A stirrup is a light frame or ring that holds the foot of a rider,
attached to the
The saddle is a supportive structure for a rider of an animal, fastened to an animal's back by a girth. The most common type is equestrian. However, specialized saddles have been created for oxen, camels and other animals. It is not kn ...
A strap, sometimes also called strop, is an elongated flap or ribbon, usually of leather or other flexible materials.
Thin straps are used as part of clothing or baggage, or bedding such as a sleeping bag. See for example spaghetti strap, sho ...
, often called a ''stirrup leather''. Stirrups are usually paired and are used to aid in mounting and as a support while using a
A working animal is an animal, usually domesticated, that is kept by humans and trained to perform tasks instead of being slaughtered to harvest animal products. Some are used for their physical strength (e.g. oxen and draft horses) or for ...
The horse (''Equus ferus caballus'') is a domesticated, one-toed, hoofed mammal. It belongs to the taxonomic family Equidae and is one of two extant subspecies of ''Equus ferus''. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million y ...
Equinae is a subfamily of the family Equidae, which have lived worldwide (except Indonesia and Australia) from the Hemingfordian stage of the Early Miocene (16 million years ago) onwards. They are thought to be a monophyletic grouping.B. J. Ma ...
, such as a
The mule is a domestic equine hybrid between a donkey and a horse. It is the offspring of a male donkey (a jack) and a female horse (a mare). The horse and the donkey are different species, with different numbers of chromosomes; of the two p ...
). They greatly increase the rider's ability to stay in the saddle and control the mount
, increasing the animal's usefulness to humans in areas such as communication, transportation, and warfare.
In antiquity, the earliest foot supports consisted of riders placing their feet under a girth
or using a simple toe loop appearing in India by the 2nd century BC. Later, a single stirrup was used as a mounting aid, and paired stirrups appeared after the invention of the treed
The saddle is a supportive structure for a rider of an animal, fastened to an animal's back by a girth. The most common type is equestrian. However, specialized saddles have been created for oxen, camels and other animals. It is not kn ...
. The stirrup was invented in China in the first few centuries AD and spread westward through the nomadic peoples
of Central Eurasia
"The Stirrup and Its Effect on Chinese Military History"
Accessed January 23, 2017.
The use of paired stirrups is credited to the Chinese Jin Dynasty
and came to Europe during the
In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the late 5th to the late 15th centuries, similar to the post-classical period of global history. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire ...
. Some argue that the stirrup was one of the basic
A tool is an object that can extend an individual's ability to modify features of the surrounding environment or help them accomplish a particular task. Although many animals use simple tools, only human beings, whose use of stone tools dates bac ...
s used to create and spread modern
A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society characterized by the development of a state, social stratification, urbanization, and symbolic systems of communication beyond natural spoken language (namely, a writing system).
, possibly as important as the
A wheel is a circular component that is intended to rotate on an axle bearing. The wheel is one of the key components of the wheel and axle which is one of the six simple machines. Wheels, in conjunction with axles, allow heavy objects to be ...
A printing press is a mechanical device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium (such as paper or cloth), thereby transferring the ink. It marked a dramatic improvement on earlier printing methods in which the c ...
The English word "stirrup" stems from Old English ''stirap, stigrap'', Middle English ''stirop, styrope'', i.e. a mounting or climbing-rope.
[ Compare Old English ''stīgan'' "to ascend" and ''rap'' "rope, cord".
