Small OTL History Questions thread (Before 1900)

Thread for small OTL history questions. IMO it should be stickied, and another one should be created in After 1900 and also stickied.

First question: How powerful was Prussia in the mid-late 1860s? Also how badly did it beat Austria in the Seven Weeks' War?
 
Ignore the first question if you don't want to/can't answer it.

I have a different question though. When was the period when it was the norm for a 'nation' to enslave/slaughter their enemies' people and sack their cities? When did it begin to stop being the norm? Or is all that exaggerated and it was just a way for people to say it was more brutal and backwards in the past?
 
Prussia in the mid to late 1860s was in the start of a process of reaching a military peak it would reach in the 1870s. Austria, by comparison, was reaching the point where nationalism was producing ossification of the overall system, or at least in the earliest beginnings of that phase. Thus in the Bruderkrieg Prussia did smack Austria around in all the battles save Koniggratz where superior Prussian organization won a narrower victory than was usually credited to be the case, in a war where artillery was actually one of Austria's superior arms. Austria, however, smacked Italy around on land and sea, so it didn't lose *all* the battles then. The victory was somewhat narrower than later histories made it out to be, but it was still a fairly crushing one.

As far as the norm in regards to sacking and enslavement, pre-modern armies relied on the tools of siege warfare to a much greater extent than modern ones did because sieges were relatively simpler to plan for with regard to those tools. But for the victorious besiegers, the long experiences in siege lines didn't incline them to mercy or kindness as a general rule and thus falling to a victorious besieging army wound up being barbaric in results in practice.

The South was at its greatest strength relative to the North in the 1830s and 1840s when its dominance of two of the three Federal Branches was fully ensured and before Northern industry and population growth began to destabilize the overall Union.
 
As far as the norm in regards to sacking and enslavement, pre-modern armies relied on the tools of siege warfare to a much greater extent than modern ones did because sieges were relatively simpler to plan for with regard to those tools. But for the victorious besiegers, the long experiences in siege lines didn't incline them to mercy or kindness as a general rule and thus falling to a victorious besieging army wound up being barbaric in results in practice.
So they would assault cities more often than waiting for them to starve, compared to later times? Or the other way around?
 
So they would assault cities more often than waiting for them to starve, compared to later times? Or the other way around?

Other way around. Pre-modern armies lacked a lot of the discipline of modern armies, and it was much easier to get an army to surround a city or a fort and slowly move to crush it than to seek pitched battles. This of course never came without a price for besiegers and besieged.
 
I'll keep an eye on this.

Could anyone give me a brief overview of how sub-saharan medieval African warfare differed from region to region ? Which places had little cavalry due to the low availability of horses (since they were getting killed off by the tse-tse flies) ?
 
Is it correct to say that the early Franks were cavalry oriented and then they became infantry oriented?

Other way around. Pre-modern armies lacked a lot of the discipline of modern armies, and it was much easier to get an army to surround a city or a fort and slowly move to crush it than to seek pitched battles. This of course never came without a price for besiegers and besieged.
So they just got pissed off because they had to wait?
 
I'll keep an eye on this.

Could anyone give me a brief overview of how sub-saharan medieval African warfare differed from region to region ? Which places had little cavalry due to the low availability of horses (since they were getting killed off by the tse-tse flies) ?

I don't know too much about this, but I'm pretty sure that in the Sahel, armoured horsemen were quite common. They were basically 'Black Knights' if you will. I have no idea about Central Africa, but I assume that given the climate, tse-tse flies and the density of jungle, that it was infantry-based. East and Southern Africa was dominated by light infantry, who pretty much resembled the peltasts of the Classical period in the Mediterranean. Large shields, often cowhide over a wooden frame. Throwing javelins (the Zulus started using thrusting spears, but that was far later, they didn't exist as a polity at this time) were very common.
 
Who should I go to if I ever want to ask for a map?
Anyone know any good general obscure classical languages resource(s)?
 
In the first century, were the Dais/Tais/proto-Thais nomadic?

Were they a group that could have formed a Germanic/Mongol-like 'horde'?

Who should I go to if I ever want to ask for a map?
Anyone know any good general obscure classical languages resource(s)?
The people in the Base Maps thread in Alternate History Books and Media.

