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Jojo Zerach





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PostPosted: Fri 03 Dec, 2010 7:58 pm    Post subject: Has anyone seen the GDFB great helm in person?         Reply with quote

I'm curious about this helm, though some photos show it with good proportions, and in other photos it looks horrendus.
If you've seen this before, does it look mroe like the picture on the left or the picture on the right? Thanks for any help!

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Larry Bohnham





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PostPosted: Fri 03 Dec, 2010 8:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I had a chance to visit Kult of Athena in September and closely examined the GDFB Great Helm. It is a first rate piece of kit. The materials and workman ship looked top drawer and the padded lining was the best of any reproduction helmet I've seen. I'd highly recommend this piece if you want a helmet that big. Of course if you're doing a 13th - 14th century harness it is mandatory. I just wish I could get one right now, but I'm saving up for one of their hundsgugel bascinets. If you get one please do a quick review if you have the time.
"No athlete can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows; he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack under the fist of his adversary..."
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a furore Normannorum libera nos Domine

"Henry, get down off that horse with that sword, you'll put someone's eye out!" Mrs. Bolingbroke's advice to her son, Henry, on the eve of the battle of Agincourt
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Gregory J. Liebau




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PostPosted: Fri 03 Dec, 2010 8:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This particular style of helm is most suited to 1330-1360 or so, roughly. I do not know the logistics of the reproduction's quality, etc... But the use of this particular design is certainly something to keep in mind when looking into its value for any particular harness. It's nice to hear that the padded liner is well-crafted. That's definitely a rarity among production pieces. Cheers!

-Gregory
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Jojo Zerach





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PostPosted: Fri 03 Dec, 2010 10:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's why I was interested in it, as my target date is 1354, and there is a general lack of appropriate helmets for that time!
If I get it, I'll do a review here!
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Jojo Zerach





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PostPosted: Fri 03 Dec, 2010 10:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Also, just curious, when you say big, did it seem overly large in diamater?

Larry Bohnham wrote:
I had a chance to visit Kult of Athena in September and closely examined the GDFB Great Helm. It is a first rate piece of kit. The materials and workman ship looked top drawer and the padded lining was the best of any reproduction helmet I've seen. I'd highly recommend this piece if you want a helmet that big. Of course if you're doing a 13th - 14th century harness it is mandatory. I just wish I could get one right now, but I'm saving up for one of their hundsgugel bascinets. If you get one please do a quick review if you have the time.
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Thomas A. Leigh




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PostPosted: Sat 04 Dec, 2010 3:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I own one, & mine definately looks like the one in the photo on the right.
Also, it does seem rather large.
I have a large head & bought the large size, but I probably would have been fine with a medium.
Large is LARGE.
For the price (from KoA), it's a pretty nice helmet. Very sturdy.
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Mikael Andersson




Location: Göteborg, Sweden
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Dec, 2010 5:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If i am not mistaken the Great helm was not made to be used on its own. I have seen reproductions made to fit another helmet underneath it. This is probably the reason for the size of the thing. I believe that the great helmets where removed after the initial charge, since they hamper your breathing something fierce (i have "tried" fighting in these kind of helmets). There are a few helmets of this type that might have been fitted with chains (or rope etc) so one could be able to throw off the helmet without losing it ( There is a loop on the top of the helmet depicted on the effigy of William de Staunton that has been theorized to have this purpos).

Albert Collins of Via Armorari (http://www.viaarmorari.com/) have made a nice example of the wich can be viewed
on his site in the 14th century gallery. The site is made with flash so i dont know how to link directly to the picture.


(Excuse my bad spelling)

Guds vän och hela världens fiende Wink
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Dec, 2010 6:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mikael Andersson wrote:
If i am not mistaken the Great helm was not made to be used on its own. I have seen reproductions made to fit another helmet underneath it. This is probably the reason for the size of the thing. I believe that the great helmets where removed after the initial charge, since they hamper your breathing something fierce (i have "tried" fighting in these kind of helmets). There are a few helmets of this type that might have been fitted with chains (or rope etc) so one could be able to throw off the helmet without losing it ( There is a loop on the top of the helmet depicted on the effigy of William de Staunton that has been theorized to have this purpos).

Albert Collins of Via Armorari (http://www.viaarmorari.com/) have made a nice example of the wich can be viewed
on his site in the 14th century gallery. The site is made with flash so i dont know how to link directly to the picture.