The stirrup, which gives greater stability to a rider, has been described as one of the most significant inventions in the history of warfare, prior to
Gunpowder, also commonly known as black powder to distinguish it from modern smokeless powder, is the earliest known chemical explosive. It consists of a mixture of sulfur, carbon (in the form of charcoal) and potassium nitrate (saltpeter). T .... As a tool allowing expanded use of horses in warfare, the stirrup is often called the third revolutionary step in equipment, after the chariot
A chariot is a type of cart driven by a charioteer, usually using horses to provide rapid motive power. The oldest known chariots have been found in burials of the Sintashta culture in modern-day Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia, dated to c. 2000&nb ... and the saddle
The saddle is a supportive structure for a rider of an animal, fastened to an animal's back by a girth. The most common type is equestrian. However, specialized saddles have been created for oxen, camels and other animals. It is not kn .... The basic tactics of mounted warfare were significantly altered by the stirrup. A rider supported by stirrups was less likely to fall off while fighting, and could deliver a blow with a weapon that more fully employed the weight and momentum of horse and rider. Among other advantages, stirrups provided greater balance and support to the rider, which allowed the knight
A knight is a person granted an honorary title of knighthood by a head of state (including the Pope) or representative for service to the monarch, the Christian denomination, church or the country, especially in a military capacity. Knighthood ... to use a sword
A sword is an edged, bladed weapon intended for manual cutting or thrusting. Its blade, longer than a knife or dagger, is attached to a hilt and can be straight or curved. A thrusting sword tends to have a straighter blade with a pointed tip ... more efficiently without falling, especially against infantry
Infantry is a military specialization which engages in ground combat on foot. Infantry generally consists of light infantry, mountain infantry, motorized infantry & mechanized infantry, airborne infantry, air assault infantry, and mar ... adversaries. Contrary to common modern belief, however, it has been asserted that stirrups actually did not enable the horseman to use a lance
A lance is a spear designed to be used by a mounted warrior or cavalry soldier ( lancer). In ancient and medieval warfare, it evolved into the leading weapon in cavalry charges, and was unsuited for throwing or for repeated thrusting, unlike ... more effectively ( cataphracts
A cataphract was a form of armored heavy cavalryman that originated in Persia and was fielded in ancient warfare throughout Eurasia and Northern Africa.
The English word derives from the Greek ' (plural: '), literally meaning "armored" or "c ... had used lances since antiquity), though the cantled saddle
The saddle is a supportive structure for a rider of an animal, fastened to an animal's back by a girth. The most common type is equestrian. However, specialized saddles have been created for oxen, camels and other animals. It is not kn ... did.
The invention of the stirrup occurred relatively late in history, considering that horses were
Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which humans assume a significant degree of control over the reproduction and care of another group of organisms to secure a more predictable supply of resources from that group. A ... in approximately 4000 BC, and the earliest known saddle-like equipment were fringed cloths or pads with breast pads and cruppers used by Assyrian cavalry around 700 BC.
The earliest foot supports was a toe loop that held the big toe and was used in India
India, officially the Republic of India ( Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on th ... late in the second century BC, though may have appeared as early as 500 BC. [Chamberlin (2007), page 80] This ancient foot support consisted of a looped rope for the big toe which was at the bottom of a saddle made of fibre or leather. Such a configuration was suitable for the warm climate of south and central India where people used to ride horses barefoot. [Woods & Woods (2000), pp. 52–53] Buddhist
Buddhism ( , ), also known as Buddha Dharma and Dharmavinaya (), is an Indian religion or philosophical tradition based on teachings attributed to the Buddha. It originated in northern India as a -movement in the 5th century BCE, and gr ... carvings in the temples of Sanchi
Sanchi is a Buddhist complex, famous for its Great Stupa, on a hilltop at Sanchi Town in Raisen District of the State of Madhya Pradesh, India. It is located, about 23 kilometres from Raisen town, district headquarter and north-east of Bho ..., Mathura
Mathura () is a city and the administrative headquarters of Mathura district in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is located approximately north of Agra, and south-east of Delhi; about from the town of Vrindavan, and from Govardhan. ... and the Bhaja caves dating back between the 1st and 2nd century BC figure horsemen riding with elaborate saddles with toes slipped under girths. [Azzaroli (1985), page 156] [Barua (2005), pp. 16–17] In this regard archaeologist John Marshall described the Sanchi relief as "the earliest example by some five centuries of the use of stirrups in any part of the world".
