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Aldarion

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  1. They didn't have special loyalty to their overlords, true. What they did have however is disdain towards foreigners. Chinese had had, by Mongol conquest, a long history of being ruled by foreigners, and accepted Mongols relatively easily, especially since they were already ruled by a foreign dynasty - which was quite despised - at the time of the conquest. Europeans... didn't. They chose resistance over submission basically every time, so Mongols didn't have a necessary pool of recruits to provide them with siege knowledge. True. I doubt there will be any, unless Martin has screwed up. Engineers were never slaves. Maybe among the Unsullied, though. Likely, she will have to rely on Westerosi allies.
  2. Hun army in 5th century did well against the fortifications thanks to having employed Roman siege engineers. Mongols failed to do that in Europe and so failed to do well. They did manage to acquire Chinese infantry, and thus did manage to conquer China. But even then, Huns were still limited by nomadic logistics... hence why they settled in the Pannonia, and why Mongols tried to do the same. Agreed. And they were smart enough to utilize knowledge of the settled peoples that they had no institutional prerequisites themselves - such as combat engineers and siege warfare. True. And that is what worries me. Martin did well with sieges of Riverrun, but those sieges were mostly in the background. And attack on King's Landing, well, we didn't see that much of it. But yeah, that is why I don't really like Daenerys. She does all these awesome things but with no real explanation as to how they were possible in the first place. Agreed.
  3. I will point out here that castle warfare is all about logistics. And yeah, staggering death toll after victory wouldn't dissuade them... lack of progress, however, would. Mongols in fact specifically noted Europe for strong fortifications. Mohi was a close-run thing. Mongols won, but it wasn't an overwhelming victory. More importantly however, stone castles combined with the fact that King Bela escaped meant that quick conquest of Hungary (and especially Croatia, which had a lot of stone fortifications plus rather unsuitable terrain) was not possible. Taking Mohi hardly helped with taking castles and fortified cities, so basically, Mongols didn't conquer Hungary because Mongols couldn't conquer Hungary. You clearly haven't read the article I linked: https://historyandwar.org/2021/11/21/why-1241-mongol-invasion-of-hungary-failed-part-2-reasons-for-mongol-withdrawal/ But the Mongols overstretched themselves, and the Battle of Mohi was nearly a disaster for Batu Khan. In fact, Batu had expressed desire to evacuate Europe in early 1241. This desire will have only increased as European defensive strategy shifted from open battles to defense of strongholds, which in any case was preferred strategy in European style of warfare. Mongols marauded freely over Moravia and Croatia, but they were unable to do much damage as they couldn’t take fortified cities. Thomas the Archdeacon notes that “They remained in the region of Croatia and Dalmatia for the whole of March, during which time they descended five or six times on the cities, returning thereafter to their camp.” Seeing as how no coastal cities had been destroyed, it is clear that their defences successfully held off the Mongols. Hungarians held up Mongols for 10 months along the banks of the Danube, up until the river froze and allowed the Mongols to cross over. And earlier over the summer, Mongols were forced to reduce numerous improvised fortifications and strongholds constructed all across the Hungary. And eastern Hungary had lagged significantly behind the Western and Southern Europe in terms of both numbers and quality of fortifications, making it very vulnerable to Mongols. The commital castles of Hungary which Mongols had reduced were all nothing more than primitive wooden motte-and-bailey castles. Six castles which did survive were located on elevated sites, allowing them to survive Mongol bombardment. Hungary in fact had only ten “new-style” castles, constructed out of stone and according to Western European practices. Five of those were along the border with Austria. But out of the other five stone castles – all of which ended up isolated and deep behind the Mongol lines – none were conquered by the Mongols, and all survived essentially undamaged. Western Europe by contrast had a very large number of such “new-style” castles, some of which were among the most impressive Medieval fortifications ever built. Western European fortifications were markedly superior to their equivalents in Eastern Europe or Middle East. When Mongols entered Levant, they did not even attempt to take Crusader strongholds such as Antioch. While city of Sidon did fall to Mongols, its castle – where the defenders withdrew – was not even attacked by them. Mongol siege efforts in China relied heavily on the troops and expertise of local Chinese auxiliaries, but these were unavailable in the West. But even with heavy armour, Mongols did not like besieging cities, as it required them to dismount. A wide range of sources, such as Byzantine Strategikon and the Chinese manuals, note that nomadic tribes were not adept at fighting on foot. While Mongols had shown themselves able to reduce cities in Eastern Europe, they always suffered heavy casualties in doing so. Far more sophisticated Western European fortifications will have been a major obstacle. Mongols were well aware of this. In 1246., Guyug demanded that Europe surrenders its fortifications as a condition of peace. And after receiving report of Guyug’s conduct on the western campaign, Ögödei apparently wished to punish him by placing him in the vanguard to assault “the town walls which are as high as mountains.”