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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Sun 01 Aug, 2010 6:21 am    Post subject: Reconquista/Andalusian Helmets, 11th & 12th C         Reply with quote

From various illustrations and stone carvings, it appears that some of the metal helmets worn in Spain during the 11th and 12th centuries were significantly more sophisticated than those found elsewhere in Europe, often covering parts of the face that were left unprotected by nasal helmets. Why is it that these did not prove to be popular elsewhere in Europe? They seem to be virtually non-existent in France, England, and the Holy Roman Empire.
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Thomas R.




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PostPosted: Sun 01 Aug, 2010 11:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Craig,

do you have any links or pictures of these helmets? While I can't help you with your question, I am interested in having a look at these things. Eek!

Regards,
Thomas

http://maerenundlobebaeren.tumblr.com/
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Mon 02 Aug, 2010 6:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It took me a long time to locate it, but I finally found an illustration from Angus McBride:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cool-art/4466199215/

It's the knight on the left. Apparently, one of these helmets is extant; it is supposed to be part of the William Scollard collection in Los Angeles. I don't know if Mr. Scollard is still alive or if his collection is still intact. As far as I know, there are no images online of an antique original of these helmets. If you spent long enough searching images of carved Spanish capitals or Spanish illuminated manuscripts, you might find a period depiction. I found one MS that looks like it might show one, but the image is too small to be 100% certain.

The knights in question are in the top row, near the centre.

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Thomas R.




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Aug, 2010 11:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Craig,

it seems to me, that your type of helmet is one of the predecessors of the crusaders helmet (calotte with faceplate but without neck protection), which was then made into the great helmet. Earlier viking helmets had similar faceplates, the norman spangenhelm then had the nasal protection, but as you decribed also sometimes these face plates. The german wikipedia states that the full face plate on such spangenhelmets was inspired by encounters with arab forces in the third crusade (1189–1192). An arab influence would also explain, why this type of helmet was first or even exclusively used in the south of spain.

Dunno if that helps you...

Thomas

http://maerenundlobebaeren.tumblr.com/
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Beltrán Pérez





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PostPosted: Mon 02 Aug, 2010 1:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This model and the Mc Bride picture are carved in two churchs. Are similar at normand calotte, but conical. The spanish armament was inspirated in this time in the french army. My english is very bad, sorry Worried

Deus vos guard



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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Sat 07 Aug, 2010 5:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:
It took me a long time to locate it, but I finally found an illustration from Angus McBride:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cool-art/4466199215/

It's the knight on the left. Apparently, one of these helmets is extant; it is supposed to be part of the William Scollard collection in Los Angeles. I don't know if Mr. Scollard is still alive or if his collection is still intact. As far as I know, there are no images online of an antique original of these helmets. If you spent long enough searching images of carved Spanish capitals or Spanish illuminated manuscripts, you might find a period depiction. I found one MS that looks like it might show one, but the image is too small to be 100% certain.

The knights in question are in the top row, near the centre.



Hi Craig, could you please tell me where you found this illuminated manuscript

Éirinn go Brách
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Mon 16 Aug, 2010 11:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Curtin wrote:
Craig Peters wrote:
It took me a long time to locate it, but I finally found an illustration from Angus McBride:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cool-art/4466199215/

It's the knight on the left. Apparently, one of these helmets is extant; it is supposed to be part of the William Scollard collection in Los Angeles. I don't know if Mr. Scollard is still alive or if his collection is still intact. As far as I know, there are no images online of an antique original of these helmets. If you spent long enough searching images of carved Spanish capitals or Spanish illuminated manuscripts, you might find a period depiction. I found one MS that looks like it might show one, but the image is too small to be 100% certain.

The knights in question are in the top row, near the centre.



Hi Craig, could you please tell me where you found this illuminated manuscript


I did a Google Image search. I think it came up under "Spanish Knight 12th Century".
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Mon 16 Aug, 2010 11:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

By the way, I was reading John France's book about Western warfare in the time of the crusades, and he mentions that a member of the nobility in France inquired about acquiring a helmet with a face mask like this circa 1165, suggesting that it was a novelty in France.