A pair of first century BC, double bent iron bars, approximately 17cm in length, with curvature at each end, excavated from a grave near Junapani, in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh (, ; meaning 'central province') is a state in central India. Its capital city, capital is Bhopal, and the largest city is Indore, with Jabalpur, Ujjain, Gwalior, Sagar, Madhya Pradesh, Sagar, and Rewa, India, Rewa being the othe ... have been postulated as either full foot stirrups or bridle bits. ["16.17.4: Stirrups". ''Encyclopaedia of Indian Archaeology'' (Vol. 1). Edited by Amalananda Ghosh (1990) p336]
Some credit the nomadic
A nomad is a member of a community without fixed habitation who regularly moves to and from the same areas. Such groups include hunter-gatherers, pastoral nomads (owning livestock), tinkers and trader nomads. In the twentieth century, the pop ... Central Asian group known as the Sarmatians
The Sarmatians (; grc, Σαρμαται, Sarmatai; Latin: ) were a large confederation of ancient Eastern Iranian equestrian nomadic peoples of classical antiquity who dominated the Pontic steppe from about the 3rd century BC to the 4th cen ... as developing the first stirrups.
The invention of the solid saddle tree allowed development of the true stirrup as it is known today. Without a solid tree, the rider's weight in the stirrups creates abnormal pressure points that make the horse's back sore. [Treeless vs. Conventional Saddles: Back Pressure Evaluated](_blank)
/ref> Modern thermography studies on "treeless" and flexible-tree saddle designs have found that there is considerable friction across the center line of a horse's back. A coin of Quintus Labienus, who was in service of Parthia, minted circa 39 BC depicts on its reverse a saddled horse with hanging objects. Smith suggests they are pendant cloths, while Thayer suggests that, considering the fact that the Parthians were famous for their mounted archery, the objects are stirrups, but adds that it is difficult to imagine why the Romans would never have adopted the technology.
In Asia, early solid-treed saddles were made of felt that covered a wooden frame. These designs date to approximately 200 BC ["History of the Saddle."](_blank) One of the earliest solid-treed saddles in the west was first used by the Romans as early as the 1st century BC,
Web site accessed February 2, 2008
[Gawronski R. S. "Some Remarks on the Origins and Construction of the Roman Military Saddle." ''Archeologia (Archaeology)'' 2004, vol. 55, pp. 31–40] but this design did not have stirrups either.
It is speculated that stirrups may have been used in China as early as the
The Han dynasty (, ; ) was an Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 9 AD, 25–220 AD), established by Emperor Gaozu of Han, Liu Bang (Emperor Gao) and ruled by the House of Liu. The dynasty was preceded by th ... (206 BC– 220 AD). The paired stirrups was invented in China during the Jin Dynasty by the early 4th century AD. A funerary figurine depicting a stirrup dated 302 AD was unearthed from a Western Jin dynasty tomb near Changsha. The stirrup depicted is a mounting stirrup, only placed on one side of the horse, and too short for riding. The earliest reliable representation of a full-length, double-sided riding stirrup was also unearthed from a Jin tomb, this time near Nanjing
Nanjing (; , Mandarin pronunciation: ), alternately romanized as Nanking, is the capital of Jiangsu province of the People's Republic of China. It is a sub-provincial city, a megacity, and the second largest city in the East China region. ..., dating to the Eastern Jin period, 322 AD. The earliest extant double stirrups were discovered in the tomb of a Northern Yan
Yan, known in historiography as the Northern Yan (; 407 or 409–436), Eastern Yan () or Huanglong (), was a dynastic state of China during the era of Sixteen Kingdoms. Some historians consider Gao Yun, a member of the Goguryeo royal family, to ... noble, Feng Sufu, who died in 415 AD. Stirrups have also been found in Goguryeo
