Byzantine castles: 6th century AD

Fortification is as old as urban living, with Jericho's tower dating back to about 8000 BC, but its purpose is defensive - to guard the place where people live and keep their wealth. A different concept of fortification is pioneered by Belisarius, the great general who recovers north Africa and later much of Italy for the Byzantine emperor Justinian.

Following the African campaign of 533, the Byzantine army builds the world's first castles- strong protective shells in which armed men may safely lurk, and from which they can control a nearby pass or the surrounding district. This is fortification with an aggressive purpose. The castle becomes, during the Middle Ages, an important means of military expansion. 

The Arab armies of Islam: 7th century AD

Speed, rather than weight of armour, is the secret of the armies which achieve the most rapid and far-flung conquests in history. This is true of the Arab expansionin the 7th century AD, and it will be true of the Mongolssix centuries later.

The Arab tribesmen in the armies of Islam use the classic techniques of the skirmish to overwhelm the more organized troops of the Byzantine and Persian empires. 

Mounted on camels and horses, and preferring to fight in flat areas of desert or scrub, the Muslim warriors arrive at speed in an extended line to torment the ranks of the enemy. In a single burst of aggression, they fling their javelins and fire off their arrows before wheeling fast away, out of range of retaliation.

This tactic is repeated until a break appears in the enemy's ranks. On the next charge the tribesmen plunge into the breach and set about their opponents at close quarters with the sword. In their early campaigns the Arab horsemen ride without the benefit of stirrups- an innovation which they probably discover when they conquer Persia. 

The development of the stirrup: 2nd c. BC - 7th c. AD

It is probable that early nomadic horsemen, such as the Scythians, use some form of looped fabric to support their feet. But the first direct evidence of a stirrup is a loop for the big toe used by Indian cavalry from the 2nd century BC. Suitable only for use by barefoot warriors in warm climates, this device spreads gradually through southeast Asia.

At some time before the 5th century AD the Chinese, who need to keep their boots on, transform the toe loop into a metal stirrup for the whole foot. From China this crucial device moves westwards, through Iran to the Muslim world in the 7th century, and then through the Byzantine empire to western Europe.

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.


Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.


Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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