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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 12:32 am    Post subject: strap vs centre gripped shields         Reply with quote

http://www.lloydianaspects.co.uk/weapons/shield.html

above is a site showing two videos abbout shields , one of them looks at the hoplite aspis and why it is the way it is, he also goes into the fact that using a centre grip shield is ALOT better for individual conbat compared to the aspis largely based on the idea that a strapped shield means the maneuverability and range of motions and positions one can cover while upright is limited, for example that one cannot easily intercept a attack to the ankles using an aspis,

(though i realise part of the aspis's problems in in 1v1 style fighting are also partly due to its substantial weight. )

heres my wondering,if what he asserts is correct then, i notice that while they range in size enormously, why would it be that peoples like the knights and the scottish highlanders, used shields like the heater, and the targe, which arnt like kite sheilds that cover your legs, yet still have this strapped cofiguration..

forthosewho have used heaters. and such, what do you think as to why would one use a strap griped shield especially fr the more personal heaters and the round spanish targets. since especiially in the medieval period where individual fighting on the field and in seige operations, is very much individualistic fighting,
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 1:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think there are two reasons that heater type shields were strapped to the arm, instead of centrally gripped. The first is that they developed from the kite shield, which were probably too cumbersome to wield with a central grip. The second and probably more important reason is, that heaters, as well as kites, were invented for mounted combat, were one needs to use the left hand to hold the reigns. As for why highlanders used a targe strapped to their arms, this is a question that I have spent much time thinking about, and I'm still not entirely sure why they did it, though some have suggested that it was for ease in carrying it across the rugged terrain of the highlands.r ease in carrying it across the rugged terrain of the highlands.
Éirinn go Brách
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 1:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

the heaters though used by cavalrymen unless im not mistaken were alot smaller than say the one elling pold has in his avatar.

would another reason also be that it can allow one with the upper hand, to partially grip a larger weapon. ? in the thread showing shield one person has a heater, and shows him holding it while holding a glaive like item in two hands.
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 4:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William, AFAIK the heater, which started as a kite shield with it's top curve cut off, was a medium sized shield throughout the 13th century, but it does seem to get gradually smaller untill it was finally dropped from general use in the mid 14th century. As far as using a shield strapped to the arm while wielding a polearm, I have seen a 16th century Italian manual (I think it was marozzo sp?) which has a man using a spear with two hands, with a target strapped to his left arm.ear with two hands, with a target strapped to his left arm.
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James Head





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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 5:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That guy doesn't know what he's talking about, concerning a lot of things.
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 6:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Avete!

Yeah, I like Lloyd and he makes some good points sometimes, but I think he's wrong about the aspis being "blinking useless" in single combat. It might not be optimal! But a couple points:

--Simply straightening the left arm makes the shield rotate downwards to cover the legs. No crouching needed.
--Greaves were a traditional part of the panoply.
--Spears were usually used OVERhand, not underhand as he says, so the legs are much less likely to be targeted.
--In any single combat between hoplites, BOTH would have the same shield, so neither would have a significant advantage.

As I pointed out in the other thread, the weight wasn't a problem.

Couldn't tell you about the Scottish targe--maybe it developed from the Renaissance targe which was strapped to the arm by pikemen? And probably a lot of Highlanders fought without a targe at all, so having one was not seen as a problem for the legs but simply a bonus for the rest of the body.

Oops, gotta run!

Matthew
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William P




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 8:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
Avete!

Yeah, I like Lloyd and he makes some good points sometimes, but I think he's wrong about the aspis being "blinking useless" in single combat. It might not be optimal! But a couple points:

--Simply straightening the left arm makes the shield rotate downwards to cover the legs. No crouching needed.
--Greaves were a traditional part of the panoply.
--Spears were usually used OVERhand, not underhand as he says, so the legs are much less likely to be targeted.
--In any single combat between hoplites, BOTH would have the same shield, so neither would have a significant advantage.

As I pointed out in the other thread, the weight wasn't a problem.

Couldn't tell you about the Scottish targe--maybe it developed from the Renaissance targe which was strapped to the arm by pikemen? And probably a lot of Highlanders fought without a targe at all, so having one was not seen as a problem for the legs but simply a bonus for the rest of the body.

Oops, gotta run!

Matthew

well he notes not the leg, but the ankle specifically. hoplites infact most people until the advent of plate didnt seem have armoured footware. though i get your point about the greaves


im curious about the under/ overarm debate, unlessyouve seen his articles before he notes , which makes sense,
-the linothorax has unprotected armpits, and according to him is awkward to raise our arm above the shoulder,

-as he notes in the vid about the aspis, most of the shield is out of the way from your centreline , in contrast to hold my viking shield as normal alot more of the shield is sticckingpast my right side meaning to hold a spear underarm you would need to offset it from your centre which isnt ideal i wouldntimagine.
personally i think his armour

as for the aspis, manning imperials brass faced (satin finish) aspis has measurements of 9kg and 35 inches in diameter thats about 19.84 pounds nearly 20.
http://manningimperial.com/item.php?item_id=5...mp;c_id=10

their copy of a macedonial phalangite shield http://manningimperial.com/item.php?item_id=5...mp;c_id=10 is 65cm across, and 6.7kg

in contrast, ive been told viking shields should really be at about the 3-4kg mark. mines 4.5 at the same diameter.
the duras europum scutum, being apparently a imperial rectangular type, is 12 pounds, and lloyds romano british oval shield is apparently 16.5 pounds

the aspis appears to definately be on the heavier end of the scale of shields.
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 9:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William P wrote:
im curious about the under/ overarm debate, unlessyouve seen his articles before he notes , which makes sense,
-the linothorax has unprotected armpits, and according to him is awkward to raise our arm above the shoulder,


Every form of armor from that time has exposed armpits! The bronze muscle cuirass doesn't cover more. And if it is hard for him to raise his arms, his armor is not correctly made. (Oh, by the way, the Classical armor was not a linothorax and not made of linen, but made of leather and called a spolas. Probably he just has the older information on his site.)

Quote:
-as he notes in the vid about the aspis, most of the shield is out of the way from your centreline , in contrast to hold my viking shield as normal alot more of the shield is sticckingpast my right side meaning to hold a spear underarm you would need to offset it from your centre which isnt ideal i wouldntimagine.


Actually, I think that "off-center" effect is over-emphasized these days. If you stand edge-on to the enemy, you are actually pretty centered behind the shield. The Greeks DID note that it was common for a man to edge towards the man on his right, to benefit from the cover of his shield, but that could be done by any warrior in a line of men with shields in order to close up potentially dangerous gaps. There are also a few depictions of spears being used underhanded, particularly in single combats, but plenty more show the spear being used overhand. One reason the ancient Greeks didn't drill much was that they believed it was natural for a man to throw up his left arm in defence and then raise his right to strike--clearly indicating an overhand blow. Modern reenactors have found overhand spear use to be very effective, allowing much more power and control. Safer for the guys behind you, too. There are discussions on Roman Army Talk about this.

Quote:
as for the aspis, manning imperials brass faced (satin finish) aspis has measurements of 9kg and 35 inches in diameter thats about 19.84 pounds nearly 20.


That is simply too heavy. The originals would have been much lighter, as shown by close examination of the few wooden remains that we have. Again, there is a long RAT discussion on the subject.

Quote:
their copy of a macedonial phalangite shield http://manningimperial.com/item.php?item_id=5...mp;c_id=10 is 65cm across, and 6.7kg


Way too heavy.

Quote:
in contrast, ive been told viking shields should really be at about the 3-4kg mark. mines 4.5 at the same diameter.
the duras europum scutum, being apparently a imperial rectangular type, is 12 pounds, and lloyds romano british oval shield is apparently 16.5 pounds


Again, that last example is way too heavy. Note that the Dura Europas scutum is lacking its boss (though that would only add a pound or 2), but is also a pretty large example.

Quote:
the aspis appears to definately be on the heavier end of the scale of shields.


Sure, no problem there. But NOT so heavy as to be "cumbersome", "unwieldy", "useless", etc. It's a very good shield!

Matthew
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Michael Curl




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 10:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew, would you mind linking me to all these weight of aspis threads? It sounds like something I would like to read.
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William P




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 10:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
William P wrote:
im curious about the under/ overarm debate, unlessyouve seen his articles before he notes , which makes sense,
-the linothorax has unprotected armpits, and according to him is awkward to raise our arm above the shoulder,


Every form of armor from that time has exposed armpits! The bronze muscle cuirass doesn't cover more. And if it is hard for him to raise his arms, his armor is not correctly made. (Oh, by the way, the Classical armor was not a linothorax and not made of linen, but made of leather and called a spolas. Probably he just has the older information on his site.)

Quote:
-as he notes in the vid about the aspis, most of the shield is out of the way from your centreline , in contrast to hold my viking shield as normal alot more of the shield is sticckingpast my right side meaning to hold a spear underarm you would need to offset it from your centre which isnt ideal i wouldntimagine.


Actually, I think that "off-center" effect is over-emphasized these days. If you stand edge-on to the enemy, you are actually pretty centered behind the shield. The Greeks DID note that it was common for a man to edge towards the man on his right, to benefit from the cover of his shield, but that could be done by any warrior in a line of men with shields in order to close up potentially dangerous gaps. There are also a few depictions of spears being used underhanded, particularly in single combats, but plenty more show the spear being used overhand. One reason the ancient Greeks didn't drill much was that they believed it was natural for a man to throw up his left arm in defence and then raise his right to strike--clearly indicating an overhand blow. Modern reenactors have found overhand spear use to be very effective, allowing much more power and control. Safer for the guys behind you, too. There are discussions on Roman Army Talk about this.

Quote:
as for the aspis, manning imperials brass faced (satin finish) aspis has measurements of 9kg and 35 inches in diameter thats about 19.84 pounds nearly 20.


That is simply too heavy. The originals would have been much lighter, as shown by close examination of the few wooden remains that we have. Again, there is a long RAT discussion on the subject.

Quote:
their copy of a macedonial phalangite shield http://manningimperial.com/item.php?item_id=5...mp;c_id=10 is 65cm across, and 6.7kg


Way too heavy.

Quote:
in contrast, ive been told viking shields should really be at about the 3-4kg mark. mines 4.5 at the same diameter.
the duras europum scutum, being apparently a imperial rectangular type, is 12 pounds, and lloyds romano british oval shield is apparently 16.5 pounds


Again, that last example is way too heavy. Note that the Dura Europas scutum is lacking its boss (though that would only add a pound or 2), but is also a pretty large example.

Quote:
the aspis appears to definately be on the heavier end of the scale of shields.


Sure, no problem there. But NOT so heavy as to be "cumbersome", "unwieldy", "useless", etc. It's a very good shield!

Matthew


as a matter of fact lloyd makes a point of arguing why he thinks the 'linothorax' is indeed, not made of linen but of leather. and that site has been around since around 2003-4 at LEAST, (thats when i discovered it anyway) hes got a wole article and a video making this point.

and the book 'the wars of the ancient greeks' or something similar suggests tha as well that infac the aspis was prone to being pierced decently oten due to attempts to make it lighter.

if not 9kg, how heavy , for example is yours? and whats the weight range for the aspis?
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Mackenzie Cosens




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 11:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The historic combat manuals I've read, which say little or nothing about shield work, say the best way to deal with someone who cuts to your leg is to slip the targeted leg back and cut him in the head or his sword arm. This works because the angle created when you cut to the ankle shortens the sword range when compared to someone cutting to your head. So being able to defend your legs with your shield may be less important when fighting one one then controlling range the fight happens at.

If you strap a shield to your arm you should be able to carry a heavier shield because part of the weight would be carried closer to the elbow then with a center boss although it will be harder to throw that shield away if its time to run.

I think many of www.lloydianaspects.co.uk observations are based on the particular reenactment/sport form that he has practices. Last time I looked there was very little technical evidence for how large shield where used historically. I get the feeling that he holds his shield flat to the opponent, how he hits with the boss and how he uses the shield to blind the opponent, just how he holds the shield in this very short youtube , there are other ways to use the shield. There are two articles in SPADA i and SPADA ii by Stephen Hand and Paul Wagner. I also like http://www.hammaborg.de/en/index.php I am sure there are others.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-Ms9RMH7IA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzTsGYFzMLY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPpYDEBvaiQ

mackenzie
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 12:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William P wrote:
as a matter of fact lloyd makes a point of arguing why he thinks the 'linothorax' is indeed, not made of linen but of leather. and that site has been around since around 2003-4 at LEAST, (thats when i discovered it anyway) hes got a wole article and a video making this point.


Yes, at that time we (well, most of us!) had much less evidence to go on, and we were influenced by Peter Connolly, who seems to have basically invented the whole "linothorax" as we came to know it. Lloyd was one of those who was convinced that it had to be leather, at least partly, even though the evidence we had at the time pointed to linen. But more recently a more critical and thorough analysis of the evidence showed that just about every mention of linen armor in Classical Greek literature refers to it as something foreign and/or unusual. And in fact the very term "linothorax" does not seem to be a Classical Greek word! At the same time, there is a clear reference which defines the spolas as "a thorax of leather which hangs from the shoulders". We have also found out that linen was apparently much more expensive than we'd thought, whereas there was a booming leather industry! So we think what we're seeing on all the vase paintings, a leather spolas. To be on the safe side, we refer to the things we see in artwork as the "tube and yoke cuirass". Bottom line, yes, we mostly agree with Lloyd that the thing was leather, but he needs to update his site to remove the term "linothorax".

Quote:
and the book 'the wars of the ancient greeks' or something similar suggests tha as well that infac the aspis was prone to being pierced decently oten due to attempts to make it lighter.


Most shields can be pierced by SOMEthing, even if they are decent protection against most threats! There are also references to Greek shields being crushed in combat.

Quote:
if not 9kg, how heavy , for example is yours? and whats the weight range for the aspis?


Well, like I've said, mine is 18 pounds (c. 8.2kg), but it's way too heavy. I made it according to Connolly's old cross-section and descriptions, which indicated that the wood was thicker at the rim than at the middle. Well, that turned out to be dead wrong! Like most other shields on the planet, the aspis was thickest at the middle and thinner at the edges. Doing that would chop a good 5 pounds off the weight of mine, maybe more. We don't have enough solid data to be certain, but probably a good weight range would have been around 12 to 14 pounds, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them as low as 10 pounds (4.5kg). Sure wish I had time to rebuild mine, or make a new one! Ack...

Matthew
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 6:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From the little I've bothered watching of Lloyd, it seems that he is basing his theories on his experiences with dark age reenactment fighting. Which would be roughly the same rules as my group is fighting by.
Most importantly, the system does not involve head hits, which he totaly seems to disregard in his analysis.

It also seems that he has no experience with using a strapped shield, or has ever fought someone that did. We use kite and heater shields in in the 2x3 to 2x4 foot range (2x2, counting my late cavaly heater, which is not the one in the avatar, but has the same design on the front), with armstraps. These perform admirably, and give a lot better controll than center gripped shields of the same size.
The guard stance is also a lot tighter than with a center griped shield, focusing on passive rather than active defence.

When it comes to the overhand/underhand debate, we have done some experimentation. Our finds so far indicate that the underhand grip is better for pushing and overwhelming an opponent, whereass overhand is better for "fencing" at range.
We are also planning to gather as many people with fencing masks as we can get hold of at the next major training event we are going to, to try shieldwall fighting with face hits.
Documentation will be made available Big Grin

"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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William P




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 7:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

in the new varangian guard, i think the general rule is you MUST have at least a helmet , groin protection and a weapon, shield is highly reccomended, and everything else is interchangable.
i remember a video of lloyds where he makes commentary of a reenactment fight and i notice now that not everyone had headgear most had helmets, some were even bareheaded which might explain that rule we all have helmets so hits, at least to the top of the head are allowed, no ringing his to the side of the head. and since most are spangens with just a nasal, no face attacks either meaning the starting weapons are one handed axe then sword then if your deemed safe enough to wield it, spear and two handed axe
partly de to their danger as offensive weapons, and partly due to the fact you have to discard your shield. which means you have to be alot more skilled at defending yourself.
we eschew the use of fencing masks, the idea being that we dont want to become complacent about the risks of hiting people in the face when using the spear
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Justin Lee Hunt




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 8:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Only one point to make. Dealing with the strapped targes of the Scotts. It has been to my experience having fought with a large rage of weapons and armor types, that with the light armor of the Scotish Highlands you MUST be more aggressive in fighting. That having been said, the shield is at times just as important as an offence weapon as it is a defence. When using a shield for offence you simply have better control. Also in many cases the Scottish cavalry was also their infantry. So the flexibility given by straps allows them to switch back and forth from mounted and ground fighting and allows a larger range of weapons usage. in fact I have recently finished a small targe for my wife that straps to her wrist when she is using her two handed war hammer. It also works great with her long sword and short sword.
I opperate a website for my reenactment troop it's www.orderoftherouseclan.org Be sure to check out our forums www.orderoftherouseclan.proboards.com
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Mackenzie Cosens




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 11:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Elling Polden wrote:
...

We are also planning to gather as many people with fencing masks as we can get hold of at the next major training event we are going to, to try shieldwall fighting with face hits.
Documentation will be made available Big Grin


Cool, I will be interested in hearing more about the result with when you add heads as a target.

mackenzie
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2011 5:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A further experience when it comes to staped vs round shields is that they lend themselves to different kinds of guards or fighting styles.

The way we use heaters, we hold them in a quite tight guard, with the upper edge at the height of the shoulder (or chin, if using head targets), and the right corner covering the hand in a fashion simmilar to the I.33 halfshield guard. this is a very strong defensive position.

Marozzo shows a kite shield guard that is similar, with the bottom of the shield angled outwards, and the sword hand at waist height. This guard also works well in single combat; the angle of the shield protects the legs from drop-down attacks.
Marozzo's mode of defence is also the same as ours; Move your body as to place the shield between you and the opponent, and launch a counterattack.

An apis shield would presumably have been used in the same fashion. its shape and size lends itself very well to be used as static cover from the shoulder to knee.
This can also be seen in conjuction with other hoplite equipment; a helmet wich covers the side of the head, and leg greaves.(sometimes only for the left foot). The helmet as an integral part of a shieldman's guard is often ignored, but can be quite important: A hoplite in his guard position would be very well covered.
The strap arangement would also let him move his shield edge to cover his hands.

As noted Lloyd hold his round shield flat in front of him. This works with small round shields with limited target areas, but is tiring and not very efficient, as you have little controll over the edges of the shield. A firm spear thrust would knock such a guard right open. It also lets your opponent "hinge" over your shield edge, or sidestep and bypass the shield alltogether.

"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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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2011 7:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mackenzie Cosens wrote:
I think many of www.lloydianaspects.co.uk observations are based on the particular reenactment/sport form that he has practices. Last time I looked there was very little technical evidence for how large shield where used historically. I get the feeling that he holds his shield flat to the opponent, how he hits with the boss and how he uses the shield to blind the opponent, just how he holds the shield in this very short youtube , there are other ways to use the shield. There are two articles in SPADA i and SPADA ii by Stephen Hand and Paul Wagner. I also like http://www.hammaborg.de/en/index.php I am sure there are others.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-Ms9RMH7IA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzTsGYFzMLY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPpYDEBvaiQ

mackenzie

The source nobody seems very interested in is the 16th and 17th century Italian rotella material which deals with a strapped shield about 60 cm in diameter used together with sword, partisan, or two partisans. There isn't a huge amount of it, and it feels quite different from what little we know of the long prehistory of European martial arts. The sources have trouble describing shield position and shield actions, they are arts which teach a shield rather than arts which are built around a shield, so you would have to spend a long time studying Manciolino and di Grassi and Capo Ferro only to learn something which probably isn't the same as how people before 1400 used a shield.
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William P




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2011 9:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
William P wrote:
as a matter of fact lloyd makes a point of arguing why he thinks the 'linothorax' is indeed, not made of linen but of leather. and that site has been around since around 2003-4 at LEAST, (thats when i discovered it anyway) hes got a wole article and a video making this point.


