat similar
in their physical makeup. In fact you see the same thing
in humans, viz. that marathon runners have *their*
typical look and weightlifters have another.
>Yes, but White's book applies to the 12th century and later
>The White quote serves to illustrate the superiority of
>the techniques for farming used north of the Alps.
>There slaver and wooden tools plus oxen, here horses
>and iron. What a difference !