No, but Wiktionary has a lot of stuff about different languages, including some classical languages, though not that many obscure ones.
 
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Is it correct to say that the early Franks were cavalry oriented and then they became infantry oriented?
How early is "early"? When the Ostrogoths called in a force of Franks for help against Belisarius they seem to have been infantry, armed mainly with spears and axes.
 
Is it correct to say that the early Franks were cavalry oriented and then they became infantry oriented?

I think they were always 'infantry-oriented', as everyone in Europe was at the time (other than the steppe peoples, of course), but their aristocracy was more cavalry-oriented than most. So, they still were mostly infantry, but cavalry had a more important role comparatively to other European groups.
 
I don't know too much about this, but I'm pretty sure that in the Sahel, armoured horsemen were quite common. They were basically 'Black Knights' if you will. I have no idea about Central Africa, but I assume that given the climate, tse-tse flies and the density of jungle, that it was infantry-based. East and Southern Africa was dominated by light infantry, who pretty much resembled the peltasts of the Classical period in the Mediterranean. Large shields, often cowhide over a wooden frame. Throwing javelins (the Zulus started using thrusting spears, but that was far later, they didn't exist as a polity at this time) were very common.

Well, you didn't tell very novel stuff. I was expecting a bit more specific look at the various nations.

BTW, Zulus actually used giraffe hide shields, IIRC.
 
Well, you didn't tell very novel stuff. I was expecting a bit more specific look at the various nations.

BTW, Zulus actually used giraffe hide shields, IIRC.

Sorry if it wasn't very specific, just trying to help. I've got a weapons encyclopedia somewhere that'll have info about their weapons, but not too much info about their tactics or strategy.

---On Weaponry---

In West Africa they sometimes used fighting picks, with barbed metal points and a tang inserted into a wooden shaft. The roughened skin of monitor lizards was used as a grip. These weighed 0.65kg/ 1.5 lbs. They also used (especially in Dahomey, from what I can gather) used 'axe clubs' (yes, these look like clubs, but with a blunt metal blade jutting out of the club-head. These clubs weighed 0.39 kgs/ 0.75 lbs.

Sudanese often used arrows, which were barbed (weighed 1 oz/28g per arrow). They used to rush forward to discharge their arrows at approx. 50m (165ft) and would then retreat out of range of the enemy. The South Sudanese also used curved 'sickle knives', which weighed 0.55kgs.

In the Congo, axes were quite common for ceremonial practices (and I assume warfare too). The Songye people in SE Congo used axes, made out of iron and copper. The Kasai people used copper daggers that have possibly been influenced by Islamic styles.

in Uganda and surrounding areas they used 'finger knives' which were used both as weapons and as butcher's tools. They were used as claws (think a velociraptor's toe). They weighed 50grams.

Many parts of Africa used throwing knives, which seemed to function more similarly to throwing axes than the traditional Western throwing knives.

Hope this stuff is useful :) (Btw, it WAS cow-hide shields)
 
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Ignore the first question if you don't want to/can't answer it.

I have a different question though. When was the period when it was the norm for a 'nation' to enslave/slaughter their enemies' people and sack their cities? When did it begin to stop being the norm? Or is all that exaggerated and it was just a way for people to say it was more brutal and backwards in the past?

It was definitely common in the 16th century - when the Turks took Nicosia they had a "customary" 3 days of raping and pillaging. If a city surrendered on terms then they might escape this, but it was hard for the leader of the victors to restrain his men who expected to be raping women and kids, and taking all the loot available.

Best Regards
Grey Wolf
 
Is it correct to say that the early Franks were cavalry oriented and then they became infantry oriented?

What do you call early?

During roman times?
During Great Invasions?
Up to the death of Dagobert I?

Whatever, no such thing as infantry or cavalry based for them or for any people in the region before the stabilisation of the Regnum Francorum.
If you was rich enough, you had an horse, if not you was on foot.
Admittedly, most of free men were on their foot, so I suppose it could be interpreted as "infantry-based" even if not such objective existed.

The Franks became "cavalry-based" as both a reality and an objective with Peppin III and critically Charlemagne.
 
Did 5th century barbarian states besides the Huns ever make other barbarians their 'foederati' of sorts?

Also could a western Roman army without any foederati within it ever defeat barbarians after the Sack of Rome in 410?
 
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