(Excuse my bad spelling)


Not all great helms were made to go over smaller helms. Many were, especially later ones. We do see chains in period art (and in surviving pieces like the Black Prince's funeral achievements) linking breastplate/belt to (usually) a hole in the bottom of the front of the helm. But I've not seen evidence they were discarded after the initial charge. I doubt you'd want a swinging, possibly crested, several pound-weighing large thing tangling you and/or your horse up. The consensus seems to be that these chains made it possible to retrieve your helm if it got knocked off. Similar chains were used for similar reasons on sword and dagger hilts.

Some also used to sling the helm back over the shoulder via the chain rather than wear it while riding.

The loop on the Staunton helm may be for tying a crest/ribbon/lady's favor to.

Happy

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Jens Boerner




Location: Erlangen, Germany
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Dec, 2010 6:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, but there are actually several evidences for doing so. In the flamic romancer of Alexander, 1340s, there are plenty of examples. Another one are the statues at the ctahedral in strassbourgh. Or the statue of Cangrande I della Scala (whose helmt is even crested)
Helmets pre-1320 were, in general, worn with a maille coif/shirt with integral coif and sometimes with a small steel skull cap (either underneath of over it).
I see no reason to have to retrieve your great helmet "when knocked off"- since you simply cannot "knock it off". How should that happen?

The gdfb thing in my opinion has only small resemblances of a historical correct great helmet. The eye slits are way too large. The liner is held in straps by a system I've never seen at surviving ones (which there are plenty for that time frame for), or pictures. The dimensions are too large for a helmet of that type for flat top plate. And it is made from too many plates, the surviving ones in general do have less. It resembles a little the one found in bozen, northern italy.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Dec, 2010 7:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jens Boerner wrote:
Well, but there are actually several evidences for doing so. In the flamic romancer of Alexander, 1340s, there are plenty of examples. Another one are the statues at the ctahedral in strassbourgh. Or the statue of Cangrande I della Scala (whose helmt is even crested)
Helmets pre-1320 were, in general, worn with a maille coif/shirt with integral coif and sometimes with a small steel skull cap (either underneath of over it).
I see no reason to have to retrieve your great helmet "when knocked off"- since you simply cannot "knock it off". How should that happen?
.


The statue of Can Grande is not him in battle, discarding his helm. It's him (and his horse) at rest, hanging out, standing there, looking manly. Happy So how does that apply to the thesis that the helm was discarded in battle? I'd love to see pics of the statues at Strasbourg and the other things you mention. I've seen plenty of pictures of people at rest or riding with their helms, suspended by chain, slung over their shoulders. I haven't seen that in battle, though.

A great helm can't be knocked off? I find that hard to believe. First, consider that chinstraps may do you no good whatsoever, assuming they are even present, depending on what you're wearing (if you have a bascinet underneath, for example, you'd be strapping through/around/over an aventail and potentially over the chin strap for the bascinet).

Lance blows to the head will come at an upward angle. If the lance catches something (like the crest or get the lance tip lodged n the sight), the momentum will push the person back and their helm could come off. Some great helms seem to rely primarily on gravity to keep them on. And crested examples could be somewhat top-heavy. So why couldn't they be knocked off by a lance blow or pulled off in the scrum that battle would devolve into? A crest could get tangled in a standard, etc.

We've all seen chains that secure swords and daggers to the breastplate or belt, just like the helm. Are you saying those identical items have different purposes than the chain for the helm?

Happy

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Dec, 2010 7:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jens Boerner wrote:

The gdfb thing in my opinion has only small resemblances of a historical correct great helmet. The eye slits are way too large. The liner is held in straps by a system I've never seen at surviving ones (which there are plenty for that time frame for), or pictures. The dimensions are too large for a helmet of that type for flat top plate. And it is made from too many plates, the surviving ones in general do have less. It resembles a little the one found in bozen, northern italy.


I agree with most of this. The GDFB helm is a bloated example that doesn't capture all the fine subtleties of original helms.

However, the number of plates and their arrangement is encountered in historical specimens. The Schlossberg Dargen helm has the same number of plates, as does the Bolzano helm, the Hessiches Landesmuseum helm, and possibly the remains of the Kussnacht Castle helm.

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Jens Boerner




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PostPosted: Sun 05 Dec, 2010 7:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No, the kusnacht helmet has a top piece made from one piece. Same for the helmet of castle tannenberg. The older helmet from dargen does have a smilar number of plates, but isd completly different in construction. The gdfb helmet is a mixture between the dargen helmet and the pembridge one, so it seems to me.
All surviving helmet do have a much for sophisticated diameter of plates, which is larger at the front, and gets thinner to the outer edges. Additionally, lots of them are tempered, thus harder.

