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Milos Nesovic





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PostPosted: Sun 07 Jun, 2009 5:42 pm    Post subject: Archaeology of effigies         Reply with quote

Having been a lurker on this forum for a while, it is a bout time to say hello to everyone and start aking questions, and hopefully answering some as well.

Given that many scholars and amateur enthusiasts use effigies as sources for investigation of arms and armour, and arguing from time to time, as how certain representations should be interpreted (splinted armour is the usual focus of debate ), it is striking to me that there are very few mentions of grave finds compared to the effigies to which they could be associated.

So, which graves were excavated that were related to effigies and how do the finds (clothes, arms, armour etc.) compare to the representations of the decided and their garb?

I know only of the Black Prince's find, (gauntlets, helm, shield, scabbard, jupon) and none other. I was unable to find any books or articles, or even dig up any forum discussions on the subject.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 07 Jun, 2009 8:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Melos,
Congrats on your first post. Happy People weren't buried in their armour in tombs, as far as I know. Some swords have been found in graves (Estorre Visconti and Can Grande della Scala come to mind, as well as some of the Spanish monarchs), but the decedents were not armoured. I don't know of any medieval armour pulled from tombs. Battlefield graves like Visby have revealed armour, but that's a different subject.

In England and other places, it was not uncommon for the war-like "achievements" of knights and nobles to be hung above their graves. This accounts for the Black Prince's gauntlets, helm, shield, jupon, and scabbard as well as the sword supposedly stolen by Cromwell. Sir Richard Pembridge's helm is another example, as is the Von Prankh helm now in Vienna and Henry V's helm, shield, and sword, among other examples. These were not pulled from their tombs, though, but put near them from the start.

Happy

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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Sun 07 Jun, 2009 10:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad pretty much covered it. It would be very uncommon in most of Europe to have been buried in armour. They have actually opened a few of the tombs of soldiers of the Hundred Years' War but not looking for arms or armour but to see the person themselves.

RPM
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jun, 2009 2:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have not researched it, but think it worth adding to the post. In at least a couple of cases the date of the effigy being placed at the tomb is known. Some of the stone covers took more than 25 years before they were actually commissioned and then completed. (I posted a couple of years ago about one who had a surviving inventory of his possessions near time of death in addition to a later effigy.) I tend to view effigies as likely depicting the armour style as it would have been near the end of the person's life, not necessarily how they were in their prime if they were long lived.
Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jun, 2009 3:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some brasses actually predate the death of the people depicted. Happy Some have birth dates but no death dates, with a space indicating that the death was meant to be filled in. In some of those cases, husbands (or wives) would have a brass laid when their spouse died. That brass would depict them both, but the living spouse would have no date of death filled in, as they weren't dead at the time it was laid. Happy
Happy

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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jun, 2009 11:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad,

Very true. De Cobham's by more than half a century!!! Eek!

There is a great deal of info that indicates this was a rather common practice but since nothing on a large scale has been done it remains unknown. My guess is that the date of death is usually not a bad idea for effigy unless you have proof in one way or another it is not. It is a general rule but to me the only working frame I can think of.

RPM
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Milos Nesovic





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PostPosted: Tue 09 Jun, 2009 6:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you for your welcome and answers.

Allright, so in this view, there is no other argument than "common sense" in relation to the more-or-less realistic manner in which the effigies were shaped, that those symbolically less siginificant pieces of armour (and gear in general) depicted are representations of real equipment.

I'll try to sum this up. Effigies were made both by decided before death, and by their heirs and relatives after. The late ladies and gentlemen, could have been depicted in their prime age (not necessarily the physical prime age of 30's and early 40's) with A&A either from the time of making the effigy, or from an earlier period in their lives. However, the predominant opinion is that most armour depicted, should be associated with either the time of death or with date of the effigy itself, while the fore mentioned cases account only for exceptions.

The only finds of arms and armour directly associated with te effigies are those that bare more symbolic significance than others, so they could have been made specifically for the funeral, but they were most likely the personal items of status belonging tho the decided (ie. Black Prince's helm, shield, gauntlets, sword and jupon). Other parts of armour and weapons were more likely to be inherited and then either kept (and used) or discarded, sold, reclycled, given away etc.

Am I getting this right? All this should be viewed as an attempt to sum up prevailing opinions, and not as a theory in itself, especially when the number of "IF"-s and assumptions is taken into account.

And of course:
Quote:
People weren't buried in their armour in tombs, as far as I know.

That is what I was afraid of. I fits well into Christian practice, but I was hoping for the less likely practice to have been observed.
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