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Nathan Quarantillo




Location: Eastern Panhandle WV, USA
Joined: 14 Aug 2009

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PostPosted: Sat 17 Jul, 2010 10:42 am    Post subject: Kite shields of the viking era.         Reply with quote

Hello all.
I have 2 questions to pose to the very knowledgeable myArmoury community today.

First, what is the earliest appearances or mentioning of kite shields in the norman style? Late 10th century? Early 11th?
And what regions would they be available? Was the kite shield just a norman (continental) thing, or would some of the Norse peoples be toting one around also? I understand that the round shield was the most popular, but when would it be feasible for a norseman to have one?

2nd, This kite shield seems pretty functional to me. I'm impressed especially by the linen facing. However, I'm worried about the grip straps. To me this configuration (because of it's looseness) seems like it would not allow for good control of the shield. I'm not a weakling by any stretch, but I really don't want the 8 pounds of my shield flailing around.
Is this a real concern, or is my inexperience with this showing?

http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=...ield+-+Red



 Attachment: 141.61 KB
Backside of shield. (note the arrangement) [ Download ]

"Id rather be historically accurate than politically correct"
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Chuck Russell




Location: WV
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PostPosted: Sat 17 Jul, 2010 10:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

i would say the there needs to be 2 horizontal straps also. there are several ways the shields are strapped if you look at the Bayeux tapestry. My favorite is the square design of straps plus the guige (body strap). but i usually only hold my shield so my forearm is vertical (going thru the lower horizontal strap and holding onto the top horizontal strap)

I would put the kite around 11th century. we know they are in normandy but can be seen I believe in Sicilian art there after. I would not really put them before that.
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Nathan Quarantillo




Location: Eastern Panhandle WV, USA
Joined: 14 Aug 2009

Posts: 279

PostPosted: Sat 17 Jul, 2010 12:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

hmmmm... so the strap configuration would be stable during combat? Thats my main concern. I am willing to make some minor concessions to affordability, but none to functionality.

So the kite shield only works for 11th cent. Would some of the Norse peoples use it though?

"Id rather be historically accurate than politically correct"
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Audun Refsahl




Location: Norway
Joined: 15 Feb 2006

Posts: 82

PostPosted: Sat 17 Jul, 2010 1:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

you are right about the looseness, its too loose. the loop you put your hand through should be adjustable and the handle needs to be more stable, much tighter, and preferably thicker. I would probably have wanted them mounted lower also.
a shield with several small loops to thread a belt through as you wish, like in a square, would be a better choice.
this is all for functionality on the playground, historically might be different...

just bacon...
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Elling Polden




Location: Bergen, Norway
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PostPosted: Sat 17 Jul, 2010 4:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The kite shield seems to have been a byzantine 9th century inovation, but it is not seen in western europe before ca 1025-50. After that, however, it seems to have spread very quickly.
There are few scandinavian sources from this period, but by the 12th c. kites are THE shield in scandinavian depictions. In fact, there are little evidence of continued use of round shields other than as part of ship equipment.

However, the breakthrough of the kite for all practical purposes coincides with the end of the Viking era, it would not be very appropriate for a "Viking kit". Of course, this is a artificial boundry, but by this time scandinavians where so integrated in the common western european culture that they where no longer a separate entity.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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K J Seago




Location: Suffolk, England
Joined: 12 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Mon 19 Jul, 2010 2:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

considering hadrada being a member of the byzantine emperors personal guard and king of two countries to top it all, i expect a lot of his kit and the boys who came to england with him would have been kitted to top standards for the time, especially considering they intended to take the country.
just another student of an interesting subject, Happy
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Elling Polden




