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Gallowglass Origins

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 8:52 pm
by the_power
Freebeard wrote:as a side note to the main topic
technically speaking its óc laoch (óc pronounced óg)


That's getting a little over technical - it would have been pronounced 'óg', just spelt 'óc'. Um, maybe, as all we have to go on is some rhyming couplets.

But weren't the first "gallóglaigh" sent from a king in Scotland to Ireland as a wedding gift, in the 13th cntury?


Aye, Dubhghall mac Ruaidhrí, a lord in Argyll. I think it was a dowry, rather than a gift.

John

Re: A depiction of ionar prior to Durer???

PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2008 12:45 pm
by finnobreanan
Since we seem to be disussing Gallowglass now, may I suggest we move to the thread I started on Gallowglass depicted on tomb art?
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=171

Re: A depiction of ionar prior to Durer???

PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2008 7:41 pm
by Freebeard
ok ,yes it was. i apologise.
it is given as /óg/
yeah, the dowry.

ok i have another question in relation to the gallowglass.
i know the original contingent came from Scotland, and i'm assuming that since then there were irishmen amongst the ranks. but how would one have become a gallowglass does anyone know? (if this deserves a new thread, i'm sorry for posting it here).
and would they have served a form of 'fian' role in society (as in that portrayed post 12thC - ie that they act as a kings personal bodyguard)???

Re: Gallowglass Origins

PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 7:13 am
by the_power
Time to split this topic..

Anyway; it seems that Gallowglass in Ireland were hereditary mercenaries. They didn't recruit from the Irish population, except by marriage. In the Islands themselves, I suppose any head of a family could declare himself a consapal, and offer his extended family out for a scrap if needed. They'd want to be reasonably prosperous, to be able to outfit themselves with arms & armour, mind.

Given that all of Meath was given to Hugh de Lacy in exchange for 60 knights, I wonder what the price of 80 Gallowglass was a century or two later...

John

Re: Gallowglass Origins

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 12:25 pm
by finnobreanan
the_power wrote:Time to split this topic..

Anyway; it seems that Gallowglass in Ireland were hereditary mercenaries. They didn't recruit from the Irish population, except by marriage.

John

John,

In Kenneth Nichols article, "Scottish Mercenary Kindreds in Ireland: 1250-1600" he quotes G. A. "Hayes-McCoy also pointed out that the bulk of the rank-and-file gallowglass were recruited from the general Irish population, only the captains coming from the recognized gallowglass stock, and he noticed also that even some of the captains were of native Irish lineage."

Given the very large numbers of gallowglass listed during this time period and the relatively few Scotish families of gallowglass, they would have had to have recruited from the native population.

Re: Gallowglass Origins

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 12:34 pm
by the_power
Interesting. Does he say when that was true ? Certainly initially, they all came from Scotland. Up to the 1200s, the native gaels were usually precluded from permenant service beyond a household bodyguard (kern) of sorts, which was why the gallowglass were brought in initially.

I wonder did he meant the fact that every gallowglass was expected to have a native 'light infantryman' as well as a 'horseboy' under pay. A spar of gallowglass was nominally 100 men, though the consapal would keep maybe 20 mens pay for himself and for 'fallen men', so it would likely be around 80 men, each of whom would have two extra guys, so the lord would pay for 100 gallowglass, but actually get 240 men.

Similar to the way people hear of the '300 spartans', but don't realise that there were also 600+ helots fighting alongside them...who weren't counted in most numbers.

John

Re: Gallowglass Origins

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 1:40 pm
by finnobreanan
Unfortunately, the exact time period is not given, but if you consider their were about 80 spars (one gallowglass and two kern) to a company with one captain, that would mean a LOT of native Irish serving as gallowglass and even some serving as captains. I don't have a copy of Hayes-McCoys book to check. Nichols' article appears in "Galloglas: Hebridean and West Highland Mercenary Kindreds in Medieval Ireland". Very good article. He even mentions that one gallowglass family was originally of Welsh origins.

Re: Gallowglass Origins

PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 4:48 pm
by finnobreanan
John,

Thanks for sending me G. A. Hayes-McCoy's article The Galloglach Axe, published in the Journal of the Galway Archeological and Historical Society, Vol XVII, Nos. iii and iv, 1937. The reference to native captains was written by Bartlett in 1489, and he names Cormac O'Conolly as a Galloglass captain, an obviously gaelic name.

The artical is the best I have read concerning the helmets, armor, and weapons of the Gallowglass. he uses numerous primary sources and the usual illustrations that most of us have seen.

Also, thanks for sending me Dr. Adolf Mahr's article on two excavated Galloglach axes. Very interesting article. The axes seem quite small with a blade edge of 14.2 cm, which is a little over 5 1/2 inches. The silver applique is very cool. I wouldn't mind having my blacksmith make one of these!
Image

Galloglass 1250-1600: Gaelic Mercenary Warrior

PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:22 pm
by finnobreanan
Galloglass 1250-1600: Gaelic Mercenary Warrior is set to be released by Osprey on March 23, 2010. I pre-ordered my copy from Amazon.

My tailor finished my cotun and I just need to put a few finishing touches on it. Almost there with the helm I got from Swifty.

I guess I can forget about getting a Gallowglass axe, my blacksmith died unexpectadly of a heart attack last month. :cry:

Re: Gallowglass Origins

PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 3:43 am
by jaspergreen
Finn,

I am sorry to hear about your blacksmith. I'd like to suggest you check out the two Galloglass axes offered by Nick Johnson in the UK, as described on his "Knives by Nick" website. One is a version of the Hebridean war axe, the other based upon the clonteevy axe.

jeff