Author Archives: teamroper32

Grooming and Care of War Horses in the Middle Ages


It is quite possible that since the beginning of time, no animal has had a greater or more lasting influence on the human race than the horse. From travel, to entertainment, to agriculture, to warfare, and almost anything in between, the horse has played an essential role in society and has greatly impacted the way things are done in a variety of aspects. Perhaps one of the most iconic images of horses that we have today is that of a fully armored knight riding into battle on his noble steed. The remainder of this blog will focus on how these warhorses in the medieval period were cared for. It will also depict a representation of the wardrobe of a medieval warhorse in a jousting competition which I created in conjunction with my final project. Enjoy.


General Info

The general name for the types of horses in the medieval period was Charger. They were then divided into three main sub groups: Coursers, which were the swiftest and most popular in combat, Destriers which were the largest and most widely used in jousting, and Rounceys which were typically farm and pack horses.

                                              (Antoine Vérard)

A typical horse in this time period would have stood at about 14-16 hands tall and  weighed about 1,300- 1,500 pounds.(Bachrach)


The horse’s diet was essential to it’s overall health and it’s performance in battle. Without proper nutrition, a horse would put his rider at a significant disadvantage on the battlefield and ultimately put his life in peril.

A horse’s diet would’ve consisted mostly of the following:

  •  8-12 gallons of water per day.
  • Grain:  12 pounds daily of what was usually barley and sometimes oats.




  • Hay: 25 pounds daily which could be substituted for grass, but with an increase to 40 pounds daily.




With all that being said, all that food has to go somewhere after it’s been consumed. An average War Horse weighing 1,500 pounds would produce 65-70 lbs of feces and 8-8.5 gallons of urine  on a daily basis. The job of caring for these essential war animals was tedious and time consuming, and required those whose task it was to do so to accomplish multiple tasks on a daily basis.( Hyland)

Example: At Dives-sur-Mer, where William of Normandy was camped with about 2,000 to 3,000 war horses for at least a month, a mountain of approximately 3,600,000 to 5,400,000 lb. of horse feces and a river of from 480,000 to 720,000 gallons of horse urine was created and had to be properly disposed of.  (Bachrach)


Bronze horseshoes with nail holes became common in Europe around the year 1,000 CE. Later on they were made of iron and were widely available by the 13th century.  The most common design was a scalloped outer rim and six to eight nail holes. Horseshoes were essential to a  warhorses health and well being because if their feet were not properly protected and taken care of then they wouldn’t be able to perform in battle which poses a major threat to the knight riding them. (Cohen)


Approximate representation of a shoe and nails used by a Destrier.



Approximate representation of a shoe and nails used by a Courser.


Each horse needed to be shod approximately once a month on average depending on how far they traveled or how many battles they fought in. The process of forging shoes and nails necessary to supply an army with approximately 2,000- 3,000 war horses would’ve required the labor of about 10 blacksmiths working for 10 hours each day. (Bachrach)


While participating in a jousting tournament, the horses were cared for by their grooms in tents.They wore caparisons, a type of ornamental cloth featuring the owner’s crest and heraldic signs. Competing horses had their heads protected by a chanfron, a leather,( and eventually iron) type of headgear used for protection from lance blows. Many times larger, “Destriers” were used for jousting.

Here we arrive at the main part of my project. What you’ll see is a representation of the uniform typically worn by horses during jousting competitions. This idea came to me because of my love for horses. I grew up around them and we currently have twelve so I was excited to have a chance to use one of my favorite horses for my final project






The Final Product 🙂

Here is a video of my final Project.

And here is some cool jousting footage etc. that I captured at The Excalibur in Las Vegas while there on vacation recently.


It was oftentimes referred to as barding.

  • Some important pieces were:
  1. Chanfron to protect the head.
  2. Crinet to protect the neck.
  3. Peytral to protect the chest.
  4. Crupper to protect the hindquarters.

In total the armor weighed about 50-70 pounds.


