Elven military

Discussion in 'Season 3' started by Haerangil, Apr 28, 2017.

  1. Haerangil

    Haerangil Well-Known Member

    Nicholas Palazzos
    thoughts in the Swords threat
    I ve tried to briefly sketch the early Elven Warriors:


    I#ve also tried to include as much from Anastasias costume design elements as I could (with little detail though) but in lack of more different costumes for the classes I had to reach bach for some of the older designs from earlier times of the wandering too. In lack of Costumes for the Sindar i also chose to use some of the older teleri clothes as the Sindar may have dressed similarly.

    1 is a Feanorian Heavy Warrior, he wields a long spear, long sword, great Roundshield
    wears scale Armour similar to roman one, a high Helmet with a plume and greaves

    2 is a feanorian Noble, those who would later become the Knightly class. This one is not yet a horseman.He wears clothing similar to the Hoplite, High Helmet with Plume, long Sword, but no greaves

    3 is a Feanoreian light Warrior, he wears linen armour instead of plate and might wield short Spear/Javelin, Longbow and Dagger or other shortblade

    4 is a fingolfinian Warrior. he wears a small roundshield and short Spear or Javelin and probably a mid or shortblade. He too wears Linen Armour.

    5 is a Fingolfinian light Warrior. No armour and Armed with Longbow

    6 is a Doriathrin Elite Warrior. Since i didn't know how we have to imagine early Sindarin Helmet types I chose to give him something similar to a higher version of a Wendelhelm, as i suggest the Sindar may have worn dwarven Helmets or Masks in the earliest days, or at least Helms influenced or much similar to those.
    he#s clad in fine chainmail and wields a small roundshield and a one-hand one-edged axe.

    7 is a Sindarian Militiaman. No armour or at last only linen armour, no helmet and armed with a spear, similar to brader dwarven-spears, lomgbow and short or mid blade.
    Haakon, Ange1e4e5 and ruth barratt like this.
  2. ruth barratt

    ruth barratt Member

    Oddly I was watching 300 the other day and was thinking that the hoplites from Greece would be a good starting point for one class of our warriors. (however with a *bit* more clothing then 300)
    I would also like to think about putting some of the Doriathrin guards into camouflage. this would work well for number 7 I think
    Marielle likes this.
  3. Haerangil

    Haerangil Well-Known Member


    well the galadhrim gave the members of the fellowship seemingly. magical cloaks... i guess the sindar and nandor might have used similar camouflage...

    of course most of the wars take place in the northern regions... they should have worn more clothes (of course hallstatt celtic or etruscan warriors didnt look that different from greek ones).
  4. Marielle

    Marielle Well-Known Member

    Greek hoplite warfare would be a great inspiration, but we have to remember... a hoplite couldn't really fight well on his own. Their shields were large, and heavy, and designed to be "locked" together with those of the men besides them. The hoplite phalanx moved together in a unit, with everyone but the leftmost hoplites (who didn't have a neighbor's shield covering their left side) incredibly well protected. All this is to say that hoplite would be a great inspiration for ground troops that fight as a unit, not individual hero characters.

    The other great thing about the hoplite phalanx is that the Romans took it and modified it into their own, legion-based, system -- so we have an obvious means of showing development in elven warfare, if they fight with the phalanx in the Dagor Bragalloch and with a legion/cohort/century system later.
  5. Nicholas Palazzo

    Nicholas Palazzo Well-Known Member

    Well, the advantage of the maniple, or later cohort system has a lot to do with the division of units. Individual units can accomplish more complex formations than a phalanx can. Remember, however, that even the phalanx has to be supported by skirmishers and archers to protect from flanking maneuvers.