As for throwing the helmt in the back, as said, you can find that for instance in the romance of alexander, and in many french illuminationsof that time frame. Of course you cannot tell exactly from pictures at which point they did that; if when coming to a stop, or when climbing from the horse, or when the initial lance charge was over. Fact is, they did use it that way. As far as my experiences with those kind of helmts are, I really doubt it happend too often that you lost it because of a hit. If so, this would had been used much earlier. In fact, as soon as those helmets where worn with chains, they often did not attach in horseback, and often completly abandoned that type of helmet.
As for chinstraps, I hardly know evidences for those. Same as for bascinets. I also doubt you do need them.

And yes, I say there are different usages for the different elements of the equpiment Wink I also do not know how one should effectly fight with a sword with a chain attached to it. I'm doing historical fancing, and all Mid-14th century fencing techniques I know, no matter of one-handed ot tow-handed would suffer a lot from such a circumstande.

Nevertheless, they did attach the helmet with chains to the coat of plates (I would not call that breastplate) and did ride with that. Or at least, sat on horses while doing so Wink
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Dec, 2010 8:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jens Boerner wrote:
No, the kusnacht helmet has a top piece made from one piece. Same for the helmet of castle tannenberg. The older helmet from dargen does have a smilar number of plates, but isd completly different in construction. The gdfb helmet is a mixture between the dargen helmet and the pembridge one, so it seems to me.
All surviving helmet do have a much for sophisticated diameter of plates, which is larger at the front, and gets thinner to the outer edges. Additionally, lots of them are tempered, thus harder.


In Howard Curtis's book 2,500 Years of European Helmets, he says the Kussnacht helm is made of 5 pieces. With the amount of corrosion and restoration and the angle of the pic, it's hard to tell if he's correct. He also says the Tannenberg helm is made of 5 pieces: 2 on bottom, 2 upper pates, and a crown plate. The pictures make it look like a separate plate on top, though not built like the Dargen helm.

GDFB says their helm is based on the "Pembroke" helm. Anyone have a pic of that original?


Quote:
As for throwing the helmt in the back, as said, you can find that for instance in the romance of alexander, and in many french illuminationsof that time frame. Of course you cannot tell exactly from pictures at which point they did that; if when coming to a stop, or when climbing from the horse, or when the initial lance charge was over. Fact is, they did use it that way. As far as my experiences with those kind of helmts are, I really doubt it happend too often that you lost it because of a hit. If so, this would had been used much earlier. In fact, as soon as those helmets where worn with chains, they often did not attach in horseback, and often completly abandoned that type of helmet.
As for chinstraps, I hardly know evidences for those. Same as for bascinets. I also doubt you do need them.

And yes, I say there are different usages for the different elements of the equpiment Wink I also do not know how one should effectly fight with a sword with a chain attached to it. I'm doing historical fancing, and all Mid-14th century fencing techniques I know, no matter of one-handed ot tow-handed would suffer a lot from such a circumstande.

Nevertheless, they did attach the helmet with chains to the coat of plates (I would not call that breastplate) and did ride with that. Or at least, sat on horses while doing so Wink


We're in agreement that they did sling it over their back on occasion; period art shows that many times over. I just don't think they did it in battle, as I've not seen period artwork that shows that. Happy

As for the chains, I can imagine it made fighting difficult. But some people found it necessary or we wouldn't see that in art or surviving specimens. Are the mid 14th century techniques you're doing meant for mounted or foot combat? I wouldn't think chains would factor into dismounted systems. When mounted, I would think the kind of techniques you could use would be limited anyway. You might have one hand tied up with the reins and/or a shield, so many two-hand techniques are out. Your techniques are limited all around because of the tactics in play and because you always have to worry about an errant swing harming your horse. I would think the chains wouldn't limit you much more than the situation limits you already. And the chains needs to be little more than an arm's length long. Better to have to work with a chain than to worry about losing an important item in the crush of battle.

When mounted though, I could see their use. If you lose an item (sword, dagger, helm) while on horseback, it's gone. It's now a good 5-7 feet away from your hand (maybe more) and it's now down in the realm of the stomping hooves and dying soldiers. You won't be able to get it back.

As for why it didn't happen earlier, maybe more solid chest protection was necessary to anchor it to. I don't know. The chains don't seem to have been used universally.

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Thomas R.




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PostPosted: Sun 05 Dec, 2010 8:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've found an effigy displayed at Wartburg Castle in Eisenach (Germany). Please excuse the poor quality, a friend of mine took it and sent it via Mail. If you are interested I can get a higher resolution of the same picture.

What you see: A knight with his great helmet attached to his chest, same with the dagger and sword. He wears another helmet, there is the possibility that the great helmet was worn as an addition on top.



 Attachment: 24.38 KB
IMG_1166.jpg
Knights effigy from Wartburg Castle, Germany.

