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M Enwia




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PostPosted: Sat 15 May, 2004 8:39 pm    Post subject: Frankish Arms and Armour         Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

I'm new to this place, I am writing a book and I'm trying to find out about what type of arms and Armour the Franks used. I got the cultrue, the social structure and agriculture down to an okay level of understanding on my part - it just the arms and armour i'm now stuck on - I have to find out what material they were made of, also what kind of method was used to produce them so I can have some idea as to the social and economic background that would have supported them - what would have been need to produce such items . . .


I guess the first step is to find out what weapons and what type of armour they used, what it was called and how it was used. Also any comments on the particular type of fighting techniques that would have been used due to weapons and armour being used would be appreciated.

I don't know how many responses I will get, don't know even if any one will even read this as there are so many other topics. To be hoenst, i'm not really sure how things work around here - first day here - so if I don't repond promptly or do something I shouldn't or not do something ishould - let me apologize in advance.

Thank you for taking the the time to read this.

regards,

M Enwia

(p.s. I would like to actually wear and learn to use the arms and armour one day - use to do archery in my Uni days, don't know how good I am now but I was okay back then).
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Johannes S.




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PostPosted: Sat 15 May, 2004 9:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You might want to check out the features right here on myArmoury.com. http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_delaune.html
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Johannes S.




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PostPosted: Sat 15 May, 2004 9:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And also you might want to tell us what period your looking at for the arms and armour of the 12th century are going to be very different then that of the 16th century.
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M Enwia




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PostPosted: Sat 15 May, 2004 11:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've started reading the features of myarmour.com - thanks.

The period in question is the 9th Century after the death of Charlemagne (Charles the Great).

thanks . . .

M Enwia
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Allan Senefelder




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PostPosted: Sun 16 May, 2004 12:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Spangen helms ( spangen being german for plate and refeing to a familly of helmets built from plates of iron or steel
riveted either to each other or to a frame to form a bowel or conicle shape ) with or without a maille aventail ( a curtain of maille hanging down from the lower edge of the helm to protect the neck and shoulders ) were common as were
helms made from leather for poorer folks . Maille , scale , and lamellar were all used with maille being the most common of the three . Shields were gererally of round form either flat or of sightly convex with a central metal boss( dome ).
Tear drop or kite shaped shields began to appear twords the end of the period . With an early period like this information on this sort of thing is somewhat sketchy and is based on limited archelogical finds , the little bit of written record that survives and quite a bit on sculpture , carvings (often decoration on common items and in churches ) and period illustrations . Manufacture is very sketchy but I have read accounts of whole towns being involved in the proccess of making maille ( in other words it was the primary industry in the town the way cars are big in detroit ) a little later . Hope theres something usefull here . Good luck on your book .
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M Enwia




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PostPosted: Sun 16 May, 2004 7:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Allan Senefelder wrote:
Spangen helms ( spangen being german for plate and refeing to a familly of helmets built from plates of iron or steel
riveted either to each other or to a frame to form a bowel or conicle shape ) with or without a maille aventail ( a curtain of maille hanging down from the lower edge of the helm to protect the neck and shoulders ) were common as were
helms made from leather for poorer folks . Maille , scale , and lamellar were all used with maille being the most common of the three . Shields were gererally of round form either flat or of sightly convex with a central metal boss( dome ).
Tear drop or kite shaped shields began to appear twords the end of the period . With an early period like this information on this sort of thing is somewhat sketchy and is based on limited archelogical finds , the little bit of written record that survives and quite a bit on sculpture , carvings (often decoration on common items and in churches ) and period illustrations . Manufacture is very sketchy but I have read accounts of whole towns being involved in the proccess of making maille ( in other words it was the primary industry in the town the way cars are big in detroit ) a little later . Hope theres something usefull here . Good luck on your book .


I presume the Shields would have been made of wood - wondering what type of wood be used - also whould the shield have had metal bands extending out from the Boss or maybe some kind of Iron rim for better strength? Would the Boss be spiked to an extent so that it could also be used as a sort of weapon in combat?

I'm gonna look more deeply into the Maille, scale and lameller issue - wonder what would have been worn beneath the armour - or was it customary to wear it on the outside?

thanks for your insight - its like a puzzple which becomes clearer piece by piece.