Goguryeo (37 BC–668 AD) ( ) also called Goryeo (), was a Korean kingdom located in the northern and central parts of the Korean Peninsula and the southern and central parts of Northeast China. At its peak of power, Goguryeo controlled mos ... tombs dating to the 4th and 5th centuries AD, but these do not contain any specific date. The stirrup appeared to be in widespread use across China by 477 AD. [Hobson, John M. ''The Eastern Origins of Western Civilisation.'' Cambridge University Press,2004, p. 103 , ]
The appearance of the stirrup in China coincided with the rise of heavily armoured cavalry in the region. Dated to 357 AD, the tomb of Dong Shou shows fully armoured riders as well as horses. References to "iron cavalry" and "iron horse" began to appear at the same time and instances of captured horse armour in numbers as high as 5,000 and 10,000 are recorded. In addition to the stirrups, Feng Sufu's tomb also contained iron plates for lamellar armour. Armoured heavy cavalry
Heavy cavalry was a class of cavalry intended to deliver a battlefield charge and also to act as a tactical reserve; they are also often termed '' shock cavalry''. Although their equipment differed greatly depending on the region and histor ... would dominate Chinese warfare from the 4th century AD to the early Tang dynasty
The Tang dynasty (, ; zh, t= ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907 AD, with an interregnum between 690 and 705. It was preceded by the Sui dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingd ... when the military transitioned to light cavalry. A. von Le Coo's theory on the invention of the stirrup is that it was a contraption created by either mounted people who wanted to make riding less tiring, or those unused to riding to gain the necessary skills to match their adversaries. [Dien, Albert. "THE STIRRUP AND ITS EFFECT ON CHINESE MILITARY HISTORY"](_blank)
File:Han Dynasty Stirrup.JPG ,
The Han dynasty (, ; ) was an Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 9 AD, 25–220 AD), established by Emperor Gaozu of Han, Liu Bang (Emperor Gao) and ruled by the House of Liu. The dynasty was preceded by th ... mounting stirrup.
File:Han iron stirrup.jpg, Han mounting stirrup
File:Western Jin cavalry with stirrup 302 AD.jpg, A funerary figurine with a mounting stirrup, dated AD 302, unearthed near Changsha
Changsha (; ; ; Changshanese pronunciation: (), Standard Mandarin pronunciation: ) is the capital and the largest city of Hunan Province of China. Changsha is the 17th most populous city in China with a population of over 10 million, and t ....
File:Western Jin Pottery Horse (10111571724).jpg, Horse figurine with stirrup, Western Jin
File:鎏金木芯马镫06337.jpg, The earliest extant double stirrup, from the tomb of Feng Sufu, a Han Chinese
The Han Chinese () or Han people (), are an East Asian ethnic group native to China. They constitute the world's largest ethnic group, making up about 18% of the global population and consisting of various subgroups speaking distinctive va ... nobleman from the Northern Yan
Yan, known in historiography as the Northern Yan (; 407 or 409–436), Eastern Yan () or Huanglong (), was a dynastic state of China during the era of Sixteen Kingdoms. Some historians consider Gao Yun, a member of the Goguryeo royal family, to ... dynasty, 415 AD. Discovered in Beipiao, Liaoning
Liaoning () is a coastal province in Northeast China that is the smallest, southernmost, and most populous province in the region. With its capital at Shenyang, it is located on the northern shore of the Yellow Sea, and is the northernmost ....
File:Gaya Confederacy Iron Stirrups (17378457343).jpg, Iron stirrups, Gaya confederacy
Gaya (, ) was a Korean confederacy of territorial polities in the Nakdong River basin of southern Korea, growing out of the Byeonhan confederacy of the Samhan period.
The traditional period used by historians for Gaya chronology is AD 42–532. ...
Stirrups ('' abumi'') were used in Japan as early as the 5th century. They were flat bottomed rings of metal-covered wood, similar to European stirrups. The earliest known examples were excavated from tombs. Cup-shaped stirrups (''tsubo abumi'') that enclosed the front half of the rider's foot eventually replaced the earlier design.
