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Ben P.




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PostPosted: Tue 24 Feb, 2009 9:46 am    Post subject: A really morbid question         Reply with quote

Has anyone in history ever used Armour made of human skin and if so how effective was it?
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Sean Belair
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PostPosted: Tue 24 Feb, 2009 9:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

how effectively does your skin stop cuts?
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C. Gadda





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PostPosted: Tue 24 Feb, 2009 10:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While it was not necessarily worn as armor per se, the Aztecs were documented to have worn the flayed skins of sacrificial victims. Either or both of the Osprey books pertaining to Aztecs will talk to this subject (going from memory, one title was "Aztec, Mixtec, and Zapotec Warriors" and the other was simply "The Aztec Warrior").
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David Wilson




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PostPosted: Tue 24 Feb, 2009 1:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Also not armour-related, but there is a historical interlude from the aftermath of the battle of Stirling Bridge. Sir Hugh Cressingham was a representative of Edward I who was particularly hated by the Scots (not that they liked the other English nobles, but they really, REALLY hated this guy). Sir Hugh fell in the battle. So the Scots took Cressingham's corpse (he being rather large in girth, giving plenty of material to work with), flayed the skin from the body, treated it, and made it into a baldric for the Scottish hero, Sir WIlliam Wallace.

See? Not armour-related, but certainly sword-related, in a way.... Eek!

David K. Wilson, Jr.
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Geoff Wood




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PostPosted: Tue 24 Feb, 2009 2:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

C. Gadda wrote:
While it was not necessarily worn as armor per se, the Aztecs were documented to have worn the flayed skins of sacrificial victims. Either or both of the Osprey books pertaining to Aztecs will talk to this subject (going from memory, one title was "Aztec, Mixtec, and Zapotec Warriors" and the other was simply "The Aztec Warrior").


AFAIK, not armour. Wearing of a flayed skin was part of the worship of Xipe Totec (or equivalent mesoamerican gods).
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Tue 24 Feb, 2009 2:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Wilson wrote:
Also not armour-related, but there is a historical interlude from the aftermath of the battle of Stirling Bridge. Sir Hugh Cressingham was a representative of Edward I who was particularly hated by the Scots (not that they liked the other English nobles, but they really, REALLY hated this guy). Sir Hugh fell in the battle. So the Scots took Cressingham's corpse (he being rather large in girth, giving plenty of material to work with), flayed the skin from the body, treated it, and made it into a baldric for the Scottish hero, Sir WIlliam Wallace.

See? Not armour-related, but certainly sword-related, in a way.... Eek!


Gosh. . . that's. . . interesting. . . Ummm. . . WTF?!
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Bill Sahigan





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PostPosted: Tue 24 Feb, 2009 4:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

and the skin yelled.

"FREEDOM!!!!!!!!"
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Zach Gordon




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PostPosted: Tue 24 Feb, 2009 7:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Also not armour-related, but there is a historical interlude from the aftermath of the battle of Stirling Bridge. Sir Hugh Cressingham was a representative of Edward I who was particularly hated by the Scots (not that they liked the other English nobles, but they really, REALLY hated this guy). Sir Hugh fell in the battle. So the Scots took Cressingham's corpse (he being rather large in girth, giving plenty of material to work with), flayed the skin from the body, treated it, and made it into a baldric for the Scottish hero, Sir WIlliam Wallace.


I heard that too, i doubt it really happened though, it sounds like period english anti-scottish propaganda, or a modern myth.
Also not exactly armor but the Nazis made uniforms of human hair, and gun-slings and helmet liners of human leather. I have also heard BMW lined their car seats with human hair, and I saw a human skin lamp in a museum once.
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Tue 24 Feb, 2009 8:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd always wondered what human leather would be like. Came up in a fictional work on human parchment.

M.

