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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Fri 30 Sep, 2011 10:20 am    Post subject: Gambeson/Aketon         Reply with quote

I have read in a handful of period sources that a Gambeson was 17+ layers of linen, to 24 or more. I have also read less frequently however, that the top layer could be of leather (waterproofing issues perhaps?).

I have also heard it was linen stuffed with cotton or other material, but not from primary sources.

Anyone that can clear this up with perhaps some primary source references?

Maybe I am mixing the garment worn ar armour on it's own vs. the garment worn beneath mail.
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Sep, 2011 11:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Gary, both methods (multiple layers of linen, and linen stuffed with wool) were used historicaly. If you check out the features section of this site, there's a very good article on padded armour.
Éirinn go Brách
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Gregory J. Liebau




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Sep, 2011 12:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The layers specified and particularly the use of leather would cause garments to be so thick that it would be nearly impossible to wear armor over them. Rather than calling the articles "gambesons" or "aketons," terms typically applied to arming garments, I'd suggest searching for information about "jacks," which were stand-alone padded armor and substantially thicker than those previously mentioned.

-Gregory
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Matthew P. Adams




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Sep, 2011 1:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So if I understand this correctly, a padded garment would have been worn under plate or mail, while the layered garment was a stand alone fabric armor, or worn over mail to increase its arrow resistance?

-Matthew
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Sep, 2011 3:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not really. You can get examples of both for both purposes. There are tailoring differences but thickness is the key. You need some kind of padding under armour but it needs to be fairly light; it can be a few layers of cloth, or lightly stuffed, or felt, or a few other constructions. If it is too thick then it hinders movement. The thicker defenses are likely to have been intended for standalone use. The mid-range ones might have been intended to be layered over another type of armour.

And there is little point dicussing this unless everytione agrees on a common terminology. Personally I use "aketon" for under armour padding, "gambeson" for standalone defenses, and "jacks" for an additional outer defense. But it doesn't really matter what they are called (there is no consistency in the sources) so long as everyone uses the same terms to describe the same items.
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Sep, 2011 4:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree with Dan, in that although these terms were not used with consistancy (sp?) in the past, for constructive discussions in the present standardized terms are essential. I also agree with Dan's use of the terms aketon, gambesson, and jack.
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Hugh Knight




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Sep, 2011 5:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think Dan's nomenclature works best and is most representative of historical terms. Moreover, it meshes well with academic sources; Blair used much the same terminology.

The one distinction I would make is that an aketon is a quilted garment worn under the great hauberk. I would distinguish between that and the unpadded, or almost unpadded, and highly fitted garment worn under plate harnesses. I term that an arming doublet based on the normal usage I find from the serious scholars in the field.

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Hugh
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Mackenzie Cosens




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Sep, 2011 10:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think for an argument can be made that Jacks are stand alone armour why not pick a term like Jupon?

it may be better to accept that theses terms are imprecise and simply use a modern description of what you are talking about.
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Sam Gordon Campbell




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Oct, 2011 1:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Modern terms, I agree, may help ease confusion but there is nothing like saying aketon, jupon, gambeson, etc., with a thick accent Laughing Out Loud
Member of Australia's Stoccata School of Defence since 2008.
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Kurt Scholz





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PostPosted: Sat 01 Oct, 2011 3:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aren't their protective garments worn under the metal armour, over the metal armour and as stand-alone-armour?
Rogerius of Apulia wrote that double gambesons couldn't be penetrated by Mongol arrows and he suggested that everybody fighting them should wear such armour. I guess this most likely means very thick stand alone armour or one organic protection above and one beneath the metal armour. So the source also means that there were people wearing this kind of armour, but obviously not enough to make Europe's soldiers immune to Mongol archery.
So in what ranges was armour thickness and which of these were frequent?
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Oct, 2011 4:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kurt Scholz wrote:
Rogerius of Apulia wrote that double gambesons couldn't be penetrated by Mongol arrows and he suggested that everybody fighting them should wear such armour.

Can you cite the passage? I'd like to read it.
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Oct, 2011 7:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For evidence of padded armours there is actually a great deal of evidence.

Two that are both in common circulation take a look at Ffolkes Armourer and his craft and he includes one from the garderobe accounts in England from 1323 and a Parisian account of 1311. In his appdx. he includes them. Both seem to be rather thick with 2.3lbs of raw cotton and 3.1lbs respectively in modern weights. This is the period of shift from wearing mail, to plate so they could be aketons for under mail then plate. Having made one with just under 3lbs of raw cotton once you get much past 3lbs you will likely be leaving aketon territory for gambeson/jupon/jack territory.

The physical remains show that a mix of multilayer and padded is very common. From what I have seen all remaining examples that are likely armour or made for use with it, are this design.

