- Oct 2011
Categories are always generalizations, but that doesn't mean body build doesn't matter.There is no ideal fighting physique. You're either in shape or you're out of shape. You're either strong or you're not. You're either good at cardio or not. All that ectomorph, meso, etc., that is old school stuff that has been discredited anyway.
The Great Body Type Myth: Why Somatotypes Don’t Matter
Somatotype and constitutional psychology
That pseudo science was as realistic as phrenology, humors, and other sham concepts.
Somatotypes were discredited in psychology, not physiology.
Except, as I pointed out, Byzantines did care about which physique was suited for which weapon and role. Now, I understand that Western European feudal armies, and even later Byzantine armies, may not have had that luxury or else ability. But that does not mean that certain body types are not more suited for certain weapons, even if it is not always possible to match person to weapon they are best suited for.Bowmen didn't become bowmen because somebody looked at their build upon military recruitment and handed them a bow. Commoners in kingdoms like England were required by law to practice all through their childhood to their adulthood. Besides that practice at drawing the bow, most were manual laborers and were thus strong from that too.
All through the ages, elite units have had standards for recruitment. Modern day, formal selection processes measure mental, physical, intelligence, integrity, etc. Back in the day, they said "Hey, that guy is big. Big men make great warriors. Let's recruit him."
For instance, check out this quote: "You pick out the big men! I'll make them brave!" - Pyrrhus of Epirus
Its the same reason individuals wore crests on their helmets, to make them look bigger and more imposing. But there was rarely special weapons designed for big people. The ones you're describing weren't. And those 17th century cuirassiers, what were they carrying? Pistols and plain one handed swords, no different than anyone else.
Manual labour does not necessarily make you physically powerful. My maternal grandfather was manual labourer - lived his whole life at village - yet he always looked like a stick - or as we say in Croatia, like a dried cod.
And you do understand that your second paragraph contradicts your point?