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Patrick Gilbers





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PostPosted: Mon 09 Nov, 2009 5:37 am    Post subject: Angus Og lord of Islay         Reply with quote

At this moment I am working at a full suit of arms that Scottish lord Angus Og MacDonald of Islay could have worn in the period of 1306-1320 AD. The biggest problem is the lack of historical information from the Westcoast of Scotland. I know about the many gravestones on which the people from the Western Isles wear an aketon, sometimes chain maille and a early bascinet.

Possibly Angus Og himself wore more protection than his officers in battle.

Can someone help with this difficult subject?


Last edited by Patrick Gilbers on Mon 09 Nov, 2009 6:51 am; edited 1 time in total
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JG Elmslie
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PostPosted: Mon 09 Nov, 2009 6:33 am    Post subject: Re: Angus Og lord of Islay         Reply with quote

Patrick Gilbers wrote:
At this moment I am working at a full suit of arms that Scottish lord Angus Og MacDonald of Islay could have worn in the period of 1306-1320 BC. The biggest problem is the lack of historical information from the Westcoast of Scotland. I know about the many gravestones on which the people from the Western Isles wear an aketon, sometimes chain maille and a early bascinet.

Possibly Angus Og himself wore more protection than his officers in battle.

Can someone help with this difficult subject?


I presume you mean AD. Happy

other than that, I suspect its extremely unlikely that the equipment will diverge significantly from the average for the area. I would say that the most logical course is that the equipment worn by a figure of such standing will simply be exceptionally good quality. I would suggest that's borne out by the grave slabs, where the significant lords of the isles are depicted in rather poor equipment, by the standards of anything worn in the more cosmopolitan areas of europe or england.

in all, I'd say the status will be in the details.
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Patrick Gilbers





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PostPosted: Mon 09 Nov, 2009 6:51 am    Post subject: Re: Angus Og lord of Islay         Reply with quote

JG Elmslie wrote:


I presume you mean AD. Happy


Yes I meant AD , sorry Eek!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me!
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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Mon 09 Nov, 2009 8:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I strongly recommend you do your own research because [a] its half the fun and [b] there is a lot of mis-information out there on the internet for that particular period of Scottish history (Wars of Independence, Edward I, Wallace, Bruce, Comyn etc). For example on the Wiki article they show infantry in belted plaids being reviewed by Robert Bruce !!Mad which is just ludicrous. My point is this - that particular period of Scottish history has seen a LOT of later romanticism. Unfortunately we don't have a lot of pictorial evidence for that time period, and there is a fair amount of controversy - even among academics on some of these arming issues. so there is my disclaimer. at the end of the day as much as we would like to romanticize certain aspects of Scottish and Irish medieval culture, the reality is that then, as today, advances in weapons and armour disseminated rather quickly. So imho, I don't know that a West Highland kit for the period you mentioned, especially of a very high status individual, would be all that different than a lowland Scot, or Northern English, or Anglo-Irish etc. However, this was the fringe of Europe in some ways, colder climate much of the year, and these were very practical people with probably a poorer economic base and therefore were probably prone to use whatever "worked", whatever they could get their hands on (and much of what they had in that period of much warfare was probably booty taken from the English).

Having said that, here is my $0.02

Probably all textile (layered linen) and mail armour at the time (hauberk with long skirt, aventail/pisane/coif, mufflers for hands, mail on th e legs etc) along with a helm. What would have distinguished a high status individual from someone else in that time is the amount and quality of the mail defences, the quality of the clothes/surcoat, the quality of the weapons and the size/quality of the horse and horse tack. Also probably the helm. Now on the helm in particular, if you want to be super accurate to your period, I don't know that the high peaked basinet is correct. If you look at effigies of the 1300-1320 period in Ireland and England you mostly see mail coifs, occasionally with rounded or flat topped steel caps, and a few great helms that went over both. The high peaked bascinet is more of a mid 14th c. style. Hard to say whether Angus Og would have had and worn a great helm but its definitely in the realm of possible and even probable.

there are some good features here at MA that discuss armour and my main rec'dation is make the search function here your best friend Big Grin . you can also spend some time on gothic eye

www.gothiceye.com

there are some other links to good art of the period as well, but I don't have the links handy. also books books and more books. You might want to try to find a copy of John Hunt, Irish Medieval Figure Sculpture at your local library since at the time of the Bruces, the West Highland and Irish culture were so similar (not to mention the Bruce Invasion of Ireland at the time). and there is a rather decent writeup of knightly armour for the period pre-1350 (pre-plague) in Hunt. good luck! tr
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Mon 09 Nov, 2009 11:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

"For example on the Wiki article they show infantry in belted plaids being reviewed by Robert Bruce !! which is just ludicrous." Thom R.

