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Old May 11th, 2015, 08:05 PM   #241
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No, but they decrease the amount of skill needed to ride a horse, thus increasing the number of horsemen you can field. They increase the weight of the weapons and armor a soldier can wear onto the horse, thus increasing both his shock capabilities and his overall fighting skills. They give cavalry a fairly important edge. Sure, like elephants, stirrup cavalry isn't a cheat code unit. But the stirrup did make a fair bit of difference to European Warfare. Sure its debatable how much of an impact it was on Medieval Society as a whole, buts its impact on warfare is undeniable.
Stirrups enable a horseman to stand up from the saddle instead of hugging the horse with his legs (see the picture above). That makes it easier for an archer to take his mark and let fly when the horse is off the ground in full gallop--which is the best time for an archer to shoot accurately and hit his target more reliably (though this still takes a lot of training and practice). And an archer in stirrups can carry the kind of lance that a knight jousts with instead of just a javelin--and a larger sword--a scimitar or dai katana--without being overbalanced. Braced in stirrups, a cavalryman can brace a lance against his shoulder and connect at projectile speed against an enemy (or the enemy's horse) with enough force to send the lance through most armour.
The Kushans apparently had a rudimentary L shaped wooden stirrup--which the Romans didn't. I don't think even the Xiongnu or the Chinese had full stirrups yet around 50 BC but I could be wrong.
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Old May 11th, 2015, 08:10 PM   #242

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Stirrups enable a horseman to stand up from the saddle instead of hugging the horse with his legs (see the picture above). That makes it easier for an archer to take his mark and let fly when the horse is off the ground in full gallop--which is the best time for an archer to shoot accurately and hit his target more reliably (though this still takes a lot of training and practice). And an archer in stirrups can carry the kind of lance that a knight jousts with instead of just a javelin--and a larger sword--a scimitar or dai katana--without being overbalanced. Braced in stirrups, a cavalryman can brace a lance against his shoulder and connect at projectile speed against an enemy (or the enemy's horse) with enough force to send the lance through most armour.
The Kushans apparently had a rudimentary L shaped wooden stirrup--which the Romans didn't. I don't think even the Xiongnu or the Chinese had full stirrups yet around 50 BC but I could be wrong.
There's reference to a toe stirrup in India, dating to Alexander's time.
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Old May 13th, 2015, 03:42 AM   #243

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I applaud the OP's imagination!

One thing I wondered though while reading this topic is why the Romans never attempted a seaborne invasion of Arabia Felix. If this area was really as rich as claimed to be with luxurious products in abundance, why limit your effort to one disastrous land-based campaign?
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Old May 13th, 2015, 05:58 AM   #244

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I applaud the OP's imagination!

One thing I wondered though while reading this topic is why the Romans never attempted a seaborne invasion of Arabia Felix. If this area was really as rich as claimed to be with luxurious products in abundance, why limit your effort to one disastrous land-based campaign?
Because invading the red sea coast of Saudi Arabia is brutally unproductive and dangerous.
The thin strip of coast between red sea and the interior highlands of saudi arabia are, for the most part, extremely hot and humid in the summer, with malaria a genuine threat to anyone 100 years ago, never mind 2000.
Also, red sea coast around the arabian peninsula is a very treacherous zone for eddying currents and submerged reefs,something even modern shipping steers clear of.
keep in mind that the riches of Arabia Felix, namely frankincense and myrrh were from the yemeni and omani highlands- much further away and much more remote than the immediate red sea coast.
There simply was no reason to invade arabia felix, as the cost would be astronomical for a very minuscule gain. This is not Iran, where one could argue that the joining of the silk route is of huge economic import.
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