Introduction to a thesis
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If an internal link led you here, you may wish to change the link to point directly to the intended article. White begins by tracing the research of the 19th century German historian Heinrich Brunner, who claimed that the switch to mounted warfare occurred after the Battle of Tours with a Saracen army in 732. Brunner also claimed that the Muslim incursion into Europe prompted Charles Martel to confiscate church lands to support cavalry. White used linguistic changes and evidence of a drastic change in weapons to support his claim that this change to mounted shock combat occurred in the early 8th century. The lance, White says, is the strongest evidence that the Franks had adopted the stirrup by this time.
He further claimed: «The feudal class of the European Middle Ages existed to be armed horsemen, cavaliers fighting in a particular manner which was made possible by the stirrup. He believed that the stirrup had made the knight. Despite the great influence of White’s book, his ideas of technological determinism were met with criticisms in the following decades. In an April 1963 review of White’s book, the scholars Peter Hayes Sawyer, of the University of Birmingham, and R. They also stated White’s footnotes often contradict his thesis and evidence. Military historian Stephen Morillo, of Wabash College, offered a different explanation for the rise of cavalry in Medieval warfare: introduction to a thesis of a lack of centralized government.
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Furthermore, Morillo examines cases of Frankish warriors fighting on foot—and defeating mounted knights in the process. Even White quoted Brunner as admitting that a good infantry could break a cavalry charge if its soldiers held their ranks. Morillo used the example of the familia regis, an elite Anglo-Norman infantry unit, as further evidence that a strong central government was the key to developing a strong infantry. It has also been asserted that modern reenactment and experimental archaeology has shown that the stirrup provides very little benefit for a mounted lancer, and a cantled saddle and spurs have a greater effect.
Stirrups provide stability for striking in melee after the initial cavalry charge. The World’s Greatest Idea: The Fifty Greatest Ideas that have changed Humanity. The most attention-grabbing bit of White’s book was the idea that it was the introduction of the stirrup that led to the development of the feudal system. 1: Stirrup, Mounted Shock Combat, Feudalism, and Chivalry». Technical Determinism: The Stirrup and the Plough».
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