Ibn Hudhayl, the other Iberian HEMA treatise

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Re: Ibn Hudhayl, the other Iberian HEMA treatise

Postby bigdummy » 09 Mar 2012 23:28

Great stuff !! Shields!
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Re: Ibn Hudhayl, the other Iberian HEMA treatise

Postby leonardo daneluz » 10 Mar 2012 00:08

What a treasure. It covers the adarga too. So it´s very possible that the book treats both riding "a la jineta " and "a la brida".
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Re: Ibn Hudhayl, the other Iberian HEMA treatise

Postby Payson » 10 Mar 2012 11:20

Are you guys familiar with this treatise?:

Chivalry Bookshelf English translation of the 15th cent. Dom Duarte treatise Livro Da Ensinanca De Bem Cavalgar Toda Sela

He goes into la jineta and la brida. In trying to figure out what Dom Duarte was on about I found this book, (especially see Chapter 8 ) :

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=IaN- ... rs&f=false

which is fascinating for a deeper explanation of the evolution of these different styles of riding and the lineage leading up to the difference we have to this day in some of the saddles (and accompanying riding styles) in the Americas and the standard modern hunter saddles of Europe today. This idea of long leg riding versus short leg riding might deserve its own thread if anyone is interested. It is definitely a big issue when trying to recreate armoured mounted melee combat.
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Re: Ibn Hudhayl, the other Iberian HEMA treatise

Postby Ariella Elema » 11 Mar 2012 22:31

It's hard to say which style of riding ibn Hudhayl is advocating. As far as I can tell, his advice can be interpreted multiple ways. Here's what he has to say on the subject.

To become a good rider in the saddle, it is important to chose a large saddle, where one can turn around at will, rather than a narrow saddle, especially at the beginning of one’s training. The wood should be solidly assembled, the seat large, and the pommel and back raised, the breastplate well-tanned leather, and the girth equally solid, going around the circumference of the saddle. Ibn Hizâm declares that two girths are better than one and prefers them. The two stirrups should be equal in weight and size, with an eye neither too large nor too narrow. It is better if they are a bit heavy. The rider should assure himself that the stirrups and their buckles are well attached. He verifies the length, so that they are equal and proportioned to his needs. It is better if they are a little long, for when they are too short, they uproot the rider from the saddle at the moment of a jump or a stop at speed, and he does not recover from the unbalancing, especially if the horse makes a swerve or a buck. It is for every individual to choose the length that suits him, just as for light clothing and similar matters. [pp. 149-150]


Once well installed [in the saddle], the rider places his thighs on the two bands of the saddle [i.e. on a surcingle?] and lengthens them, so that he places his feet in the stirrups symmetrically, and only presses with their front part, without opening them [i.e. without spreading his legs], or placing them backwards. Nothing is more incorrect than for a rider to place his feet back. He should place them forward without exaggerating the position. The correct measure in this regard is that the rider should just be able to see the ends of his toes when he is well positioned in the saddle. ... Press a little more on the right stirrup when one grips the lance. As for the archer, he can press more on the left stirrup. [p. 154]


Despite advising students to ride with their legs a little forward, he advocates having one's feet directly underneath the body when fighting with the sword. (See the sword section above.)
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Re: Ibn Hudhayl, the other Iberian HEMA treatise

Postby admin » 12 Mar 2012 11:50

What a fantastic source! 8)
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Re: Ibn Hudhayl, the other Iberian HEMA treatise

Postby Chiron » 12 Mar 2012 13:25

It would be wonderful to have a translation of the complete treatise, if anybody is willing to translate it, I speak neither Spanish nor Arabic. It would be interesting to find out more what he says about gineta and brida. The common consensus that gineta rode up-rite and Brida had their feet far in-front of them has always seemed dubious to me. The renaissance manual that managed to get a copy of has no such seat.
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Re: Ibn Hudhayl, the other Iberian HEMA treatise

Postby bigdummy » 12 Mar 2012 16:10

Maybe Steve Hick can look at it
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Re: Ibn Hudhayl, the other Iberian HEMA treatise

Postby Ariella Elema » 15 Mar 2012 22:36

I think I've sorted out the date of the text. Ibn Hudhayl first produced the treatise for the sultan Muhammed V, who reigned between 1354 and 1362 AD. The parts about horsemanship and weapons made up the second half of the book, while the first half is a more general discourse on the art of war. The first half is what Louis Mercier translated and published under the title L'ornament des âmes et la devise des habitants d'el Andalus : traité de guerre sante islamique. It's an interesting treatise in its own right, but it doesn't really deal with the subject of martial arts.

