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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Jun, 2010 7:07 pm    Post subject: Cortez, Mexico siege - armour         Reply with quote

I've been reading Cohen's translation of Diaz's "Conquest of New Spain" again and came upon Cortez's orders to his strikeforce just before the siege of Mexico (p. 354). The men are ordered to wear: "very good armor, well quilted, and a gorget, helmet, leggings, and a shield." My query is regarding the word "leggings". Is he referring to regular clothes or is he referring to mail armour? Does anyone have the original text? What is the term used in the original passage?

Another related question. I can't remember which source claims that the Spanish were impressed with the effectiveness of the native padded armor and adopted it themselves.
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J.T. Aliaga




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PostPosted: Mon 28 Jun, 2010 5:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Arms and Armor in Colonial America by H Peterson has a few paragraphs on the Spaniards use of the ichcahuipilli or escaupiles.
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Johann M




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PostPosted: Mon 28 Jun, 2010 5:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I recently did some research on Spanish armour in the new world for my MA dissertation, to that end I've read most of the translated editions of Diaz's "Conquest of New Spain". I have no memory (and I checked my notes) of any references to mail lower limb armour, so I would be inclined to suspect he was referring to cloth leggings/hose.
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Jean-Carle Hudon




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PostPosted: Mon 28 Jun, 2010 6:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ususally, in an enumeration of similar objects, one can assume that the object described shares some of the characteristic of the other objects in the list. It's not the best evidence, but it makes more sense, and is therefore more probable than not.
That does not go so far as to establish the leggings as mail leggings, they could be quilted, anything that would help against the slash of the obsidian weapons used. So I would agree that the leggings are in the list as offering some kind of protection,like all the other objects in the list, but have no idea as to the material that the writer had in mind.

Bon coeur et bon bras
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 28 Jun, 2010 6:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Found a little more. It seems that it was de Soto's expedition that commented on the impressiveness of the ichcahuipilli. None of the texts actually state that the Spanish decided to replace their own armour with native armour. It was later commentators who came to this conclusion. It is clear that the Spanish did no such thing. Throughout the entire de Soto expedition in all of the accounts there are many examples of these soldiers wearing mail, plate, and brigandines. Cortez is different. Most of his men were wearing padded armour before they even landed in America.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 30 Jun, 2010 8:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean-Carle Hudon wrote:
Ususally, in an enumeration of similar objects, one can assume that the object described shares some of the characteristic of the other objects in the list. It's not the best evidence, but it makes more sense, and is therefore more probable than not.
That does not go so far as to establish the leggings as mail leggings, they could be quilted, anything that would help against the slash of the obsidian weapons used. So I would agree that the leggings are in the list as offering some kind of protection,like all the other objects in the list, but have no idea as to the material that the writer had in mind.

Found another passage where Diaz said that he and the others "never took off their armour, gorgets or leggings by night or by day." When examined in conjunction with the first passage it seems fairly clear that some sort of armour was worn on the legs. I'd love to know what the original Spanish terms for these items were.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sun 17 Mar, 2013 2:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Apologies for the thread resurrection. I'm still looking for the original Spanish terms used by Diaz in the following sentences:

"very good armor, well quilted, and a gorget, helmet, leggings, and a shield."

"we never took off our armour, gorgets or leggings by night or by day."
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Mon 18 Mar, 2013 8:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No help on the word you are looking for but I just wanted to chime in, Conquest of New Spain is one of my favorite books. An amazing read.

J

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

Essays on Hroarr

Introducing the Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic
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José-Manuel Benito




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PostPosted: Mon 18 Mar, 2013 11:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think that the sentence in Spanish is:

Quote:
Lo otro, que todos los soldados llevasen muy buenas armas y bien colchadas, gorjal, papahigo*, antiparas* y rodela*.


It is dificult to translate because Bernal Díaz del Castillo uses several words that now we not use yet.

*'Papahígo' is a close-fitting hat, or hood, that covers all the head, including ears and neck, but not the eyes, neither the nose. I don't know if it reffers to a morion, an arming coif, a warhat and so on.
*'antipara' is some kind of padded protection like a spat, that covers the leg only ahead.
*'rodela': 'rotella', round shield, like a buckler…

So, I propose:

Quote:
«Another order: that all soldiers wear very good armor, well padded, and bevor, and arming coif(?), and padded spats(?), and rotella(?)»


Regards
José-Manuel
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 18 Mar, 2013 6:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wonderful. Many thanks. Does he use papahigo elsewhere in the book or does he use a different word for helmet?

Another one: I've been reading a translation of El Cid and came across the following sentences.

"...he wiped the blood away with the sleeve of his mail"
"...and delivered such blows that their helmets were cut away and the sleeves of the mail"
"...the sleeves of his mail were clotted with blood up to the elbow"

I was wondering what the original Spanish for "mail sleeves" was in this book and whether there is a difference between modern Spanish and medieval Spanish.
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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Mon 18 Mar, 2013 6:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan, got some line numbers? IIRC the preferred term in the Cantar de Mio Cid is lorigas, and not anything more specific, but it might be easier to find knowing where to look.