Thom...

That is a Victoria depiction and we all know how the Victorians treated historical topics. Your advice is very good and if followed should result in an accurate depiction.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Mon 09 Nov, 2009 1:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, just don't let the costuming in Braveheart be your guide....................

The problem is that there just isn't a lot of artwork for that period (1300-1320) that shows arms and armour clearly to go on:

http://www.fioredeiliberi.org/gallery2/main.p...temId=9889

tr
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Vincent C




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PostPosted: Mon 25 Jan, 2010 2:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Take a look at some of the grave slabs of the area from around that time.

From what I can tell (going on memory), they wore a chain hauberk, bascinet with camail, steel shoulder pieces with and steel gauntlets. I don't believe I've ever seen leg armour (greaves etc.) on the slabs.

There was a really nicely detailed one (that for the life of me I can't find) that showed this orientation along with a sword (looked like the albion laird) and a rather nasty looking long knife.

The knight was in the middle, sword floating in the air to his right, knife on the left, and he was holding his hands as if praying.

I'll find it eventually.

Hope that helped some.

Honor, compassion, knowledge.
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Jan J.P. Koerni




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PostPosted: Sun 31 Jan, 2010 2:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

With reading al the answers on the subject of this post aren't you guy's making the mistake of comparing this celtic society
to a feudal one?
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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Sun 31 Jan, 2010 4:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Jan. "celtic" is a modern word. i don't think "celtic society" is an appropriate term for the late 1200s. it is more traditionally used in the early iron age context. within period (1200s) the gaelic speaking peoples probably referred to themselves as "gaidheal" or simply "gael" although the first written evidence we have of that is in the 1400s. there are very few surviving texts for the geographic region in question for the period, most are in latin, where the terms scotti and hiberni are occasionally used for scottish and irish respectively.

again "feudal" is a modern word, originally used to refer to socio-political structures of medieval Europe. I am not sure I understand the question you are posing or how that relates to the original question regarding armour for the Lord of the Isles in the late 1200s and early 1300s. ... Question . tr
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Jack W. Englund




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PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 9:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is my 2 cents.

He was CLOSELY aligned with Robert the Bruce.. Example "The MacDonalds fought with Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. It was Donald's great grandson, Angus Og of Islay who was the 6th Lord of the Isles who sheltered King Robert the Bruce. Angus led a small band of Islesmen at the Battle of Bannockburn. In recognition of Clan Donalds support King Robert the Bruce proclaimed that Clan Donald would always occupy the honored position on the right wing of the Scottish army."
There fore, IMHO, His "gear would be basically the same as the Bruce's & the other "Lords" ( non Highland) with him.

NOTE-1 The possible exception would be Sir James Douglas ( The Black Douglas & a "direct "Rel of mine) during a good share of His "Battles" Sir James, He was known for His "RAIDS" in the Border lands & into N.E & N central "Britain" He & his troops would Hit HARD & fast, then "retreat into the "woods" ( like Torwood )or Northward. They were mounted on ."light horses" as opposed to the "chargers" of the "heavily Armored" Brit. "Heavy Cav.) Also, there are numourouse accounts of Him "scaling walls" ( via a rope ladder)

NOTE-2 The main force of the "Bruce" Did not have "Heavy Cav. units (at least "early on )

NOTE-3 It appears that one group of the Mac Arthur" ( Supporter of the Bruce") were Armorers to Agnus Org.

NOTE-4 At this Battle, Agnus Org's troops were " "light Horse"

At the Battle of Bannockburn, Angus Og led the men from the Isles to fight alongside the Bruce. It is said that Robert the Bruce greeted Angus Og warmly, saying, ‘My hope is constant in thee’ which became the motto of Clanranald.

When Edward’s knights were under attack from the Scots spearmen, Angus Og’s Hebridean men were let loose to charge the beleaguered English ranks. After Bannockburn the Bruce remembered his ally and gave the lordship of Lochaber to Angus Og.