    If, by the Battle of Sudden Flame, the armies of Angband have developed a sort of blitzkrieg tactic to break elvish formations of heavy infantry with large creatures (trolls, ballots, Glaurung), and utilize large numbers of light infantry to press that advantage, the elvish response, to my mind, is to pursue a more mobile model. That gives us heavy cavalry, and horse archers, supported by pike squares, bowman, and light skirmishers (Men) by the time we get to the Battle of Unnumbered Tears.
  6. Haerangil

    Haerangil Well-Known Member

    great ideas... i see the battle panorama unfolding before my eyes... i think it's absolutely clear that this series wozld need great battle scenes. but realistic looking ones... not anything pj like. if course we also need heroic duels...
  7. Nicholas Palazzo

    Nicholas Palazzo Well-Known Member

    One point about this, and it is a finicky one, but I just want to try and maintain continuity of terminology. I know that most RPGs label a one-handed sword as a "long sword," but that name is, in contemporary accounts, typically reserved for swords which are designed to be used two-handed (a hand-and-a-half sword counts) as a primary weapon. A one-handed sword as depicted here was typically just called a "sword", but most historians today call them "arming swords" for clarification.
  8. Haerangil

    Haerangil Well-Known Member

    definitions are always tricky... we had that with the messer weapon too. in german langes schwert or long sword is also used for one handed blades longer than a roman gladius. as i understand it the main difference later was the hilt... classic medieval longsword/hand-a-half swords had a longer hilt than arming swords. of course the noldo fighters who wear spear and shield should use swords with a shorter hilt for only one handed use..
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
    Nicholas Palazzo likes this.
  9. Haerangil

    Haerangil Well-Known Member

    i was thinking about nandor warriors recently...

    i would like them to go a bit more tribal or native in design.

    i was thinking about giving them some sort of headpiece or "screen"... any ideas or possible cultural references?

    i was thinking of simething leaflike of made of leaves, sumular to thranduuls criwn maybe, but perhaps something that could also work as sime kind of camouflage..
    Last edited: May 26, 2017
  10. Haerangil

    Haerangil Well-Known Member

  11. Haerangil

    Haerangil Well-Known Member

    I recently reread a description of thingol in my home pdf collection... It gave some interesting detail on his equipment:
    • Aranrúth (sword forged of dwarven-steel)
    • Axe
    • Belt of Gold
    • buckler
    • Corslet
    • fishes' mail coat of linked mail of steel and gold
    • Golden Crown
    • high Helmet of Gold
    • Spear
    • Wreath of scarlet leaves
    But i guess this is late thingol, after the sindar had been equipped by dwarven smiths...

    However i find the axe, spear, buckler& corslet mentioned interesting... Can this be some hint on the earlier sinda warriors?
  12. Konrad S

    Konrad S New Member

    Well, the Noldor does not seem like an army who strictly uses formations like Phalanx or Testudo but does more seem to rely on charges and valiantly and fierce cut through the enemy ranks.

    - At Nirnaeth Arnoediad when Gwindor decides to attack he does that in a fierce charge.

    - At the first kinslaying after stealing the ships and being threatened by the Teleri, the Noldor seems to just charge and the fight is all over the place. Later when Fingon comes with more troops, he rushes to battle.

    - When the Noldor comes to Belerieand they get attacked unaware in their camps but seems to shatter and hunt after the orcs, still having the light of aman in them. When the relief is coming Celegorm and his Elves comes down upon them from the hills.

    - At the siege of Gondolin the men under Galdor and Rog charge the enemies, the House of the Mole after Maeglin's death charge the fewer Men of the House of the Wing under Tuor, finally the warriors of the House of the Hammer of the Wrath fights the orcs, balrogs and dragons back through the city to outside the gate.

    So i believe hoplite phalanx weren´t really the Noldor as it seems alone warriors was great fighters for example:
    Fingolfin and Morgoth, Feanor and the Balrogs, The orcs flee before Maedhros, The lords of Gondolin and their heroic deeds against the balrogs and orcs at Gondolin.

    Moreover on the armor of the elves well its quite clear: The Noldor as said every time their armour is talked about, and as is said in the book of the lost tales "mail as all the Gnomes wear" uses mail. The helmets are described as high and not much more, the Sindar of Thingol (Iathrim) has mail and helms too, not sure about the Sindar of Hithlum, Mithrim etc.

