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marching in step

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  Quote cooked Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: marching in step
    Posted: 03-Jul-2008 at 20:29
Hello, I am a new member.
My question concerns the introduction of marching in step into medieval military tactics. Sure, I know that the nobles of the time read the writings of Vegetius with his discourses about phalanxes and so on.  Charles the Bold was a big classical reader.
I believe that the crusaders met up with highly organised blocks of opponents...
I live in Switzerland and am convinced that the Swiss pikemen couldn't have manoeuvred as they started to do in the 16th century, without a strictly controlled measure of pace.
 However, my question(s): do we have any first hand accounts referring to this practice? I can't find much. Were the soldiers accompanied by drummers (probably) as well as musicians. What kind of rhythm would they be playing?
Would pikemen be shuffling along with the right foot always behind the left? Thoinot  Arbeau suggests as much.
  I am a musician, by the way, and am trying to get to the bottom of the general detestation that medieval reenactors have of marching in step.
 Thanks for any comments
david
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  Quote Efraz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Jul-2008 at 20:40
Very interesting question. I know the mid-eastern part of the subject but it will be enlightening to hear the European military side of it.

BTW welcome to the forum cooked.
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  Quote cooked Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Jul-2008 at 21:07
Hey!
I would be interested in the middle east side of the question too. Much of medieval music is closely linked to oriental music (reasoning too complicated to go into here) so why not marching in step. which is, after all, a choreographed method of getting from one place to the other.
david
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  Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Jul-2008 at 23:52
The Romans definitely did march in cadence, and this was to the beat of a drum.
 
After the Romans, I have not read of any army marching in cadence until the development of the Prussian-Brandenburger army in the 17-18th centuries.
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  Quote Yiannis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Jul-2008 at 23:21
Greeks used flutes to help them keep the phalanx formation intact, till the impact with the enemy. There's plenty of sources that mention this. Also the Spartans were using the "3-step and stop" approach towards the enemy (can't remember the source). Meaning they would make 3 steps, pause and take 3 more. Such apparent calm helped them reach the enemy line with their own line intact and inspired fear to the enemies. Of  course the phalanx would run the last few tenths of meters to maximize the impact effect.
 


Edited by Yiannis - 04-Jul-2008 at 23:33
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  Quote d' artagnan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Mar-2011 at 14:17
I think it was probaly introduced to the medieval world through the janissary's of the Turks.
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Oct-2011 at 21:53
There were definitely drummers in the pike and shot formations, usually young boys not strong enough to hold a musket. Their rhythmic beats corresponded to the sergeant setting the pace: left, left, left, right, left
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  Quote Centrix Vigilis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Oct-2011 at 11:37
Which in turn and for centuries was the mechanism whereby the conservation of physical strength and stamina was and remains critical especially prior to hostile operations.
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