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Aldarion

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  1. Actually, it is more likely due to influence of Numenor. Numenor conquered massive areas, and thus spread what would become Westron with time. Orcs are crude and tribal however, and while Sauron attempted to create the Black Speech as Orcish lingua franca, he ended up dead for a long time, and it was pointed out in the text that the Black Speech a) never took root except among the Orcs of Mordor, and b) was forgotten by everyone except the Nazgul. So Westron - which would be known by the western Orcs (in the Misty Mountains, White Mountains, Gundabad...) - was likely a natural choice.
  2. Feudal levies are not conscripts. Historically, levies were semi-professional troops akin to US National Guard. For the most part, this holds true for Westeros as well - but GRRM has to have grimdark, so he throws in conscripted peasants here and there as well.
  3. Probably, but I'd say it will draw more from the former, as Golden Company is actually kinda similar in structure to the army Hannibal took to Italy (majority infantry, some cavalry and elephants).
  4. Feudal levies are not 20th century conscripts. They are part-time professionals, similar to the National Guard - they own weapons, and semi-regularly train with them. It is in their nobles' best interests that they do, as they are the basis of noble's power. No need for additional training, at least for the initial call-up. And this is true in the books as well. Northern army wasn't trained for the long time, yet we see no evidence of any lack of training. They perform well.
  5. Yeah, I guess I missed that. And it is a problem in and by itself, because when you had large gold denomination, it was almost always paired up with a much smaller golden coin. Hungary was, in fact, an exception in having a single silver and a single gold coin type - and one fixed at 100 silver coins to a gold coin. Anyway, I did find this: http://www.freelanceacademypress.com/pdf/EconomyArticle.pdf
  6. I will try to answer, but keep in mind that this is all based on actual history. With Martin not giving crap about logistics, reality, or really anything except psychology, politics and cynicism, situation in Westeros could be very different. Generally, a peasant plot would have produced income of 5% of its value: so assuming a peasant plot is generally 1 lbs of gold, this means that 20 plots are necessary to produce value of 1 lbs of gold per year, or else that income is 5 gold coins per year per 1 lbs of value of land. To support a knight, you needed 15 - 30 peasant households, or maybe some 20 lbs of gold on average. A light cavalryman would require 10 lbs of gold in land value and thus 10 households for support, while a knight in 15th century might require as much as 36 households for support. Of course, if you are going for mercenaries, they are lot more expensive. Wage for a heavy cavalryman (man-at-arms) in the Black Army of Matthias Corvinus was 60 florins per year, and light cavalryman was 40 florins per year. A heavily-armed infantryman would have required 36 florins per year. Now I will make assumptions that 1) wages take up roughly half the sum while the other half goes for logistics, and that 2) there is a typical proportion of 15% heavy cavalry, 15% light cavalry and 70% infantry. So a unit of 1 000 men would have 150 heavy cavalry, 150 light cavalry and 700 infantry, and wage would be 40 000 florins (or gold dragons) per year. Assuming total costs of 100 000 gold coins per year, this means that a million gold dragons could supply a normal Westerosi army of 10 000 men for a year. A galley might cost 250 lbs to build - but with Westerosi galleys being enormous, 1 000 lbs is a more likely figure. This means (using Byzantine coinage) some 72 000 gold coins per ship. So a million gold dragons would allow you to build (but not actually use) a total of 12 - 14 galleys. If you wanted to actually use the blasted things, then you can cut this number to a half or maybe a quarter at best.
  7. No. As @mormont said, there are many reasons why Aegon might try to kill Robert, and none of them have anything to do with the throne. So it would only give him more of an opportunity to kill Robert.
  8. That is not how feudalism works, even in Westeros. The entire idea behind the feudalism is that lord gives land and protection to landless peasants and they in turn give him a portion of the income (a tenth - tithe). Land is the currency, and lord gives land to his dependants - safe land, it must be added, because depredations on said land would bring lord's wrath on said predator. Even Tywin will do his best to protect his peasants, because that is ultimately where his power base lies. So peasants definitely receive payment. Serfdom actually developed from Roman colonate, which replaced slavery because it was more productive: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonus_(person) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serfdom However, England (as usual) had a particularly cruel variant of serfdom called villeins de gross. I don't know much about it, but that might be the reason why GRRM has peasants be so downtrodden. That, or his usual misunderstanding of the Middle Ages.
