Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > Themes in History > War and Military History
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

War and Military History War and Military History Forum - Warfare, Tactics, and Military Technology over the centuries


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old August 5th, 2012, 01:45 PM   #1

Hresvelgr's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Mar 2012
From: New Hampshire
Posts: 1,039
Blog Entries: 1
Medieval Indian Militaries


This is a thread similar to the other one, but instead about the Indians of the medieval/Classical age of, say, the 800's-1300's, around that neighborhood. Inspired by shash who said he knows quite a bit about this period. In particular the Cholas, who I know were the most powerful dynasty in southern India and had a highly organized army with regiments and stuff and a navy based off of Song China's. What I'd be interested to know about are stuff like weapons, tactics, armor, culture even if you want and especially if relevant, that sort of thing. Information on the other kingdoms of India is of course welcome. I'm also curious as to how much the practices of the Sangam Age applied. I've been researching some of this stuff on my own and will post what information I've accrued later, especially if it's something you can't just find on wikipedia.
Hresvelgr is offline  
Remove Ads
Old August 7th, 2012, 07:45 AM   #2

Hresvelgr's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Mar 2012
From: New Hampshire
Posts: 1,039
Blog Entries: 1

Okay, this isn't getting a lot of attention, despite me knowing that some of you out there know more than I do on this subject. So I'll just try to get the ball rolling and ask a few questions.

1. What types of swords were in use around this period? I've recently become aware of the kinds of swords used in the Mauryan period, had they changed much by this time? Were they more similar to the swords of later times we are more familiar with like the Khanda or the Tulwar? How did they differ between the north and south, and how common were those forward-curving swords like the kopis and kukri? How long were they for that matter?

2. I've read somewhere that some Indian warriors of this period (I'm not sure which kingdom this quote was referring to, maybe Vijayanagar) would wear chakrams around their arms and legs like bangles and take them off in battle to throw at the enemy. Is this actually true? Because it seems hard to believe.

3. I know armor wasn't very common at all in the south. Most references I've seen say that they had at most a quilted vest and maybe a bronze/copper girdle and that's it, most wouldn't have that much. Is this true? Were there other forms of armor? And what was the armor worn in the Hindu kingdoms to the north like at this time?
Hresvelgr is offline  
Old August 7th, 2012, 09:13 AM   #3
Lecturer
 
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 291

Hey, sorry! I was working fairly late last night, and I didn't see the thread... For the same reason, I didn't start the same thing earlier either. Well, that and I was trying to figure out how to approach the topic...

OK, if you don't mind, I think we'll keep the specific questions on the back burner and first address a few broad issues.

First, the definition of "Medieval" - what's allowed in this discussion, and what's not.

I propose that we arbitrarily fix the fall of the Gupta dynasty in the North, and the wiping out of the Kalabhra invaders in the South as the starting point. My reason is that this gives us some nice and continuous swathes of history to deal with - the Pallava, Chola and Pandya empires in the south, Harsha, Palas, Pratiharas and the rest in the north, and so on, for example.

Both these events are about 550 CE, so that's easy enough.

For the same reason, I'd like to fix the end of the period at about the introduction of gunpowder into warfare, which would be Battle of Panipat, 1526, which is also close to the battle of Talikota at 1565 which was the beginning of the end for Vijayanagar. Anything after that is not really medieval, in my opinion. It breaks Vijayanagar, but at least we can deal with the Tuluva dynasty in its whole.

That gives us about 1000 years to work with, and several dynasties, distributed all over the country.

One small note - I'm basically from the South (I'm from Chennai), so I can speak easily enough about the South Indian dynasties, but not so well for the North. Still, I'll try to do justice to them also.

Next post, I'll put in some thoughts about the dynasties, and the sources we can use for the discussion...
shash is offline  
Old August 7th, 2012, 10:24 AM   #4

Hresvelgr's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Mar 2012
From: New Hampshire
Posts: 1,039
Blog Entries: 1

Ah, so I'm guessing you're Tamil, then? Don't worry, it's the South that's always been my main focus of interest, particularly the Cholas. And I agree with that definition for the period, could not possibly have put it better myself.
Hresvelgr is offline  
Old August 9th, 2012, 12:25 AM   #5
Lecturer
 
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 291

For a small taste, here are a few warriors from temple walls and other sources...

