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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 25 Apr, 2012 1:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robin Smith wrote:
The argument had been made that scale over maille would be a "regress". I was just showing a period source that pointed otherwise. .

Why is it not a regression? Scale was a lot cheaper than mail. If one couldn't afford two hauberks then one might settle for scale instead. I'd still suggest that those who could afford two hauberks would prefer that over scale. Scale is heavier and a major pain in the arse on campaign and doesn't provide more protection.


Last edited by Dan Howard on Wed 25 Apr, 2012 1:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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Sam Gordon Campbell




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PostPosted: Wed 25 Apr, 2012 1:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you want to wear lamellar over maille then why not be a Norman who defected to an Islamic faction? Laughing Out Loud
From what I gather lamellar is used as an artistic Western shorthand to depict old fashioned people, or foreigners (kind of like linothorax) or a cultural 'other'.

A Knyght ther was, and that a worthy man,/ That fro the tyme that he first bigan/ To riden out, he loved chivalrie,/ Trouthe and honour, fredom and curteisie./ ... He was a verray parfit gentil knyght./ But for to tellen yow of his array,/ His hors weren goode, but he was nat gay./ Of fustian he wered a gypoun,/ Al bismotered with his habergeoun;/ For he was late ycome from his viage,/ And wente for to doon his pilgrymage.
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Gary Teuscher




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PostPosted: Wed 25 Apr, 2012 8:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pure speculation with perhaps some common sense thrown in here, but perhaps a scale/lammelar over mail harness was a somewhat different arrangement than just throwing a scale hauberk over the mail/gambeson arrangement.

One thing about scale/Lammelar - they are a bit stiffer than mail, and would seem to provide better blunt protection than mail.

Perhaps a Scale/Mail/Gambeson harnees used a lighter gambeson - more similar to the padded undergarments worn around the 14th-15th sentury.

The seems to be more of a prevalence of this in the warmer middle east, which seems like an oxymoron.

But perhaps a lighter padded garment with torso reinforcement of scale/lammelar in addition to mail was a "cooler" (heat ways) arrangement than a heavy gambeson under a mail hauberk.
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José-Manuel Benito




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PostPosted: Wed 25 Apr, 2012 10:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think in Spain were also popular lamellar armor in Medieval Ages, so I bring this quote from my friend and countryman Iagoba, from another thread in this forum (http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=8147):

Iagoba Ferreira wrote:
Here you have a photo of the Vitoria coat of scales, now at the Museo de Armería de Alava. I have examined myself, and I must warn that the origin or datation is only a guess...it may be or not. It has alternated green and silvered scales and also a second layer of bigger scales upwards in the torso, if its of interest...

About the scale aventails, we have some nice church tympanum carvings dated to the early XIVth century, wich show clearly them in use. Sadly, I'm in process of making the photos...not an easy task, small targets, poor light, and not a good photographer Confused



You can see also this link: http://www.pooldickynson.com/trabajos/metal/metal_armeria.htm

I want to add that the armor of the picture, currently set out in the Museo de la armería de Vitoria (Spain), has no context. No one knows what time it was manufactured and whether European or Asian.

I suggest reading this article: A New World Find of European Scale Armor, by Rogers and LaRocca.

In this work, the author suggest that this scale armor of Vitoria is a very late example of Chinese "kiai" style (page 228).

Regards
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Lafayette C Curtis




PostPosted: Wed 25 Apr, 2012 1:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William P wrote:
Patrick Kelly wrote:
There's no evidence of Norman Miles using lamellar armor. As hard as many reenactors have tried, a solid connection can't be found. To assume that Italo-Normans used it due to their exposure to the Byzantine Empire is just that, supposition. I'm not saying it isn't a logical train of thought, there's just no evidence of it.

that said one could make a plausible case for being a later period latinkon. im not too sure how true this is but i keep hearing among byzantine reenactors that the varangians and other semi permanent merc forces were slowly 'hellenized' i.e issued with byzantine kit. for example as they became less of a mercenary force and were more and more integrated into the byzantine army.


However, there's no reason to suppose that the process didn't take place the other way around instead! I'm nowhere as well-read as I'd like to be with regards to Byzantine arms and armour, but the impression I get about the 11th-12th centuries is more of the Rhomaioi (well, Byzantines) adopting Latinikon kit rather than the opposite.
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Gary Teuscher




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PostPosted: Wed 25 Apr, 2012 1:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
but the impression I get about the 11th-12th centuries is more of the Rhomaioi (well, Byzantines) adopting Latinikon kit rather than the opposite.


At least from a tactics/arms standpoint, it seemed to go this way, with Horse archers no longer part of heavy cavalry formations but now as independent units.
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Ahmad Tabari




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PostPosted: Wed 25 Apr, 2012 9:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am no expert on the armies of the Byzantine Empire, but I do believe I can add some input to this debate. Despite the fact that a large portion of the Byzantine armies of the 11th and 12th centuries were drawn from feudal levies, there can be no doubt that non feudal state equipped troops played an important role. It is here where we can make assumptions on the use of lamellar with mail. In a situation where the Byzantine state had to equip a number of troops with armour, cost considerations would have been an important factor. If the protective quality of the armour issued had to be maximized with the least possible increase in cost, would it be more feasible to equip 1000 troops with 2000 mail coats or 1000 mail coats and 1000 lamellar cuirasses?

