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Adam D. Kent-Isaac




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PostPosted: Thu 22 Oct, 2009 11:55 pm    Post subject: Two questions about Maximilian armour         Reply with quote

I have two questions about Maximilian armour. One - why exactly is it called Maximilian? All of the armour that I'm aware of which belonged to Maximilian (Holy Roman Emperor) is Gothic; the distinctive fluted style only seemed to become popular several years after Maximilian I died. How did his name come to be associated with this style?

Second: are there any examples of Maximilian armours that were decorated in ways other than metal fluting and roping? Were any Maximilian armours gilded, russeted or blackened, or decorated with figural motifs? Gregory J. Liebau displayed this picture in another thread which he said was a Maximilian harness decorated with blackened sections, but it's difficult to see them. Are there any other examples?


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Gregory J. Liebau




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Oct, 2009 8:16 am    Post subject: Re: Two questions about Maximilian armour         Reply with quote

Adam D. Kent-Isaac wrote:
I have two questions about Maximilian armour. One - why exactly is it called Maximilian? All of the armour that I'm aware of which belonged to Maximilian (Holy Roman Emperor) is Gothic; the distinctive fluted style only seemed to become popular several years after Maximilian I died. How did his name come to be associated with this style?


It's called Maximilian because it was developed right through the era when Maximilian was the Holy Roman Emperor. He became Emperor in 1508 and died in 1519. The heavily fluted style of armour such as the example you cited was developed exactly during that time period. The transitional era from Gothic to Maximilian was approximately between 1495-1505, where elements of the robust, Milanese harnesses began to be incorporated into German harnesses. By 1505 there are numerous examples of fluted armours that resemble the Maximilian style more than Gothic, and by 1515-1520 we have quite a few full harness examples. The pinnacle of the style was around 1520, and it continued to evolve until the 1540s, but these newer characteristics were not specifically what we today consider "Maximilian," and were rather the incorporation of other details into the Maximilian armours.

It is also important to note that although full harnesses in the heavily-fluted Maximilian style did not appear until the emperor was nearly on his death bed, the heavily fluted armour itself was already extremely popular among soldiers such as landsknechts, who often wore cuirass and tassets to battle. The emperor was the father of these soldiers, in his eyes and the eyes of the empire, and it is suitable, I think, to use his name for the hugely popular and flamboyant style of fluted armour that appeared during his reign in whatever form. Perhaps, in correlation to the full harnesses, there can be some dissent over whether or not his name is applied well... But in the scheme of things, the changing of German military tactics and his waves of reform, the evolutionary jump in armour stylization (leading right out of a transitional era) and the wars fought during the period leave us undeniably looking for something to tack his name onto. I think the armour hit the nail on the head.

The only military-style image of Maximilian shows him wearing a full harness of this transitional fluted style c. 1508. This is from the Triumph of Maximilian by H. Burgkmair.



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Second: are there any examples of Maximilian armours that were decorated in ways other than metal fluting and roping? Were any Maximilian armours gilded, russeted or blackened, or decorated with figural motifs? Gregory J. Liebau displayed this picture in another thread which he said was a Maximilian harness decorated with blackened sections, but it's difficult to see them. Are there any other examples?


I'm afraid I can't think of many other Maximilian harnesses that embody all aspects of the style (pretty much meaning between 1515-1530) that have such unique features as heavy gilding or russeting. I've definitely seen at least a couple that were blued. Here's one example by Wolfgang Grosschedel in about 1525. This harness is known as part of a "Fico" group of armours because it is covered in obscene hand gestures in the etching. There are many surviving Maximilian harnesses that have etched borders, and lots of unique details can be seen in the photo collections put together by Carlo Paggiarino in his Wallace Collection and Churburg Castle books. This harness is also blued, or the photographs I've seen of it are extremely deceiving. But for the most part, you're correct in assuming there isn't much Maximilian armour surviving today that is not in a regular steel finish.




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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Tue 27 Oct, 2009 11:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry for going off topic, but that armored picture of good old Max in all his glory suddenly makes even the most masculine modern suit from Milan look sissy....
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Adam D. Kent-Isaac




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PostPosted: Tue 27 Oct, 2009 3:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maximilian I was pretty awesome all-around. He revolutionized the way tournaments were held, and at his court various new forms of combat were devised, including the Stechzeug, a joust in the open field with sharp lances. He himself was an extremely enthusiastic participant in tournaments both of horse and foot, maybe even more so than Henry VIII - he truly loved the martial arts, and he competed whenever possible.
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