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Zach Gordon




Location: Vermont. USA
Joined: 07 Oct 2008

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PostPosted: Tue 07 Oct, 2008 7:30 pm    Post subject: Viking Leather Padded Garment         Reply with quote

Hi y'all,
Im new im just getting into reenacting and ren faires. I wanted to get a padded leather garment for a viking suit. I want one that could be worn over or under chainmail (if i can afford it).
How historical is it?
How much/where2buy?
How hard to make (im not so good at sewing and stuff)?
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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
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PostPosted: Tue 07 Oct, 2008 7:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Zach,

I know exactly what you're talking about; these are basically quilted leather gambesons that are very popular with reenactors for that era. I can't attest to it's authenticity, but I suspect it's "historically feasible" while allowing for safety, much like the use of lamellar in SCA combat for Rus / Eastern vikings. Possible but not extant.

I've seen these for sale from eastern European websites, if I can dig one up I'll post it but I think you may have to make one. It would be exactly like making a quilted shirt, but I'd use linen for the interior lining. Cotton batting would work, don't use polyester batting you'll die of heat stroke.

There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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Chuck Russell




Location: WV
Joined: 17 Aug 2004
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PostPosted: Wed 08 Oct, 2008 5:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

i know of no such animal to be in history. its all reenactorizms
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Anders Nilsson




Location: Sweden
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PostPosted: Wed 08 Oct, 2008 7:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are pictures on helmets during the vendel period of fightingmen i large warrior coats.
Probably not of leather but of thick wool.

They could have been in use by vikings, no finds thou.
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
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PostPosted: Wed 08 Oct, 2008 2:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is nothing to suggest that vikings wore any garment specifically designed to go under mail. For authenticity a few woollen tunics would suffice. Leather doesn't work from a practical standpoint either. Get yourself two garments, one made of leather and one made of linen or wool, and compare the difference when worn under mail.
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Zach Gordon




Location: Vermont. USA
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PostPosted: Wed 08 Oct, 2008 3:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

well, it would mostly be worn as stand alone armor.
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Douglas S





Joined: 18 Feb 2004

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PostPosted: Wed 08 Oct, 2008 3:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Anders Nilsson wrote:
There are pictures on helmets during the vendel period of fightingmen i large warrior coats.
Probably not of leather but of thick wool.

They could have been in use by vikings, no finds thou.


I believe I know of the period images you are referring to. There's not enough detail in these to draw any valuable conclusions.
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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
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PostPosted: Wed 08 Oct, 2008 5:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The garments that we're talking about are like this, correct?:

http://www.walhalla.com.pl/sklep/product_info.php?products_id=92

I don't think that these ar historically feasible, at least not on a large scale simply because as far as I know leather was never cheap. I suppose you could use sheep skin rather than cow hide, but would it protect from spear thrusts? I doubt it.

All the same they appear to be very popular with reenactment groups because they look medieval-ish without being a n inappropriate luxury (like a full byrnie would be) and they take a lot of the ouch out of rebated sword blows. It seems to be one of those things that everyone turns a blind eye to for safety sake.

There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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Anders Nilsson




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PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct, 2008 12:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul Mortimer has made a jacket after the images on the helmets.

I hope he donīt mind I show you this.

They are shown on images from the Vendelperiod, ao at least then, some sort of warrior jackets where used.
Perhaps they where still in use by the vikings.



 Attachment: 94.91 KB
PaulMfrontsmall.JPG

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Douglas S





Joined: 18 Feb 2004

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PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct, 2008 3:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gavin Kisebach wrote:
The garments that we're talking about are like this, correct?:

http://www.walhalla.com.pl/sklep/product_info.php?products_id=92



This is all that we're going on from the period:



I would not presume to draw any conclusions from this except that here is some sort of garment. I would not assume that it's armor.

There was a Norse saga that described armor made from reindeer hide.
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Chuck Russell




Location: WV
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PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct, 2008 4:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

ya, but that was also magical.

Paul's kit is awesome no doubt about it. but leather... I dunno. I think I'd make a wool one.
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
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PostPosted: Fri 10 Oct, 2008 3:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Douglas S wrote:
There was a Norse saga that described armor made from reindeer hide.

This myth needs to be squashed once and for all. There are no sagas ever mentioning any armour made of leather. The one people keep bringing up is a leather shirt that has been magically enchanted to resist weapons.

Regarding the above illustration. If people can find evidence that anyone ever fought in a helmet like that depicted then you can start speculating about whether the clothing in the same illustration is armour or not.
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Chase S-R




Location: New Mexico
Joined: 31 Jan 2008

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PostPosted: Sat 11 Oct, 2008 7:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
This myth needs to be squashed once and for all. There are no sagas ever mentioning any armour made of leather. The one people keep bringing up is a leather shirt that has been magically enchanted to resist weapons.


