「Mounted Warriors and Servitude」
It is commonly believed that the Samurai showed up in history in the 12th century, however, that is not entirely correct. While Samurai as they are currently known in popular culture, and historical representations appeared in the 12th century, the precursor, which is what led directly to the Samurai first appeared sometime in the 8th century A.D. With the creation of the Taiho reforms in 702 A.D. which was used in order to create an army of conscripted peasants, the leaders of these regiments were elite mounted archers, who are the forerunners of what we now know of as, Samurai.
These elite archers were below the emperor, but above the peasants with whom they commanded in battle. As time went on, this group of warriors was given more and more power by the government, which invariably led to, through various circumstances throughout the years to the creation of the class of Samurai as we know them currently.
Originally, these warriors, and those who served under them were conscripted in order to fight a population of natives that lived in Northeast Japan, commonly know as the emishi by the Nara court. After a defeat by theses warriors in 774 A.D. due to their use of guerrilla tactics, light armor, and curved blades, (which were later adopted by what would later be known as the samurai) they were defeated 22 years later in 796. When this victory was secured, the leader who brought about this victory was given the title of sei-i-tai shogun 「Great Barbarian-Subduing General」.
In 792, before the defeat of the emishi, the conscription system was altered, in which permanent officers called kondei (Strong youth) were recruited by the Nara court whom were young sons of the class of landowners. These kondei were mounted warriors that, wore armor, used a bow, and sword, who were supported by two grooms which functioned as foot soldiers.
Through the years, these kondei slowly yet surely started to gain more power politically. At the start, they were simply the elite military arm of the Nara court, with that they passed their military traditions and wealth to their sons. With their function to be called in to settle disputes with rival district landowners.
The acquisition of political power, and the usage of the name Samurai first began. Due to the outbreak of plagues and famine, along with deep resentment of the centralized government, the landowners were given more power in order to maintain their own armies of horsemen in which to deal with civil unrest at the local level.
This led to the first use of the term Samurai was in order to describe these elite fighters whom worked for the landowners. Samurai means "those who serve," which expresses their loyalty to these warriors' lords. This loyalty that existed in concert with a system of conduct was developed into a formalized honor code which later became known as bushido "the way of the warrior."
The 11th century was the true beginning of the power of the samurai, a warrior could not take up a bow in the defense of the Emperor, if he could not prove his Samurai lineage. Ancestral pedigree was paramount to the Samurai, so much so that they would recite a list of their ancestors before engaging in combat. Also of note was that without this blood lineage, military prowess meant markedly less than it would if you could prove your validity through your family and their noble ancestry.
( ´•౪•`) こゆうきあいはら ( ´•౪•`)