Next step is the Arms they used and the subsequent fighting techniques . . . There's so much to know . . .
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Allan Senefelder




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PostPosted: Sun 16 May, 2004 10:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As far as shields go these items were to a certain extent disposable ( wood , sharp things chopping at wood , wood splinters and becomes useless. Reinforce the wood and it will last somewhat longer but will eventually break apart .
Usually the edge is what gives out as even with reinforcement this area is a structural weak point ) and as far as I know they were made of what was avaliable ,spruce ,oak whatever was at hand . They could be rimmed with either rawhide
or metal and also reinforced on the face with metal strapping . Illsutrations from the period do show some of the covex form of the round shield with a low central point that seems to be made by bringing the boss to a point .

Under armour ? The farther back you go the more you end up relying on period illustrations and sculpture but the further
back you go the cruder these sources get . We know that the Romans wore quilted garment called a subarmalis and
illustrations from the late 11th and early 12th centuries clearly show some sort of quilted garment beneath maille
so it stands to reason that between the Romans and the 12th century the practice of wearing some form of arming garment beneath armour ( this is actually pretty much a neccessity . maille for instance only stops the cutting edge of an
implement or to a lesser degree the point but does not absorb and of the blunt trauma generated . a sword that isn't sharp can still break your arm ) continued . The form it took is no where as certain but one would think that a quilted
garment that was at least covering the torso if not actually duplicating the coverage of the armour to go over it would make sense .
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M Enwia




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PostPosted: Sun 16 May, 2004 11:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Allan Senefelder wrote:
As far as shields go these items were to a certain extent disposable ( wood , sharp things chopping at wood , wood splinters and becomes useless. Reinforce the wood and it will last somewhat longer but will eventually break apart .
Usually the edge is what gives out as even with reinforcement this area is a structural weak point ) and as far as I know they were made of what was avaliable ,spruce ,oak whatever was at hand . They could be rimmed with either rawhide
or metal and also reinforced on the face with metal strapping . Illsutrations from the period do show some of the covex form of the round shield with a low central point that seems to be made by bringing the boss to a point .

Under armour ? The farther back you go the more you end up relying on period illustrations and sculpture but the further
back you go the cruder these sources get . We know that the Romans wore quilted garment called a subarmalis and
illustrations from the late 11th and early 12th centuries clearly show some sort of quilted garment beneath maille
so it stands to reason that between the Romans and the 12th century the practice of wearing some form of arming garment beneath armour ( this is actually pretty much a neccessity . maille for instance only stops the cutting edge of an
implement or to a lesser degree the point but does not absorb and of the blunt trauma generated . a sword that isn't sharp can still break your arm ) continued . The form it took is no where as certain but one would think that a quilted
garment that was at least covering the torso if not actually duplicating the coverage of the armour to go over it would make sense .


so now we have our guys wearing Spangen helms made from iron with a mailli aventail - poorer folks would have had a leather helm. A round wooden covex shield made with a raised boss point, with metal straps extending from the boss to the edges which are themselves rimmed with metal. Protecting the body would be maille with somekind of padded undergarment to protect from the actuall blunt force of a blow as well as to have seperation from what must have been very coarse armour on the skin.

I'm gonna try and find out what they called the undergarment and what it was made from. What type of footwear would have been worn? There is basically gone be two classes or rather three classes of warriors. The nobility, leaders and such which would be more richly adorned and better protected, secondly the regular standing warriors who would be ready for battle on a more regular basis, then thridly those who would be called up to fulfill their duty to their Lord at certain times of the year for purpose of war and such - these folks could only be called upon during a certain period during the year - for example they could not be called to arms during harvest time. (forgive the spelling).
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Geoff Wood




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PostPosted: Sun 16 May, 2004 11:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not sure that you can rely on shields being metal strap reinforced during the period you're talking of, although there are references to it later. This link http://members.ozemail.com.au/~chrisandpeter/shield/shield.html
is interesting for viking shields, for which there was interaction and period overlap with the Franks in the period you're interested in. I've read elsewhere that lime (linden) wood was one of those used, and I think poplar was another (in addition to those already mentioned). Since they were, as Mr Senefelder said, somewhat throw away items, they may have chosen woods that were stiff but light and (relatively) easy to work.
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M Enwia




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PostPosted: Sun 16 May, 2004 11:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Geoff Wood wrote:
I'm not sure that you can rely on shields being metal strap reinforced during the period you're talking of, although there are references to it later. This link http://members.ozemail.com.au/~chrisandpeter/shield/shield.html
is interesting for viking shields, for which there was interaction and period overlap with the Franks in the period you're interested in. I've read elsewhere that lime (linden) wood was one of those used, and I think poplar was another (in addition to those already mentioned). Since they were, as Mr Senefelder said, somewhat throw away items, they may have chosen woods that were stiff but light and (relatively) easy to work.


