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Medieval and Byzantine History Medieval and Byzantine History Forum - Period of History between classical antiquity and modern times, roughly the 5th through 16th Centuries


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Old November 8th, 2015, 10:11 AM   #11

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well u have to be more specific. the huscarls were the absolute cream of the crop. they were the elites. against an average viking, they can take out two possibly three. are the vikings like super battler hardened and experienced or smthing? like maybe hadradras personal body guard? then mayb it will be an even match or i would say our of 10 battles, 6 to the huscarls and 4 to the bodyguards.
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Old November 9th, 2015, 12:30 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Haesten View Post
The Anglo-Saxon Shires were divided into "hundreds" (100 hides) - each 5 hides had to supply a full armed soldier for the levy, plus up keep for a certain period, paid to the fyrdman not the king. So contingents of 20 were under the command of the hundred man/šegn (retainer)'

Bookland (church) was not exempt but could pay in kind, Ely Abbey supplied eels for example.

The shire levy was led by an Ealdorman, Byrhtnoth of Maldon fame for example.
The hundreds meant a 100 men, relatively well equidded with a horse and supplies to last 3 moths. This meant a much longer campaign time to fight a more complex style of warfare. Prior to that warfare more often meant a call up of all available freemen to kick in the heads of the guys across the border. Well somebodies head would be kicked unless a peace deal was stuck. This type of warfare would only the see the men away from there lands for a short time.

The change in usually attributed to Alfred the Great. In modern terminology this latter fyrd is called the "select Fyrd". Where as the call up of all available freemen was only suited to a few days of conflict and in modern teminology called the "Grand Fyrd". and not the protracted warfare Alfred wanted.

Usually a "hide" was a unit of land capable of supporting the common extended family. The average was 120 acres, but they could vary in size depending on the quality of land. As it was eventually Thanes as landowners came to dominate the small 5 hide community that typically had 60 or so souls. The Thanes were expected to serve themselves or provide another fully equipped man instead. Failure to do so resulted in fines and land confiscation The expectation was also to provide a small church to serve the small community. Later on more powerful landowners consolidated considerably larger properties.
Later in Norman times the old Fyrd system proved unreliable and was replaced by armies of paid soldiers/mercenaries with the hundreds supplying tax money and other goods.
Early Germanic custom demanded a fair share of land, but this altered with time.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_hundreds_of_England_and_Wales


As you can see from this a most typical "hundred" was a hundred square miles,
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Old November 9th, 2015, 04:09 AM   #13

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The hundreds meant a 100 men, relatively well equidded with a horse and supplies to last 3 moths. This meant a much longer campaign time to fight a more complex style of warfare. Prior to that warfare more often meant a call up of all available freemen to kick in the heads of the guys across the border. Well somebodies head would be kicked unless a peace deal was stuck. This type of warfare would only the see the men away from there lands for a short time.

The change in usually attributed to Alfred the Great. In modern terminology this latter fyrd is called the "select Fyrd". Where as the call up of all available freemen was only suited to a few days of conflict and in modern teminology called the "Grand Fyrd". and not the protracted warfare Alfred wanted.

Usually a "hide" was a unit of land capable of supporting the common extended family. The average was 120 acres, but they could vary in size depending on the quality of land. As it was eventually Thanes as landowners came to dominate the small 5 hide community that typically had 60 or so souls. The Thanes were expected to serve themselves or provide another fully equipped man instead. Failure to do so resulted in fines and land confiscation The expectation was also to provide a small church to serve the small community. Later on more powerful landowners consolidated considerably larger properties.
Later in Norman times the old Fyrd system proved unreliable and was replaced by armies of paid soldiers/mercenaries with the hundreds supplying tax money and other goods.
Early Germanic custom demanded a fair share of land, but this altered with time.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_hundreds_of_England_and_Wales


As you can see from this a most typical "hundred" was a hundred square miles,
Essex in Domesday consisted of 19 hundreds, most of Essex was forest.

They are not all the same size, the hundred was originally 100 families for tax purpose, Tribal Hidage.

Click the image to open in full size.

Coastal hundreds had to supply ship and crew for the scipfyrd.
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Old November 9th, 2015, 04:33 AM   #14

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"Based on the figures provided by the hideage the size of Alfred's conscript army can be deduced. One man per hide would be the equivalent of 27,000 men, whereas one man per 5 hides of land would give 5,500 men."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burghal_Hidage
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Old November 9th, 2015, 08:57 AM   #15
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Essex in Domesday consisted of 19 hundreds, most of Essex was forest.

Coastal hundreds had to supply ship and crew for the scipfyrd.
Yes, I agree. Size depended on the productivity of the land. 120 acres was merely the average. Something we know well in Australia. People think of Australia as a wheat exporting country. However France produces significantly greater amounts of wheat than Australia. On average French wheat producing land is 5 times more productive than of Australia by area.

