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T. Hamilton




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PostPosted: Tue 22 Jun, 2010 9:15 pm    Post subject: Greasing Arming Coats         Reply with quote

I've been reading a little of Bernard Cornwell's stuff lately, and in several books he mentions squires greasing up their knight's arming coats with lanolin prior to putting on plate (suppossedly makes the armour move easier). True or false? Wouldn't you want the plates to stay where you pointed them? I know it's called historical FICTION for a reason, but I'm still curious.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 22 Jun, 2010 9:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Greasing Arming Coats         Reply with quote

T. Hamilton wrote:
I've been reading a little of Bernard Cornwell's stuff lately, and in several books he mentions squires greasing up their knight's arming coats with lanolin prior to putting on plate (suppossedly makes the armour move easier). True or false? Wouldn't you want the plates to stay where you pointed them? I know it's called historical FICTION for a reason, but I'm still curious.


Might give some rust protection but mostly I suspect it's just poetic license from the author.

I found his Agincourt book very readable with interesting characters but a few minor technical issues like having a sword with a full width tang and slab scales for a handle: I think he probably does some good research before writing but he is not an expert in arm and armour so some of his ideas are his inventions.

Someone more knowledgeable of Medieval customs might also find other inaccuracies in the story ? I really don't know, but as with most works of fiction they can seem very good and be very satisfying and internally logical but an expert in the period customs, costume and actual history could find inaccuracies that could be minor or major.

http://www.amazon.com/Agincourt-Novel-Bernard...0061578916

( Note grease might also make an arming coat much more uncomfortable by making it less breathable and eventually turn rancid ? )

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Tue 22 Jun, 2010 9:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Greasing Arming Coats         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
I found his Agincourt book very readable with interesting characters but a few minor technical issues like having a sword with a full width tang and slab scales for a handle: I think he probably does some good research before writing but he is not an expert in arm and armour so some of his ideas are his inventions.



Off the top of my head (and after midnight in my timezone Happy ), I can think of at least two medieval swords with scale handles riveted on a full-width tang. Both pre-date Agincourt, though, and I don't think they were exceedingly popular. But they existed.

Later items like Cinquedeas also had them and knives and daggers of the 15th century did as well. Not that this makes a sword like that common or typical, but it's not entirely far-fetched.

Happy

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 22 Jun, 2010 9:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Greasing Arming Coats         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
[

Off the top of my head (and after midnight in my timezone Happy ), I can think of at least two medieval swords with scale handles riveted on a full-width tang. Both pre-date Agincourt, though, and I don't think they were exceedingly popular. But they existed.

Later items like Cinquedeas also had them and knives and daggers of the 15th century did as well. Not that this makes a sword like that common or typical, but it's not entirely far-fetched.


Always nice to know new things. Wink Cool

I think though that in the book it gave the impression of being a very standard way to put together a sword but it may have been only the sword mentioned and the author's " mistake " ( if it was a mistake ? ) may just by accident still be plausable as opposed to actually wrong.

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Jun, 2010 1:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, properly made and fit armour isn't going to be sliding around on the body. It will articulate where it needs to move and otherwise stay put. The biggest problem I can see with greasing-up a soldier as if he's a Channel swimmer is that in addition to the harness, arming garments and undergarments, he's now essentially sealed in like a puff pastry. No evaporative cooling effect from the linen garment, which quickly gets waterlogged from the inside. Then the sweat stays on the body, the body overheats, fatigue sets in faster, attention falters and a spear gets jammed where it ought not to be.
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Chuck Russell




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PostPosted: Wed 23 Jun, 2010 1:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

ive never heard of such a thing. i totally think it's something made up. greasing the fabric will 1 stop air from moving in, 2 work into the material breaking it down so it offers less protection. why would you want your armour to move anyways
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Scott Hrouda




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PostPosted: Wed 23 Jun, 2010 8:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You would cook in your own personal easy-bake-oven. Eek!

While I have no historical documentation to back my reply, years of personal experience tells me this has to be the author's own imagining or a misunderstood historical manuscript passage.

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Sam Gordon Campbell




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PostPosted: Wed 23 Jun, 2010 9:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maybe his armour was really tight? Worried
Maybe he had to take a running jump in order to get into his cuisse? Surprised
Maybe it would waterproof it to a degree? Confused
Maybe he WAS going to swim the Channel! Eek!
Maybe he and his squire have something going on? Whatever floats your boat. WTF?!
Maybe it meant if he got pinned, before they could capture him he'd shoot out like he had his own personal ejection seat? Laughing Out Loud
Just my thoughts.

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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Thu 24 Jun, 2010 7:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Never ever seen any evidence for this practice.... my guess is it is 100% his invention based on a faulty understanding of the equipment of the time.

I liked many of his books but they always have a fair number of 'huh' moments from a historical point of view. I enjoyed the archer series in general though.

This usage of oil would be far to counter productive for real use I'd imagine.

RPM
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 24 Jun, 2010 9:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Is he describing donning plate or mail? Would it be any more logical to grease someone up if they were wearing mail, so the rings wouldn't drag on the fabric?

Or he could just be making things up. Happy

Happy

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 24 Jun, 2010 9:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
Is he describing donning plate or mail? Would it be any more logical to grease someone up if they were wearing mail, so the rings wouldn't drag on the fabric?