Conclusion = Research the Lords that "served the "Bruce" Keeping in mind that Stutues etc. of them in "full Armor "maybe in err" Also, IMHO, There would be "little Difference" in their Armor ( no matter what type") Than what their enemies wore.

Jack
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Jan J.P. Koerni




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PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 3:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What i mean Thom is that there is a great cultural difference between the scottish island people and the rest of great britain
To compare them with english culture and such is not correct and the only close connection they would have was with the Irish people because they had the same celtic cultural heritage
So to call a gallowglass a knight is wrong in itself because of the fact that they didn't use what we call a feudal system
And don't forget the fact that the westcoast has been ruled by the vikings before Somerled kicked them out.
That makes the question of what Angus Og Macdonald wore as armour a bit more complex. And they definitely wouldn't where anything the sassennachs wore (only booty maybe if it was convenient)

And concerning the celtic society : When the romans ruled the whole of europe Ireland and the land that we now know as Scotland where the only places still alive with the 'so called' celtic culture
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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 5:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jan J.P. Koerni wrote:
What i mean Thom is that there is a great cultural difference between the scottish island people and the rest of great britain
To compare them with english culture and such is not correct and the only close connection they would have was with the Irish people because they had the same celtic cultural heritage
So to call a gallowglass a knight is wrong in itself because of the fact that they didn't use what we call a feudal system
And don't forget the fact that the westcoast has been ruled by the vikings before Somerled kicked them out.
That makes the question of what Angus Og Macdonald wore as armour a bit more complex. And they definitely wouldn't where anything the sassennachs wore (only booty maybe if it was convenient)

And concerning the celtic society : When the romans ruled the whole of europe Ireland and the land that we now know as Scotland where the only places still alive with the 'so called' celtic culture



OK, thanks for clarifying, I'm not sure we agree on the statement of yours I put in bold - may have to disagree on that. I agree that these were in many respects different cultures, but I don't see how the differences in political organization or "culture identity issues" between the highlands and the lowlands would really impinge on the original question on this thread. if you look at effigies for the entire region in the late 13th c., Ireland, Northern England, Eastern Scotland, there is a marked consistency in armour: textiles and mail armour in various configurations along with helms, many of spangen construction, of the type you would expect just about anywhere in western Europe at the time. this would be especially true for high status individuals. as for the helm and surcoat, thats the tricky part but I think all evidence for the period in the original question points to a combination of mail and textile armour. when Edward Bruce invaded Ireland, there is mention of the Scots having good mail armour. the graveslabs at Kidalton, Killarow, Kilchoman, these are not from the late 13th or early 14th c, they are much later in date despite the fact that they show primarily mail and textile armour. but still - they might not be bad as a general model with a more period appropriate helm. However, they generally show knee length cotuns that would be a problem to ride a horse with though - at least without side slits to the waist as well as in front and back. The other issue is whether there is mail underneath those cotuns. I suspect that there was. that the typical kit would have been arming clothes, mail over arming clothes, an arming cotun or coat over the mail, with a mail aventail or pisane over the coat. Coif with helm. maybe some splinted defences for legs and arms and gloves, mail mufflers for the hands. also remember, all the info we have indicates a bit of a "mini ice age" for the decade of 1310-1320. it was very cold for many of those years in western Europe, and the annals tell us of crop failures being a consistent problem in Ireland and Scotland in the late 1310s. so heavy quilted textile armour either over or maybe under mail is probably a good bet. tr
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Jan J.P. Koerni




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PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 9:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Point taken, but take in considaration that the westcoast scots were a seafearing people
They had control over the most part of the Irish sea
So plate armour wouldn't do any good when fighting on a ship
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Jack W. Englund




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Feb, 2010 6:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jan J.P. Koerni wrote:
Point taken, but take in considaration that the westcoast scots were a seafearing people
They had control over the most part of the Irish sea
So plate armour wouldn't do any good when fighting on a ship


Yes. BUT they (at least the ""clan/tribe" we a discussing) fought on LAND & quite Well.

Jack
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Jan J.P. Koerni




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Feb, 2010 8:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gallowglass rule
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Wed 28 May, 2014 4:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey guys, sorry for resurrecting an old thread.

@ Jack W. Englund. Could you please provide a reference for Angus' men fighting as light horse at Bannockburn. Thanks in advance.

Éirinn go Brách
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