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Gavin Kisebach




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PostPosted: Tue 24 Feb, 2009 9:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can't imagine that human skin would have any defensive value beyond that of say, pigskin, which is to say none at all. It might keep you safe from abrasion but that's about it.

I'm going to conclude that only a sick twist (either by cultural inculcation or by mental disorder) would attempt to wear body parts. I can imangine that certain cultures would make human armor as a sort of mystical protection, that's pretty feasible for a lot of bronze age or stone age cultures.

There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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Eric W. Norenberg





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PostPosted: Tue 24 Feb, 2009 9:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

(In response to Mr. Eversberg's post above)
Sorry for veering away from the "armor" part of the equation, but there is a parish church in York with a "Daneskin" on the West-end door, nailed over the oak planks and under the wrought-iron hinges and strap-work. It has been tanned, if I recall correctly, and the tattoos are still visible. The hide itself was considerably darkened with age, didn't really look like what I would expect a Nordic fellow's skin to look like (since I see it in the mirror - still "in situ", of course), but the pores were still fairly visible and, well, kinda human looking... like a modern cowhide jacket, but softer in appearance, I guess. Didn't touch it, 'tho...
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Tue 24 Feb, 2009 9:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

M. Eversberg II wrote:
I'd always wondered what human leather would be like. Came up in a fictional work on human parchment.

M.


It's not certain that it's entirely fictional. A couple of books in the US library of Congress are supposedly bound in human skin. I would have to do a little research to tell you which ones.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Sean Belair
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PostPosted: Wed 25 Feb, 2009 7:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
A couple of books in the US library of Congress are supposedly bound in human skin


they displayed some human bound books of Nazi origin in the library at my college a few years ago. to make things worse they were huge, they looked like something out of a bad fantasy movie. i got the chills every time i walked by them.
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Wed 25 Feb, 2009 9:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is a strange topic indeed.

M.

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Blaine Hall





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PostPosted: Thu 26 Feb, 2009 1:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, what about using human remains/parts as prominently displayed trophies - particularly for intimidation? What evidence of that do we have?
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Sam Gordon Campbell




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PostPosted: Thu 26 Feb, 2009 4:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Didn't the 'Celts' (Keltoi?) have a cult/s devoted to the head, like the head of Bran(?) or somthing? Armour wise, as a primary defence (like a berzerks bear/wolf pelt [or at least to my knowledge Sad ]) I don't believe that anyone would, if you've ever skined an animal (like a wallaby[and yes we ate the whole thing]) then one gets a sense of how time consuming it is and, well, pointless.
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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Thu 26 Feb, 2009 10:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Blaine Hall wrote:
Well, what about using human remains/parts as prominently displayed trophies - particularly for intimidation? What evidence of that do we have?

The Kings of Dahomey in West Africa had entire rooms in their palaces made from human bones to remind visitors of their power. The Aztecs displayed the bones of their sacrificial victims in huge racks in Tenochitlan. Some Celtic peoples were known for taking and preserving the heads of notable enemies.
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Dan P




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PostPosted: Thu 26 Feb, 2009 10:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Blaine Hall wrote:
Well, what about using human remains/parts as prominently displayed trophies - particularly for intimidation? What evidence of that do we have?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_mutilat...e_war_dead

Some WW2 soldiers serving in the Pacific theater gave President Franklin Roosevelt a letter opener made of a dead Japanese soldier's arm.
He refused to accept it.
[/url]
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Dan Dickinson
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PostPosted: Thu 26 Feb, 2009 1:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Blaine Hall wrote:
Well, what about using human remains/parts as prominently displayed trophies - particularly for intimidation? What evidence of that do we have?


Well, the first thing that comes to mind is the act of scalping, practiced by many of North America's native peoples.

Dan
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Zach Gordon




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PostPosted: Thu 26 Feb, 2009 7:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

wasnt one of the foes of Arthur (as in king arthur) said to have worn a cloak made of the beards of his victims.
and in beowulf they nailed up grendels arm on the wall
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