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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Fri 04 May, 2012 8:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan is right in that they were often used by the Normans, heck the Normans employed any one they could in Italy, the Balkans and the Middle East. The issue though is they tended to employ them in specific roles. We actually have some rather interesting period sources of Italo-Byzantine nature that give fairly clear impressions. Depending on what the sculpture is showing would give an idea.

As well one of the earliest writers of Robert's there, Malaterra indicates that within a short time of them establishing their lands there the equipment employed there was no longer simple of Western make or style, or at least their looks was altered. This should not be odd considering we see men like Joinville indicating crusaders would employ Eastern military equipment as well.

Debating on whether the sculpture is of all normans or not is impossible but considering the text and indications of the assimilationg of local equipment does not seem impossible.

It also might be another example of mail under lamellar so we really need to see this thing.

RPM
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 05 May, 2012 12:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Agreed that is a good example of scale/lamellar being worrn over mail but we already knew that this was done in the Middle East at the time.

Also agreed that, given the context, there is no way to conclude who was wearing the scale/lamellar. Could be Norman or Middle Eastern or Byzantine mercenaries or even Central Asian. It can't be used as evidence of Norman lamellar without supporting data.
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Alexander Bastoky




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PostPosted: Sat 05 May, 2012 1:19 pm    Post subject: Norman Lamellar and Mail         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Agreed that is a good example of scale/lamellar being worrn over mail but we already knew that this was done in the Middle East at the time.

Also agreed that, given the context, there is no way to conclude who was wearing the scale/lamellar. Could be Norman or Middle Eastern or Byzantine mercenaries or even Central Asian. It can't be used as evidence of Norman lamellar without supporting data.


Dan, thanks for clearing that up. I would like to see these figures and make my own decision, but I see your point when you say that there is good supporting data to suggest these figures are Middle Eastern/Byzantine, while the evidence to support identifying them as Normans is far more scarce.

I've been reading your posts about mail and reproduction mail's inherent historical inaccuracy. Excellent stuff. I've tried to check out Erik D. Schmid's website, but it says that it was recently hacked Sad. Do you or any of your friends/associates own any mail by Erik?

-Alex
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Sun 06 May, 2012 6:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alex,

I found a line drawing but it is hard to make any real details out beyond the armour, which is rather simplified as well. The big issue I see is that the primary/only group used in sufficient numbers to be heavy cavalry in Southern Italy from my understanding of Italo-Norman military organization is the Lombard's and hence shown in a relief like this. For the most part there seems to be a need for infantry by the Normans so Byzantine and the Muslims present are often found in this capacity. Things are more complex in Sicily as they had a larger Muslim population compared to the total.

If you need to contact Erik still let me know.

RPM
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sun 06 May, 2012 6:20 am    Post subject: Re: Norman Lamellar and Mail         Reply with quote

Alexander Bastoky wrote:
I've been reading your posts about mail and reproduction mail's inherent historical inaccuracy. Excellent stuff. I've tried to check out Erik D. Schmid's website, but it says that it was recently hacked Sad. Do you or any of your friends/associates own any mail by Erik?

I had a look at some of his work when I visited him a few years ago and everyone who bought the 2nd MRS journal scored a small patch of his scale-on-mail (hamata squamataque) replica.

Edit: Just heard from Erik. He lost everything when the site was hacked. He has to start from scratch to rebuild it.

Serves him right for annoying those sooper kewl ninja dudez. They didn't like hearing that their "batttle-ready-awesome-mega-chainmailz" isn't what ninjas really wore. Wink

Either that or they were annoyed that their sooper-kewl-ninja-katanaz couldn't cut through Erik's sooper-kewl-mega-chanimailz so they called him a poopy-head and hacked his website instead.
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T. Arndt




PostPosted: Sun 06 May, 2012 7:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I hope Erik knows that he can get his images, js and html from the Internet archive...
http://web.archive.org/web/20110201095636/http://erikds.com/

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Sam Gordon Campbell




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PostPosted: Sun 06 May, 2012 11:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Norman Lamellar and Mail         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
...Erik's sooper-kewl-mega-chanimailz...

Now! Take my money!

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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Alexander Bastoky




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PostPosted: Tue 08 May, 2012 1:30 pm    Post subject: Norman Lamellar?         Reply with quote

The second image is a drawing of the carvings on the church door of San Nicola at Bari, found in David Nicolle's " Armes et armues dans les epopees des croisades" in section V, p. 32 of his book Warriors and their Weapons around the Time of the Crusades. IMO it looks like a pretty clear example of lamellar or scale worn over mail. The figure looks pretty Norman to me, especially when compared to what would seem to be a Byzantine or Middle Eastern cavalryman depicted on an Italio-Norman chess piece. I note the shape of the shield (kite vs. round) and what appears to be a cruciform pattern of rivets on the "Norman's" shield. Thoughts on my assessment or insight on the images?


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Lamellar at Bari.jpg

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Tue 08 May, 2012 3:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Byzantine cavalry used kite shields just like the Franks and Normans.

IMO it is solid evidence of Byzantine use of scale/lamellar over mail (which is needed), but not Norman use of scale/lamellar.

When were the carvings done - when the church was built or during one of its restorations?
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Alexander Bastoky




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PostPosted: Tue 08 May, 2012 5:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Byzantine cavalry used kite shields just like the Franks and Normans.