I have no doubts over the protective qualities of mail. Indeed I believe that mail on the whole is superior to lamellar and scale. But it is also much more difficult to manufacture, and it was undoubtedly more expensive than most lamellar and scale variants. It is because of this that it is tempting to assume that the combination of mail and lamellar would have been attractive to a state seeking to provide highly protective and relatively cost sensitive armour to its troops. But as many have said on this forum, we have yet to find written or artistic evidence for this assumption to transform into a historical fact..

Now this line of reasoning may have a hint of modern thought in it, but economics is economics no matter what time period we are discussing. And centralized medieval states, just like those today, were ever concerned with their budget.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 25 Apr, 2012 10:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

First one would have to prove that the Byzantines actually wore mail and lamellar together. None of the military manuals mention the combination and none of the illustrations are clear enough to distinguish lamellar over mail.
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William P




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PostPosted: Wed 25 Apr, 2012 11:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

alot of the basic troop armour like in the 15th century western europe. was the gambeson, known by the byzantines as kavadion, http://www.nvg.org.au/documents/vv/vv_issue_61.pdf heres a link to a publication that includes info on the mentionings of padded garments among byzantine armies
and it seems most infantry in the byzantine armies would have had these gambesons, including the rank and file pikemen.
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Gary Teuscher




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PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr, 2012 8:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
First one would have to prove that the Byzantines actually wore mail and lamellar together. None of the military manuals mention the combination and none of the illustrations are clear enough to distinguish lamellar over mail.


Who do we know that did indeed wear either lammelar or scale over mail? From what I have seen I'd say the Spanish, and it seemed to be worn on occasion in the middle east by under various islamic dynasties.
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Ahmad Tabari




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PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr, 2012 11:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gary Teuscher wrote:
Who do we know that did indeed wear either lammelar or scale over mail? From what I have seen I'd say the Spanish, and it seemed to be worn on occasion in the middle east by under various islamic dynasties.

The practise of wearing lamellar over mail was definitely present in the Middle East. Al-Tabari mentions 8th century Arab soldiers campaigning in Persia wearing a form of armour called tannur (meaning oven) over their mail. This was most likely lamellar armour. There is also a reccomendation for wearing lamellar in conjuction with mail and a gambeson in a Mamluk military manual. Furthermore, the wearing of lamellar on top of mail is illustrated in a 12th century Syriac gospel.



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Gary Teuscher




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PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr, 2012 11:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As many of the cultures in the Middle East fought both with and against the Byzantines of course.

The Tagmata was comprised of troops that at least a percentage of were non-native, and troops with Middle Eastern origins were often from the Tagmata.

If you look at the Mamluk soldiers, many of the were of Turkish descent, but comprised a good portion of the later Abbasids and of the Ayyubids.

Turks also made up some of the Tagmatic forces of the Byzantines.

I think it would be logical to assume that though the practice of wearing lammelar over armour may not have been a byzantine one, but different troops from the middle east that were employed by byzantine may well have worn lammelar over mail?
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Ahmad Tabari




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PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr, 2012 1:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree. That would be a perfectly logical assumption. But its quite frustrating that we have yet to find solid evidence of Byzantine use to put this matter to rest.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr, 2012 2:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Do the Middle Eastern fighters supply their own equipment or are they supplied by the state? It seems to me that Byzantine lamellar was like Roman segmentata. It was munitions armour issued to those who can't afford anything better. Unless the situations were similar then there is no point trying to compare the two. And we've seen time and time again that ancient soldiers do and wear things that make no sense to us today. Trying to assume anything because it seems "logical" is pointless.
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr, 2012 5:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan,

I am confused. Unless I read this wrong I thought you agreed that there was use of mail and lamellar together in Byzantium here in this post? I agree that one cannot be sure the mail is a shirt but it should be seen as a valid possibility from such evidence.

http://forums.armourarchive.org/phpBB3/viewto...r#p2163066

There seem to be several examples of what appear to be mail shirts with lamellar over them but I think the question then could/should be was it common. By and large I do not see enough evidence to show this is the case but looks like it was done in some parts of the Middle East and Byzantium at least.

RPM
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Ahmad Tabari




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PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr, 2012 5:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Do the Middle Eastern fighters supply their own equipment or are they supplied by the state?
I think that really depended on their status within the Byzantine state. Strateia holders would most likely supply their own equipment whereas those garrisoned within Constantinople such as palace guards would likely recieve arms from the state.