What would have the Kite Shields of the Normas been have made of - were they wooden, or metal or a mixture of the two? What perioed would actuall full metal shields be used - if that can be concidered a proper question?

For arguements sake - would it be plausable to have metal strapped shields if for example, the region is one which has not seen any major upheavel in regards to any large conflicts or war - rather, things are settled in a more political manavering enviorment and assisnations - therefore their shields don't get broken so often and would then take more tiem time and effort on them as they would have for longer periods? Does this sound possible or am I clutching at straws?. I say this as it was the Frankish tradition that after a king died, rather then one single heir the kingdom would be split between the Princes. Tehrefore, being so closely related - they would be loath to have open war fare against each other as one they would need to bind together to have strength enoogh to stand against other enemies, and it would be easier to take over one's brother's throne if the unfortunate sibling was assisnated rather then deposed of by force - as was the case of teh Frankish kings and princes which were deposed of in this under hand way. Your thoughts!.
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M Enwia




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PostPosted: Sun 16 May, 2004 12:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This should be interesting, I have found a chess piece that was from Charlemagne's court at Aachen, this allowes us to see what a Carolingian warrior would look like. http://www.chronique.com/Library/MedHistory/charlemagne.htm

whre does that leave us now!
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Steve Fabert




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PostPosted: Sun 16 May, 2004 1:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The chess piece is described as "generally accepted" as typical of a warrior of Charlemagne's era, without saying what circumstance suggested that date. It certainly is not much earlier, since the rider's feet are in stirrups, which were not used in Europe for very long before Charlemagne. But the shape of the helmet is much more typical of a style that was in use in the 14th Centruy.
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M Enwia




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PostPosted: Sun 16 May, 2004 2:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steve Fabert wrote:
The chess piece is described as "generally accepted" as typical of a warrior of Charlemagne's era, without saying what circumstance suggested that date. It certainly is not much earlier, since the rider's feet are in stirrups, which were not used in Europe for very long before Charlemagne. But the shape of the helmet is much more typical of a style that was in use in the 14th Centruy.


I think i would agree with you there on the helmet - it should be more of a conical shape as Mr Senefelder wrote at the beginning. Reading up mroe on the subject the pieces I have read say that although Maille armour was known by the Franks and even during the Roman Times - it was too expensive and too time consuming to produce - although Rolland is supposadlily depicted as wearing one a miniture figure. There-fore I'm thinking that the majority would have been lamella armor - would it correct if I said scale lamella?

What would it be made of - is scale armour and lamella armour different from each other - or are they the one and same - or is it more complicated then that - in that they are seperate but have been combined to make scale lamella armour?

On the subject of the Helm I'm gonna go with the conical shape of iron or leather with a aventail on the iron helm - as it would follow only those who could afford the iron helm could aford a maille aventail. Later on during hte period the mail hauberk is more evident with a coife (please double check on that spelling) covering the head and shoulders either beneather the helm or more notable over the helm.

So we have the question of the lamella armour. Secondly, the question of the shield. Is it elongated or round - or do you think there was some kind of slow progression from to elongated? A thought just occured to me - that the chess piece we saw was a mounted warrior - therefore a mounted warriors needs and therefore arms and armour would be slightly different as his needs would be different from a foot soilder. therefore, maybe the mounted warriors in the Carloman time? phew . . . let me take a breathe . . .
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M Enwia




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PostPosted: Sun 16 May, 2004 2:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

let me finish my sentences, I think faster then I type - sorr yabout that.

continued. so that would follow a mounted warrior would have a elongated shield as olppossed to a foot warrrior who might most probably carry a round shield . . .
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Allan Senefelder




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PostPosted: Sun 16 May, 2004 2:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Shields made from steel or iron exclusively are an advent of the late 15th to early 16th centuries as far as i'm aware. Teardrop and kite shaped shields were constructed in the same fashion as round shields and were made both flat
and slightly convex . While I know that latter (13-14th) century shields could be faced in parchment or guesso (sp) over
parchment ( sculpted before painting ) to fascilitate decorating and leather to enhance surface durability i'm not sure how much if at all farther back that might go .
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Allan Senefelder