  9. Going back to what I wrote before, look at what happened to Byzantine Empire after Basil II's death. By 1025., Basil II had an annual revenue of 7 000 000 nomismata, and accumulated a reserve of 14 400 000 nomismata (200 000 pounds of gold). So what happened to that? It was all wasted in several years, thanks to Constantine VIII. and Romanos III. Argyros. And it is telling how they did it: favoritism to the nobility Romanos III abolished the allegyon tax in 1028., which fell upon the dynatoi specifically Constatine VIII and his successors allowed free peasants to fall to serfdom thematic troops were reduced to status of serfs - which meant that they paid taxes to the nobility massive expenditures on economically unviable things churches and monasteries gifts Constantine IX once sent an Arab leader a gift of 500 000 gold coins, or two tons of gold as noted, nobility - both in general and specific nobles - were often given tax exemptions If Robert was anything like the impression I ganed of him and Renly tells me, then we will have seen all of the above. But gifts and tax exemptions might well have been the greatest point of expenditure. I suspect that Renly himself made use of his familial relation to Robert, and tended to draw upon the royal treasury for most of his needs - Stormlands aren't exactly rich, and Renly was quite a peacock. And drawing upon medieval Hungary, it is possible that other nobles close to Robert also used the royal treasury for their own expenses. And if Robert gave tax exemptions to his supporters, there would be little from where to draw revenue necessary to keep the treasury afloat, especially with all the parasites drawing from it.
  10. I was responding to your "separating merchant from a warship was nearly impossible". It wasn't. What was true however was that merchant ships may have been used for raiding. Vikings would approach the town, propose (and carry out) a trade, and then raise the war flag and sack the town, and I assume they were not using warships for that. And yes, in need, you can use a merchant longship as a warship and vice-versa. But that does not change their basic function.
  11. Not really. Remember that Westeros uses galleys. And Vikings - who Ironborn are modelled after - also used separate ship types for warfare and trade. Now, it is true that longships built for warfare were also used for trade, but there was still a distinction between a warship (longship) and a trade ship (knarr). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viking_ships https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knarr https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longship What you are saying is only true for dedicated sailing ships (cogs, caravels, carracks).
  12. More likely than they used to be, yes. But I have my doubts on whether that will be enough - training and culture cannot be erased overnight, and if the new, individualistic Unsullied are to be an effective army, then they have to introduce a new system of behaviour and discipline. So they have a potential to be more effective than they used to be, but the road there will not be easy. Baths alone are not enough. They are a good indication of how seriously hygiene is taken, and fact that Unsullied camps tend to be orderly indicates that they do take hygiene very seriously. But they are not the only ones: we see that both the Lannister army and the Golden Company also take their camps and camp hygiene seriously, which means that their campaign casualties will almost certainly be lower than those of Unsullied. Of course, George can simply go and ignore that sort of attrition... but still, camp discipline is a good indicator of overall discipline, and Unsullied are by no means unique there. Maybe. But to me that sounds too much like No True Scotsman. People do not exactly like to accept reality. Battle of Oxcross actually shows the opposite: it shows very clearly that Westerosi lords are aware that untrained rabble cannot win battles. Oxcross was a host in the process of training, and Tywin refused to deploy it to battle - it was set up far from expected battlefields, where soldiers and units could be drilled away from any sort of imminent danger. So yes, as war goes on, it is likely that more and more conscripts will be used - but untrained peasants they are not. As for the Night's Watch, that is not an army - Westeros treats it as a penal colony, and you don't give combat training to criminals before sending them to high-security prison. It is up to Night's Watch to integrate them. Winter is nothing if not humid. Human body produces heat, and snow melts in heat. Battle of Arsuf was not exactly a close-run thing. Yes, it is true that the counterattack was nearly impossible due to losses in horses, but the Crusader army was never in any actual danger of being defeated. At worst, they will have abandoned the idea of counter-attack and marched on until they could enter Arsuf (they were, in fact, entering Arsuf when the battle was finally joined). In the end, Crusaders lost 700 men to some 7 000 Saracen losses. And this shows my point that, prior to the advent of firearms, battles were decided at close range. Attacks by horse archers were what military today would call a "shaping operation", but they were never effective by themselves. And the fact that the Dothraki lack armour - and, indeed, despise using it - means that they never will be able to exploit the opportunities