(Kunz Lochner)


Works Cited

Bachrach, Bernard S. Caballus et Caballarius in Medieval Warfare. Web. 1988. Accessed 9 December 2016.

Cohen, Rachel. The History of Horseshoes. Web. February 1996. Accessed 10 December 2016.

Hyland, Ann. The Medieval War Horse from Byzantium to the Crusades. London: Grange Books. 1994.

Image 1: Antoine Verard

Image 2:  Kunz Lochner


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by | December 15, 2016 · 3:43 pm

Uniform/Armour/Weaponry of an Imperial Roman Legionary


               Our group has chosen to base our blog on the Roman Legions during the High Imperial Age. This group includes some of what are referred to as the Classic Legions, and also includes the legions formed by Julius Caesar, which is why is was particularly interesting for me. My specific topic is the Uniform and armor which I have have subsequently divided into two sub topics: Main Armor and Weaponry, and Other Clothing and additional items. Various resources have been utilized in these descriptions, which are cited below. A photographic representation is also included for your personal benefit as a viewer.

Main Armor and Weaponry

A typical Roman uniform would’ve consisted of several main pieces.

  • Helmet.   The style and shape varied slightly over the first century as improvements were made, with both the Coolus and the Gallic style helmets being used. A common addition to a normal military helmet during this period was the neck guard, used to protect the neck from gladius strikes. (Goldsworthy 122-123)
  • Body armor.Popular styles  ranged from typical mail cuirass, to scale mail which was harder to maintain and therefore less popular, to the preferred segmented plate armor, made of iron plates, bronze fittings and leather straps which created a layered method of bodily protection. This version came into play specifically in the Imperial era. (Connoly, 228-230)


  • Shield(Scutum). They were made of reinforced wooden strips, and contained designs including the name and symbol of the Legion. Large and durable,  but light enough to be carried extremely long distances, weighing in at about 15 or so pounds. It had a wooden grip in the middle, covered by a metal plate, and played an essential role in the safety of each Legionnaire. (Kelly, et al.)

Click to enlarge                                                                                                               (Kelly, et al.)

  • Sword(Gladius).  A slightly tapering blade with a large point made this weapon extremely lethal. Usually short, approximately 15- 22 inches in length, it was excellent for jabbing, and could be easily removed from it’s sheath in a closed proximity, allowing the wielder to remain protected behind his scutum and draw his weapon at the same time.


  • Spear(Pilum). Another main weapon of Legionary was the pilum. These spears were mainly used for throwing. Many of them featured a butt spike, and were made of a wooden shaft with an iron heads. Apart from being used to kill enemy soldiers, it was also used to render their shields less effective as the spears were very flexible and difficult to remove. (Goldsworthy 131-133)


Other Clothing/ Additional Items

Aside from the aforementioned items, a Legionary would’ve also typically been equipped with:

  1.  Open toed boots were typically worn, as well as socks depending on the occasion. These items are  mentioned in the Vindolanda tablets and were used increasingly in colder climates and seasons.
  2. Soldiers also wore decorated belts or aprons, mostly as a status symbol, to distinguish them from citizens.
  3. Another necessary item was a pack, usually made of piece of fabric fastened to a wooden pole which was then fastened to the aforementioned pilum. These packs were typically used to carry cooking equipment, personal items etc.
  4. A typical addition to the tops of the helmets would’ve been a wide crest of hair. Although originally used solely by high ranking officials, the practice became more common during the reign of Julius Caesar.


(Cavvazi, F.)

Works Cited


  • Goldsworthy, Asdrian. The Complete Roman Army. Thames and Hudson, 2003. Print.


  • Connoly, Peter. Greece and Rome at War. Frontline Books, 2012. Print.


  • Kelly, Patrick, et al. “The Shield:  An Abridged History of its Use and Development.” Ed. Patrick Kelly., 2012. Web. 23 October 2016.


