start up the causeway a half-day apart

thetazuo

Senior Member
Chinese - China
Once I link up with Lord Bolton and the Freys, I will have more than twelve thousand men. I mean to divide them into three battles and start up the causeway a half-day apart. If the Greyjoys have eyes south of the Neck, they will see my whole strength rushing headlong at Moat Cailin. (Game of Thrones)

Context: The speaker, Robb, meant to lead his army to attack Moat Cailin from the south, the north and west simultaneously, which was controlled by the Greyjoys. Currently Robb's army were to the south of Moat Cailin.

Hi. Does the underlined part mean "they were not to start up the causeway until they rode for half a day"?
Thank you.
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    The three 'battles' (battalions?) are to start half a day apart. Depending on whether 'day' means daylight or a day/night cycle, the second group will start about six or twelve hours after the first, and the third will start a similar time after the second.
     

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Thank you, Uncle Jack. The following text has this sentence:
    Tell Howland Reed that he is to send guides to me, two days after I have started up the causeway.
    According to this I think the half a day gap is 12 hours. Right?
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Thank you, Uncle Jack. The following text has this sentence:
    Tell Howland Reed that he is to send guides to me, two days after I have started up the causeway.
    According to this I think the half a day gap is 12 hours. Right?
    Since Game of Thrones was written recently, half a day probably means twelve hours, but if it were genuinely medieval then six hours would be more likely, I think. A separate mention of 'two days' does not really help, as this is unambiguous.

    The reason why six hours (or even less) might be meant in this context is because 'half a day's march' is quite a common expression, and this certainly does not refer to the distance marched in twelve hours.
     
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