Quote:
They are not all the same size, the hundred was originally 100 families for tax purpose, Tribal Hidage.
It might have been the original case. But these later hundreds seem to reflect the call up of the 'select fyrd' rather than the 'great fyrd'.

Quote:
One man per hide would be the equivalent of 27,000 men, whereas one man per 5 hides of land would give 5,500 men."
A difference between the two types of manpower was length of service and mobility. The 'select fyrd' was expected to serve for 3 months over much greater distance. Canute even used them against the Swede's. The 'grand fyrd' only expected to serve in their own region for a few days. Except in the case of border marches were the 'grand fyrd' might serve for two weeks or more.
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Old November 9th, 2015, 09:02 AM   #16

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A king's thegn in Domesday has a heriot of 1,200 shillings, a king's thegn ranked after an earl and a median thegn was a retainer of Lords other than the king.

Heriot (literally war-gear) was the death duty paid to the king on their demise.

A ceorl had a wergeld/heriot of 200 shillings and probably made up the bulk of the fyrd

Heriot descending - earl - king's thegn - median thegn - ceorl.
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Old November 9th, 2015, 10:05 AM   #17

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Yes, I agree. Size depended on the productivity of the land. 120 acres was merely the average. Something we know well in Australia. People think of Australia as a wheat exporting country. However France produces significantly greater amounts of wheat than Australia. On average French wheat producing land is 5 times more productive than of Australia by area.

It might have been the original case. But these later hundreds seem to reflect the call up of the 'select fyrd' rather than the 'great fyrd'.

A difference between the two types of manpower was length of service and mobility. The 'select fyrd' was expected to serve for 3 months over much greater distance. Canute even used them against the Swede's. The 'grand fyrd' only expected to serve in their own region for a few days. Except in the case of border marches were the 'grand fyrd' might serve for two weeks or more.
The Battle of the Helgeå (holy river) 1026 was a naval battle, the ASC says the English ships were manned by thegns and near contemporary sources say commanded by Earl Godwin.

These are most likely the English standing army inherited by Cnut and probably not scipfyrd.

Ęthelred had ordered a huge ship building program during his wars with Sweyn and Cnut.
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Old November 9th, 2015, 11:36 PM   #18
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A king's thegn in Domesday has a heriot of 1,200 shillings, a king's thegn ranked after an earl and a median thegn was a retainer of Lords other than the king.
Yes, I see. A common thegn was a sort of minor nobility, although more equivalent to landed gentry. And had considerable legal and political weight above a ceorl. The price to be a thegn was to 5 or hides of land and receive some sort of ascent. Along with this came greater social duties it seems, such as ensuring churches be provided for and perhaps even attendance. As such these men were the backbone of the culture.

Quote:
"Based on the figures provided by the hideage the size of Alfred's conscript army can be deduced. One man per hide would be the equivalent of 27,000 men, whereas one man per 5 hides of land would give 5,500 men."
I wonder how large his retinue of nobles and gesiths was?

Last edited by Mr Higson; November 9th, 2015 at 11:43 PM.
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Old November 10th, 2015, 01:36 AM   #19

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Yes, I see. A common thegn was a sort of minor nobility, although more equivalent to landed gentry. And had considerable legal and political weight above a ceorl. The price to be a thegn was to 5 or hides of land and receive some sort of ascent. Along with this came greater social duties it seems, such as ensuring churches be provided for and perhaps even attendance. As such these men were the backbone of the culture.

I wonder how large his retinue of nobles and gesiths was?
The economy Roman Britain, with a population of twice that of Domesday England; could support a standing army of circa 50,000.

So probably something like 25,000 huscarls could be mustered in 1066 from the King's personal retinue and the retinue of the four Earls, Wessex, Mercia, Northumbria and East Anglia.

Wessex and the King's retinue probably accounted for more than half.
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Old November 10th, 2015, 03:16 AM   #20

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A couple of entries in Domesday.

Wallingford

"When geld was commonly paid TRE throughout the whole of Berkshire, a hide gave 3½d before [the feast of] the Nativity of the Lord and as much at Pentecost. If the king sent out an army anywhere only 1 thegn went out from [each] 5 hides and for his sustenance or pay 4s for 2 months was given to him from each hide. This money however was not sent to the king but given to the thegns. If anyone summoned on military service did not go he forfeited all his land to the king. But if anyone having to stay behind promised to sent another in his stead, and yet he who should have been sent stayed behind, his lord was quit for 50s. When a thegn or knight of the king’s demesne was dying he left all his weapons to the king as heriot, and 1 horse with a saddle and 1 without a saddle. But if he possessed hounds or hawks these were presented to the king, to have if he wished.

King Edward had 15 acres on which housecarls dwelt, Miles Crispin holds them now, they do not know how."

Bridport

"In Bridport in the time of King Edward there were 120 houses. They were assessed for every service of the king and paid geld for 5 hides, that is half a silver mark for the use of the king’s housecarls, excepting the customs that belonged 1 night’s farm. There was 1 moneyer paying the king 1 silver mark and 20s when the coinage was changed."
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