. Mongol siege of the Wroclow castle in Silesia was a failure, and they refused to even try to besiege castle at Liegnitz after winning the battle outside. Fortified places in Moravia likewise escaped devastation, as they were strongly constructed by German settlers. Mongols conquered Balkan, whose inhabitants lacked the resources to build stone fortifications, yet nearby Greece escaped such fate – largely thanks to its stone castles. Mongols also never attempted to besiege Constantinople, despite its proximity to the Golden Horde. Extensive Byzantine system of stone fortifications makes it no surprise that the Emperor John III Vatatzes “sent envoys and after he got to know the Mongols, took little heed of them.”. He had nothing to fear, as Byzantines could simply retreat to castles and fortresses and wait until the Mongols left. Song themselves, despite facing a vastly increased Mongol empire which now could also rely on Jin auxilliaries for siege warfare, resisted for five decades. They also, preparing for Mongol invasion, decided to break with traditional Chinese construction principles. Instead, Yu Jue’s defense system resembled European castles, with fortresses being situated atop cliffs, but close to metropolitan centres whose officials could evacuate to forts. This new system performed brilliantly, with major offensives by Mongols in 1246., 1258. and 1259. all failling. Mongke himself was killed in the fighting at siege of Diaoyucheng. But while Yu Jue’s defense system had proven effective, it lacked depth – unlike the European castle system, new Chinese system was not widely adopted across the country. Fortified city of Xiangyang was thus besieged in 1268., but it resisted until 1271. when Muslim engineers sent by the Ilkhanate provided the besiegers with counterweight trebuchets. It should be noted that these weapons had originated in the Mediterranean, and were known in Europe and Middle East since before 1187. The version specifically used here – the double counterweight trebuchet or the bricola – had first appeared in Western Europe in the 13th century, and adopted by the Mamluks in 1250s. Rashid al-Din, who had no pro-European bias, plainly states that Frankish siege engines were brought to China and they were decisive in bringing a swift end to the war. If Hungary wasn't "worth it", why did Mongols spend a year trying to conquer it? Why did they invade again in 1285. - 1286.? Why did they spend several months in Dalmatia, which very definitely wasn't suited for their style of warfare? And if Mongols were so good at taking stone fortifications, why did they need Chinese defectors and European counterweight trebuchets to conquer Song cities in 1270s? Why did Byzantines decide that Mongols weren't their problem and proceeded to simply ignore them? Seems to me they decided "it wasn't worth it" because they couldn't conquer it. And Europe wasn't the only place where Mongols failed to conquer castles: see quotes I provided above. True. Mongols weren't idiots - they saw that they wouldn't able to stay, so they decided not to die in vain. And also spread the myth that it was only khan's death that made them withdraw in order to save face. In fact, what you wrote supports the idea that it were stone castles which stopped the Mongols in Europe. It was Chinese who conquered China for the Mongols - Mongols depended heavily on local siege warfare expertise. Where sufficient numbers of defectors were not available - Europeans generally refused to defect and submit the way Chinese did - Mongols failed at taking fortifications. But even in China, where majority of Mongol armies were Chinese infantry and siege engineers, conquest was not easy. It is basically what SeanF wrote: Though I will note here that neither the Unsullied nor the Dothraki are anywhere close to either the Ottoman or Mongol forces. If Martin decides to have them destroy Westerosi host anyway, he will have hard time writing that without making it look silly... Yes and no. Difference in Chinese vs European castles was not (again, read the linked article for more detail) so much in construction as it was in doctrine. In China, it were only really major cities that got fortified. Castles were - especially before the Mongols invaded - very rare. So what this meant was that if Mongols couldn't take a city, they could sit in proximity, pillage, plunder, and look for Chinese mercenaries to breach the walls. And when the city eventually did fall, it came with a massive swath of territory and populace... which could then be used to finance new conquest, and help in sieges. Again, it was the Chinese who conquered China for the Mongols, not Mongols themselves. In Europe, however - particularly Western Europe, but even in pre-1241. Poland and Hungary to an extent - you had this massive network of castles, watchtowers and stuff. Most of these were far smaller and less well defended than Chinese forts... but there were a ton of them. You couldn't move beyond the next hill without encountering another castle. Taking them took time, and Mongols - regardless of what myths say - couldn't live off air alone, and were still vulnerable to losses due to disease. In fact, their nomadic way of life meant that sickness and epidemics during a siege were a far greater threat to them than they were to Europeans. Mongols could have won all the field battles they wanted, but actually conquering Europe will have taken far more time and manpower than they had to spare. So they left, and used an excuse to preserve their reputation.
