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Connor Lynch




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Aug, 2010 3:32 pm    Post subject: Capes on Teutonic Knights         Reply with quote

I wanted to know if Teutonic Knights still wore capes during the 15th and 16th centuries along with their gothic plate armor in the 15th century and their maximilian armor in the 16th century
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Lafayette C Curtis




PostPosted: Mon 09 Aug, 2010 9:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Did they ever wear capes in battle to begin with? I got the impression that the cape/cloak was for parades and perhaps for the march, but no one's going to be crazy enough to go into battle with a big loose piece of cloth that'd entangle your arms in practically no time. At the very least you would have taken it off and wrapped it around your arm or something (if you didn't just drop it altogether, that is--or, better still, leave it with the baggage).

Of course, the story would be quite different of what you mean by "cape" is a mail ventail or standard.
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Connor Lynch




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PostPosted: Mon 09 Aug, 2010 10:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well im not so sure on this but there is a movie on the Battle of Grunwald. All the Teutonic knights were wearing capes the latest i know is they wore them with gothic plate armour if you look type in second peace of thorn and click on the painting.
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Sander Marechal




PostPosted: Mon 09 Aug, 2010 10:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Did they ever wear capes in battle to begin with?


Depending on what interpretation you think is accurate, the Knights Hospitallers wore ankle-length mantles to battle up to 1248 when they were allowed to wear surcoats to battle instead. Point of interest, the other interpretation is that Knights Hospitallers wore full monk robes over their hauberks into battle until 1248. Our reenactment group is following the interpretation of the mantles, but I can't imagine either one being very suitable in a combat situation.
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Lafayette C Curtis




PostPosted: Mon 09 Aug, 2010 11:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Connor Lynch wrote:
Well im not so sure on this but there is a movie on the Battle of Grunwald. All the Teutonic knights were wearing capes the latest i know is they wore them with gothic plate armour if you look type in second peace of thorn and click on the painting.


One, that's a painting from 1873. Long after the event in question. Any professor would call me crazy if I tried to use it as a historical source.

Two, the scene being depicted is the signing of a peace treaty, not a battle, and I'm pretty sure that in such a context the Teutonic Knights would have worn their civilian clothes instead rather than full suits of armor. All right, maybe the Grand Master could have put on a full harness as a ceremonial gesture of respect for the solemnity of the occasion, but I wouldn't bet my money on that. If you want to reenact that scene, I'd suggest playing safe and wearing ornate civilian clothes (well, perhaps with a few nods to the Order's martial fashions. Or a lot. But basically you'd be wearing clothes rather than a full harness of plate.)


Sander Marechal wrote:
Depending on what interpretation you think is accurate, the Knights Hospitallers wore ankle-length mantles to battle up to 1248 when they were allowed to wear surcoats to battle instead. Point of interest, the other interpretation is that Knights Hospitallers wore full monk robes over their hauberks into battle until 1248.


Very interesting indeed! Have you found the sources for either of these interpretations? Iconography or written accounts? I'd certainly be interested to look deeper into it, even if in the end I suspect it's going to be a case of the exception that proves the rule.
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Sander Marechal




PostPosted: Mon 09 Aug, 2010 12:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Very interesting indeed! Have you found the sources for either of these interpretations? Iconography or written accounts? I'd certainly be interested to look deeper into it, even if in the end I suspect it's going to be a case of the exception that proves the rule.


The second interpretation is quite well known. You can find it e.g. Osprey's "The Knight Hospitaller (1)" by David Nicolle and many other books that deal with 12th and 13th century Knights Hospitallers.

The first interpretation is less well known. I first found out about it through the website of a French reenactment group called Les Guerriers du Moyen-Age. They did their own research using almost nothing but original 13th century sources. I recommend reading these two articles:

L’habit du moine Hospitalier à la fin du XIIème siècle
Frère clerc de l’Ordre de l’Hôpital de Saint Jean de Jérusalem

I hope you read French and some Latin. It took me many hours working with friends who read Latin and using online translators to understand it. I asked the authors some additional questions here.

The crux of the interpretation is the Latin word "habit", which they say in the 13th century doesn't necessarily refer to a monk's habit specifically but more general to "clothing", "garb" or "uniform". If you then read the original (Latin) rules of the Hospitallers again then you can see no other specific references to a monk's habit. But there are several rules that indicate that the mantle (mantellis) is the uniform, because it is explicitly mentioned. For example the specific rules that dictate when and where a Hospitaller receives his mantle, and rules dictating when a brother can be buried in his mantle.