  • Matyszak, Philip. Legionary:  The Roman Soldier’s Unofficial Manual. London:  Thames and Hudson, 2009. Print.


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           Alexander, The Greatest of the Great


It’s the year 327 b.c. After years of struggles I’ve finally conquered the Persians! Some say that this should be sufficient, that I should enjoy the victory and be content, but not me. I crave a challenge, and I won’t be stopped. This time I’ve set my sights on India. We’ve  crossed the Hindu Kush and invaded  Kabul, as well as Swat. My army is, as my name states, nothing short of great. With my force of nearly 90,000, comprised of mostly Macedonian and Persian soldiers, along with some  Greek cavalry and other Balkan allies, we’ve had great success. As many of them have been with me since the beginning of my conquests, they’re getting to be pretty old. It’s now necessary for me to leave them behind as garrison troops and guards in each of the cities that we conquer, that way they won’t take up valuable provisions from my younger, healthier troops, and at the same time they can at least somewhat enjoy the rest of their lives in peace. As we lose soldiers it’s  proven rather difficult to acquire new ones. We have garnered a few here and there as we conquer cities and villages, but not sufficient. We’ve also asked for reinforcements from the homeland, but with minimal results. All in all, our situation isn’t too bleak to be quite honest, we’re having a lot of success. I just hope my burning desire to conquer more territory doesn’t cause my troops to revolt and turn against me, that would throw a nasty kink in my plans for world conquest… But hey, it’s not like that would ever happen, right? On we go to Porus! To India, and beyond!




Lendering, Jona. “Alexander the Great.”, 30 Jul. 2016. Web. 8 Oct. 2016. (


Engels, Donald W. Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army. University of California Press, 1980.


Arrian trans. Chinnock, E.J. “The Anabasis of Alexander.” The Selwood Printing Works, 1884.


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The Battle of Salamis


Honors 2110B

Blog 1

September 22, 2016


Main Combatants in the Battle of Salamis 


The Battle of Salamis was one of the most important and decisive military victories for the Greek army during the Greek and Persian War. Themistokles, who had previously convinced the Athenians to invest a large amount of silver to improve their navy,  was a key leader and strategist for the Greeks in this battle. After Themistokles had convinced Eurybiades, the Spartan leader of the allied forces and his soldiers to stand their ground and fight at Salamis, the Greeks were prepared to take on a far greater Persian fleet using an advanced strategy which involved luring the Persians into the strait where their larger, slower boats would not be able to maneuver rapidly which would leave them vulnerable to an attack from the smaller, swifter Greek fleet which was composed of triremes such as those illustrated in the following image. (Herodotus, 622-625)


Image result for greek trireme battle of salamis



The Persians, led by Xerxes I, on the other hand were more than confident in their ability to easily defeat the Greek feet and continue on to capture the Isthmus of Corinth. Xerxes himself was so confident that he set up a throne on the shore to be able to have an advantageous viewpoint of the battle. Artemisia of Halicarnassus, one of the fiercest war generals for the Persian side, and trusted adviser of King Xerxes, actually went against the common Persian opinion and counseled him to hold his position and not attack, stating that they had already accomplished what the y set out to do, and that they could claim victory much more efficiently by closing in on Peloponnese instead of engaging in direct naval combat with the Greeks. Unfortunately for the Persians, Xerxes decided not to heed the warnings of his adviser as Eurybiades had done, and this fatal mistake eventually led to a brutal loss for the Persians. (Herodotus, 627-629)


Works Cited

Herodotus. The Landmark Herodotus:The Histories. Translated by Andrea L. Purvis, Anchor Books. 2009.


Strauss, Barry S. The Battle of Salamis: The Naval Encounter That Saved Greece – and Western Civilization. Simon & Schuster, 2004.


Lendering, Jona. “Salamis.” Accessed  23 July 2016.


Valin. “On this Day In History, The Battle of Salamis, 480 B.C.” Accessed 24 September 2016.

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