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Ben P.




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PostPosted: Sun 11 Jan, 2009 9:10 am    Post subject: Why did the 'Sugarloaf' helm fall out of use?         Reply with quote

Why? it seems like an excellent helm so why?
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Sun 11 Jan, 2009 9:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bascinet was better. Just one more step in helmet development from Great helms with flat or slightly curved tops to round to the early bascinet.

RPM
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Steven H




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PostPosted: Sun 11 Jan, 2009 3:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
Bascinet was better. Just one more step in helmet development from Great helms with flat or slightly curved tops to round to the early bascinet.

RPM


Yes. But in what way? More fashionable?

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Steven

Kunstbruder - Boston area Historical Combat Study
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 11 Jan, 2009 4:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steven H wrote:
Yes. But in what way? More fashionable?

Cheers,
Steven


The bascinet is less bulky. And it offered the ability to turn your head more than some great helms which rested on the shoulders, limiting movement. The great helm with moveable visor never seems to have caught on: we see things that look like it in art, but have no survivors. The moveable visor in a bascinet was more popular.

You might also see the change in helms as a result of changes in tactics. You could make a case that the bascinet and lighter forms of head protection flourished as the mounted cavalry charged floundered. As fighting on foot becomes more common and the mounted knight begins to lose effectiveness on the field, great helms go away except in the tourney where jousting (essentially solo mounted cavalry charges) was popular.

But you can never discount fashion either. Happy

It seems more knights had begun to use bascinets and aventails (evolving from the simple iron skull-caps) under their great helms as the 14th century dawned instead of just mail coifs. That's a lot of metal on your head. When you're on horseback receiving an opposing army's cavalry, you're happy to have all that, but as more armies dismount to fight (at times) that may be too much to walk around in. So you ditch the great helm and just go with your bascinet. But if you miss facial protection, you add a visor to the bascinet. That's pretty effective so it flourishes.

Happy

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Greg Coffman




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Jan, 2009 5:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think the bascinet with hounds-face visor is functionally superior to the sugarloaf helm even in cavalry charges. The sugarloaf has a flat top with a rim that swords or other weapons can bite into. The rounded shape and peaked top of the bascinet makes weapons more likely to slide off. I see the hounds-face visor created directly in response to a cavalry charge. The sharp forward face deflects lances and spears much better than the sugar loaf.
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
-Hebrews 4:12
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Ben P.




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Jan, 2009 9:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greg Coffman wrote:
The sugarloaf has a flat top with a rim that swords or other weapons can bite into.


Oh really well I must have got the name wrong, I'm thinking of the one that has a rounded top
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Jan, 2009 9:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No you are right the Sugarloaf is round or actually more of a conical top. Comes from the sugar loaf shape which was used in several instances in the modern period. Here is one.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugarloaf

It is not a historic term but modern. To be fair the Wiki picture is not the best I have seen but I could not find another.

I was not trying to be rude or terse but to the point. The sugarloaf design was a step from great helm to bascinet.... in my somewhat educated opinion. It was lighter and more advanced.

RPM
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Ben P.




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Jan, 2009 9:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
No you are right the Sugarloaf is round or actually more of a conical top. Comes from the sugar loaf shape which was used in several instances in the modern period. Here is one.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugarloaf

It is not a historic term but modern.



Oh okay thanks BTW what is the historic term?
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Jan, 2009 10:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Likely a healm of heaume. Depends though as I am wondering if they might have simply considered them bascinets at times...How far along does the helmet progress till it is called something new.

RPM
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Greg Coffman




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Jan, 2009 11:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Okay, well that's my mistake. I didn't realize there was a difference between sugarloaf and great helms. This first link was what I was thinking of. http://www.by-the-sword.com/acatalog/images/300404.jpg
This second link depicts a sugarloaf helm. http://www.by-the-sword.com/acatalog/images/ah-3821n.jpg
Still, I stand by what I said about the hounds-face visors on the bascinets. To me, the sugarloaf helm look like bascinets with a flat face. The hounds-face visor will deflect lances better than the flat face on the sugarloaf.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
-Hebrews 4:12
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Ben P.




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Jan, 2009 12:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It doesn't look that flat, more angled to me anyway

BTW how good is the breathing, eyesight, and hearing in a 'sugarloaf'
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Mon 12 Jan, 2009 8:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greg Coffman wrote:
I think the bascinet with hounds-face visor is functionally superior to the sugarloaf helm even in cavalry charges. The sugarloaf has a flat top with a rim that swords or other weapons can bite into. The rounded shape and peaked top of the bascinet makes weapons more likely to slide off. I see the hounds-face visor created directly in response to a cavalry charge. The sharp forward face deflects lances and spears much better than the sugar loaf.


Greg,
I don't know that I agree with this. Between the sugarloaf style and the fully developed bascinet with a peak and hounds (or pig) face are bascinets with more rounded tops and globular visors.

The great helm doesn't always have a rim/rims that can catch lance thrusts either. Check out our spotlight article Spotlight: The Great Helm for more great helms pics than you'll find anywhere on the net. Later ones are better at deflecting than the old ones.

