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Philip G.




Location: Nordrhein-Westfahlen, Germany
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PostPosted: Mon 09 Apr, 2012 2:00 pm    Post subject: 13th century knightly roundshield?         Reply with quote

I was wondering if anyone has more information about the roundshield the knight on the left of this picture from the codex manesse is bearing:



bigger picture:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons...rabant.jpg

Its rather strange to see a big roundshield (not a buckler) this late, also the construction makes it look like (atleast to me) it is made of metal! WTF?!

What are your thoughts?
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Mon 09 Apr, 2012 3:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My guess is that it is artistic licence.

Occationally, heathens where shown with domed round shields of this type. For instance in the Machiowsky bible.
I have never noticed the one in Manesse before, though.

Domed round shields where in use in western europe from the frankish period until the mid 11th century, after which they are replaced by kite shields. This change seems to have been quite quick and wide reaching.

The earlier shields where made of wood, most likely in a plywood construction; I have such a shield, in a larger 80 cm variety, for dark age reenactment. It performs quite well, but would be to big for cavalry use.

The occational pictoral reference aside, I would still not use it for high medevial reenactment. Though the thought of dressing up like a machiowsky philestine has a certain apeal...

"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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Jojo Zerach





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PostPosted: Mon 09 Apr, 2012 9:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's likely that round shields were still being used on occasion. The decoration would have most likely been molded leather.
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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr, 2012 7:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I only see half a shield? Who knows what shape it really is, round top kite, round, half moon... But I do think round shields were still fairly common.
"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge


Last edited by Johan Gemvik on Tue 10 Apr, 2012 8:17 am; edited 3 times in total
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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr, 2012 8:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Other round shields in art from the same age.

A good example is the Maciejowski bible, leaf 9:



http://www.medievaltymes.com/courtyard/maciejowski_images_9.htm

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr, 2012 8:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Round shields were still in use in the high medieval period in Scandinavia: http://www.vikverir.no/ressurser/hist_mus_osl...amp;page=3

From what I recall, these were smaller than Viking shields, more like large bucklers. I do not know if they were intended for cavalry use.
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Thomas R.




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr, 2012 11:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A span of circa 60 years lies between the Codex Manesse and the Maciejowski Bible, so they are not to be used as references for the same time frame (or even the same country - one is french, the other of swiss/german origin). Armour parts and weapons did evolve between 1250 (Mac Bible) and 1300/10 (Manesse) very fast. Furthermore do only the bad guys wear in the bible's illuminations the round shields and norman helmets, which would be considered at least as very oldfashioned by the top notch audience of the Mac Bible. (I think, there is a lot of humour hidden within the Mac Bible, we just don't get it anymore nowadays).

Regards,
Thomas

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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr, 2012 3:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would not say the philstine equipment is outdated, since there where no straped round shields in use in the 12th century, and medevial art in general is charctericed by a total lack of historical awareness.
They are more likely to be based on descriptions of muslim equipment: "Mostly like us, but with pointed helms and round shields."

The norwegian large bucklers/small round shields are "civillian" weapons. Even in scandinavia the wast majority of depitctions show kite shields from the 1050s onwards.

"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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T. Arndt




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr, 2012 4:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Elling Polden wrote:
...medevial art in general is charctericed by a total lack of historical awareness.....


On a side note: I attended a wonderful presentation by a fellow from the Oakeshott Institute at WMAW this past year. One of his many illuminating messages was that often times medieval art was intentionally showed renderings of historical events within a context that is contemporary to the artist. The reasoning being that manuscripts are presenting truths, and since a truth is always true, a contemporary context does not detract from the truth but rather reinforces it for the reader.

Wisconsin Historical Fencing Association (WHFA) - La Crosse
A HEMA Alliance Affiliate

“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” -Juvenal
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Philip G.




Location: Nordrhein-Westfahlen, Germany
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr, 2012 8:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Artistic license was my first thought, too, we can't say that as sure as for the Mac Bible though, because in biblical scenes we often see strange armament.

The Codex Manesse on the other hand, as far as I understand, does not depict ancient heathens, but German Minnesänger, in this case the text says "Herzoge"/dukes . And I don't think a Herzog would find it very flattering to be depicted as a heathen...

Now thinking of it, Osprey shows German infantry armed with round shields in the 12th-14th century.

@Johan Gemvik:

You are correct, although I think given the way the other shields are portrayed in the Codex we can assume that it is a round shield. A kite-shield would most likely be shown hung vertically like the other shields, but it would still be strange, outside of scandinavia, to see a kite-shield that late.
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2012 5:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It is still a common assumtion among historians that the kite shield is a cavalry shield, and that round shields remained in service for infantry.
This is based on convention, and the fact that almost all warriors depicted after 1050 are knights. However, when we see infantrymen, they are armed with kites as well. Bucklers appear somethimes, but the only large round shields I can remember seeing in the later middle ages is a relief of two knights fighting on foot.
Looking at the Osprey book, they show no references on the round shields, so it could be asumed that they have fallen into this convention.

It is a bit surprising to see one in Manesse. My genereal impression of that manuscript is that it is a bit over the top glamorous. For instance, all the horses have fur lined (!) covers. The illustrator also appears to be less specialiced on knights and more on civilians.

"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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José-Manuel Benito




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2012 7:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi.

In the Hispanic iconography of this period, probably is more appropriate speak of twelfth century or before, it was usual to represent the Moorish with round-shields (adarga).