Their interpretation is that the uniform of the Knights Hospitaller is just the mantle. They wore it over whatever other clothing they normally wore. Usually this is a monk's robe, because they are after all monks. But when going to battle, "normal clothing" would be a gambeson + hauberk. For non-professed brothers (i.e. they had taken only the vow of obedience, not the vows chastity and poverty) the normal clothing would probably be standard 13th civilian clothing since they are not monks (these would be the "donati" and servants for example, see also "Hospitaller Women in the Middle Ages" by H.J. Nicholson).

Two things are very clear and shared by both interpretations. First, the Hospitallers were required to wear their uniform whenever they were outside the confines of their monastery. This includes going to battle. And second, they specifically asked the pope if they could wear surcoats because the uniform hindered and endangered them in battle. In 1248 the pope granted that request, but they could only wear the surcoats when there was a direct danger/threat. Everywhere else they still had to wear their regular uniform.
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Lafayette C Curtis




PostPosted: Mon 09 Aug, 2010 1:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sander Marechal wrote:
Two things are very clear and shared by both interpretations. First, the Hospitallers were required to wear their uniform whenever they were outside the confines of their monastery. This includes going to battle. And second, they specifically asked the pope if they could wear surcoats because the uniform hindered and endangered them in battle. In 1248 the pope granted that request, but they could only wear the surcoats when there was a direct danger/threat. Everywhere else they still had to wear their regular uniform.


Wow. If nothing else, this does support both interpretations--a billowing cape or a baggy, wide-sleeved monk's habit would definitely have "hindered and endangered" their freedom of movement in battle. I'm pretty impressed with the research behind the interpretations overall, not the least because I know so little about the Military Orders and those articles have helped a great deal in filling the gaps in my education. Maybe I'll go and reread them at some other time (not in the middle of the night, and probably with a better French dictionary) just in case I missed any of the interesting tidbits. I'd eventually like to follow up on the books too when I get the money to buy some or the time to pester the librarians here.
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Sander Marechal




PostPosted: Mon 09 Aug, 2010 1:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Have fun chasing down the theories Happy

I have one request: If you come across the original versions of the Hospitaller's request or the original 1248 papal bull that grants them the right to wear surcoats, please post them here. I'd love to read them. All I have read about these two are translated quotes in books. I have been unable to find scans, facsimiles or the extracted, untranslated texts of these documents. I'd love to see if either mantles or monk's robes are specifically mentioned.
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Bjorn Hagstrom




PostPosted: Tue 10 Aug, 2010 12:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sander Marechal wrote:
Have fun chasing down the theories Happy

I have one request: If you come across the original versions of the Hospitaller's request or the original 1248 papal bull that grants them the right to wear surcoats, please post them here. I'd love to read them. All I have read about these two are translated quotes in books. I have been unable to find scans, facsimiles or the extracted, untranslated texts of these documents. I'd love to see if either mantles or monk's robes are specifically mentioned.


Have you tried the Vatican library/libraries? It seems that the Holy See is quite adapting to the digital age! So if you have more information about that bull, (like which pope signed it etc) that could be a start for a better search than I managed to make..

http://www.mss.vatlib.it/gui/console?service=scan
http://www.vatican.va/library_archives/vat_library/index.htm

And yes, I am as curious as you! Our group have also studied the latin rules and concluded that very much is context-dependent and can be interpreted in different ways. Also we have trouble pin-pointing the location and time of the rules documents. We must not forget that the Hospitallers worked over a very large area, and there are bound to be localized diffrencies in interpretations and practises even if there where efforts of centralization and standard practices.

There is nothing quite as sad as a one man conga-line...
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Sander Marechal




PostPosted: Tue 10 Aug, 2010 12:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bjorn Hagstrom wrote:
Sander Marechal wrote:
Have fun chasing down the theories :)

I have one request: If you come across the original versions of the Hospitaller's request or the original 1248 papal bull that grants them the right to wear surcoats, please post them here. I'd love to read them.


Have you tried the Vatican library/libraries? It seems that the Holy See is quite adapting to the digital age! So if you have more information about that bull, (like which pope signed it etc) that could be a start for a better search than I managed to make.


Thanks for those links. Unfortunately, I don't read Italian but I will give it a shot anyway. I know that the papal bull or decree was from 1248 and that it was issued by Pope Innocent IV (Innocentius Quartus or Innocentius IV). His successort Alexander IV decreed in 1259 that the brother-knights could wear red surcoats, while the brother-sergeants still wore black surcoats. I have found several of his documents through the Vatican Library link but I don't read Italian or Latin so I haven't been able to figure out if the one I need is in there. Also, I have been unable to find out how to download documents. All I get is descriptions. I assume that scans must be ordered for a fee of some sorts.
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