Quote:
It seems to me that Byzantine lamellar was like Roman segmentata. It was munitions armour issued to those who can't afford anything better
I agree. In comparison to mail, lamellar would have been a poor man's armour. And I also agree that applying 'modern' logic to medieval societies may not always be wise. But that being said, all I argued for was the practicality of using lamellar as a supplement to Byzantine mail. This does not mean that mail in itself was not a perfectly adequate form of protection.

Also keep in mind that If we are to lean towards the assumption that Byzantine mail was of inferior quality to that manufactured in 'Frankish' lands, then it would make even more sense for the Byzantines to want to supplement their mail with a rigid body armour. But like I said before, these are all assumptions, and I dont claim them to be solid facts. Untill someone presents solid evidence that lamellar and mail were used together by soldiers of the Byzantine empire, we can only continue to produce assumptions.

Edit: The painting in the above posted link seems to add further weight to the idea that Byzantine soldiers did indeed employ mail and lamellar together.
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Alexander Bastoky




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PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr, 2012 5:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While we're at it, is there any real evidence of Varangians wearing lamellar or are Raffaele D'Amato and Giuseppe Rava stretching too far in the Osprey book?


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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Fri 27 Apr, 2012 1:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

D'Amato stretches everything too far. He likes to treat sketchy, millennia-old illustrations like photos.

Randall, yes I'd forgotten about that. It is one of the few Byzantine illustrations that remotely resembles lamellar over mail. The most convincing date I've seen for that is 14th century. Is there anything dating earlier?
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William P




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PostPosted: Fri 27 Apr, 2012 6:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Do the Middle Eastern fighters supply their own equipment or are they supplied by the state? It seems to me that Byzantine lamellar was like Roman segmentata. It was munitions armour issued to those who can't afford anything better. Unless the situations were similar then there is no point trying to compare the two. And we've seen time and time again that ancient soldiers do and wear things that make no sense to us today. Trying to assume anything because it seems "logical" is pointless.


umm the standard baseline byzantine armour distributed to everyone except the poorest skirmishers was the kavadion aka the humble gambeson

this and a thick felt cap was the basic defensive gear for byzantine pikemen regardless of rank. if you had some extra cash maybe you bought a basic helmet made of u shaped loops of steel based on helmets portrayed in the skylitzes chronical, tim dawson has a picture of a conjectural reconstruction on his website levantia.
(the rationale for the reconstruction of that helmet is included in the new varangian guard (reenactment group) quarterly publication the varangian voice... dunno which issue )

as for the varangians armour. i have something..
http://www.nvg.org.au/documents/vv/vv_issue_47.pdf an article by my reenacment group examining the literary sources regarding the varangian guards armour and equiptment

in fact no mention is made of them wearing any significant body armour.
one description from 1122 of themen guarding the emperors tent had helmets and shields but didnt mention any maile apparently.
so compared to the a common perception about the varangian guards as being armoured like a lighter brigade of the cataphracts
but instead like most viking people would likely have had very little Armour which i guess makes sense.

though i dunno what the equiptment level for the initial 6000 varangians provided by vladimir the great to the byzantine emperor a large chunk of these are said to have been in his retinue so might have been higher quality...

although other sources suggest (look at off topic thread on skullcaps and helmets for more info) the rus didnt have the social system the saxons did to ensure the common fyrdsman of russia had a helmet each (parrently the saxon law states fyrdsmen must have a helmet....)
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Gary Teuscher




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PostPosted: Fri 27 Apr, 2012 9:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The various Tagamatic groups discussed were often essentially foreign mercenaries. I hate to use the term mercenary as it sometimes implies troops that were paid for one campaign, while these various tagmatic groups, like the varangians were essentially paid regulars, though units were often entirely "foreign".

But I would think when these units were initially recruited they were already "fighting men", and had their own equipment.

As the unit matured, old equipment would be replaced, probably byzantine equipment being the most common form of replacement (unless they specifically traded with sources from "home" that replaced their equipment exactly as it was - though this seems doubtful.

And if replacements were recruited from the same "stock" of people, they would also probably come with their own equipment.


William - Interesting article on the Varangians, it may well be that they were less well armoured than is commonly assumed.

There are a few points where I disagree though.

One is they mention the Varangians being used on the wings of the footmen - not sure where they come up with this information, though I have certainly read about battles where they were not positioned on the wings.

And even being positioned upon the wings does not mean they were lightly armoured. Protecting the wings of pikemen does not require the troops to be lightly armoured - it requires the formation to me more flexible or manuverable than pikemen, which is pretty simple to do, just do not give them pikes.

In this Usage they strike me as the Hypaspists that guarded the Macedonian Pike wings - though we know little of how they were equipped, though they are thought of as an elite unit.

The other issue is that it is stated the ax was the common man's weapon, spear and sword were for the elite. This runs counter to the Saxon Elite troops, the Huscarls, who were axe armed.

Perhaos there were different military traditions between the Rus and the Saxons. And possibly as well the guard changed too with the Influx in Saxons in the 11th Century. Who knows - maybe lighter armed/armoured troops that fought on the wings was the function of the Earlier guard made up of Rus, and the Saxon Varangians were more of a frontline infantry unit.
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