Your explanation helps Thomas, but it begs the question: given that Europe had already participated in two crusades and encountered Arabs before, and given that these helmets were in use in Spain, why were they not adopted elsewhere earlier? One would think they would be around at least by the time the Second Crusade was finished.
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Connor Ruebusch




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Aug, 2010 6:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:

Your explanation helps Thomas, but it begs the question: given that Europe had already participated in two crusades and encountered Arabs before, and given that these helmets were in use in Spain, why were they not adopted elsewhere earlier? One would think they would be around at least by the time the Second Crusade was finished.


Interestingly it does also appear to be the same way with maces. The Arabs had used maces from horseback and on foot from antiquity, also contributing to their popularity in the Byzantine Empire and Eastern Europe, but it took quite a while before they were adopted in the West with any popularity if my understanding is correct. Perhaps these two types of military items affected each other's use? As in, people wanted better face protection with greater use of bludgeoning weapons, and better helmets prompted even better maces. I dunno, just rambling here.

Connor
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Aug, 2010 6:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:
By the way, I was reading John France's book about Western warfare in the time of the crusades, and he mentions that a member of the nobility in France inquired about acquiring a helmet with a face mask like this circa 1165, suggesting that it was a novelty in France.

Your explanation helps Thomas, but it begs the question: given that Europe had already participated in two crusades and encountered Arabs before, and given that these helmets were in use in Spain, why were they not adopted elsewhere earlier? One would think they would be around at least by the time the Second Crusade was finished.


How fast does an innovation catch on or becomes popular to ubiquitous ?

There always has to be a first one made or an evolution of one type to the next where a change in style or design becomes great enough to justify calling it more than just an evolution but a genuine new idea/design.

From first adopters to general common use it can be very quick in some cases or very slow in others, it can become popular in one place and not be adopted in another for a long time or not at all.

If a King or High Nobles adopt a style of helm it becomes instantly in fashion or even an old design used previously only by common soldiers might suddenly become popular with the nobility if a King decides to use one. Probably made to higher quality standards and aesthetic standards than the common versions that existed before.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Aug, 2010 7:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One possible explanation is religion. IIRC the sword was regarded as a "noble" weapon and it resembled a cross. The mace may have been considered an infidel's weapon an unsuited to a knight. And of course, the commoners and soldiers emulated the knights.

That's probably the reason why the sword was the preferred weapon. And although you cannot cut through mail with a sword, you can still inflict plenty of blunt force trauma with them. Until the first plate parts start appearing and swords loose that effectiveness. Then suddenly you see a lot more maces and warhammers. They are more effective against plate.

The same thing may have happened with helmets earlier on. Perhaps the Europeans thought it unfit for a knight to hide his face, or perhaps leading was too difficult with the obscured vision and impaired hearing.

What I'm thinking is that there may be a cultural and social reasons why such helmets and weapons were not used earlier. Even though we are pretty sure that they knew about them.
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Connor Ruebusch




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Aug, 2010 1:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You're probably right there, Sander. The cruciform quality of the sword, and its symbolic value as a hero's weapon probably played a huge role in its continued popularity and dominance on the battlefield. To be honest, even the spear was considered a noble and valuable weapon. Remember, the knight's group of retainers was called his Lance, indicating that it was his primary and preferred weapon (probably because of the perceived valor of a mounted charge into the fray). So the mace was probably seen as little more than a crude club. Some did pop up in western Europe, but they were crude, and probably not knights' weapons--most of the elaborately made early maces show up in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Likewise with the helmets. I'm thinking there was some issue of the honor of hiding one's face. It does also make one harder to recognize as a valuable ransom worth sparing, and if I'm correct heraldic devices were still not fully developed at this point, so that could have some value, too.

Those damn Saracens just seemed to use what worked best, though. Bows, maces, and faceguards! Wink

Connor
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Wed 18 Aug, 2010 4:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Connor Ruebusch wrote:


Likewise with the helmets. I'm thinking there was some issue of the honor of hiding one's face. It does also make one harder to recognize as a valuable ransom worth sparing, and if I'm correct heraldic devices were still not fully developed at this point, so that could have some value, too.


And yet, when the early forms of great helm were adopted in the west, around the close of the 12th century, there did not seem to be any issue with honour from concealing one's face. Yes, it does make one harder recognize, but that hardly matters for the purpose of ransoming; if a warrior is wearing mail and has his face covered with a helm, then he would almost certainly be worth ransoming because he's a knight! It's true that heraldry was in its infancy in the 12th century, yet I cannot imagine that a knight would prefer a helmet offering lesser protection merely for the sake of being more easily recognized.

