Military Review

“Whose spurs rang merrily ...” From the history of cavalry spurs

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For anyone seriously interested in military history, this attribute of the horseman’s outfit is interesting, in particular, because it was he who, having gone beyond the limits of his purely utilitarian function, turned into a symbol of valor, nobility, and noble position. In the Middle Ages, the new dignity of a knight was not marked by a gilt sword or shield, but by golden spurs, which served as a distinctive sign of entering the upper class.


Spurs are a purely European notion. In the case of another subject, without which from ancient times the cavalryman was inconceivable, stirrups, disputes about the "copyright" on this wonderful invention, which at the time provided a real breakthrough in military affairs, have been going on for centuries. India, China, and many other countries claim to be the homeland of stirrups, citing their evidence. With spurs, everything is simpler: their first samples were found in burials in the north of the Balkans. For centuries, the Eastern peoples have ruled their horses with the help of a whip. By the way, in Russia, which took over much of the cavalry from the nomadic neighbors, spurs before the military reforms of Peter the Great were not very common. The Cossacks did not favor them later ... However, we will not get ahead of ourselves.

The most interesting thing is that the first points attached to the back of the rider’s shoes played a role completely opposite to that which they subsequently performed. "Spur a horse" did not mean to accelerate, but to brake it! The explanation for this fact is extremely simple: then the stirrups did not exist at that time and as soon as the horse started to set off at a faster speed, the poor horseman literally started hanging out on his back, risking flying off with extremely unpleasant consequences for himself. Accordingly, his legs, deprived of emphasis, were hanging out, inflicting very sensitive injections to the animal in the sides, forcing them to stop or at least slow down.

The Celts, ancient Germans, Iberians - all peoples for whom riding was the norm, as well as the inclusion of riders in their troops, used this invention quite actively. Initially, it was a simple spikes sharpened quite sharply. Wheel spurs, familiar to us and much more humane (from the point of view of horses), appeared, according to researchers, in about the XIII-XIV centuries. What they were, it’s clear from the name: instead of a point, an “asterisk” with points (from 4 or more) was attached to the rider’s heel, with the help of which the horse was “admonished”.

The largest spurs flaunted medieval knights - warriors of heavy cavalry. These riding equipment, worn by the riders of that time, were truly monstrous in size - up to 30 centimeters, and the “burdock” rays, of the same “star” mentioned above, were also several centimeters. The point here was not the desire to look better or richer (the knights wore gold spurs, the squires - silver), but the fact that the smaller size of this device simply did not make it possible to reach the sides of the horse, hidden under reliable armor.

Wheel spurs were indeed less unpleasant for the horses - turning around, the repeater did not allow the points to cause significant scratches and injuries to the animal.

“Whose spurs rang merrily ...” From the history of cavalry spurs

The problem was that with a long ride - on a march, especially in battle, the wheel clogged with dirt and became motionless, starting to hurt seriously. Sweat, dust, manure got into the forming wounds, and everything could end badly. It is precisely because of this that the military cavalrymen came up with a hardcroot (literally - “defender against manure”), a spur that did not have a movable wheel, but simply had a protruding part, but a blunt, without a tip. Today it is precisely such spurs, or wheeled, but with a smooth burdock, completely devoid of thorns, that are used in equestrian sport.

In the Russian Empire, the wearing of spurs has become especially widespread since the eighteenth century, when regiments of regular cavalry began to massively form - Ulan, Dragoon, Cuirassier, Hussar. Around the same time, the obligatory wearing of this attribute was prescribed to many higher court ranks of the Imperial Court. It would be unbelievable if the fashion and even the peculiar “rules of good form” did not arise on their wearing.

The memoirs of St. Petersburg officers of that time, claiming that by the sound of spurs it was easy to determine who was following you along the pavement, were preserved: a gendarme, a provincial officer or a true metropolitan guardsman whose tread is accompanied by a "soft and noble raspberry ringing." There was also a “master question” in which the master, whose products were considered unsurpassed in quality and therefore especially prestigious among the military, was Pyotr Savelyev.

In Europe, the times of chivalry, and in our Fatherland, the age of brilliant cavalry guards and hussars, have gone down in history not only under the sound of swords, sabers and swords, but also under the delightful sound of spurs of magnificent horsemen, carried away into eternity.
Author:
Photos used:
SwordMaster forum, needpix.com
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  1. Mavrikiy
    Mavrikiy 12 June 2020 11: 29
    -2
    “Whose spurs rang merrily ...” From the history of cavalry spurs
    Dumb sadists. request
    1. Terenin
      Terenin 12 June 2020 11: 39
      +2
      Quote: Mavrikiy
      “Whose spurs rang merrily ...” From the history of cavalry spurs
      Dumb sadists. request

      I will not argue about the functionality of spurs, but I liked the poem of Marina Tsvetaeva good
      1. Aviator_
        Aviator_ 12 June 2020 15: 51
        +3
        Tsvetaeva, of course, is a famous poetess, but she too idealizes events and characters that are more than 100 years apart from her.
        1. Mavrikiy
          Mavrikiy 13 June 2020 03: 39
          +1
          As far as I remember, I read that the combat officers despised the staff precisely for the crimson ringing of spurs.
          On silver spurs
          I look in thought:
          For you, my steed fast,
          Your sides are trembling.

