An Axe is no Weapon for a Rider
#1
So the Gang is preparing to ride from Meduseld to battle Saruman.

"How shall I come to the battle? I wish I could walk and not bump like a sack at Gandalf's saddlebow."

"A safer seat than many, I guess," said Legolas. "Yet doubtless Gandalf will gladly put you down on your feet when blows begin; or Shadowfax himself. An axe is no weapon for a rider."

Somebody forgot to tell King Robert I of Scotland.

[Image: 5492f54fcddad9c168382ef0b3bfa556.jpg]
:deadhorse:
"A Iluvatarinya! En na pelecco carinyesse!"
"Oh my God! There's an axe in my head!" :worry:

http://www.yamara.com/axe/#Q1
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#2
I just had this funny notion of Thorin and Co doing the Axe Gang Dance from Kung Fu Hustle. Wouldn't it be amazing if a bunch of people dressed as Dwarves at a convention and started the Axe Gang Dance?

:deadhorse:
"A Iluvatarinya! En na pelecco carinyesse!"
"Oh my God! There's an axe in my head!" :worry:

http://www.yamara.com/axe/#Q1
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#3
Presumably Gimli’s axe was a two-handed weapon. Robert is using a one-handed axe, which probably isn’t much worse than a sword for a mounted warrior.
Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.

I don't have any humble opinions.
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#4
(August 7th, 2020, 08:50 AM)Bacchus Wrote: Presumably Gimli’s axe was a two-handed weapon. Robert is using a one-handed axe, which probably isn’t much worse than a sword for a mounted warrior.

That reminds me of an old YouTube video by a Lindybeige where he holds forth on battle axes. They were small. At least the axe heads were.

Even the Norse broad-bladed axes had thin blades.

He also has a thing or two to say about double headed axes.
:deadhorse:
"A Iluvatarinya! En na pelecco carinyesse!"
"Oh my God! There's an axe in my head!" :worry:

http://www.yamara.com/axe/#Q1
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#5
I think moderns, when they read refs to "battle axes", often picture halberds, a quite different pole weapon.
Many Defeats & Many Fruitless Victories Memoirs Gateway
For I was talking aloud to myself...the old...choose the wisest person present to speak to...
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#6
The Rohirrim are not based on medieval knights, however. Their cavalry tactics resemble those of Alexander the Great's Kompanions, with one exception: the Rohirrim had stirrups and thus were able to use their lances and swords more effectively. It's remarkable that Alexander was able to charge his enemies directly and engage them from horseback - at that time, most cavalry forces were used for skirmishing and to attack the flanks of enemy armies, either to turn them or to push them inward so they could not maneuver.

So the idea that "an axe is no weapon for a rider" is representative of the fictional culture of the Rohirrim. It simply wasn't their preferred method of combat and is in no way meant by the author to be a statement of how mounted combat should be conducted. Middle-earth is supposed to be a very primitive world, and The Lord of the Rings is set at the end of decline for two once very high civilizations.
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#7
The only problem with that analysis, Michael, is that it isn’t very relevant to the question at hand. The observation/declaration that an axe is no weapon for a rider comes from Legolas. Rohirric cavalry doctrine likely doesn’t factor into Legolas’ opinion. 😀

Actually, I can’t think of any weapon that would be particularly effective for a rider riding pillion.
Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.

I don't have any humble opinions.
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#8
Legolas was hardly based on a medieval knight, either.

In The Hobbit his people did have horses and I think (without checking) they may have had cavalry, but I don't know if Tolkien remembered that detail when he was writing the scene we're discussing. Of course, Legolas knew how to ride horses and seemed to be quite familiar with them.

In any event, they were improvising. At some point in real history someone had to be the first mounted warrior to use an axe.

The Celts invented chain shirts sometime around the 3rd century BCE. I think the stirrup was invented (in Asia) sometime around the 1st century BCE. So someone during Roman times could - conceivably - have begun training with axes on horseback.

So Gimli might have been the first in Middle-earth to do it, had a battle occurred while they were riding to Helm's Deep.
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#9
(August 11th, 2020, 11:41 PM)Michael Wrote: Of course, Legolas knew how to ride horses and seemed to be quite familiar with them.


So Gimli might have been the first in Middle-earth to do it, had a battle occurred while they were riding to Helm's Deep.

Just how did Legolas get to Rivendell?  I'm sure he didn't walk.  Did he leave his horse when the 9 companions set out?  Did he ever go back and get it?  Did he keep Arod and is there some sad, mournful horse in Rivendell whose only solace was eating the best hay?
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#10
Any ax can be used as weapon even a pitchfork or frying pan depending on the user.
Don't insult the precious, my precious!:book:
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#11
The Frying Pan of Durin! 🤓😁

Cast iron or forged steel?
:deadhorse:
"A Iluvatarinya! En na pelecco carinyesse!"
"Oh my God! There's an axe in my head!" :worry:

http://www.yamara.com/axe/#Q1
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#12
(August 13th, 2020, 12:48 PM)Coconut Ent Wrote: The Frying Pan of Durin! 🤓😁

Cast iron or forged steel?

Well, Dwarves were noted for resourcefulness and thrift!

If Thorin could earn the epithet "Oakenshield" using an oak branch at Nanduhirion, Dwarves in the field could conk Orcs in battle with their trusty castiron skillets after deflecting their truncheons, machetes, and spears, then between battles fry up eggs & bacon!

...along with "earth-bread" home fries, of course. Sadly, ketchup hadn't been invented until the Hobbits settled in the Shire!
Many Defeats & Many Fruitless Victories Memoirs Gateway
For I was talking aloud to myself...the old...choose the wisest person present to speak to...
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#13
Dwarf using a pot as a makeshift helmet: Bain Pot Head.

A swift footed Dwarf wielding a ladle : Bori Walker Black Ladle!
:deadhorse:
"A Iluvatarinya! En na pelecco carinyesse!"
"Oh my God! There's an axe in my head!" :worry:

http://www.yamara.com/axe/#Q1
Reply
#14
(August 13th, 2020, 12:49 AM)badlands Wrote: Any ax can be used as weapon even a pitchfork or frying pan depending on the user.
"Frying pans!  Who knew, right?" - Flint Rider, Tangled.
"Never ask an Elf for advice, for he will say both 'Yes' and 'No'." - Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion
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#15
Perhaps, Legolas was referring to the particular kinds of axes that Gimly carried. They were clearly infantry weapons.
"That was when the bracelet was found. At that time, no one had any idea what it was. A giant ring, more than a thousand miles in diameter, was half-lodged in the planet, almost at a square angle, reaching far above the stratosphere into space." The God's Bracelet: Finding Ishtar, Chapter I.
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