The of the history of Japan covers the years from CE 710 to 794. Empress Genmei established the capital of Heijō-kyō (present-day Nara). Except for a five-year period (740–745), when the capital was briefly moved again, it remained the cap ..., the base of the stirrup which supported the rider's sole was elongated past the toe cup. This half-tongued style of stirrup (''hanshita abumi'') remained in use until the late Heian period
The is the last division of classical Japanese history, running from 794 to 1185. It followed the Nara period, beginning when the 50th emperor, Emperor Kanmu, moved the capital of Japan to Heian-kyō (modern Kyoto). means "peace" in Japanes ... when a new stirrup was developed. The ''fukuro abumi'' or ''musashi abumi'' had a base that extended the full length of the rider's foot and the right and left sides of the toe cup were removed. The open sides were designed to prevent the rider from catching a foot in the stirrup and being dragged.
The military version of this open-sided stirrup (''shitanaga abumi'') was in use by the middle Heian period
The is the last division of classical Japanese history, running from 794 to 1185. It followed the Nara period, beginning when the 50th emperor, Emperor Kanmu, moved the capital of Japan to Heian-kyō (modern Kyoto). means "peace" in Japanes .... It was thinner, had a deeper toe pocket and an even longer and flatter foot shelf. This stirrup stayed in use until European style-stirrup rings were reintroduced in the late 19th century. It is not known why the Japanese developed this unique style of stirrup. These had a distinctive swanlike shape, curved up and backward at the front so as to bring the loop for the leather strap over the instep and achieve a correct balance. Most of the surviving specimens from this period are made entirely of iron, inlaid with designs of silver or other materials, and covered with lacquer
Lacquer is a type of hard and usually shiny coating or finish applied to materials such as wood or metal. It is most often made from resin extracted from trees and waxes and has been in use since antiquity.
Asian lacquerware, which may be ca .... In some examples there is an iron rod from the loop to the footplate near the heel to prevent the foot from slipping out. The footplates are occasionally perforated
A perforation is a small hole in a thin material or web. There is usually more than one perforation in an organized fashion, where all of the holes collectively are called a ''perforation''. The process of creating perforations is called perfor ... to let out water when crossing rivers, and these types are called ''suiba abumi''. There are stirrups with holes in the front forming sockets for a lance
A lance is a spear designed to be used by a mounted warrior or cavalry soldier ( lancer). In ancient and medieval warfare, it evolved into the leading weapon in cavalry charges, and was unsuited for throwing or for repeated thrusting, unlike ... or banner
A banner can be a flag or another piece of cloth bearing a symbol, logo, slogan or another message. A flag whose design is the same as the shield in a coat of arms (but usually in a square or rectangular shape) is called a banner of arms. Also, .... [Blair, Claude and Tarassuk, Leonid, eds. (1982). ''The Complete Encyclopedia of Arms and Weapons''. p.17. ]
Simon & Schuster
Simon & Schuster () is an American publishing company and a subsidiary of Paramount Global. It was founded in New York City on January 2, 1924 by Richard L. Simon and M. Lincoln Schuster. As of 2016, Simon & Schuster was the third largest publi .... .