IMO it is solid evidence of Byzantine use of scale/lamellar over mail (which is needed), but not Norman use of scale/lamellar.

When were the carvings done - when the church was built or during one of its restorations?


Nicolle states early 12th century, but i'm not sure where that comes from. I've been trying to find images of the door carvings on the net with no success.

Wikipedia, not the most reliable of sources, states that the basilica was "built between 1087 and 1197, during the Italo-Norman domination of Apulia." Can't find a whole lot in english beyond this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_di_San_Nicola

Any help with basilica or armor facts/sources would be appreciated.
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Ryan S.




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PostPosted: Tue 08 May, 2012 11:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't think there is a style argument for Normans wearing lamellar. Sure we think its cool, but did the Normans? I mean, why do the modern Highland Regiments wear kilts and English Regiments don't? People tend to be fond of their National dress, and their native mode of fighting. I also believe that training and equipping mercenaries defeats a large part of the point of hiring mercenaries.
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Wed 09 May, 2012 5:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am not sure we can actually claim this is a Byzantine soldier or not. Nor Norman for that matter. Nor Lombard for certain.

That said I am learning away from Byzantine. From outside material I am thinking it unlikely. The Byzantine troops overwhelmingly were not used as cavalry in Southern Italy. The better Byzantine troops the Norman and Italian accounts of the period cover are footmen. Not sure I have seen much/any evidence for Byzantine cavalry in the area around that date. Even the Muslim forces of Southern Italy are often footmen.

Lombards on the other hand are a completely different thing. We see the Normans integrate them rather early.

But the key issue to me is that since we have evidence of its use I do not think one can argue Normans, Lombards, Byzantines or who ever did not use this because we cannot be sure what is being shown here only it was worn. If this is a conroi a generation after the conquest there it could be a mix of any groups but how can we say they did not adopt the culture. William of Apulia by the end of the 11th indicates the elite class (largely Normans and Lombards likely) were becoming/had adopted the same culture basically. If this is the case I think the armour shown here, even later easily could show any of them as they were not greatly if at all separate groups among those who fought as 'heavy' cavalry.

Here is what William says of the Normans and the merger of the Lombards and others living there, "They taught their own language and customs to those who joined them, thus creating a single, seemingly united, people."

Further he states the Normans largely arrive without arms and armour and that they are equipped by a Lombard lord in gear there. It could very well be from the start the Normans were integrating local arms and armour.

RPM
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Ryan S.




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PostPosted: Wed 09 May, 2012 11:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think one would need to do serious research on Italio-Normans to be able to even begin answering this question, unless some one has already done it. I imagine the foremost experts on Italio-Normans are in Italy, and most historians don't seem interested in the particulars of military equipment. really it seems people are ready to draw conclusions from the slimmest of amount of information.
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J. Kelley




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PostPosted: Thu 05 Jul, 2012 4:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Aleksei Sosnovski wrote:
Actually many armors did not survive. There was scale armor in Roman empire. There was scale armor in the later medieval period (quite a lot of illustrations of scale aventails, sabatons and faulds). Also when peoples using different types of equipment meet they tend to borrow from each other to some extent. So it is pretty safe to assume that some normans at some point wore lamellar or scale or whatever other Bysantian armor.

If studying this subject has taught me anything then it is that it is absolutely, positively, definitely NOT "safe to assume" anything. No it is not safe to assume that the Normans wore scale or lamellar. You can't even assume that Varangians wore scale or lamellar even though they actually served the Byzantine emperor. Lamellar is actually a very poor armour compared to mail. Reenactors today don't realise it because they haven't worn it for weeks in the rain and mud and tried to clean the blood out of it after a fight.


Dan, I'm curious about your experience, when did you have the oppurtunity to wear lamellar for weeks on end in the rain and clean mud and blood out of it ?
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J. Kelley




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PostPosted: Thu 05 Jul, 2012 4:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Alexander Bastoky wrote:
But you do make an excellent point about mud, blood, etc. getting into the lamellar and the leather threading and causing all sorts of problems. I never would have thought of that. Interesting, realistic commentary on effectiveness from primary sources. What was the source for that information? I bet he had a number of interesting, real world comments about military matters of the time.

I've read accounts from both Asia and the Middle East. I like this Japanese one.

"When soaked with water the armor becomes very heavy and cannot be quickly dried; so that in summer it is oppressive and in winter liable to freeze. Moreover, no amount of washing will completely free the lacing from any mud or blood which may have penetrated it, and on long and distant campaigns it becomes evil-smelling and overrun by ants and lice, with consequent ill effects on the health of the wearer."

Sakakibara Kozan, Chukokatchu Seisakuben


This refers to the close spaced style of lacing Japanese lamellar, and is a commentary on the silk cords, not lamellar in general. Early Japanese o-yoroi used a lot more lace than later Japanese armies, and certainly more than any byzantinw style I've ever seen.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Fri 06 Jul, 2012 1:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are accounts describing similar problems about lamellar in Islamic sources. Sakakibara's experiences are relevant to all lamellar, not just Japanese styles. IMO it is why the mail-and-plates construction replaced lamellar.
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William P




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PostPosted: Fri 06 Jul, 2012 8:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

not to mention that you can cut lacing but you cant cut maile.
its also more flexible i guess.

i mean theres that japanese tatami amour, that can be folded up very neatly.
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