          Our ancestors did not know them
          And, prancing among the steppes,
          They drove a thick whip
          Unreached horses.

          But with the success of enlightenment
          Instead of rude antiquity
          Inventions introduced
          Alien side.

          Nowadays they feed, groom,
          Take care of the back ...
          They beat you before - now they stab!
          What is more profitable? - God knows!
          M.Yu. Lermontov
          1. Aviator_
            Aviator_ 13 June 2020 09: 00
            0
            A smart combat officer understands that without a smart command officer, he is nobody. Another thing is that in the headquarters, a kind of "Arbat military district", in today's language, a lot of everything that does not sink is collected.
            1. Mavrikiy
              Mavrikiy 13 June 2020 16: 29
              -3
              Quote: Aviator_
              A smart combat officer understands that without a smart staff officer, he is nobody.

              From staff? fool A combatant officer is an officer without a staff officer, and a staff officer without a drill officer, yes, no one. For headquarters literacy is elitism, but there is no army without a system.
              1. Aviator_
                Aviator_ 13 June 2020 18: 43
                +3
                Well, in general, cancel the headquarters, everyone will become combatant, and you will be happy. However, for some reason, no headquarters in the army of the world have yet been liquidated. What is it for?
                1. Mavrikiy
                  Mavrikiy 14 June 2020 06: 43
                  -3
                  Quote: Aviator_
                  Well, in general, cancel the headquarters, everyone will become combatant, and you will be happy.

                  This is your staff categoricality and contempt for those who disagree with your opinion, pret. request Let me remind you of your pearl:
                  A smart combat officer understands that without a smart staff officer, he is nobody.
          2. ccsr
            ccsr 13 June 2020 16: 57
            +2
            Quote: Mavrikiy
            As far as I remember, I read that the combat officers despised the staff precisely for the crimson ringing of spurs.

            Most likely they were despised due to the fact that in the 19th century, the officer's personal courage was the key to success in battle, and staff officers, as a rule, did not participate in line battles. Hence the attitude towards them and their awards from those who marched ahead of the line battalions. But in the first half of the twentieth century, the situation changed dramatically and huge masses of people demanded not so much the personal courage of the commander as their ability to think and quickly make the right decision. As it turned out, not all commanders did it well, which is why the role of the headquarters increased dramatically, and it was not in vain that Shaposhnikov wrote the book "The Brain of the Army". From personal experience, I can say that starting with the regiment and higher, the success of the commander depends by 80-90% on the intelligent chief of staff, or the senior assistant on the ship. And they hardly convince me of this - you notice everything well when you start to look at it from the outside with an independent look.
            1. Mavrikiy
              Mavrikiy 14 June 2020 06: 48
              -3
              Quote: ccsr
              Hence, such an attitude towards them and their rewards among those who went ahead of the linear battalions.

              And now, little has changed. Afghan, Chechnya. "Then, only the city becomes a Hero, when it became a hero soldier" (Then only becomes a hero of the staff, when he became a combatant hero)
    2. Narak-zempo
      Narak-zempo 12 June 2020 11: 44
      +7
      Quote: Mavrikiy
      Dumb sadists

      I recommend to take an interest in such practices as hunting dogs. Learn a lot for yourself.
    3. Gato
      Gato 12 June 2020 19: 04
      +3
      Dumb sadists

      That is yes. Try to keep your nerves when spurs ring around you all day belay am
    4. Wolga
      Wolga 13 June 2020 23: 14
      +4
      Apparently comrade has no idea about horse training. The konyaga has "controls" designed for its normal "driving", of course from a human point of view. Spurs, whip and whip, and other harnesses, of course, are not pleasant to the horse, but are important for its training. A normally ridden horse does not require spurs in the future; it has already developed a reflex to "spur". Everything depended on the methods of dressage from the horse, i.e. what stimuli she was taught to respond to. For the Cossacks, this was a whip, respectively, spurring was not necessary, on the other hand, the Cossacks did not train horses in dressage, which was a necessity for the combat units of cavalrymen (if we take the 1800s), including for parades.
    5. Reader 2013
      Reader 2013 14 June 2020 18: 13
      +1
      A horse has a pain threshold 13 times lower than a human
  2. Narak-zempo
    Narak-zempo 12 June 2020 11: 33
    +2
    There are two types of spurs. Some knock on the door, others enter the window
    1. Gato
      Gato 12 June 2020 15: 28
      +2
      There are two types of spurs. Some knock on the door, others enter the window