By the late 6th or early 7th century AD, primarily due to invaders from
Central Asia, also known as Middle Asia, is a region of Asia that stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to western China and Mongolia in the east, and from Afghanistan and Iran in the south to Russia in the north. It includes the former S ..., such as the Avars, stirrups began spreading across Asia to Europe from China. In terms of archaeological finds, the iron pear-shaped form of stirrups, the ancestor of medieval European types, has been found in Europe in 7th century Avar graves in Hungary
Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a landlocked country in Central Europe. Spanning of the Carpathian Basin, it is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Romania to the east and southeast, Serbia to the south, Croa .... A total of 111 specimens of early Avar-age, apple shaped, cast-iron stirrups with elongated suspension loop and flat, slightly inward bent tread had been excavated from 55 burial sites in Hungary and surrounding regions by 2005. The first European literary reference to the stirrup may be in the Strategikon, traditionally ascribed to the Roman
Roman or Romans most often refers to:
*Rome, the capital city of Italy
*Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD
*Roman people, the people of ancient Rome
*''Epistle to the Romans'', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter ... Emperor Maurice, and therefore written sometime between 575 and 628, but this is widely disputed, and others place the work in the eighth or ninth century. Maurice's manual notes the appropriate equipping of Imperial cavalry: "the saddles should have large and thick clothes; the bridles should be of good quality; attached to the saddles should be two iron steps 'skala'' a lasso with a thong...." Dennis notes that the lack of specific Greek word for stirrup evidences their novelty to the Byzantines, who are supposed to have adopted these from their bitter enemy the Avars, and subsequently passed them on to their future enemies, the Arabs. An early 7th-century date is secured for most Hungarian finds of stirrups with elongated suspension loops, though some of these must even be dated to before 600. Literary and archaeological evidence taken together may indicate that the stirrup was in common military use in South-Central Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean by the latter half of the 6th century, with the Roman Empire having them in use by the year 600.
By the 8th century stirrups began to be adopted more widely by Europeans. The earliest stirrups of western Europe, those of Budenheim and Regensburg
Regensburg or is a city in eastern Bavaria, at the confluence of the Danube, Naab and Regen rivers. It is capital of the Upper Palatinate subregion of the state in the south of Germany. With more than 150,000 inhabitants, Regensburg is the ..., were either brought from the Avar Khaganate as booty or gifts, or were local imitations of stirrups in use at that time among Avar warriors. [Curta p.315] However, the Avar-style stirrups were not as widely adopted in western Europe. Stirrups do not appear in the Merovingian
The Merovingian dynasty () was the ruling family of the Franks from the middle of the 5th century until 751. They first appear as "Kings of the Franks" in the Roman army of northern Gaul. By 509 they had united all the Franks and northern Gauli ... and Italo-Lombard milieu in large numbers, nor as frequently as within the Carpathian Basin. Most other stirrups found in Germany that date to the 7th century do not resemble the iron Avar style commonly found in burial assemblages from Hungary and neighboring regions. Instead, hanging mounts occasionally found in burial assemblages in southern Germany suggest the use of wooden stirrups. The scarcity of early-medieval stirrup finds in western Europe was noted by Bernard Bachrach: "Out of 704 eighth century male burials excavated in Germany until 1967, only 13 had stirrups."
The earliest stirrups in the Baltic region are replicas of those in existence in Germany during the 7th century. In northern Europe and Britain the metamorphosis of earlier wood, rope and leather forms of stirrups to metal forms can be seen in the archeological record, “suggesting that one or more of the early forms have parallel development with those in Hungary, rather than being derived solely from the latter region.” "In Scandinavia two major types of stirrups are discerned, and from these, by the development and fusion of different elements, some almost certainly of central European origin, most other types were evolved." [Seaby, p 91] The first main type, Scandinavian type I, appears to owe little to Hungarian forms. The earliest variety of this type can be dated to the 8th century in Vendel grave III in Sweden. [ The second principal type in North Europe has, as its most characteristic feature, a pronounced rectangular suspension loop set in the same plane as the bow, as found amongst the Hungarian examples, and is predominantly centered in Denmark and England during the later 10th and 11th centuries.] [Seaby p.92] A variant of this type, called the North European stirrup, has been dated to the second half of the 10th century in Sweden, found at the boat-burial cemetery at Valsgärde
Valsgärde or Vallsgärde is a farm on the Fyris river, about three kilometres north of Gamla Uppsala, the ancient centre of the Swedish kings and of the pagan faith in Sweden. The present farm dates from the 16th century. The farm's notability ....
In Denmark from the 920s to the 980s, during the reign of the Jelling
Jelling is a railway town in Denmark with a population of 3,658 (1 January 2022), located in Jelling Parish, approximately 10 km northwest of Vejle. The town lies 105 metres above sea level.