Perhaps Jean has the best point of all here- maybe it took a while to catch on in Europe. But clearly, at least some individuals were curious about closed faced helmets, as evidenced from the passage I mentioned above.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Aug, 2010 4:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Connor Ruebusch wrote:
Those damn Saracens just seemed to use what worked best, though. Bows, maces, and faceguards!


They had their illogical attachment to old things, too. Note their reluctance to adopt the crossbow on a large scale--it wouldn't have been useful for their horsemen, but it would have been quite handy for the infantry. The Chinese experience had proved by then that the combination of heavy horse archers and massed crossbow infantry was an utterly deadly one when handled correctly.
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Connor Ruebusch




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Aug, 2010 10:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good points, guys. Maybe I should keep my mouth shut and quit with the conjecturing!

That's definitely true regarding the nomadic Arabs, Lafayette. In fact, you think they'd have adopted the crossbow first, due to their closer proximity to the Far East, huh? Genghis Khan certainly picked up a lot of tech from the Chinese in his day, but for some reason the Saracens never did. Regardless, I think those long handled bronze maces of theirs are awesome... Happy As well as the helmets!

So why does everyone think that Scandinavians were ahead of the Europeans with facial protection? Or do you think the face masks for them were just a matter of showing off one's wealth? Such as the very elaborate Sutton Hoo helm? And if I'm not mistaken, I think I recall seeing similar helms in both Byzantium and the Norse countries. Perhaps something to do with the Rus/Varangian connection to the Empire?
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Maurizio D'Angelo




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Aug, 2010 5:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Arab influence in Spain beginning in the eighth century. In the eleventh century began the reconquista.
Many centuries of Arab rule, could explain many things.
Byzantium had many helmets with face protection. In southern Italy and parts of northern Italy also.
Already in the eleventh century the first three rows of kataphraktoi had the mace.
Mediterranean area, Eastern Roman Empire and the Scandinavian countries have heard much Arab influence, even the pommell of the swords have a common denominator among these peoples in this era.

Ciao
Maurizio
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Maurizio D'Angelo




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Aug, 2010 3:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Islamic influence in spain you never know where and when it ends, where does the East and the West when it begins.
(E.G. GOMEZ, Sevilla a comienzos del siglo XII: el tratado de Ibn Abdun)
Here are some photos, I hope are helpful



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Codex du monastère San Pedro de Cadena, Spain 1180-1185.
Elmet left


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55594614.jpg
San Giovanni e Paolo, Spoleto, Italy. XII century

Ciao
Maurizio
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Tue 24 Aug, 2010 3:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Connor Ruebusch wrote:
That's definitely true regarding the nomadic Arabs


Who didn't even adopt the bow for their horsemen....
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Robert Rootslane




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PostPosted: Sun 15 Apr, 2012 8:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry for necromancing on an ancient thread, but i just happened, to read it, and the fact about the earlyest faceplates seemed interesting. Recently i have read a lot about European helmets, but actually i have never heard about this. So my question would be, has anyone ever came across an extand helmet find from 11-12 century Spain or other southwestern parts of Europe, to back the existance of faceplated helmets up? Actually, now that i think of it i havent heard about an extant helmet from southern europe since the roman times.
By the way, when did the first faceguarded greatehelms come to use, it could be an early version of them.
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José-Manuel Benito




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PostPosted: Sun 15 Apr, 2012 2:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If we leave aside the helmet from L.A. Schollard Collection (supposedly Hispanic, non demonstrated), there is no known any exemplar of medieval helmet, neither in España, nor in Portugal, before the fourteenth century.

Again: is sad, but there is no known instance of a helmet, either in Spain or Portugal, for over a thousand and three hundred years between the Roman Gallic A, from cape Moro Boti, at Cabrera island (first century) and the typical basinet from the Cathedral of Burgos (fourteenth century).

Perhaps there are certain exceptions in some private collections, such as the named Scholard in Los Angeles, or the former collection of Axel Guttmann, but all of them are out of context and his location is not reliable.

We'll always have the artistic representations. ;-)
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