And the great helm survived in the tournament, where lance charges were a popular (predominant?) form of combat, long after they fell out of use on the battlefield. They were great protection from lance thrusts in the joust.

Also by the time the fully developed bascinet is in widespread use, the English and French were fighting more often afoot than on horseback. At Morgarten (1315) only a third of the Austrian army was mounted. At Sempach (1386), the Swiss and the Austrians fought afoot, too. If you look at the timeline of battle tactics and then look at what armour seems to have been popular, the great helm seems to have flourished while mounted combat did. Mounted combat was still around, but nowhere near as popular during the "bascinet era" as during the "great helm era." For example. the English used bascinets (judging by period art and some surviving specimens), but most often fought afoot during the era the bascinet was popular.

Happy

ChadA

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Greg Coffman




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Jan, 2009 11:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad,
I don't think you saw my second post:
Quote:
Okay, well that's my mistake. I didn't realize there was a difference between sugarloaf and great helms. This first link was what I was thinking of. http://www.by-the-sword.com/acatalog/images/300404.jpg
This second link depicts a sugarloaf helm. http://www.by-the-sword.com/acatalog/images/ah-3821n.jpg
Still, I stand by what I said about the hounds-face visors on the bascinets. To me, the sugarloaf helm look like bascinets with a flat face. The hounds-face visor will deflect lances better than the flat face on the sugarloaf.

Yes, I was mistaken in thinking that the sugar-loaf was just another name for a great helm. After looking them up I noticed the difference. However, I do think that the hounds-face visor attached to the bascinet does a much better job of deflecting a lance or spear because of the much greater angle. The sugarloaf is flat in the vertical directed though rounded on the sides, but not very rounded. The angle of a hounds-face visor is just much more extreme. Tournaments are different because the lances are not tipped, sharp, or meant to kill. Again, to me the bascinet just looks like a sugarloaf built to receive a visor.
Quote:
If you look at the timeline of battle tactics and then look at what armour seems to have been popular, the great helm seems to have flourished while mounted combat did.

I think this is because the great helm was the pinnacle of helmet technology for that time. The one advantage I can think of that would make the bascinet more suitable to combat on foot is the ability to lift up the visor. Later helmets for combat on foot either have an open face or a rounded, flatter face while later helmets for mounted combat tend to have a 'pointy nose' shape. This shape is exactly what the sugarloaf and greathelms lacked and which the bascinet added through the hounds-face. The shape does a better job of deflecting a lance. Even tournament helmets eventually adopt this shape.
Helmets for mounted combat:
http://www.myArmoury.com/albums/displayimage....amp;pos=49
http://www.myArmoury.com/albums/displayimage....mp;pos=150
Later jousting helmet (helmet is leaning backwards in the photo)
http://www.myArmoury.com/albums/displayimage....amp;pos=83

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
-Hebrews 4:12
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jan, 2009 5:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I did see your second post, but didn't fully agree with it. Happy

Greg Coffman wrote:
Tournaments are different because the lances are not tipped, sharp, or meant to kill.


But a glancing surface was usually important in most forms of the tourney, too, not just on the field. If the lance (tipped or untipped depending on whether it was a joust of peace or not) found purchase, it was still not a good thing. It could damage your armour, knock you off your horse, or at the very least, cause the oncoming lance to shatter and score your opponent points. Obviously some forms of tournament armour were meant to catch lances, but many were designed to deflect.

The late frog-mouth tilting helms were designed to provide glancing surfaces. Even late battlefield great helms are full of curves and glancing surfaces. There usually aren't any completely flat surfaces.

You could even say bascinets are less protective than great helms. Instead of going to (or nearly to) the shoulders like great helms often do, visored bascinets (not great bascinets) usually are shorter and protection of the neck is left to a flexible aventail rather than solid metal. A great helm, even if it didn't reach all the way to the shoulders still usually had an aventail beneath. So you've lost a layer of protection with the bascinet.

Greg Coffman wrote:
Again, to me the bascinet just looks like a sugarloaf built to receive a visor.


I disagree with this for the reasons noted above. Plus, the shapes are not the same.

I do think the bascinet was easier to wear and protective enough to warrant use, but I'm not sure we agree on everything here. And that's okay. Happy

Happy

ChadA

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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Sun 18 Jan, 2009 7:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In my amateur opinion, once the bascinet got a visor, people simply realized that it's much, much more convenient to lift a visor than to take off an entire helm when they needed extra ventilation. A visor can be lifted with one hand while (I believe) safely lifting a helm off one's head with anything less than two hands is going to be tricky at the very least.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 18 Jan, 2009 7:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
In my amateur opinion, once the bascinet got a visor, people simply realized that it's much, much more convenient to lift a visor than to take off an entire helm when they needed extra ventilation. A visor can be lifted with one hand while (I believe) safely lifting a helm off one's head with anything less than two hands is going to be tricky at the very least.


Lafayette,
I think that's a very likely reason. A bascinet is plenty protective and the visor (especially the removable ones we often see) offer many options.

What's strange to me is that we don't see a lot (or maybe any) bascinets with devices to lock the visor down in place. I would think that a non-secured visor would be a liability, especially in a lance charge.

Happy

ChadA

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