Jelling is located in Vejle municipal ... kings, many leading Danes were buried with military honors and equipped with stirrups, bits and spurs, in what are called cavalry-graves, found mostly in north Jutland
Jutland ( da, Jylland ; german: Jütland ; ang, Ēota land ), known anciently as the Cimbric or Cimbrian Peninsula ( la, Cimbricus Chersonesus; da, den Kimbriske Halvø, links=no or ; german: Kimbrische Halbinsel, links=no), is a peninsula of .... Into England, it is argued, stirrups were not introduced by the Scandinavian settlers of the 9th century but are more likely related to later Viking raids led by Cnut the Great and others during the reign of king Aethelred (978-1013).
In what today is France, Charles Martel
Charles Martel ( – 22 October 741) was a Frankish political and military leader who, as Duke and Prince of the Franks and Mayor of the Palace, was the de facto ruler of Francia from 718 until his death. He was a son of the Frankish statesm ... distributed seized lands to his retainers on condition that they serve him by fighting in the new manner, which some attribute to his recognizing the military potentialities of the stirrup. [World Decade for Cultural Development 1988-1997. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. World Decade Secretariat.](_blank)
Charlemagne ( , ) or Charles the Great ( la, Carolus Magnus; german: Karl der Große; 2 April 747 – 28 January 814), a member of the Carolingian dynasty, was King of the Franks from 768, King of the Lombards from 774, and the first Holy ... ordered his poorer vassals to pool their resources and provide a mounted and armed knight, though the system proved unworkable, and instead the system of distributing land to vassals based on a knight's service was developed.
Accounts of the Empire of Mali mention the use of stirrups and saddles in the cavalry. Stirrups resulted in the creation and innovation of new tactics, such as mass charges with thrusting spear and swords.
Great Stirrup Controversy
The introduction of the stirrup not only made the mounted warrior supreme in
In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the late 5th to the late 15th centuries, similar to the post-classical period of global history. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire ... warfare, but may have initiated complex and far-reaching social and cultural changes in Europe. Some scholars credit the birth of feudalism
Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, cultural and political customs that flourished in medieval Europe between the 9th and 15th centuries. Broadly defined, it was a way of structur ... and its subsequent spread into Northern Italy
Northern Italy ( it, Italia settentrionale, it, Nord Italia, label=none, it, Alta Italia, label=none or just it, Nord, label=none) is a geographical and cultural region in the northern part of Italy. It consists of eight administrative region ..., Spain
, image_flag = Bandera de España.svg
, image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg
, national_motto = '' Plus ultra'' (Latin)(English: "Further Beyond")
, national_anthem = (English: "Royal March")
, ..., Germany
Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the second most populous country in Europe after Russia, and the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is situated betwee ... and into the Slavic territories to this use of the stirrup. It is argued that the rising feudal class structure of the European Middle Ages derived ultimately from the use of stirrups: "Few inventions have been so simple as the stirrup, but few have had so catalytic an influence on history. The requirements of the new mode of warfare which it made possible found expression in a new form of western European society dominated by an aristocracy of warriors endowed with land so that they might fight in a new and highly specialized way."
Other scholars dispute this assertion, suggesting that stirrups may provide little advantage in shock warfare, but are useful primarily in allowing a rider to lean farther to the left and right on the saddle while fighting, and simply reduce the risk of falling off. Therefore, it is argued, they are not the reason for the switch from infantry to cavalry in medieval armies, nor the reason for the emergence of feudalism.
Weaknesses in design
For the comfort of the horse, all stirrups require that the
The saddle is a supportive structure for a rider of an animal, fastened to an animal's back by a girth. The most common type is equestrian. However, specialized saddles have been created for oxen, camels and other animals. It is not kn ... itself be properly designed. The solid tree of the saddle distributes the weight of the rider over a greater surface area of the horse's back, reducing pressure on any one area. If a saddle is made without a solid tree, without careful engineering, the rider's weight in the stirrups and leathers can create pressure points on the horse's back and lead to soreness. This is especially noticeable with inexpensive bareback pads that add stirrups by means of a strap across the horse's back with a stirrup at each end.
