The Life of Agricola

Medieval mining is an important part of the expansion industry in the middle ages but for a long time, there wasn’t a lot of information about this profession. Of course all of the miners were using technology and learned techniques to extract ore from the ground but there wasn’t any substantial written literature on the subject. However, this all changed when a man know as Agricola took interest in the subject.

Georgius Agricola, whose name is a Latin form of the name George Bauer, was born in the Saxon town of Glauchau in 1494 CE. During his life, he would philology in Germany and medicine in Italy, leading him to be appointed the town physician in what is now modern Czechoslovakia. It is during his time in the town that Agricola visited the mines and smelteries of the area and became fascinated with metallurgy, wanting to study the processes the the miners used. However, he wasn’t very satisfied with the writing that was produced by the Greeks of the subject and decided to create his own book on the subject called De Re Metallica.


The book was published in 1556, a year after Agricola’s death. The book was later translated by the hoover family, who regarded the late Agricola as the first modern scientist.

In the book, Agricola proceeds to go over many of the different nuances found in medieval mining. He discusses the different mining methods for different types of minerals, as well as different technologies that went into the mining process. These machines included horse operated ball and chain pumps, and crank operated blowers for removing water and ventilation.


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The Advantages Of The Stirrup Despite Its Geographical Usage

In the article, “The stirrup gave cavalry an unprecedented advantage, but its uses in Europe and Asia differed considerably” the author Colin Clarke, goes into detail on the many differences seen in the development cavalry combat a variety of locations. Clarke also explores what cavalry warfare was like before the invention of the stirrup and what its introduction did to the development of horseback warfare.

In Clarkes article, we learn that the impact of the invention of the stirrup varied among cultures. In ancient Greece, the stirrup lead to the use of horses for reconnaissance and intelligence gathering rather than cavalry combat. The Persians would on the other hand, utilized cavalry archers for battle, who were known for their infamous hit and run tactics by the Greeks. However, In the case of the Romans and Carthaginians, cavalry combat was utilized to a far greater extent. The Romans primarily used cavalry or reconnaissance, skirmishes, and raids, and used the cavalry to peruse and kill defeated enemies. This lead to the developed a new saddle which had four horned corners and was far more stable than that of previous designs. The Romans ended up having to fight the Germans, who only used horses for transportation into battle.

In Japan, the development of the warrior class occurred roughly the same time it occurred in Europe. In Japan though, before the sword was the principle weapon of the samurai, the skill of horse archery was a sought after fighting skill. Later developments of this horse archery also lead to the techniques of dismounting and killing an enemy horse archer. However, these skills quickly died out around the same time chivalry died out in Europe, when a Cavalry charge was replaced with muskets in Europe.

The earliest mention of the stirrup dates back to a Chinese source dating back to 477 AD. Despite this, the stirrup was developed by the nomads of Siberia though some historians argue it was developed by the Persians. The stirrup when utilized for mounted combat, dramatically improved stability in the saddle and added power to the momentum. The stirrup also allowed for a soldier to hold a lance, be carried long distances while wearing armor, and preform better in battle while riding a horse.

Although the stirrup is a breakthrough innovation, it wasn’t a quickly accepted technology. Heavily armored shock cavalry combat was not a dominate military element, as seen in Frankish armies. The Calvary was weak to spear formations, as seen in the battle Crecy where dismounted English soldiers killed 1,542 mounted French soldiers.

Overall, while the stirrup wasn’t fully utilized in countries around the world, it provided a great advantage to the cavalry of the country who took advantage of the technology. Clarke also makes his point that Calvary did evolve in areas where the stirrup wasn’t utilized and notes how their techniques and styles of fighting differed. In general, Clarke successfully makes the point that the stirrup had a great impact on cavalry combat.

Here is another article about the development of the stirrup and horse riding: