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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Wed 25 May, 2011 10:26 am    Post subject: Irish Adarga???         Reply with quote

The adarga, a leather or rawhide shield used by light cavalry, was adopted by the Spanish from the Moors, but does anybody here know if it spread beyond Spain into the rest of Europe? I suspect that they might have spread to Scotland and Ireland because I've seen references to leather targets from both these countries, but what about the rest of Europe, does any know if similar were used in say Italy or France? Also has anyone every conducted any tests of their effectiveness or durability?
Éirinn go Brách


Last edited by Stephen Curtin on Tue 31 May, 2011 12:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 25 May, 2011 11:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Multiple cultures developed shields of wood and/or leather. Some may be related, others may completely independent.

As in all things arms and armour, we have to be careful about the migration question. Given the common set of materials and the common anatomy, cultures tend to come up with the same technologies.

-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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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Wed 25 May, 2011 2:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply Sean, yes I agree that differant peoples can come up with the same solution to similar problems, but AFAIK nobody in medieval Europe used leather shields. The Spanish adopted the adarga from the Moors and I'm looking to find out if they spread out to the rest of Europe. The reason I think that it might have spread to Ireland is the line, round leather targets coloured after the Spanish fashion, from Edmund Spenser's A view to the present state of Ireland
Éirinn go Brách
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 25 May, 2011 2:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There were hardened leather bucklers but I don't know how early those developed or if there were target-size versions, painted or otherwise.
-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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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Wed 25 May, 2011 2:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh yes I forgot about bucklers, I know of one referred to as a Welsh buckler, which is made of hardened leather and studded with hundreds of nails. At the moment I'm most interested shields which were strapped to the arm with enarms, so if you have any info on these I'd love to hear it.
Éirinn go Brách
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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Wed 25 May, 2011 3:28 pm    Post subject: Shields         Reply with quote

Hi Stephen

While the form of the shield seems to have come from North Africa, the use of wood and leather to make shields would have been the norm in almost all of Europe. This can be seen in the remaining examples in collections and museums as well in a few articles that have been written. I think Gransay wrote one way back or maybe it was Nickel.

Best
Craig
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Wed 25 May, 2011 3:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi craig, I'm aware of the various types of wooden shields used in medieval and renaissance Europe. What I'm looking for is info on whether or not shields, made from layers of leather and strapped to the arm, were used in Europe outside of Spain.
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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Wed 25 May, 2011 8:19 pm    Post subject: Leather layers         Reply with quote

Ahh sorry Stephen I did not read carefully enough. Hmm I know I have seen leather bucklers here and there but they are hand held. I am not sure if the Adarga are strapped to the arm along or are they held in the hand? I think there is an article in the Gladius on this shield type but it may not be in english.

Craig
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Sun 29 May, 2011 9:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So after doing some more research I've found that adargas were not strapped to the arm, but held in the hand by two leather handles. So that pretty much blows my theory out of the water about the shields described in Spenser's "A view to the present state of Ireland" being similar to adargas. So it's time to broaden my search. If anyone has any info about ANY type of hardened leather shield used in the middle ages I'd be very happy to hear it. I'd particularly like to know if anyone has heard of a rotella/rodela type shield made from hardened leather. Thanks in advance.
Éirinn go Brách
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Iagoba Ferreira





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PostPosted: Mon 30 May, 2011 11:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote



It has two handles, and the only image of a warrior using it from behind shows the two handles gripped with the same hand. This way of handling should make their use very different from the usual embraced shield. Also, this way the weight cannot be excessive, which probably means that they were light...after all, they were part of the equipment of a "jinete" (light cavalry). This may explain the lack of sources about them outside of the Peninsula, too.

All of them had a heart (more primitive) or the late shape shown above.
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Tue 31 May, 2011 12:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Lagoba for attaching the pic. I had seen it before, and in fact seeing the overall shape and method of gripping these shields are two of the reasons why I think that they were not the basis for the Irish leather shields I'm interested in researching.

OTOH, I just remembered that, I have seen this type of grip on a "viking shield" from an 11th or 12th century stone relief from Germany. Also in Dublin during the viking period a very small boss (too small even to fit a clenched fist) was in use, so a grip like this might have been used. I will try to find the image of the relief again to show you all what I'm talking about.

This still doesn't mean that I think that the Irish leather shields were based on the adarga, as they are described as round, and I've never seen a round adarga. So at the moment I think that there are three possibilities for these Irish leather shields, and these are;

1) Spenser was simply describing the outward appearance of these shields and they were the same as later Scottish targes. The evidence to support this is, there are at least two surviving examples of targes in Ireland from this period. The reason that I have my doubts about this is a 15th century Scottish act of parliament, which states that men who were not armed with a bow, should be equipped with a targe of either wood OR leather. So it implies that shields constructed of just leather were known in Scotland, a country which had many links to Ireland.

2) they were a continuation of a tradition of leather shields dating back to the bronze age. This theory is probably the hardest one to gather evidence for, but my reason for thinking of it is because we have literary evidence of shields made of wicker from the bronze age right through to the 16th century in Ireland. So it's possible that leather shields (such as the clonbrin shield) continued on as well

3) they were imported from the continent at some time.

The third possibility is the one I would like to discuss on this thread as I have other threads looking into the other two. So I'd be very grateful for any info / images of European shields of any type made from just leather (no wood or metal) from the medieval or renaissance periods. Sorry for the long post, thanks for reading.

Éirinn go Brách
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Tue 31 May, 2011 1:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you look at (E) on the following link http://www.reenactment.de/reenactment_start/r...guide.html you will see the double handled grip "viking shield" which I referred to earlier.
Éirinn go Brách
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 8:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Has anyone seen this image before http://www.awesomestories.com/assets/dragons its seems to be an adarga in the hands of a European knight, possibly saint george.
Éirinn go Brách
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Tue 21 Jun, 2011 11:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Curtin wrote:
Has anyone seen this image before http://www.awesomestories.com/assets/dragons its seems to be an adarga in the hands of a European knight, possibly saint george.


I'm still looking to find out who painted this picture, and when was it painted? I know it's from Froissart's Chronicles but AFAIK, many different artist painted versions of it.

Éirinn go Brách
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