View Single Post

Thread: How to -- 4th century BCE setting

  1. - Top - End - #38
    Titan in the Playground
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    The Lakes

    Default Re: How to -- 4th century BCE setting

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiero View Post
    Of course it was; the notion bronze is "inferior" to low-grade iron is a gamer myth. Well-worked bronze is as good as low-grade iron but is about 10% heavier. That's it. And it's easier to make large plates with, not to mention being a superior material for ship's rams.

    Iron is cheap and plentiful, that's the advantage it has. Because to make bronze you need tin, which is rare (and thus expensive).

    Furthermore, you don't throw away perfectly serviceable armour just because new, cheap iron armour is around. The "hand me down" effect with panoplies shouldn't be underestimated.
    All true, but this is many 100s of years after the "end" of the bronze age, and I have read that loss of access to tin sources was a big factor in the collapse of the bronze age material culture of the near east and Mediterranean. I would have thought that the lack of new bronze being made, and the effects of time, would have seen bronze armor gone.

    And yet here I am reading up on the Macedonian forces, and while they largely didn't use metal body armor per these sources, when they did, it was usually bronze ("muscle cuirras", greaves, helmet, some other possible pieces). Per same, there's indication from art and artifacts that they could make iron in large enough plates to make the same sorts of armor, but it would have been the province of the extremely elite or wealthy.

    I do recall that good bronze is better than bad iron.

    What's your thought on the idea of cloth and heavy hide armors in common use, bronze armor for those who can afford it, and good iron / early steel in use for elite and exotic armors?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiero View Post
    That happened long before the Hellenistic era; by 300BC the chariot was basically irrelevant in warfare. Chariots-as-cavalry are a bronze age thing, primarily, not iron age. By the iron age where they exist at all (Britain, limited parts of what is now Austria and northern Italy, selected areas of Romania) they're "battle taxis" that carry a noble to the fight, where he can dismount, fight and re-mount to get out again.

    By the Hellenistic era, horses are more than big enough to carry a man in armour. Even if they were, for the most part, smaller than the horses of the medieval era.
    Again, you're correct, and I was confused -- I did a lot of research on the pre-Roman peoples of Britain and Ireland for a friend's RPG project, and it continues to blur my mental timeline of the chariot even all these years later.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiero View Post
    Precisely, heavy cavalry was all over the place in the Hellenistic era, you don't need the stirrup to charge home, all it provides is side-to-side stability that is useful (but not essential) for archery and standing melee. The Nisaean horse was a famous, large, eastern breed (now extinct) that overtopped western horses according to the literature of the period.

    Frontal charges into formed infantry were not a thing; they charged into the rear of an engaged formation, or drove off lighter cavalry. Hammer and anvil; pin the infantry down at the front with your infantry, charge your cavalry into their rear/flanks. While the Thessalians and Makedonian Companions were famed in the west, it's the east where all the real heavies were. The Persians had many Iranian peoples to draw upon here, not to mention the heavy cavalry fielded by the nobles of the steppe.
    I think some sources may overstate the impact/importance of the stirrup...
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2016-08-18 at 11:38 AM.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

    The Worldbuilding Forum -- where realities are born.