      . laughing and exit the window:
  3. Gennady Bryansky
    Gennady Bryansky 12 June 2020 11: 56
    +5
    The Cossacks did not carry spurs and successfully managed their horses.
    1. Mavrikiy
      Mavrikiy 12 June 2020 14: 09
      +1
      hi
      Quote: Gennady Bryansky
      The Cossacks did not carry spurs and successfully managed their horses.
      Indians. Tatar-Mongols. and other savages. what Is it a matter of knights, culture, recourse
    2. Gato
      Gato 12 June 2020 15: 18
      +4
      Cossacks did not wear spurs

      They wore (not all, true) until the king in 1885 deigned to abolish them by the highest command:
  4. Free wind
    Free wind 12 June 2020 14: 04
    +4
    Lieutenant, remove the spurs, they ring, wake up mommy. I took off. What rattles? Nails
    1. mr.ZinGer
      mr.ZinGer 12 June 2020 17: 57
      +1
      Hussars keep silent !!!
  5. ccsr
    ccsr 12 June 2020 14: 27
    +2
    Author:
    Alexander Kharaluzhny
    The memoirs of St. Petersburg officers of that time, claiming that by the sound of spurs it was easy to determine who was following you along the pavement, were preserved: a gendarme, a provincial officer, or a true metropolitan guard, whose tread is accompanied by a "soft and noble raspberry ringing."

    This is described more precisely in the famous book "Notes of a Cuirassier", which can be considered a standard for understanding how the guards lived at that time, and how the volunteers studied:
    ... not a single spur in the world could compare with the real Savelyevskys in the "nobility" of their ringing, and the sound of spurs at that distant time was very eloquent. So, if you heard a loud warlike and defiant clatter behind you in the street, you could safely say without looking back that either a gendarme or some kind of staff rat from the commandant's office was following you. If you heard a subtle, perky, flirtatious or loud chime, you already knew that somewhere nearby was walking a provincial army man, a hussar-red-shipper, who had arrived in the capital. But if you heard a soft and nobly tinkling melody - a delicate, well-mannered Guards officer, experienced in the rules of decency and good manners - an officer wearing the famous Saveliev spurs made from some magical and, of course, very expensive alloy.

    More details on livelib.ru:
    https://www.livelib.ru/quote/1091694-zapiski-kirasira-v-trubetskoj
  6. Gato
    Gato 12 June 2020 14: 59
    +2
    In the Middle Ages, the new dignity of a knight was not marked by a gilt sword or shield, but by golden spurs, which served as a hallmark of entry into the upper class

    Not certainly in that way. The sign of entry into the highest layer of chivalry was the "girding" with the sword. Gold spurs are an accompanying sign.
    For example, in the same England
    A powerful tycoon and a representative of a wealthy free peasantry could become a knight. However, among them a special step was occupied by knights in the exact sense of the word - those who passed a special initiation ceremony, "girded with a sword", holders of golden spurs, called "sir", adding the word "knight" to their signature on an official document. The "nobility" of the "belted" knights outwardly found expression in their exclusive right to the coat of arms, their pre-emptive right to join the jury, to the parliament, to carry out various responsible and honorary royal assignments, commissions
  7. Astra wild
    Astra wild 12 June 2020 17: 45
    +3
    Beautiful but sadistic spurs. In 1 meter picture.
    The author would be more visual and interesting if you had all kinds of spurs laid out.
    At least it would be clearer and more interesting to me
  8. 3x3zsave
    3x3zsave 12 June 2020 23: 36
    0
    There are many mediocrities and graphomaniacs, but Kharaluzhny is a "swift jack" in their line!
  9. Sakmagon
    Sakmagon 13 June 2020 08: 46
    +1
    At one time, the magazine "Around the World" published a note about stirrups laughing allegedly, a certain tribe of mumbo-tumbo used instead a tied bone ring, "into which the rider inserted his big toe and climbed onto the horse's back, after which the finger pulled out" wassat wassat wassat and only after 2 thousand years they guessed to attach belt loops instead of rings
    Why did I recall this pseudoscientific nonsense?
    then the stirrups did not exist then and as soon as the horse set off at a faster speed, the poor rider began to literally dangle on his back, risking flying off with extremely unpleasant consequences for himself. Accordingly, his legs deprived of emphasis were hanging out, inflicting very sensitive injections to the animal in the sides, which forced them to stop or at least slow down

    Does the author consider our distant ancestors to be complete morons? One has stretched the big toes for two thousand years (if only the author were to be driven to try to raise their weight in this way!), Others, riding with a cold foot, invented spurs, but didn’t think of stirrups! How did they, interestingly, climb a horse? And where were the spurs attached? Onuchi? Or screwed to the heels? Or does the author want to say that the people, who have grown to leather shoes with hard soles, had no idea about horse harness?
    My ancestors were normal people, and I'm not flawed. And such a scribble is intended for those who, having guessed all the letters, could not read the word
  10. saygon66
    saygon66 13 June 2020 21: 53
    +2
    - As far as I know, the horse is "slowed down" by a bridle ... Poking a horse in the side with a sharp horse is a bad idea! Spurs are horse "gas" and partly "steering wheel"! laughing