That said both types seem to have been used for under armour, over armour and stand alone. Several Burgundian Ordinances indicate the layered garments in use in this way, as said earlier likely the thicker the more likely it was used over or as a stand alone. I have been experimenting how much padding makes it difficult to use under armour but have not made the multilayered ones to test this out yet.

I have seen 0 evidence of multilayered textile armour in central and western Europe until the late 3rd quarter of the 14th, before that all I have seen is padded. After this there is evidence for both into the 16th and more limited into the 17th. In the 17th I have seen some rather interesting buff coats with padded sleeves which make me wonder why but I have not had enough time to really think on it.

whether a form fit aketon with light to no padding or an arming coat they seem to be developmental stages of the same garment so what ever you wish to use here works for me.

As Dan I'd be interested in the account as well Kurt, sounds interesting.

RPM
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Kurt Scholz





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PostPosted: Sat 01 Oct, 2011 10:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's the "Carmen miserabile" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmen_Miserabile), "The sad song for the destruction of the kingdom of Hungary by the Tartars", by Roger of Apulia and here are the editions http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruggero_di_Pugli...iserabile. He has one of the last sections dedicated to suggestions on how to fight the Mongols in his account. Unfortunately I couldn't find an online version in English, so I ordered the book. I can presumably give the exact quote after 10/7. Just send me a PM reminder.
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Mon 03 Oct, 2011 9:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Two that are both in common circulation take a look at Ffolkes Armourer and his craft and he includes one from the garderobe accounts in England from 1323 and a Parisian account of 1311. In his appdx. he includes them. Both seem to be rather thick with 2.3lbs of raw cotton and 3.1lbs respectively in modern weights. This is the period of shift from wearing mail, to plate so they could be aketons for under mail then plate. Having made one with just under 3lbs of raw cotton once you get much past 3lbs you will likely be leaving aketon territory for gambeson/jupon/jack territory.



Interesting, Randall.

And I re-read the article on padded armours, it was interesting as well.

Is there much anyone has on 12th century or earlier "aketons", to use the suggested terminology? I have read one passage, about european knights in the service of Byzantium, IIRC it's 24 layers of linen, treated with rough wine, and it's form the 12th-13th century, though it's unclear if these were to be worn in addition to mail or as a stand alone defense.

I have a bit of conjecture here, would like to say if anyone has any info to point one way or the other.

The info we have on aketons indicates they were a few layers of linen and padding, but these are getting into the period of plate and mail.

There are references to a textile form of armour being many layers of linen.

Jacks made up of layers of linen were worn as stand alone defenses and over mail.

This makes me wonder (Here is the conjecture part). We see Breastplate worn over mail as one of the ealrier re-introduction of plate, as well as the coat of plates, as well as Jacks over mail. The Aketons of this later period seem to be thinner/lighter than the 24 layers of linen type gambesons.

Is there any evidence that might point to the ealrier gambesons worn under mail without reinforcement over the mail were the thicker type of layered linen, more equivalent to the 20+ layer of linen gambeson?

And that the later aketon that we see with only a few layers of linen and stuffed with cotton was a later type of amour, worn when there was some type of reinforcement over mail?
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Mon 03 Oct, 2011 9:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

BTW, along a similar vein, does anyone know what weight of linen Dr. Williams used when making his 16 layer of linen gambeson for testing in "The Knight and the Blast Furnace"?
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Mon 03 Oct, 2011 1:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gary,

The issue with these is that they are of Eastern European or Middle Eastern origin. While many are quick to point to them as the source of Western and Central European textile armour development there is an inherent danger in doing this as there are few clear evidences of this. Until the 13th century we have very little info on Western and Central European textile armour.

I do not think Williams gives this info in his book.

RPM
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Mon 03 Oct, 2011 1:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Until the 13th century we have very little info on Western and Central European textile armour.


Yeah, unfortunately kind of what I thought.

I was hoping to find a bit more info on W/C European textile armour from ealrier than the 12th century.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 03 Oct, 2011 4:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gary Teuscher wrote:
I was hoping to find a bit more info on W/C European textile armour from ealrier than the 12th century.

There isn't much. Most of it is speculation based on illustrations. You get glimpses in the texts. For example, Cuchulain is said to be wearing 27 cneslenti which is probably best translated as a garment with 27 layers of linen.
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Tue 04 Oct, 2011 9:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
For example, Cuchulain is said to be wearing 27 cneslenti which is probably best translated as a garment with 27 layers of linen.


Interesting Dan. Do you know the century this material was originally written?
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Kurt Scholz





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PostPosted: Tue 08 Nov, 2011 12:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/Medieval/war/By...ctics.html

bambakion (βαμβάκιον): A padded leather or cotton under-garment, worn under the cuirass.
epilorikion (επιλωρίκιον): A padded leather or cotton over-garment, worn over the cuirass.

This lists two kinds of similar armour worn in different positions relative to the cuirass. I'm not knowledgeable about them, but could that mean that someone wore both of them, one over and one underneath his other armour?
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