  4. So what, according to you, stopped the Mongols? Again, read the "Ecological Theory" section here: https://historyandwar.org/2021/11/21/why-1241-mongol-invasion-of-hungary-failed-part-2-reasons-for-mongol-withdrawal/ Contemporary sources, Mongol or otherwise, provide absolutely no indication that Hungary was somehow unsuitable for occupation. In fact, they state quite the opposite. So your theory may explain lack of Mongol success in southern Croatia and Germany - and indeed sources mention that Dalmatia had insufficient forage for Mongol horses - but not why they failed to conquer the Pannonian steppe. Huns managed to settle a massive army in Pannonia, and use it as a base to rule basically whole of the Balkans and even the Western Empire through fear. Why would Mongols fail at something Huns managed to do half a millennia before? Of course, whether Martin understands this or not is another question...
  5. Not necessarily. "Guardian" just means "defender", as in "one who defends". So it is just a description of duty, not necessarily of honor (other than defending one's home being honorable in and by itself, but that has little to do with knightly concept of personal honor).
  6. Reach and Riverlands, but RIverlands have well, rivers, and Danube did prove a major obstacle to Mongols in Hungary... until it froze. Of course, Mongols couldn't utilize it because everpresent castles combined with winter caused them to start starving to death soon after. So were Hungary and Poland in our world... Mongols still starved due to castles. Now guess what Westeros has an abundance of? "Ogedei's death stopping the Mongols" is a myth that needs to die. It were, in fact, those ten(!) Hungarian stone castles that stopped Mongols in conquest of Hungary: https://historyandwar.org/2021/11/21/why-1241-mongol-invasion-of-hungary-failed-part-2-reasons-for-mongol-withdrawal/
  7. No - your etymology is upside-down. Caballero means literally "horseman". It originates from Latin caballarius / caballus, which means a pack horse. So "caballero" is literally "cavalryman", and is thus etymologically identical to German Ritter. Sure, it did gain the meaning "gentleman" due to chivalric ideal, just as Ritter did, but that is not its original meaning. Slavic "vitez" by comparison actually means "guardian". Isn't that something that holds literally for everybody? True king, true lord, true knight, true squire... to be "true" you have to have honor, regardless of the title you hold.
  8. Not really. "Knight" originally meant merely an "armored cavalryman". It was not before 11th century I think that knights became a separate class, and that is also when an ideal of knighthood developed. But a "true knight" is an armored cavalryman who sells his services in exchange for either land or money.
  9. Where exactly will they find the food to feed both themselves and the Westeros? And to answer the OP: yes, yes they will. If Martin is familiar with history of Mongol invasions at all, he will be aware of issues faced by any nomadic army campaigning anywhere not steppe. Or even in insufficiently large steppe, as the case may be: https://historyandwar.org/2021/11/18/why-1241-mongol-invasion-of-hungary-failed-part-1-overview-of-the-invasion/ https://historyandwar.org/2021/11/21/why-1241-mongol-invasion-of-hungary-failed-part-2-reasons-for-mongol-withdrawal/
  10. I think one should differentiate between Daenerys' aims and means. In short: yes, her anti-slavery campaign is commendable. But what, exactly, has she done to make it stick? So far, not a whole lot, it seems. And she has made a lot of mistakes and morally questionable decisions.
  11. Yes, and admittedly, Numenor itself was isolated from larger world so there weren't many opportunities for external shakeups. Kinda like Japan, which has a ruling dynasty over 2600 years old. Which would suggest that either Westerosi dynasties are liars, or else Westerosi history had been unusually calm with regards to royal warfare. Still, I feel that is probably where the whole "extremely long lasting dynasties" thing comes from in much of fantasy (other case is Dune with immortal God Emperor, which gets a repeat episode in Warhammer 40k).
  12. Not just Dune. Archetypical case is, as usual for fantasy, probably Tolkien: royal dynasty of Numenor survived for 3 287 years, that of Gondor for 2 171 year. And House of Elros survived for well over 6 550 years (from Elros' coronation in SA 32 to Aragorn's death, plus unknown number of years afterwards), though they had quite a long interregnum from Earnur's death in TA 2050 until Aragorn's coronation in TA 3019.
  13. Difference is that they literally created the Seven Kingdoms as they are. They didn't take an old title, they created new one. If you want to compare Freys to others, other "upstarts" would be Tyrells.
  14. We are talking about perception here. Yes, other nobles will use the opportunity if they get one, but they are not as blatant about it as Freys. I missed the part where anybody respects Tywin? People fear him, but that is because he is both powerful and brutal. But if it weren't for that, I'm not sure he would command more respect than Freys.
  15. First, Targaryens are not upstarts in the grand scheme of things. They had been dragonlords for centuries if not millenia before they first stepped into Westeros. Second, Freys are opportunists. There is a reason why Walder Frey is called "late". They do not honor their feudal obligations, and are widely seen as unreliable. Why, exactly, wouldn't everybody despise them? Third, Tullies are looked down upon. Their rule over Riverlands is not exactly secure, much like Tyrells - another family raised up by Targaryens - have to constantly look over their shoulder. Fourth, Freys never had dragons.
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