That is very evident in some capitals of the Romanesque buildings, were appears the legendary tournament of Roland (the christian hero) that fight against Ferragut (a giant Moorish). Roland ever has a kite shield, wile Ferragut wears the adarga. See: The Romanesque Wooden Doors of Auvergne

The Moorish adarga evolved, during thirteen century, into kidney-shaped and heart-shaped forms, but left their mark on the rotella, that were used by many soldiers until very late time. See Capo-Ferro, plate 42.

Moreover, in the picture that you shows of the Mac Bible, one side uses trumpets and the other side uses drums. In Spanish literature of the Reconquista the Moorish always used drums in battle, while the Christians used trumpets. That coincides with what has been said, kite shields plus trumpets for the Christians; front, round-shields plus drums for the Muslims.

So, I think that the round shields are a convention to represent the enemies of Christendom.

Regards.
José-Manuel

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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2012 7:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here are two more depictions of round shields in use after 1050.

myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=25669

If you scroll down a bit on this page you will see round shields in use by both cavalry and infantry, but as these men are (I think) supposed to be ancient babylonian, this could be more evidence of artistic licence.

myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=9575

And the second post in this thread shows 14th century knights with round shields which are clearly strapped to the arm.

Éirinn go Brách
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José-Manuel Benito




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2012 9:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Curtin wrote:
Here are two more depictions of round shields in use after 1050.

myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=25669

If you scroll down a bit on this page you will see round shields in use by both cavalry and infantry, but as these men are (I think) supposed to be ancient babylonian, this could be more evidence of artistic licence.

myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=9575

And the second post in this thread shows 14th century knights with round shields which are clearly strapped to the arm.


Yes, this Beatus, of the first link, is exposed at the MET Museum in New York. It is a gem and one of the more delayed copies of a tradition that goes back to the early 10th century. In this case, there is no doubt that the shields are adargas. It's the army of Nebuchadnezzar (below this picture appears the king's court). The Babylonians are enemies of the Jews and therefore they are "evil".

Of course, the round shields are not only from the Iberian Peninsula, but the Mac Bible was made, probably, near Spain.

Ecce, iam meum patrem video
Ecce, iam meam matrem video
Ecce, iam meas sorores ac meos fratres video
Ecce, iam meam gentem totam ab initio video
Ecce illi me iam vocant
Et illi me rogant meum locum inter se accipere
Apud Averni portas sunt
Ubi viri fortes æterne vivant
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Thomas R.




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2012 10:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Please note: the Mac Bible was made in Paris/France.

And the Manesse depicts bards (Minnesänger), of which most were long dead and gone, when the Manesse was collected in the first quarter of the 14th century. The Codex is a who is who of medieval bards. Every Bard was depicted in a scene from his most acclaimed poem. So we face two problems: the painters had to paint people, which were dead and wear oldfashioned clothings (the audience knew they were dead for a long time, and that fashion had changed since then). It's as worse as even the arms on their shields are often not the real arms of the bards. And the situations are almost every time pure fiction (one folio even depicts the son slain like his father was slain - maybe the painters knew this, maybe they mixed up the two men by chance).

In other words: the Manesse is a bit like a lifestyle-magazine: The coolest bards ever, in the finest clothing imagineable for their timeframe (not necessarly the first quarter of the 14th century!). So please take these depictions with a grain of salt and always try to research the context of the works. If one illumination shows a round shield by happenstance it does not mean it was used or even widely spread. It's also possible that in sweden or norway everyone wore such a round shield by that time! Just try to focus on a time and country, when you are assembling your kit.

Best wishes,
Thomas

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Kurt Scholz





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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2012 11:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

who really used round shields then and if so why not kite shields?
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José-Manuel Benito




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2012 11:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thomas R. wrote:
Please note: the Mac Bible was made in Paris/France.


You are right.
My mistake.
I was thinking in another book.
Sorry
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2012 1:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kurt: Well, lets see...
Round shields, with central grips, where used by all the germanic peoples of northwestern europe from antiquity until ca 1000 AD. In some places (France, for instance) these shields where made in a domed shape. Elsewhere, like in Scandinavia, they where made flat.
The moors used round shields with handstraps.
The byzantines used round shields, with and without handstraps, in adition to oval shields and later kites.
It comes back into vouge in western europe in the renaisance. Maybe because of classical influence?

The kite shield is first seen in the 8th century in Byzantium. They are rarely seen in western europe before the 11th century, but it seems the normans introduced them on a large scale, and they became very popular in all of western christendom very quickly.
From its original form, it developed into the wedge shield (with a square top), and later the shorter, wide based heater shield.
Note that all these are modern names; In the middle ages, shield types where seldom distingushed between.

"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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Thomas R.




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2012 2:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This form of "kite"-shield is probably also noteworthy: Its taken from the Eneit-novel by Heinrich von Veldeke. The angles are very obtuse, giving the shields a rounded look. I have no proper date for this illumination, but I think it's from the first quarter of the 13th century (~1220).


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Heinrich von Veldeke: The Eneit Novel [ Download ]

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José-Manuel Benito




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2012 3:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From the article «The armor of Don Alvaro de Cabrera», by Stephen V. Grancsay (The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 1952).


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Aragonese knight-13th.jpg
Relief of a Aragonese knight completely armed in mail; only the helmet is plate. From Poblet monastery, late 13th century.
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