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post #1 of 10 Old 05-13-2015, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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Translate a horse riding term?

Hi all:

I'm a member who comes here mostly with research questions for my novel, On the Edge of Sunrise which was just published. I write historical romance set in late ancient Rome. I am giving a presentation on the time setting in my novel and will be showing the four-horned saddles used by Roman cavalry and barbarian warriors. As you may well know the stirrup did not exist at this time 450 AD (invented in 800's) and so I was researching how they mounted via a Roman cavalry reenactment group in England. The writer of their blog mentioned several possibilities (there is no actual recorded source) and used the phrase,

[The issue of just how Romans mounted their horses is unresolved. Contemporary books mention mounting from either side of the horse.15 Fences and infantry are both good mounting blocks, and in armour it is just possible to mount while stationary with the assistance of a spear.]

Does anyone know what "15 fences and infantry are both good mounting blocks" means? Perhaps using the back of an infantry soldier? What about 15 fences?

Any thoughts or suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks, Cynthia
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post #2 of 10 Old 05-13-2015, 01:48 PM
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Interesting
I wonder if the 15 is a typo because fences make great mounting blocks. For the infantry assistance - could be someone bending over so you could use their back as a mounting block or just giving the rider a 'leg up'
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post #3 of 10 Old 05-13-2015, 01:52 PM
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15 could be a footnote

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post #4 of 10 Old 05-13-2015, 01:54 PM
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Just check the page and yes, it's a footnote. Scroll to the bottom and you'll find the corresponding item

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post #5 of 10 Old 05-13-2015, 01:55 PM
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I wonder if it was a footnote reference? If it says "horse.15 Fences" with no space between the period and the 15, it could have been a superscript to a footnote saying exactly what contemporary books it was talking about. I also agree that fences and an extra person make great mounting blocks.
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post #6 of 10 Old 05-13-2015, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cinzia8 View Post
The writer of their blog mentioned several possibilities (there is no actual recorded source)...
IIRC, Xenophon's "On Horsemanship" describes mounting.
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post #7 of 10 Old 05-13-2015, 02:24 PM
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Foot notes. Y'all beat me to it. Per Jamesqf's suggestion, Xenophon predates your 450 AD time frame. In the absence of info, either Greek or Roman, from the intervening years, It would be safe to go with what ever he mentions.

You could also look at whether or not Roman cavalry had grooms assigned to them. That could be another possibility for a leg up.
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-13-2015, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. You're probably right that it's a footnote. Duh. I'll go back and look. Fences and an infantry man makes more sense. Thanks for the tip on Xenophon. He's a Greek historian BCE, but I went and read a little. He does have some good instructions. I'm thinking this might be even pre-saddle but mounting using a spear was mentioned at Comitates and also looping a rope around one of the forward horns. In any case, you've all helped solve the mystery (or at least mine) LOL Thanks again, Cynthia
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-13-2015, 03:17 PM
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Thinking about it there wouldn't have been much in the way of fences in Roman times I think they used stone walls to divide areas more than rails - though I think there is archeological evidence of them using posts at some UK sites
Given that the horses would also have probably been ponies in terms of height - in Britain something like the native Fell ponies, a good rider would have been able to vault on quite easily with no help at all
One of those re-enactment things
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aD1-LrNvn3c#t=130
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-13-2015, 04:14 PM
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Jaydee, that was my thought, that horses were shorter. Interesting discussion.
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