Yes, at that time we (well, most of us!) had much less evidence to go on, and we were influenced by Peter Connolly, who seems to have basically invented the whole "linothorax" as we came to know it. Lloyd was one of those who was convinced that it had to be leather, at least partly, even though the evidence we had at the time pointed to linen. But more recently a more critical and thorough analysis of the evidence showed that just about every mention of linen armor in Classical Greek literature refers to it as something foreign and/or unusual. And in fact the very term "linothorax" does not seem to be a Classical Greek word! At the same time, there is a clear reference which defines the spolas as "a thorax of leather which hangs from the shoulders". We have also found out that linen was apparently much more expensive than we'd thought, whereas there was a booming leather industry! So we think what we're seeing on all the vase paintings, a leather spolas. To be on the safe side, we refer to the things we see in artwork as the "tube and yoke cuirass". Bottom line, yes, we mostly agree with Lloyd that the thing was leather, but he needs to update his site to remove the term "linothorax".

Quote:
and the book 'the wars of the ancient greeks' or something similar suggests tha as well that infac the aspis was prone to being pierced decently oten due to attempts to make it lighter.


Most shields can be pierced by SOMEthing, even if they are decent protection against most threats! There are also references to Greek shields being crushed in combat.

Quote:
if not 9kg, how heavy , for example is yours? and whats the weight range for the aspis?


Well, like I've said, mine is 18 pounds (c. 8.2kg), but it's way too heavy. I made it according to Connolly's old cross-section and descriptions, which indicated that the wood was thicker at the rim than at the middle. Well, that turned out to be dead wrong! Like most other shields on the planet, the aspis was thickest at the middle and thinner at the edges. Doing that would chop a good 5 pounds off the weight of mine, maybe more. We don't have enough solid data to be certain, but probably a good weight range would have been around 12 to 14 pounds, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them as low as 10 pounds (4.5kg). Sure wish I had time to rebuild mine, or make a new one! Ack...

Matthew

on the subject of greek panoply while i have our attention, the book the wars of ancient greeks notes the breastplate being i think in some areas 6mm thick. this doesnt seem right, and how thick have you found historical greek bronze cuirasses to be?
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,299

PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2011 10:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William P wrote:
on the subject of greek panoply while i have our attention, the book the wars of ancient greeks notes the breastplate being i think in some areas 6mm thick. this doesnt seem right, and how thick have you found historical greek bronze cuirasses to be?


Yoiks! I think you need a better book! (Though there are certainly plenty of older books who conclude that a hoplite's gear was 2 or 3 times as much as it really was.) Helmets and cuirasses averaged about ONE mm thick. It is true that far too few pieces have been measured with any accuracy, but that's the most common statistic. Some measurements seem to be taken (or just guessed!) at the very edge of a piece, with is typically folded or thickened. When anyone bothers to weigh a helmet or cuirass, the weight is surprisingly low. For instance, a muscled cuirass weighed by Dave Michaels (an antiquities dealer in California) turned out to be just over 6 pounds--that's even less than my own bronze cuirass, which is about 8 pounds and just under 1mm thick! Helmets run 2 to 3 pounds, while repros made of 18-gauge metal (c. 1mm) run 4 to 5 pounds. Go figure.

I've seen a documentary (you can find it on YouTube) in which a Greek Corinthian helmet is examined and X-rayed. They keep saying the thickness is 2 mm, but the weight is about a kilogram (2.2 pounds), so clearly they mismeasured something since my 1mm helmet is 5 pounds!

Obviously there was some variation, but for getting started a good rule of thumb is that armor was usually thinner and lighter than we think. Oh, also beware of modern authorities who blithely dismiss a piece of armor, or even ALL bronze armor (yes, I've seen it!), because it is "too thin and flimsy" to be protective. Then they quote a thickness of 1 to 2 mm. Amusingly, sometimes these same pieces are dismissed by other writers because they are "too thick and heavy" to be practical! Boggles the mind. I think their leather fetishes have too much of an influence on their conclusions...

Khaire!

Matthew
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