This one's a hero stone near Samayapuram (close to Tiruchy). Horsemen in the middle panels, foot-soldiers carrying round shields and straight swords, elephant doing something (not sure what, actually)


Click the image to open in full size.

This one's a Dwarapalika (female door guardian) from Mahabalipuram - specifically, from the Draupadi cave temple (not the ratha - the one behind the rock). Over-sized longbow.

Click the image to open in full size.

Durga-mahishasura mardini at Kanchi - again, over-sized longbow, battle-axe and other sundry arms.

Click the image to open in full size.

Battle scene - Durga vs Mahishasura, Mahabalipuram. Lots of detail here.

Durga's bow is interesting - shows how the bow looks when stretched. Also, sword in lower-right arm. Mahisha holds a large club. The gana (dwarf) below Durga's lion holds a longbow, and the girl with six-pack abs in front of him is a swordswoman. My closeup of this scene shows the sword to be something like a meat cleaver, not very different from the modern "aruval" often scene in horrible Tamil movies! Same with the other ganas in the background.

Mahisha's men hold the same round shields and swords.

No armour in sight, in any of those... Well, apart from head-gear.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click on the images to go to my albums. There are a few others before and after the ones I've linked, giving some more detail.
shash is offline  
Old August 15th, 2012, 05:22 PM   #6

Jinit's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Jun 2012
From: India
Posts: 5,264
Blog Entries: 1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hresvelgr View Post
2. I've read somewhere that some Indian warriors of this period (I'm not sure which kingdom this quote was referring to, maybe Vijayanagar) would wear chakrams around their arms and legs like bangles and take them off in battle to throw at the enemy. Is this actually true? Because it seems hard to believe.
Yes it is true. They used to wear it like bengals. but they were mostly Shikh people.

Look at this video from 27:00 onward. It gives good detail about Chakram and Urumi.

[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rf646SKfXzE]Ancient Discoveries 9/9 - Twisted Weapons of the East - YouTube[/ame]
Jinit is offline  
Old August 15th, 2012, 05:59 PM   #7
Suspended indefinitely
 
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 137

Quote:
2. I've read somewhere that some Indian warriors of this period (I'm not sure which kingdom this quote was referring to, maybe Vijayanagar) would wear chakrams around their arms and legs like bangles and take them off in battle to throw at the enemy. Is this actually true? Because it seems hard to believe.
I don't know about hands and legs, but they wore it on their turban..

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by lilstewie; August 15th, 2012 at 07:53 PM.
lilstewie is offline  
Old August 16th, 2012, 08:46 AM   #8

Hresvelgr's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Mar 2012
From: New Hampshire
Posts: 1,039
Blog Entries: 1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinit View Post
Yes it is true. They used to wear it like bengals. but they were mostly Shikh people.

Look at this video from 27:00 onward. It gives good detail about Chakram and Urumi.

Ancient Discoveries 9/9 - Twisted Weapons of the East - YouTube
I meant bangles as in the ankle jewelry, not Bengals as in the people. Sorry for the confusion, I was just quoting some article I saw. Anyway, here's a picture of some kind of sword, I think it's a medieval one from Tanjore:
Click the image to open in full size.
Hresvelgr is offline  
Old August 16th, 2012, 07:05 PM   #9

Jinit's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Jun 2012
From: India
Posts: 5,264
Blog Entries: 1

Sorry it was my mistake. I mistakenly used the word bengal instead of bengle
Jinit is offline  
Old August 16th, 2012, 08:50 PM   #10

The Imperial's Avatar
MentalManja
 
Joined: Nov 2010
From: 3rd rock from Sol
Posts: 4,253
Blog Entries: 1

That sword reminds me of the gladius!
The Imperial is offline  
Reply

  Historum > Themes in History > War and Military History

Tags
indian, medieval, militaries



Search tags for this page
Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
French and Indian War Liberty528 American History 23 August 24th, 2014 01:43 AM
Ancient Indian Militaries Delenda est Roma War and Military History 46 April 5th, 2014 10:47 AM
The Indian mutiny SPERRO Asian History 13 October 2nd, 2013 09:52 AM
How much Indian? hob Ancient History 27 June 9th, 2012 11:41 PM
French and Indian War RSamida1 American History 2 October 13th, 2008 06:33 AM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.