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Augusto Boer Bront
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Dec, 2010 10:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

(late Eek! ) great helm on foot.

http://manuscriptminiatures.com/guiron-le-cou...aise/1303/
http://manuscriptminiatures.com/guiron-le-cou...aise/1306/
http://manuscriptminiatures.com/speculum-huma...n-511/771/

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Connor Ruebusch




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PostPosted: Sun 05 Dec, 2010 10:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey guys.

I don't think Chad or anyone is discounting the possibility that great helms had chains. And I think everyone agrees that those chains are shown, in many period portraits, connecting the great helm to the breast plate. The helm is also usually shown thrown over the shoulder. What Chad's saying is that there aren't any depictions of the great helm hanging from its chain in battle, and certainly none which would imply that the helm was purposely removed, to be left dangling clumsily in the midst of a fight.

I have to agree with Chad, here. The chain is clearly a device to prevent the loss of the helmet. And yes, while at rest it made a convenient way to remove one's helm and enjoy the breeze, I just don't see how it would have been practical to have the helm dangling from the breastplate in the midst of a fight--especially not where it could be tangled up with reins, shield straps, and any other number of already difficult to manage battle-paraphernalia.

Ex animo,

Connor
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Jens Boerner




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Dec, 2010 2:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

@Thomas: Well this is undoubted; late great helmets ("Kübelhelme") were worn over a bascinet. Nothing new here.
@Augusto: Pictures showing people wearing great helmets when unmounted do not prove people wore them when unmounted Wink I guess we generally all agree that a great helmet is a helmet for a rider, nothing else. You don't see a thing in a great helmet.
@chad: I can check that, as far as I know and have seen when standing in front of it: the complete upper part is in one piece.
The tannenberg helmet is made from 4 pieces, as far as I now. The pembroke, pembidge and black prince helmets are also made from 4 pieces, althogh the "Techniques of medieval armpur reproduction" shows making it from 5 plates; the upper Part is welded in the back.

As for the chains: well, after all we don't know what they were really used for. All we can do is speculate.
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Larry Bohnham





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PostPosted: Wed 08 Dec, 2010 10:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

When I said it's a big helmet I meant that the Helm style is by its nature a large chunk of steel compared say to a spangenhelm, or bascinet, or chapel de fer steel pot type hat. The physics of this type helmet dictate its size, I think. It has to be large enough to fit over an arming cap and maille coif and possibly the early bascinet often worn between the coif and arming cap proper. All those layers plus yer noggin would necessitate a big helmet to cover it all down to your shoulders. Reading GDFB's copy on the Great Helm they suggest you select a size that will accommodate all the layers you would wear under it. I don't think that the helm was ever worn on the bare head or intended for such use. The medieval armorers had a very good understanding of the use of energy absorbing materials combined with outer plate offset to provide protection from impacts, so I would be surprised if any warriors wore them directly against their noodle.
"No athlete can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows; he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack under the fist of his adversary..."
Roger of Hoveden, d.1201

a furore Normannorum libera nos Domine

"Henry, get down off that horse with that sword, you'll put someone's eye out!" Mrs. Bolingbroke's advice to her son, Henry, on the eve of the battle of Agincourt
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Larry Bohnham





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PostPosted: Wed 08 Dec, 2010 10:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My 2 cents (US) on this helmet retention lanyard, ie chain thing. These lanyards seemed to drift out of fashion (and that maybe just what they were in their day, a fashion statement like the long toes on sabbatons) later in the 15th century and seem to be gone by the 16th. I think they were probably intended initially as a method of retaining valuable items such as swords and daggers and helms if they were dropped in the scrum of a battle or a tourney. Yes, it's quite easy to get things knocked out of you hands in CQB (Close Quarters Battle) and the GI's I've known have all said that it was relatively common to get yer steel pot knocked of yer head once in while in a fight despite the chin strap. My personal theory as to why they disappeared is that warriors discovered what I immediately thought when I saw images of they lanyards, "What an excellent handle to grab someone by and put them in position to be harmed." My guess is that this was no revelation to the medieval warrior either (if I can figure it out, certainly a professional killer of men could have) and soon people were being unceremoniously dragged from their mounts by these chains and killed or captured. Again, I'm just guessing, but I wouldn't be surprised if the lanyards stayed in use for tourneys for a while longer than they were used for serious fights.
"No athlete can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows; he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack under the fist of his adversary..."
Roger of Hoveden, d.1201

a furore Normannorum libera nos Domine

"Henry, get down off that horse with that sword, you'll put someone's eye out!" Mrs. Bolingbroke's advice to her son, Henry, on the eve of the battle of Agincourt
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