their horse archers create. Cities are fortified as well. And the entire purpose of fortified cities and castles is to provide safe shelters for the populace. The reason why Mongols conquered Kievan Rus were multiple, and none of these is in evidence in Westeros. Kievan Rus were divided politically. Now, Westeros too is politically divided - but they predominantly tend to follow their great lords (with the exception of Riverlands). Rus principalities were far smaller than Westerosi kingdoms, and their population density was more similar to what we imagine when we think of the North. In short, facing a single average-sized southern kingdom would be rather akin to facing unified Russian principalities. Eastern Europe, and especially Russia, had very low population density. Again, similar to what we think of with North. This allowed Mongols to inflict what was a strategic defeat-in-detail, taking cities one by one with no real possibility of relief. Russians back then had no major fortifications. Their "castles" and "fortified cities" were fortified with wooden pallisades. Majority of the fortified places fell in few days of siege, as the pallisades were destroyed by the artillery or simply burned down. Even so, some of the weakly fortified places held out for some time: town of Torzhok held out for two weeks. This last problem was the most important in the fall of Rus. Walls of cities and forts alike were built by wooden logs atop earthen ramparts - something like Edoras from Lord of the Rings (you can see illustrations here). Almost nobody used siege artillery, and sieges consisted of simply blockading a town. So when Mongols came, the effect was akin to a World War I siege artillery group besieging a 13th century castle. Fortifications were simply brushed aside, with even the best fortified towns falling within four to six days. But in Westeros, the situation will be an almost exact reverse. Westerosi fortifications are outright fantastical, more comparable to, say, Minas Tirith than to anything that actually existed in Medieval Europe outside Constantinople. Winterfell has a double-circuit wall, with outer wall being 80 feet and inner wall 100 feet tall. That is more than twice the height of the Theodosian Walls of Constantinople - you know, a city that was never captured by a land-based force before the proliferation of gunpowder artillery? Then you have King's Landing, which basically is Constantinople, at least when it comes to fortifications (geographically though, it is more similar to London). Meanwhile, neither Dothraki nor Unsullied have shown any capacity for actually besieging cities - especially the former. In short, as long as adequate garrisons are present, Westerosi cities and castles are immune to attack. As I said - if they are to succeed, they will need Westerosi allies. They won mostly because Dothraki were stupid and did not utilize their own strengths. Instead of spending hours or days pelting the Unsullied with arrows, or simply outflanking the Unsullied formation, Dothraki mounted a frontal charge after a frontal charge. A Roman legion, hell, a couple of large hoplite taxis, would have been able to defeat the Dothraki in such conditions. Apparently Dothraki kinda forgot that they were light cavalry and not Westerosi knights... Maybe. But Genghis Khan still had some fundamentals to work with - unlike Dothraki, Mongols were not exactly morons - and he actually worked closely with the Jin Chinese as their ally. But then Daenerys is a Queen of Asspulls, so she might well be able to do it. Three thousand was basically an estimate of the largest number that Golden Company will have been able to defeat based on the old adage of attacker needing at least 3:1 advantage. However, there is good possibility it actually is a correct number: Unsullied were the city guard of Qohor ever since the "Three Thousand" thing. Nah, not even close. Dothraki may be more versatile than a westerosi man at arms (spear + whip + bow), but their lack of armour means that they simply do not have the staying power. A Dothraki khalassar simply cannot win a duel against foot archer force of any significant size - Mongol cavalry had armour, even some of their horse archers (if not necessarily all of them). Dothraki do not use armour, and that is a massive disadvantage. Maybe, but then again, the doctrines of castle warfare are basically perfectly set up to counter the Dothraki. Problem is that apparently Westerosi actually prefer open field battles, so yes, they might have some initial difficulties. But again, Dothraki are not the Mongols, so said difficulties are unlikely to be anything significant. I wrote about Kievan Rus earlier - they are in no way comparable to either Western Europe or Westeros. Westeros is essentially nothing but an unfavourable terrain, as far as Dothraki were concerned - in both geographical and strategic terms. Fortifications were a massive element in creating that "unfavourable terrain" - it is something Kievan Rus did not have, but Westeros does. And fact still remains that Mongols were defeated militarily. They had to retreat, both in 1241. and 1285. And while 1241. was kinda a close thing - a Pyrrhic victory, for Hungarians and Poles alike - the 1285. campaign was a very clear victory for the Hungarians. In both cases, it was the fortifications which proved decisive in denying Mongols the victory and creating conditions for their eventual defeat. Agreed - on both counts.