    The greenelves of Ossirand has almost no armor and seems to mostly use guerilla warfare, the Falmari of Olwe seems to be lightly armored and mostly have archers. The Falathrim have possibly same armor as the Noldor and Sindar but possibly lighter as they are a people of marines and live near the sea.
    Haerangil likes this.
  13. Haerangil

    Haerangil Well-Known Member

    sounda pretty much as if the noldor relied on a very fexible fighting style consisting mainly on small units or strong individuals in spear/saord meele... not relly like a true historical militrian tactic but more second world really.. or "epically or mythical warfare" rather than true historical..
  14. Nicholas Palazzo

    Nicholas Palazzo Well-Known Member

    So there is a lot to unpack here. Firstly, I have to say that there will have to be _some_ changes to the exact wording in Tolkien's work in order for a visual adaptation to be believable to anyone who understands how ancient warfare worked. Tolkien was brilliant in his fields, but not an expert in ancient military tactics and weapons. On details such as weapons, armor, and tactics, as in the case with economics, I will probably err on the side of credibility rather than textual exactitude unless it is materially damaging to the themes that Tolkien is taking us through.

    Let's address these examples, though:

    - Gwindor's action is called out specifically as being rash, and not according to the plan. I think we can dismiss this as such rather than taking it as evidence of habitual strategy.

    - The kinslaying is more of a brawl at the outset than a pitched battle. The description indicates a fight on the ships and on the docks, not battle lines being drawn up, or stratagem being employed.

    - You said it yourself that the Noldor camps are attacked unawares. It seems that there was some attempt to fortify the camp, but that the orcs attacked before then, and were swiftly routed. A pursuing action on the fly is not evidence of battle strategy.

    - The siege of Gondolin is just that, a siege. The Silmarillion does not go into specifics, but if less refined works do, it still seems to be in context of sorties rather than battles.

    Not one of these is an example of tactics used in a pitched battle. (And one of them is far beyond where I suggest that early battle tactics be used.) It is important to me that the Elves are not portrayed as idiots when it comes to battle strategy, which is what I would call someone who heedlessly charges into battle, especially when you could wind up facing opponents much larger and more powerful than yourself (balrogs, trolls, dragons, and the like). Since Tolkien does not give us a great deal of information on this subject, I think we can use that leeway to portray the Elves as canny warriors who use solid tactics against their foes. And I don't think that an army that holds its ranks and fights with good common sense could be considered any less valorous than one that hurls itself chaotically at the enemy.

    When it comes to mail, I don't think anyone is suggesting plate. I do think, however, that Tolkien does fall into the Victorian trap of calling scale armor, and things of that ilk, mail. I do believe that we will be depicting more than just mail armor as Tolkien specifically points out that it is invented by the dwarves, and that the Noldor had armor prior to contact with the dwarves. Thus, we know the Noldor cannot have arrived in Middle Earth wearing mail (mail being armor made of linked rings).
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  15. Ange1e4e5

    Ange1e4e5 Active Member

    Perhaps plate armor like the Romans?
  16. Nicholas Palazzo

    Nicholas Palazzo Well-Known Member

    There is sufficient resistance to plate armor for me to avoid suggesting it here. Also, I think we should avoid emulating any single culture too heavily.
  17. Haerangil

    Haerangil Well-Known Member

    I thought we had a lengthy discussion about this issue...

    I think there#s no real historical example for the Beleriandic hosts... Tolkien seems to combine elements from different eras...
    his Elves make use of Spearmen/Swordsmen like Celtic Warriors of the heroic age, but he adds Longbowmen from the high medieval and Cavalry from the ealy medieval/Dark Ages to that.

    Plus Housetroops like the guilds of Gondolin with more individualized equipment.

    His Orcs are... I don't know... there are no Wolfriders and war-wolves in real-world history...
    what kind od historical army was armed with Bent Swords, Broad spears & small roundshields, wore Scale/Mail, round leather helmets and made little use of Archers?
  18. Ange1e4e5

    Ange1e4e5 Active Member

    Bent swords? Most armies from the Renaissance onward. Just look at a cavalry Sabre.
    Perhaps this odd assortment of weapons shows how ragtag the Orcs are?
  19. Haerangil

    Haerangil Well-Known Member

    I don't think they´re ragtag. Rather they seem very uniform.

    I also do not see any real common ground between the orcs armament and renaissance military...
  20. Nicholas Palazzo

    Nicholas Palazzo Well-Known Member

    The Greeks are probably a better example.

    The Kopis, the Dory, the Hoplon....

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