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Nathan F




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PostPosted: Fri 16 Jul, 2010 11:29 am    Post subject: shields in the mid to late 1400s         Reply with quote

i keep seeing the odd thing that looks like shields in this period and i have little knowledge of anything outside the realm of body armour and bucklers from this period so can people help me find out what sort of shields were used during this period? and i dont mean judicial combat i mean battlefield shields. can anyone help?
for here starts war carrion birds sing, and grey wolves howl
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Kel Rekuta




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PostPosted: Fri 16 Jul, 2010 2:52 pm    Post subject: Re: shields in the mid to late 1400s         Reply with quote

Nathan F wrote:
i keep seeing the odd thing that looks like shields in this period and i have little knowledge of anything outside the realm of body armour and bucklers from this period so can people help me find out what sort of shields were used during this period? and i dont mean judicial combat i mean battlefield shields. can anyone help?


Where? What level of society? The size and shapes in period illustrations varies wildly. Even the ubiquitous heater shape came in several sizes then.
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Nathan F




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PostPosted: Sun 18 Jul, 2010 12:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

this is why im rather confused im looking for western europe england france germany. i realise thats a big section. and any social class what shields were actually use i battle over this period?
for here starts war carrion birds sing, and grey wolves howl
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Sun 18 Jul, 2010 8:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes shields are in use for much of this period. John Fastolf has a number of them listed in his gear of war for 1459. They show up in knightly inventories and wills into the 16th.

Basically you have several types of shields in the 15th. Bucklers-small round shields, shields shields- a number of types for men on foot or horse and pavaises- big usually rectangular shields that are often used by footmen. There is a bit of grey area in the last two categories...

RPM
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Kel Rekuta




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Jul, 2010 6:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

All kinds of shapes and sizes. Oblong, round, rectangular... Shields continued to be useful to infantry all through the medieval period, it never really leaves sight. By the fifteenth century there seemed to be a shield size and shape for every occassion. Pavises came in at least three definable sizes, in period documents. The knightly shield became as much a parade and tournament accessory as anything though. They just weren't necessary after the after al-whyte harness became the standard. The shield is still heavily represented in chivalric art.

Does that help?
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Lewis A.




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Jul, 2010 7:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not sure if this will help much or not, but here is a diagram of different shield styles used in heraldry according to the century. I imagine what style of shield in vogue during a given era might be represented by the shape of a shield used in a coat of arms, but I wouldn't consider it completely reliable:

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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Jul, 2010 7:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kel,

I am not sure that the al-whyte harnesses really got rid of the shield. I am starting to wonder if it is just a wild over exaggeration or a modern myth, like thinner gauge armour was used because it was heat treated. There are accounts at Agincourt, Patay and Castillon that indicate shields in ranks of mounted noblemen. Since this is well after the first al-whyte harnesses I am not convinced. To me the dropping of the shield is likely a personal choice and more based on the arms being employed by the knight or soldier- two handed weapons and such- making it necessary. In many ways it seems likely they simply would shoulder their shield and then use the two handed weapon.

RPM
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Nathan F




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Jul, 2010 12:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

yes see im getting more confused now i know there are many decorative shields as well as tournament and parade ones but what did foot soldiers use was it just buklers? it seems like a shield would be a good choice for a lightly armoured foor troop of which there were still many in this period.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Mon 19 Jul, 2010 1:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Small round bucklers appear to have been common. There is a type of hand-pavise that was common in Germany/Austria--unique shape but still a buckler. A larger version is target-size and, of course, there are the man-size pavises. A long, narrow heater shape--almost man-size-- was common as well. Italians used oblong, target-size shields as well as round targets.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Kel Rekuta




Location: Toronto, Canada
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PostPosted: Sun 25 Jul, 2010 8:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
Kel,

I am not sure that the al-whyte harnesses really got rid of the shield. I am starting to wonder if it is just a wild over exaggeration or a modern myth, like thinner gauge armour was used because it was heat treated. There are accounts at Agincourt, Patay and Castillon that indicate shields in ranks of mounted noblemen. Since this is well after the first al-whyte harnesses I am not convinced. To me the dropping of the shield is likely a personal choice and more based on the arms being employed by the knight or soldier- two handed weapons and such- making it necessary. In many ways it seems likely they simply would shoulder their shield and then use the two handed weapon.

RPM


Sorry Randall, you need to reread what I wrote. The gist of it was that the knightly shield became less than ubiquitous as it had been earlier in the 14thC. I certainly don't believe that shields suddenly disappeared once the Age of Mail (as such) had waned. Curiously they still show up in illuminated manuscripts of the first half of the 15thC almost dangling from the necks of men in complete plate, fighting with two handed weapons. No argument there.
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Mon 26 Jul, 2010 7:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kel,

What I was more in disagreement with was this statement -"They just weren't necessary after the after al-whyte harness became the standard."

I think they were indeed still needed or at least seen as being part of a complete war harness at least till around 1460 but used less perhaps in the melee because two handed weapons were required. Not that the improved body armour made the shields less useful in and of itself. This same improved body armour though in some ways made two handed weapons needed- a vicious cycle.

Agincourt, Cravant, Vernuil and Formigny include interesting accounts where those who were in the front rank, in the best of the armour they had in the army, had to lower themselves for fear of arrows penetrating armour- except those with shields who seemed to have been much more able to deal with them. Another interesting fact is that it is mounted and foot men-at-arms equipped with shields. The men of the period at least still saw the value of shields, Bouccicaut actually really pushes shield usage among the French during his time involved with their army.