Stirrups used on
English saddles are used to ride horses in English riding disciplines throughout the world. The discipline is not limited to England, the United Kingdom in general or other English-speaking countries. This style of saddle is used in all of the Ol ...s are usually made of metal. Though called "irons," they are no longer made of iron, as a rule, but instead stainless steel is the metal of choice, due to its strength, though when weight is an issue, such as for a jockey
A jockey is someone who rides horses in horse racing or steeplechase racing, primarily as a profession. The word also applies to camel riders in camel racing. The word "jockey" originated from England and was used to describe the individual ..., they may also be made of aluminum. Inexpensive stirrups may be made of nickel, which can easily bend or break. Stirrups may also be made of synthetic materials and various metallic alloys. There are many variations on the standard stirrup design, most claiming either to be safer in the event of a fall or to make it easier for a rider to maintain a proper foot and leg position.
Some variations include:
* Standard iron: The most common stirrup iron, consisting of a tread, with two branches, and an eye at the top for the leather to run through. The main styles seen today include:
** Fillis: A design with a heavy tread, and branches that rise to the eye in a rounded triangular shape.
**Prussian: A rounder and lighter design.
* Safety stirrups. There are a number of designs intended to release the foot more easily in the event of a fall. One style has an outside branch that is curved, rather than straight. Other designs feature a breakaway outer branch which will detach with sufficient pressure, freeing the foot.
* Side-saddle stirrups: usually have a slightly larger eye to accommodate the thicker stirrup leather on a sidesaddle.
* Other designs: have joints or hinges in the branches of the stirrups to allow for them to flex. However, one model was recalled in 2007 due to a tendency for the hinges to break. ["Stubben Stirrup Recall," ''Horse Journal'', October, 2007, p. 22] A variation on the hinged stirrup is the Icelandic Stirrup, which has the eye fixed at a 90 degree rotation to allow for less stress on the tendons, and easier retrieval should a stirrup be lost. There are a number of other patented designs with various features that are usually intended to either increase comfort or to assist proper foot position.
* Barua, Pradeep (2005). ''The State at War in South Asia''.
Nebraska () is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern region of the United States. It is bordered by South Dakota to the north; Iowa to the east and Missouri to the southeast, both across the Missouri River; Kansas ...: University of Nebraska Press. .
* Chamberlin, J. Edward (2007). ''Horse: How the Horse Has Shaped Civilizations''. Moscow
Moscow ( , American English, US chiefly ; rus, links=no, Москва, r=Moskva, p=mɐskˈva, a=Москва.ogg) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities and towns in Russia by population, largest city of Russia. The city stands on t ...: Olma Media Group. .
* ''Encyclopedia of Indian Archaeology'' (Volume 1). Edited by Amalananda Ghosh (1990). Massachusetts: Brill Academic Publishers. .
* Lazaris, Stavros, "Considérations sur l’apparition de l’étrier : contribution à l’histoire du cheval dans l’Antiquité tardive", in: ''Les équidés dans le monde méditerranéen antique. Actes du colloque international organisé par l’École française d’Athènes, le Centre Camille Julian et l’UMR 5140 du CNRS (Athènes, 26-28 Novembre 2003)'', A. Gardeisen (ed.), Lattes, 2005, p. 275-28
* Woods, Michael & Woods, Mary B. (2000). ''Ancient Transportation: From Camels to Canals''. Minnesota: 21st century Books. .
*Bennett, Deb. ''Conquerors: The Roots of New World Horsemanship.'' Amigo Publications Inc; 1st edition 1998.
John Sloan, "The Stirrup Controversy"
*Gies, Frances and Joseph. ''Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel.'' New York: Harper Perennial, 1994.
"Saddle, Lance and Stirrup"
* ttp://www.limebrook.com/saddlehistory.html "History of the Saddle."
Ancient Roman technology
Jin dynasty (266–420)
Warfare of the Middle Ages