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PostPosted: Sun 16 May, 2004 3:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lamellar consists of scales laced to each other in rows ,usually but not always horizontally , each row overlapping in the
opposite direction from the one above . It forms a defense that is somewhat springy while being fairly ridgid and is common wherever horse archery is to be found as a means of combat ,the east being most prevelant . Scale is made by
taking scale shaped pieces and either riveting/sewing them to a fabric or leather backing garment or using rings
to attach the plates to each other and the backing garment and the rows overlap down . The plates for either can be made
from iron , steel , leather and even bone or horn .These defenses are part of the same "familly "if you will . While
defenses made of small overlapping plates are depicted far more in art from this period than say 1150 maille is still
the most commonly represented .
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M Enwia




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PostPosted: Sun 16 May, 2004 3:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Allan Senefelder wrote:
Shields made from steel or iron exclusively are an advent of the late 15th to early 16th centuries as far as i'm aware. Teardrop and kite shaped shields were constructed in the same fashion as round shields and were made both flat
and slightly convex . While I know that latter (13-14th) century shields could be faced in parchment or guesso (sp) over
parchment ( sculpted before painting ) to fascilitate decorating and leather to enhance surface durability i'm not sure how much if at all farther back that might go .


So we can basically rule out any of our guys carrying any iron shield, even the kite - heater shaped shields were of wood, however - wouldn't it follow though that they might have been better constructed - or were they too use and throw away shields? what about the elongated shield on the chess piece - it supposedly dates at the time of Charlemange or after, I was thinking maybe due to the warrior being mounted that he's shield differes in shape . . .
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M Enwia




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PostPosted: Sun 16 May, 2004 3:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Allan Senefelder wrote:
Lamellar consists of scales laced to each other in rows ,usually but not always horizontally , each row overlapping in the
opposite direction from the one above . It forms a defense that is somewhat springy while being fairly ridgid and is common wherever horse archery is to be found as a means of combat ,the east being most prevelant . Scale is made by
taking scale shaped pieces and either riveting/sewing them to a fabric or leather backing garment or using rings
to attach the plates to each other and the backing garment and the rows overlap down . The plates for either can be made
from iron , steel , leather and even bone or horn .These defenses are part of the same "familly "if you will . While
defenses made of small overlapping plates are depicted far more in art from this period than say 1150 maille is still
the most commonly represented .


So would say, rather then lamella, the Franks of the Charlemagne period would be wearing hauberks made from scale armour of iron as is depicted in the chess piece?
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Allan Senefelder




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PostPosted: Sun 16 May, 2004 3:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lamellar , scale and maille were all in use ( this is still an era where nomadic horse tribes from the east are either recently settled or still arriving in europe and many armies recruited these tribal horse archers . ) . Lamellar and scale are
both very old types of armour ( the Romans used both ) that survived very late . One lamellar harness has been excavated from the grave pits at Wisby fought in 1361 of the coast of Sweden and was in use in Tibet and northern China right
through the 19th century . There is a Polish Hussars armour in a little art museum in Baltimore circa 1650 made up of
zischagge helmet , a pair of bridal gauntlets and aScale curiass(sp) . Any one of the three armour types were to be found in the Empire .
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M Enwia




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PostPosted: Sun 16 May, 2004 3:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Allan Senefelder wrote:
Lamellar , scale and maille were all in use ( this is still an era where nomadic horse tribes from the east are either recently settled or still arriving in europe and many armies recruited these tribal horse archers . ) . Lamellar and scale are
both very old types of armour ( the Romans used both ) that survived very late . One lamellar harness has been excavated from the grave pits at Wisby fought in 1361 of the coast of Sweden and was in use in Tibet and northern China right
through the 19th century . There is a Polish Hussars armour in a little art museum in Baltimore circa 1650 made up of
zischagge helmet , a pair of bridal gauntlets and aScale curiass(sp) . Any one of the three armour types were to be found in the Empire .


that makes things a bit more flexable for me, in that there can be a mixture - however, would you say that maille armour would have been the most difficult and most expensive to make followed by scale and then the cheapest and easiest being lamella armour?
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