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A scara (plural scarae) was a contingent or unit of soldiers, possibly cavalry, in Carolingian armies. Sources, however, cite that this unit performed different kinds of military functions[1] and is defined according to the specific operation it performed.[2]


The term is a Latinized form of an ancient German word meaning "group." (A modern descendant is the German word Schar, also meaning "group.") Members of the scara units were called scariti, escariti and scarii.[1] It is uncertain whether the scara was composed of regular units or an ad hoc force, with members coming from a larger military group.[1]


Although of uncertain composition, the scarae are thought by many modern historians to have been permanently embodied units of elite cavalry, because in the primary sources they are generally described as being tasked to important missions that required mobility. An account also cited that the scara cavalry performed as Charlemagne's bodyguard, securing his rear during campaigns.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Bachrach, Bernard S. (2001). Early Carolingian Warfare: Prelude to Empire. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 80. ISBN 9780812221442.
  2. ^ DeVries, Kelly; Rogers, Clifford J. (2005). The Journal of Medieval Military History. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press. p. 32. ISBN 1843831716.
  3. ^ Echevarria, Aitor (2012). The Moon Worshippers. Leicester, UK: Matador. p. 168. ISBN 9781780882178.