Ibn Hudhayl later produced a second version of the treatise for Sultan Muhammed VII, who reigned between 1370 and 1408. This one included only the second half of the first treatise, with the chapters on horsemanship and weapons. This is what Mercier edited and published under the title Parure des Cavaliers.

However, it turns out that some parts of the text are based on much, much older material going back all the way to the ninth century of the Christian era. Here's an excerpt from a late ninth-century treatise by Ibn Akhi Hizam Muhammad Ibn Ya'qub al-Khuttali (or Akhi Hizam), who seems to have inspired a whole genre of medieval chivalric literature in Arabic.

A green reed should be firmly fixed to the ground at the height of a rider. The horseman should approach it from the right-hand side at full gallop, just like when he is training to shoot from horseback. when he gets close to it he should, with one swift movement, draw his sword and strike the reed from right to left, cutting [off] the equivalent of one [hand] span. The same movement should be repeated until only one dhira' [approximately 50 cm] is left on the reed.

The whole exercise should be repeated again and again until it is perfectly matered. When that is done five arrows should be planted in line at a distance of 10 dhira' [approximately 5 m] from each other. The horseman, at full gallop, should in one run cut the arrows exactly at the same height, one after the other just beneath the fletching using a very sharp-edged sword.

When this is perfectly mastered, two parallel bu staggered rows of five arrows each should be planted in the ground. The horseman, again at full gallop, should run between the two rows of arrows cutting them under the fletching as in the previous exercise, striking alternatively to the right and to the left. The number of arrows ay be increased as required. When this is also perfectly mastered, the horseman should be trained to deal blows in all other directions.


The excerpt above, complete with square brackets, comes from Shihab al-Sarraf, "Close Combat Weapons in the Early 'Abbasid Period: Maces, Axes and Swords," in A Companion to Medieval Arms and Armour, ed. David Nicolle (Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell & Brewer, 2002), p. 168. The complete text of Akhi Hizam has apparently not yet been edited or published in any language. However, Dr. al-Sarraf seems to be the Sydney Anglo of Islamic chivalric literature, so maybe his work will inspire more new scholarship on the subject soon.
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Re: Ibn Hudhayl, the other Iberian HEMA treatise

Postby Magnus Hagelberg » 16 Mar 2012 09:00

Fascinating read.
This gives some nice training for mounted swordsmen :)
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Re: Ibn Hudhayl, the other Iberian HEMA treatise

Postby Chiron » 17 Mar 2012 09:47

Hell yah, just need to find time to get going again, but springs a come'n.
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Re: Ibn Hudhayl, the other Iberian HEMA treatise

Postby steve hick » 19 Mar 2012 16:06

Ariella Elema wrote:It's hard to say which style of riding ibn Hudhayl is advocating. As far as I can tell, his advice can be interpreted multiple ways. Here's what he has to say on the subject.



Great stuff, kudos, great stuff!

I think the final judgement is out as it is unclear that the author advocates riding long or short, just not too short.

Also, there are several works on jineta written by the Spanish, most are mid 16th century or later. Apparently they were still riding this style in the Southwest of the US in the late 18th century, and there are technical works on it, almost as late as that.

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Re: Ibn Hudhayl, the other Iberian HEMA treatise

Postby admin » 22 Mar 2012 15:55

Ariella, this is really significant stuff, thanks so much for sharing it here. 8)
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Re: Ibn Hudhayl, the other Iberian HEMA treatise

Postby Dave Long » 05 Nov 2012 13:43

Ariella Elema wrote:It's hard to say which style of riding ibn Hudhayl is advocating. As far as I can tell, his advice can be interpreted multiple ways. Here's what he has to say on the subject.
To become a good rider in the saddle, it is important to chose a large saddle, where one can turn around at will, rather than a narrow saddle, especially at the beginning of one’s training.

The correct measure in this regard is that the rider should just be able to see the ends of his toes when he is well positioned in the saddle.

Despite advising students to ride with their legs a little forward, he advocates having one's feet directly underneath the body when fighting with the sword. (See the sword section above.)


I agree that the first quote indirectly advocates riding short[0], but the second seems to directly advocate riding long. Having the feet directly underneath the body is always a good idea[1], and (try it on foot!) a short leg with heels under hips under head hides the toes, which first become visible with a long leg.

Or perhaps we need more context: the above is true if he is talking about the correct position for sitting in a saddle. If he's talking about the correct position for active riding we're back to riding short, because standing up in short stirrups[2] both reveals the toes and, by freeing the hips, enables one to "place the sword hand as much to the outside as possible".

[0] compare the size of properly fitted polo and dressage saddles
[1] keeping in mind that when maneuvering at significant fractions of a G, "directly under" is not necessarily straight down.
[2] my interpretation of the admonition to "engage only the ends of the feet in the stirrups" is that he wants an active position, out of the saddle.
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