Seems to be braço con loriga is as precise as there is.
http://mgarci.aas.duke.edu/cgi-bin/celestina/...broId=1002

Tanto braço con loriga veriedes caer aparte,
Tantas cabeças con yelmos que por el campo campo caen,


Tanta adagara foradar y pasar,
Tanta loriga falsa desmanchar
Tantos pendones blancos salir bermejos en sangre,


Los dos le fallen y el uno le ha tomado;
Por la loriga ayuso la sangre destellado.
Volvio la rienda por irsele del campo;

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui


Last edited by Mart Shearer on Mon 18 Mar, 2013 7:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 18 Mar, 2013 7:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From the Robert Southey translation: http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/8491/pg8491.txt

III.6. When Pedrarias heard this, grievously wounded as he was, he wiped the blood away with the sleeve of his mail and went fiercely against him.

III.7. Then laid their hands on their good swords, and delivered such blows that their helmets were cut away, and the sleeves of the mail.

VI.29. And so great was the mortality which he made among the Moors that day, that when he returned from the business the sleeves of his mail were clotted with blood up to the elbow.

VIII.8 my Cid's people drove King Bucar's through their camp and many an arm with its sleeve-mail was lopped off, and many a head with its helmet fell to the ground.

X.15 And he gave him a sword which had the device of the Soldan wrought in gold, and a coat of mail and sleeve armour, and a noble guipon which was wrought of knots.
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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Mon 18 Mar, 2013 7:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Editing as you were posting. Sorry for the confusion.
ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Michael Curl




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Mar, 2013 10:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What exactly did de soto say about the ichahupilii?
E Pluribus Unum
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José-Manuel Benito




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Mar, 2013 11:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Wonderful. Many thanks. Does he use papahigo elsewhere in the book or does he use a different word for helmet?

Hi.

It is the only passage in the book by Bernal Diaz in which he uses the word 'papahígo'. Papahígo is an archaic word that in Spain is no longer used (deprecated), so I'm not sure what this means. In some dictionaries papahígo is equated with montera which is a traditional cap worn on the field during big game hunts (monterías), and now only preserved in the garb of bullfighters.

I have find this drawing of a clerical papahígo:


Although, it is another passage in the book which speaks about a Spanish soldier wearing a gilded helmet (casco) that the Mexicas believe similar with that one who bears the image of his god 'Huichilobos' (Huitzilopochtli).

The words in the original Spanish are: «Parece ser que un soldado tenía un casco medio dorado.»
That means, more or less: It seems that a soldier had a "half gilded" helmet.
I have not found more references to helmets or something similar in Díaz's book. But I have seen that other known Spanish soldier, named Diego Garcia de Paredes, used the word in his memoirs to discuss his hat.

Regards
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José-Manuel Benito




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Mar, 2013 11:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Curl wrote:
What exactly did de soto say about the ichahupilii?


IMO for Bernal Díaz del Castillo, the word 'armas' means escaupil, he not uses the Náhuatl term ichcahuipilli, he simply said:

Quote:
Como en aquella tierra de la Habana había mucho algodón, hicimos armas muy bien colchadas, porque son buenas para entre los indios, porque es mucha la vara y flecha y lanzadas que daban; pues piedra, era como granizo

As in the region of La Havana it had much cotton, we have sewn many armors very well padded, that they are good among the Indians, because they give us many stick blows, and arrow shots, and spears, and stone-throwings were plentiful as hail
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Ian Hutchison




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Mar, 2013 10:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

José-Manuel Benito wrote:
I think that the sentence in Spanish is:

Quote:
Lo otro, que todos los soldados llevasen muy buenas armas y bien colchadas, gorjal, papahigo*, antiparas* y rodela*.



*'antipara' is some kind of padded protection like a spat, that covers the leg only ahead.


So, I propose:

Quote:
«Another order: that all soldiers wear very good armor, well padded, and bevor, and arming coif(?), and padded spats(?), and rotella(?)»


Regards
José-Manuel


José,

I believe I've seen anti-paras referred to as 'chaps' in English before. Chaps are the leather 'front only' pants which cowboys wore to protect their legs while riding in the brush.

'We are told that the pen is mightier than the sword, but I know which of these weapons I would choose.' - Adrian Carton de Wiart
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Mar, 2013 11:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In that case, could it mean tassets? It would seem to be the most intuitive translation considering the design of early 16th-century munitions-grade armour, although it might not be such a good match if the cuirasses are made of padded cloth rather than plate.
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José-Manuel Benito




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Mar, 2013 11:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ian Hutchison wrote:
José,

I believe I've seen anti-paras referred to as 'chaps' in English before. Chaps are the leather 'front only' pants which cowboys wore to protect their legs while riding in the brush.


To Ian, I think you may be right. The chaps in Spanish are called 'zahones'.

To Dan, when I am a little less busy with my work I will review the doubts that have been raised about the Cantar de Mio Cid.

To Lafayette, the Spanish conquerors (conquistadores) were, sometimes, people without wealth. Even if they were hidalgos, they went to America seeking fortune. I do not know if they adopted the escaupil (cotton padded armor) because it was what they could afford, or if they did because it was lighter, less hot and well adapted to weapons of indigenous Amerindians. In this matter sure there are forumites better informed than me.

Regards
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Mar, 2013 12:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A steel cuirass weighs less than a padded jack.
Armour worn on the torso is no more stifling in hot weather than regular clothing and the level of comfort doesn't change if it is made from metal or cloth or leather.
The most likely reason why the Spanish adopted local cloth armour is because imported metal armour was scarce.
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