Actually I have read that saga, and it does exist.... It states that thirteen shirts of padded reindeer hide were sent as a gift and were said to be more resistant to a spear thrust than a mail brynie. You can find a partial translation in THE VIKINGS: VOYAGERS OF CONQUEST AND DISCOVERY

Quote:
I don't think that these ar historically feasible, at least not on a large scale simply because as far as I know leather was never cheap. I suppose you could use sheep skin rather than cow hide, but would it protect from spear thrusts? I doubt it.


I agree that leather was expensive but it still would be cheaper than the iron needed to make a maille brynie. It seems to me it would fill a gap between thoose that could afford a brynie and thoose that could not afford any armour. Expensive yes, but not prohibitvely so. Not for a poor person. Besides according to Stone in his glossary of arms&armour in all countries and all times he says that early mail was backed in leather.

Look at the lewis chessman the bersirker is wearing a quilted armour that looks to be leather. There is a charachter on the bayeux tapestry wearing a quilted leather armour.

Charles Stewart Rodriguez
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Chuck Russell




Location: WV
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PostPosted: Sat 11 Oct, 2008 8:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

that is you think they are. Happy there has never been any other reference or finds to it. the romans didn't back all of their mail, they might have backed the doublers but even that there isnt enough historical proof to say 1 way or the other. Stones glossary should be taken with a grain of salt too.

as to a leather jerkin begin spear proof. i'd like to see someone do a test. honestly. test leather vs mail. i don't think it even be worth wearing. and as too the cost of iron, the huscarls had to have what 8 shirts a piece ? so there was an awful lot of shirts around.
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Chase S-R




Location: New Mexico
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PostPosted: Sat 11 Oct, 2008 9:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

there has never been a complete shirt of maille from the viking era found either. Most books say that maille was fairly uncommon, it seems to me that something would need to fill the gap between no armour and maille.
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Chuck Russell




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PostPosted: Sat 11 Oct, 2008 12:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

but y? did not the earlier cultures fight nude? and what armour they had was minimal? I'm not bating you please don't take me like that. just questioning.

there is also only 1 "viking" helmet found but you hear of so many men in the time being armored in mail and helmets...
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
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PostPosted: Sat 11 Oct, 2008 2:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chase S-R wrote:
there has never been a complete shirt of maille from the viking era found either. Most books say that maille was fairly uncommon, it seems to me that something would need to fill the gap between no armour and maille.

Why? There are accounts of quite wealthy Scandinavians, who could easily afford a byrnie, choosing to fight with sword, helmet and shield. It is a huge misconception that people would wear armour if they simply had the means.

A hafna (military division) was responsible for providing one ship and it's crew (40-60 men). Each man was to be provided with a helmet, spear and shield and one mail shirt is provided for the entire ship. For every 6 benchs, there is to be a bow. There is no mention in any text of leather armour. Mail was worn by the elite. The rest wore regular clothing.


Last edited by Dan Howard on Sat 11 Oct, 2008 3:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 11 Oct, 2008 2:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chase S-R wrote:
Actually I have read that saga, and it does exist.... It states that thirteen shirts of padded reindeer hide were sent as a gift and were said to be more resistant to a spear thrust than a mail brynie. You can find a partial translation in THE VIKINGS: VOYAGERS OF CONQUEST AND DISCOVERY

Plenty of civilian clothing is lightly padded and quilted. They were never intended as armour and do not protect against weapons. If they did then there would be no need to get wizards to enchant them Wink

Quote:
Besides according to Stone in his glossary of arms&armour in all countries and all times he says that early mail was backed in leather.
That statement, along with many others in Stone's book, is wrong. Stone's Glossary isn't good for much except the photos. The sections on armour in particular are not worth reading.

Quote:
Look at the lewis chessman the bersirker is wearing a quilted armour that looks to be leather. There is a charachter on the bayeux tapestry wearing a quilted leather armour.
Really? All I see is crude crosshatching that could represent anything from mail to scale to barber stripes. And anyone who thinks he can look at a medieval needlework and tell that a particular item is made of leather is seriously deluded.
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Mikael Ranelius




Location: Sweden
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PostPosted: Sun 12 Oct, 2008 4:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are plenty of preserved leather from the viking age, but any fragment that could be identified as a part of armour is yet to be found.

As for reindeer hide, it might be the worst kind of material you can think of to make leather-armour. The leather is comparatively thin, soft and is easily cut. It's a material that is wonderful to work with and easy to sew, and it can be made into really nice purses and soft, comfortable clothes, but I wouldn't use it for armour. Bovine- and moose-hides would have been much more suitable, as well as being easier to obtain. But then, there are no real evidences for viking leather-armour as I see it
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Chuck Russell




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PostPosted: Sun 12 Oct, 2008 6:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

not to mention how many teed off children there would be out there when Santa Clause couldn't come cause some viking is wearing Rudolf as this years fashion Wink hehehe sorry. i thought it was funny its no attack on anyone just something I thought of on my own... its a sickness i know Wink
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