  13. I very much doubt that George is unaware of these facts, and that means that Unsullied will not be as formidable as the sales pitches we have heard so far say they will. 1) Yes, unlikely to question their commander. Also unlikely to take initiative - which can be very important even during the set-piece battle, let alone something else. One of characteristics of Roman legions was that even common soldiers were very prone to taking initiative and making decisions on their own - and Romans rewarded such behaviour so long as it gave results. 2) Unsullied are not craven because they have literally nothing to live for. Or had literally nothing to live for - but we see that is changing. How their humanization will affect their combat performance is yet to be seen, but it is entirely possible that they will not keep their discipline. 3) You cannot always afford a bath a day. And even well-organized armies such as Roman and Ottoman suffered from diseases during campaigns, especially sieges. So while diseases may not be a problem while garrisoning a city in a dry climate, it is entirely possible that Unsullied may get wiped out in the field in Westeros. But most importantly, fact that the Dothraki and the Unsullied are played up so much means that it is very likely they will receive a rude awakening in Westeros. Daenerys has not faced any serious military challenge yet: she had been walking from success to success, all her failures were essentially political. Westeros is a logical place for her to face her first major military defeats, and we in fact have foreshadowing of this in Daznak's Pit (complete with the "no true Scotsman" fallacy): After the beast fights came a mock battle, pitting six men on foot against six horsemen, the former armed with shields and longswords, the latter with Dothraki arakhs. The mock knights were clad in mail hauberks, whilst the mock Dothraki wore no armor. At first the riders seemed to have the advantage, riding down two of their foes and slashing the ear from a third, but then the surviving knights began to attack the horses, and one by one the riders were unmounted and slain, to Jhiqui’s great disgust. “That was no true khalasar,” she said. Soldiers can be socially peasants yet still be trained soldiers: http://www.warfareeast.co.uk/main/Hungarian_Armies.htm#TheMilitiaPortalis Fact that they are "peasants" as you say does not mean that they are peasants, as in civilians given weapons and armour and thrown into battle. These are still trained soldiers, if not necessarily professional soldiers - though if organization is anything like Militia Portalis, that distinction is rather blurred. And Dunk and Egg novels are hardly a good example, seeing how what we do see are basically dregs raised by a downtrodden lord for the purpose of the local defense. That is like saying that Hungarian armies were comprised of peasants because peasants fought in the Siege of Belgrade. When we see actual armies in the field (Battle of the Green Fork, especially), they are comprised predominantly (though not exclusively) of trained soldiers. You could theoretize that they had started forcing peasants under arms to make good losses, but to say that Westerosi armies are fundamentally peasant rabble by default is simply not true. Even if they may employ peasants on the Militia Portalis model, these peasants will still be trained, drilled and well-equipped troops - an actual militia, or something akin to the US National Guard. Definitely not a rabble. I think you mean composite bows. And composite bows do not actually outperform longbows, for a simple reason that they fall apart in the kind of the wet climate that Westeros has. There is a reason self bows were popular in Europe - and in Westeros. Also, fact is that foot archers - both longbowmen and crossbowmen - proved fully capable of neutralizing or at least countering the threat of horse archers - be it Arab and Seljuk horse archers in the Palestine, or Mongol horse archers in Hungary. This is what happens when you try to defeat a force of infantry and heavy cavalry with just horse archers: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Arsuf And Jorah being Jorah, I see no reason to take him seriously. He has a major case of rose-coloured glasses. Yes, Unsullied would be incapable of using pikes. Training for a spearman and training for a pikeman is completely different. Crossbows work well in field battles as well. And army needs to forage, which means splitting up - and this means