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How do you come up with names for things?

If I looked at you map, would it look like a map of Europe?
No. The map (so far) just shows one part of a country around the size of Sweden or Finland, but in the shape of say, Ukraine. Our story takes place in a few of the northern territories.
 

pmmg

Vala
No. The map (so far) just shows one part of a country around the size of Sweden or Finland, but in the shape of say, Ukraine. Our story takes place in a few of the northern territories.

Well....that changes somewhat my assessment. I was thinking a place like Scotland could not go 1500 years without being influenced by its neighbors, but if your map is different, than maybe there is not so much pressure around them. But, if there are other cultures around, and they have armies, and they are aggressive, that would likely force the hand of those in your fictional world.
 

skip.knox

toujours gai, archie
Moderator
>So in English Middle Ages would they have just been referred to as Infantry and Cavalry?
Oh my, now that's a whole dissertation right there. I'll be professorially brief.

The most common term we find in the sources is milites. So, what does that mean? Where we can guess reliably, it meant either foot soldiers or both foot and mounted fighters. Going back to Roman times, there are equites (literally, horsemen), but that term meant a particular class of people rather than an actual fighting force (probably derived from meaning citizens who could afford a horse).

You can see the vagaries of language in terms for knights. The English word comes from a German word, Knecht, which actually means servant. The *German* word for knight is Ritter, which does mean horseman. A similar word is found in other languages: chevalier (French) or caballero (Spanish), for example. They all mean horseman.

So, the language that doesn't use "horseman" to mean knight is English. And, of course, in the Actual England, they weren't using that word because (at court at least) they were speaking French.

And, since we're engaged in making things more difficult, "knight" was not synonymous with noble anyway, and the whole business of who got to call themselves a knight varied greatly from one region to the next, one time period to the next. And, just to wrinkle further, in a great many cases, knights rode a horse to battle but then dismounted to fight!

Welcome to the Middle Ages!

This actually exemplifies my point about historical accuracy. Do you *really* want to introduce that much complexity into your story in the name of historical accuracy? How much of the story depends on making a distinction between infantry and cavalry? If it's not all that important, maybe just use modern terms. There's a good justification for this. Most people have historically incorrect understandings of what a knight was, a peasant, a king, and so on. If you choose the path of historical accuracy, you will have to do some heavy lifting in the story to present a different picture and you'll still have people claim your historically accurate story isn't historically accurate because it conflicts with their preconceptions. Give 'em what they expect, and they'll say the story was great. An example of this is the movie Braveheart, which was immensely popular but which drives medieval historians to distraction because so much of it isn't just nonsensical, it's just plain wrong.
 
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