‘Swords were identified by their place of origin and the suppleness or hardness of the metal.’
The success of the cavalry came about from intense practice and good quality equipment. The soldiers trained in a hippodrome (maydan) where they carried out gruelling drills and took part in competitive sports including polo and javelin- or mace-throwing. In battle the Turkish soldiers employed a combination of tactics, using archery from a distance, and the lance or sword at closer range. Both Arab and Turkish warriors were adept with the lance, able to strike an enemy at close range while travelling at full speed. Swords were cherished weapons often identified by their place of origin and the suppleness or hardness of the metal employed. Shields were usually circular for Muslim soldiers, but kite-shaped shields were popular among the Muslim, Byzantine and Frankish military.