that even a superior force can be defeated in detail so long as enemies have safe bases around. Which is the purpose of the castles. Read this to see how any Dothraki campaign in Westeros is likely to look: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Mongol_invasion_of_Hungary Considering how "competent" Dothraki appear to be, I would not agree that facing them in open battle is foolish. Especially since Westeros does have significant experience with open battles and siege warfare both. And considering both number and importance of castles, even if Dothraki win in a few field battles, this will not achieve much. Mongols defeated Hungarians in 1241. (the first invasion), but failed to conquer any significant fortified places, and had to retreat. Not necessarily. Yes, a last stand can cause far greater losses... but it also means that the enemy army is destroyed, period. After Cannae, those Roman soldiers who had escaped formed the core of new Roman armies. Had they fought to the last instead, their experience will have been lost. Veterans are valuable. And despite inflicting greater losses on the enemy, physics of the battlefield mean that an army fighting a last stand is still likely to have a negative exchange ratio. And Unsullied cannot be replaced. No, we don't know. But like the example of Daznak's Pit I gave earlier in this post, it is an example of where Martin is likely to be heading with this story. Also, King's Landing in the books is IIRC closer to half a million. So 6 000 Gold Cloaks is around 1,2% of the population, which is reasonable for a professional army in a medieval society. If Qohor is of similar size to KL, some 3 000 - 6 000 Unsullied is not an unreasonable guess. And 3 000 Unsullied would just give Golden Company a 3:1 numerical advantage (assuming it was 10 000 strong back then) that is generally taken as a minimum necessary advantage to take a fortified place. Eh, no, not even close. Horse archers were an advantage, but fact is that Chinese - and just about everybody else - knew how to counter them. When Mongols conquered China, main force of conquest were not Mongol horse archers, but rather Chinese infantrymen - Western Xia was conquered by a combination of intimidation and military engineering (something which we do not see Dothraki utilize). And unlike Dothraki, Mongols were rather keen students of military science: they had professional, standardized military which utilized combined-arms tactics, had significant indigenous heavy cavalry arm, had combat engineers (capable of building not just siege weapons but also bridges and similar), and had very developed intelligence service. None of which is in evidence with the Dothraki. And all of this was in evidence even before the conquest of China - Genghis Khan utilized Chinese siege technicians and catapult units (who btw had gunpowder bombs) as early as the conquest of Khwarezmia in 1219. - 1221. - which was the first settled state Mongols conquered. Conquest of Khwarezmia was followed by the invasion of Western Xia. This played to Mongol advantage - in addition to intimidation and the engineering I noted previously, Western Xia had huge stretches of desert which allowed the Mongols to conquer it piecemeal. Each city that fell provided the defectors, weapons and supplies to take the next one. But Dothraki would have none of these factors, unless they were joined by the Westerosi forces. A Dothraki-only invasion force, with no pre-arranged Westerosi support, would be helpless. Dothraki have no combat engineers, which means they would not be able to even threaten fortified places. And in terms of culture and mentality, Westerosi are much more similar to Europeans than to Chinese - which means that presence of Unsullied and the Dothraki would actually be detrimental to Daenerys' campaign as it will turn away potential allies. Which includes siege experts. It was Chinese who conquered China for the Mongols, and it will have to be Westerosi who will conquer Westeros for Daenerys. Yes, and these herds were still vulnerable to raids (in fact, herd raiding was a staple of nomad life). Even if raids can be avoided, mere presence of castles still heavily limits the actions of an army. And Dothraki: have no heavy cavalry have no combat engineers are not professional soldiers are not capable of combined-arms tactics Mounted archers were important for Mongol style of warfare, yes: but they were not employed alone. An army which is half heavy cavalry and half horse archers