Or he could just be making things up. Happy


Yes I was thinking of maille mostly but them the greasing would be to keep the maille from rusting and I think it would make sense to just rub the maille and not the arming coat, and remove any excess from the maille so that the arming coat might get a bit dirty or greasy in time but not actually saturated with grease. WTF?!

Anyone wondering if throwing a lit torch at a heavily greased and oiled knight might not be a better way to defeat the knight than actually fighting him ....... Torch ..... wooooooossssshhhhh ..... one toast/crispy knight. Razz Laughing Out Loud

And all the comments about it turning your armour/arming coat into a sauna sort of makes the idea a non-starter for me.

Sounded good to the author or based on misinformation in this case. ( Again his books seem very good as stories but technical errors do slip in past his research ).

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T. Hamilton




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PostPosted: Thu 24 Jun, 2010 10:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
Is he describing donning plate or mail? Would it be any more logical to grease someone up if they were wearing mail, so the rings wouldn't drag on the fabric?

Or he could just be making things up. Happy


The first instance I recall him using it was in "Heretic". It was set just after Crecy and I believe that character was wearing mail with a bit of plate here and there. The latest useage was in "Agincourt" and that knight was wearing full plate. Aside from that, I've never heard anything of the sort. Of course, that's what I have all of you guys for Wink

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Chuck Russell




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PostPosted: Fri 25 Jun, 2010 4:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

well he would have been wearing a hauberk with a breastplate over it. so everything would have been bound tightly to the body with the BP straps. so no movement there. so why grease the 1 thing you want air to move thru? my arming jacket is black n oily enough just from the wear of wearing mail itself.
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Neil Gagel




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PostPosted: Fri 25 Jun, 2010 5:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maybe they were just playing a prank on some gullible knights...

"Yeah, we squires always grease up the nights, didn't you know that? Look Sir Walther is getting his greasing right now..." *snicker*

Seriously though, I imagine it's complete fiction, I can't fathom what purpose that might serve. I could see where they MIGHT grease up the hinges (and I imagine even that wouldn't be necessary for decently maintained armor) and whatnot, but the arming coat???
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Thomas R.




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PostPosted: Sun 04 Jul, 2010 9:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think greasing up the knights may have been a local custom:
the locals did their dragon a favor, so he won't eat their virgin daughters, but the freshly barbequed knights...

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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Sun 04 Jul, 2010 9:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

He has all the wealthy knights wearing leather arming suits under their plate armour. Leather that gets greased anytime he has them putting armour on in the books to protect it from wear with the armour itself. I don't generally recall this being the case in the books for characters who use mail, and basically mail is the stuff of more common folk and poor knights, in these works. Once you have money you go for the leather, plate and grease combo in his works.

If nothing else I would think the smell would really put one off from plate after a while, or perhaps cause the enemy to give ground by itself if one could stand to wear it.

I generally found the books to be enjoyable reads with a few common eyebrow raisers when it came to weapons and kit, and a few vary favored cliches that never go away in any of the series (quite a lot of murderous, rapist priests for example), and a couple of places where foreshadowing was a bit too obvious, but nice enough overall.

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David Teague




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PostPosted: Sun 04 Jul, 2010 2:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Leather...

Why does fiction always come up with leather outfits worthy of a gay biker bar??? WTF?!

Hemp, flax, linen, silk, wool, cotton (depending on the time period and location) is what arming coats were made of.

Now coating your bad weather gear in lanolin makes perfect sense as it helps waterproof wool.

When I wear my harness I don't want the armour bits sliding "aboot" as that will chafe me, wear out my arming coat, and keep the armour from being where I want it to protect me.





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DT

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T. Hamilton




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PostPosted: Mon 05 Jul, 2010 1:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Neil Gagel wrote:
Maybe they were just playing a prank on some gullible knights...

"Yeah, we squires always grease up the nights, didn't you know that? Look Sir Walther is getting his greasing right now..." *snicker*


WTF?! "Squire! I'll have the flesh of your bones, once I figure out how to get out of this greasy coat!"

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Jean-Carle Hudon




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PostPosted: Mon 05 Jul, 2010 1:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

When I used to practice criminal law, I heard of the sometimes greasing of bank managers or police chiefs. There were rumours of a few Superior Court Justices, one which was acted upon ending the greasy judge's career, and of course you may have heard of politicians in hotel rooms receiving brown envellopes full of greasing material... but Cornwell has got me stumped.
I wonder which squire would get that job, the senior or the newbie freshly in from the countryside...
Talking of pranks, I can remember sending out the newbie on a construction site on a quest to get either a steambucket or a skyhook, the first being conceived to carry around a load of steam, and the second to hook on to the sky... and the poor fellow would go from group to group, ever getting re-directed with never a soul betraying that he was on a fool's errand.. so maybe some senior squire would direct the newbie junior to grease up the knight's coat and sit back and watch the fun when Sir Smellsalot got a whiff of his coat a-laying in the sun, attracting the occasional swarm of bugs...

Bon coeur et bon bras
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Mon 05 Jul, 2010 3:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean-Carle Hudon wrote:
Talking of pranks, I can remember sending out the newbie on a construction site on a quest to get either a steambucket or a skyhook, the first being conceived to carry around a load of steam, and the second to hook on to the sky...


Haha, yes. Here in the Netherlands we have the baseboard step, which is supposed to be a short ladder allowing you to reach the baseboards. In Dutch, the word for step or short ladder is a homonym for a kick, so the newbie's quest usually ends with someone telling him to take a good look at the baseboard and then giving him a kick in the ass Big Grin
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