Location: Bergen, Norway
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PostPosted: Mon 19 Jul, 2010 4:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As far as I know, there are no finds of Byzantine military equipment in Norway to sugest import or influence from that direction. It is more probable that the kite came west with the Normans, who where fighting both for and against the byzantines on a more organized level.
The western kite is also taller(ca 2x4 ft) than the byzantine version(2x3 ft), which has a more distinct teardrop shape.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Dan Dickinson
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Location: Michigan
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PostPosted: Mon 19 Jul, 2010 3:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kite shields seem to have been known in the German lands by the late 10th century as evidenced in the Gospels of Otto III (as Oakeshott points out in his AoW). As for their use by Vikings, I'm afraid I don't know.
I hope this helps,
Dan



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Kiteshield.JPG

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Elling Polden




Location: Bergen, Norway
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PostPosted: Mon 19 Jul, 2010 3:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting. Have not seen that one before! Anybody have the book?
"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Reece Nelson




Location: Overland Park KS
Joined: 18 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Mon 19 Jul, 2010 4:50 pm    Post subject: kite Shields         Reply with quote

Mike Loades explains briefly about the kite shield in is mini series "Weapons that Made Britain". I'v included links below of the series. He talks about in Part 7 (7th link) at 2:31.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbK7m3w9FXI&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajnpqod5sRI&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-FyB9O-kcs&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJjZbVBkwSc&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXTULeBYVLk&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FEdriMoeIo&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FbKYdJpCPM&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ac7dsFIlPj8&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Czl716bAaTs&feature=related
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Dan Dickinson
Industry Professional



Location: Michigan
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PostPosted: Mon 19 Jul, 2010 4:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Elling Polden wrote:
Interesting. Have not seen that one before! Anybody have the book?


The Gospels of Otto III or AoW?
If the first, I'm pretty sure there's only one and it's in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich Happy
However, if you mean AoW, yes I do have a copy, but Google books has large chunks of the book online including the applicable section (page 176).
http://books.google.com/books?id=HLwnRGEaHfgC...mp;f=false
I hope this helps,
Dan
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P. L. Gross




Location: Adirondacks, NY
Joined: 11 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Mon 19 Jul, 2010 5:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In Laxdaela saga, when An Twigbelly charges through the door of Bolli Thorleiksson to kill him, it mentions that Bolli cuts off the tail of An's shield (before killing An himself). I can't imagine a round shield being described as having a tail, so An must have been carrying a kite shield. At that point in the saga, it is the end of the tenth or beginning of the eleventh century. The saga itself was probably composed sometime in the thirteenth century, so the reference may be anachronistic, but at least we can say Icelanders were carrying kites by the 1200s, and possibly 200 years earlier than that. Still very late viking period if it is true.

-Pete

From his weapons on the open road no man should step one pace away; you don't know for certain when you're on the open road when you might have need of your spear.
-Havamal
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Elling Polden




Location: Bergen, Norway
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PostPosted: Tue 20 Jul, 2010 4:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was thinking about the Gospels. Always nice to have a primary source. Never seen kites in use that early before.

In my experience, kites are a lot more practical than the Main Battle Roundshield. It easier to carry, less fatiguing to use, and gives full frontal coverage without a foot of "surplus" shield to each side. Not surpisingly they became a huge hit.
It is actually posible that the norman use of kites in 1066 propelled them to fame and universal adoption. I belive that the term "William-shield" is used in on of the sagas.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Alexis Bataille




Location: montpellier
Joined: 31 Aug 2014

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PostPosted: Sat 27 Feb, 2016 4:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Can we say that it's easier to run holding a round shield than a kite shield ? If so perhaps round shield is more for skirmichers like velites in roman empire and kite shield (enarmes shield) more for dense battle formation like hoplites?
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

Posts: 1,263

PostPosted: Sat 27 Feb, 2016 5:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Elling Polden wrote:
Interesting. Have not seen that one before! Anybody have the book?


It's not in the BSB, but in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, GNM Hs. 156142 fo.18v. The cover is Ottonian, but the manuscript itself is dated from 1030-1050.
http://www.warfare.altervista.org/6C-11C/Code...ister3.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Aureus_of_Echternach

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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