can achieve far more than an army comprised of either heavy cavalry or horse archers alone, because it has far more tactical options. Mongol horse archers did not act alone: they were used to bait the enemy or, if the enemy stood firm, unsettle and exhaust them through constant missile bombardment and harrassment. But horse archers never delivered a decisive blow: it was the heavy cavalry who did so, but only after the enemy had been exhausted - and, hopefully, pulled out of the position - by the horse archers. Dothraki, lacking organic heavy cavalry, will not be able to pull off such complex tactics successfully. Also, Mongol horse archers wore armour: Dothraki do not. Europeans did not spend "years being crushed by the Mongols". Mongols fought several battles against Eastern and Central European states that had underdeveloped military organization, tactics and technology. Majority of fortifications in Hungary and Poland at the time were made of wood, and they had very limited heavy cavalry. Yet despite that, Battle of Mohi was a very close-run thing: Batu very nearly ordered a retreat at one point, and Mongol losses were significant even in victory. And note that this was before the reforms of Bela IV which were a direct response to the invasion. Said reforms introduced the crossbowmen to Hungarian army, significantly increased the proportion of heavy cavalry, introduced the very concept of feudal knight to the kingdom, and replaced wooden motte-and-bailey castles with modern stone fortifications. Sounds a lot like what Westeros already has. I know a lot more about these things than you do, apparently, if you think that Westeros is in any way, shape or form comparable to pre-1241. Poland and Hungary. Hungary in fact had only ten stone castles in 1241. (not counting those in Croatia), and five of those ended up being in Mongol-controlled territory (remaining five were on border with Austria). Mongols failed to take a single stone castle. Croatia was ravaged... except the Mongol army itself was far more ravaged by simply passing through. They were unable to take any of the fortified places they passed by (Trogir, Klis, Split, Dubrovnik), unable to secure fodder for horses, and unable to achieve anything of military significance before they were forced to retreat. Hungarians did not have either knights or crossbowmen in large numbers. In fact, political pressures (related to his treatment of Cumans) forced Bela to fight the battle before he was actually ready for it. Despite that, Mohi was a very close-run thing, and those knights and crossbowmen that were present performed outstandingly well. Fact is that Mongols very nearly lost the battle. Neither Poland nor Hungary ever "fell" to the Mongols, despite the fact that they were defeated in the field. Mongols were forced to withdraw. As for the Western European support, that was limited to begin with: Western European rulers knew that Mongols were dangerous in the open field, and in fact Western European warfare long preferred chevauchee and sieges to pitched battles - and for a good reason. So while Poland and Hungary fought, Western Europe saw to its own defences.
  14. Yeah, no. Not even close. I wrote on the Unsullied before: https://military-fantasy.com/2020/03/11/tactical-overview-the-unsullied/ Read that. Unsullied have absolutely nothing on the troops of Old Ghis. They fight in the manner of the Lockstep Legions, but they are not the Lockstep Legions. Ghiscari Legionaires were free men, professional soldiers who were highly trained and disciplined. Unsullied are professional, trained and disciplined, but they are not free men. And their manner of fighting is thousand years out of date. Daily training is irrelevant if your training regimen is outdated. And the brutal culling did not help Spartans create super soldiers - contrary to the mythology, Spartans were not that much better than any other hoplite army.
  15. That is true - they definitely are much better than what they should be. However, between the above and the Draznak's Pit, I cannot help but feel that both Dothraki and the Unsullied are being set up for failure in Westeros. And there is another common thread between them, beyond the fact that both are realistically incompetent: both were praised by Jorah Mormont. And he, I suspect, will turn out to be Daenerys' poisonous friend - he did once before, in fact, but I mean that his advice will end up working against her in the end.
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