RPM
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Kel Rekuta




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PostPosted: Mon 26 Jul, 2010 11:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
Kel,

What I was more in disagreement with was this statement -"They just weren't necessary after the after al-whyte harness became the standard."


Fair enough, I've overstated the case.

Randall Moffett wrote:
Agincourt, Cravant, Vernuil and Formigny include interesting accounts where those who were in the front rank, in the best of the armour they had in the army, had to lower themselves for fear of arrows penetrating armour- except those with shields who seemed to have been much more able to deal with them. Another interesting fact is that it is mounted and foot men-at-arms equipped with shields. The men of the period at least still saw the value of shields, Bouccicaut actually really pushes shield usage among the French during his time involved with their army.

RPM


Ah but Boucicault and for that matter Archibald Douglas, both strongly pushed for more shields and infantry assaults during the second phase of the HYW. This surely leads one to accept that shield use wasn't a matter of course. English massed archers inflicted the worst damage on the horses. The Scots had generations of experience at the bitter end of English archery. The French never seemed to learn although they tried a good plan at Poitier. Shields worked well enough for a time early in the battle. Mounted men at arms bearing shields were still vulnerable through their horses. Heavily barded horses and shield bearing infantry were the solutions required not the knightly shield. Once the English laid on flanking fire, despite their heavy armour and ranks of shielding infantry, the French horse dispersed in confusion.

The knightly shield was in decline for battlefield use by the time of Agincourt. If not, why would its use be so highly suggested by experienced leaders like Boucicault and Douglas? Rarely do we find instructions to do what is already being done.... ;-)
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Mon 26 Jul, 2010 9:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kel,

Fair enough. I still am not convinced that any real meaningful decline was taking place until after the HYW ended for the knightly class.

For one I am not sure the inventories and equipment set to the wars really support the idea of the decline of the shield. Honestly I am thinking of writing something about this as the more I dig the less I feel the HYW sees this happen to the degree it is commonly portrayed. Shields of many types and description make up a major part of the gear sent to war, often you even find men designated to make the lords shields for them. I think the last one I recall was for the last few years of the Duke of Bedfords armies, a gent tags along with the army to seemingly paint newly finished shields for the gentlemen.

The other argument that these leaders were telling people they needed to because they were not doing it to me is not 100% either. In fact it is not that uncommon to find such statements, there are some very interesting accounts suppossedly by Emperor Maximillion and Charles the Bold that to me are nearly identical for increased use of X, Y or Z but of technologies already in use. Edward III is telling men to practice the warbow when he is getting thousands of men from each county per year. It he were really issuing commands because he could not raise the required men the number of archers to men-at-arms would not have increased during this period. While this might be true of Henry VIII calls for increased archery I think Edward III is just saying he wants them to be ready. I think decline gets used to mean much more than really took place for shield use. We know they were in use in large numbers but any more is simply an estimate as they rarely say how many men of the army had them. This is why the inventories are important... now if they were really used after arriving, who knows. To me they both are trying to get everyone to get reshielded, somewhat like seat belt warnings. Many/most people wear them but you still have the guys who'd prefer to be thrown clear.

RPM
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Kel Rekuta




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PostPosted: Tue 27 Jul, 2010 4:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
Kel,

Fair enough. I still am not convinced that any real meaningful decline was taking place until after the HYW ended for the knightly class.

For one I am not sure the inventories and equipment set to the wars really support the idea of the decline of the shield. Honestly I am thinking of writing something about this as the more I dig the less I feel the HYW sees this happen to the degree it is commonly portrayed.

RPM


If you find the time and energy to write that, I would very much like to read it. It is an excellent topic that deserves attention.
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Tue 27 Jul, 2010 6:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kel,

I will do that... I'd like to do some work on crossbows first though. I think Payne-Gallwey's work while good needs some updating.

RPM
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Kel Rekuta




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PostPosted: Tue 27 Jul, 2010 8:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd like to read that too, especially if you do a chapter on springaulds. Military crossbows are rather impressive artifacts.
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Nathan F




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PostPosted: Tue 03 Aug, 2010 11:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

oh please do the shields first. i promise il be the first one to buy it. Big Grin
i have Payne-Gallwey's work it is great but your right needs some touching up and more of a chronological order to it or something.
ok well what sheilds were being used towards the later end of the 1400s do we actually know? or was it all just bucklers?

for here starts war carrion birds sing, and grey wolves howl
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Tue 03 Aug, 2010 12:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While bucklers were popular, especially by footmen and archers you have shields used into the end of the 15th by mounted, knightly types. They often look like mini pavaises.

Here is the Yates Thompson 33 done in the late 1460s. F. 160v. shows a few but the central knight in the center has a red shield on as he lances his opponent down.

They are fairly common in artwork but more so in inventories and text but lacking any idea of how they look as the word for shield they use in the mid to late 15th is the same as that used earlier in the 14th.

I think the shield work will be an article so maybe it will be something I do earlier than the crossbow work, which I hope is a bigger project (and will include great crossbows and springalds). I have several articles being published over the next few years on various military activities in the medieval period though.

RPM



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Nathan F




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Aug, 2010 12:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

those sheilds i have seen before they have a name that escapes me but in essence they were mainly just for the purpose of using a lance not on foot or in combat.
for here starts war carrion birds sing, and grey wolves howl
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Aug, 2010 2:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan,

Not quite. They clearly were intended to stop missiles as well. You also see them used in art with men fifghting on foot as well as some fight books for foot combat as well.

RPM
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