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Alexander Bastoky





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PostPosted: Wed 18 Apr, 2012 3:22 pm    Post subject: Pictoral Evidence for Norman Lamellar or Varangian Lamellar?         Reply with quote

All,

I am very interested in purchasing or crafting a lamellar kilbanion/lorikon for an Italio-Norman Miles, but I would like it to be as historically accurate as possible and i'm looking for pictoral evidence. Any images would be greatly appreciated.

Also, I was considering buying lamellar from Timothy Dawson (http://www.levantia.com.au/) or making it working from his guides. Does anyone have recommendations for lamellar or scale armor makers?

-Alex


Last edited by Alexander Bastoky on Sun 29 Apr, 2012 9:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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William P




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr, 2012 3:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

by mentioning norman miles can i assume before 1100 and maybe around the time of hastings?

if that is the case
the normans used almost exclusively maile like everyone else in italy and western europe.
http://www.albion-swords.com/articles/norman.htm at the bottom is a section of one guy recreating the norman knight
but if you wanna be a norman heavy infantry, or a dismounted norman knight,
its the usual stuff, maile hauberk, kite shield, conical helmet, and type Xa or type XI sword plus a spear of some description
the klibanion was the word for lamellar used by the bzantines.
and lamellar was almost exclusively confined to the east, such as the byzantines, rus, saracens and the various steppe tribes like the khazars.
and as far as i know theres no evidence the normans in italy adopted lamellar.
even the birka lamellar in sweden has indications that the people occupying that area were easterners so it doesnt suggest the scandinavians had it either.

http://members.ozemail.com.au/~chrisandpeter/...ellar.html
this is one source on lamellar finds for the byzantines

some might say tim dawsons reconstruction isnt as accurate, one critique is he overuses artwork sources, which have major flaws since many are religous artworks and not neccesarily showing stuff they actually wore at the time.
so its tenuous...

there were western knights in bzantine employ called the latinkon as a merc force similar to the varangian guard. although not as important. these were MAYBE issued byzantine gear but i have almost no evidence they adopted byzantine gear, they probably just kept their own gear. especially in those early centuries.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr, 2012 3:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Agreed with William. I can't think of anything to suggest that Normans wore lamellar in Italy or anywhere else. The Byzantine texts all imply if not state outright that the Frankish mail was superior to their local armour so why would Normans get rid of their mail for something inferior?
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William P




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr, 2012 3:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Agreed with William. I can't think of anything to suggest that Normans wore lamellar in Italy or anywhere else.

the only time wed see 'norman' italians with any sort of platelike armour is when people started using coat of plates style armour in the late 13th century when plate armour was slowly being adopted again.

and, as far as i know, the klibanion may have just been a breastplate of sorts, and lamellar 'spaulders' of a sort, a version of which was used by heavy mamlukes during the 11th C. lamellar, if very rigidly laced can act sort of like a solid breastplate but coverage is alot less than a hauberk.

compare that with a hauberk that goes to the knees and at least down to the elbows if not the wrists. (but the hauberk hadnt yet become the all in one suit that it became with the maile coif and mittens being a part of the hauberk)


Last edited by William P on Thu 19 Apr, 2012 4:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr, 2012 3:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There's no evidence of Norman Miles using lamellar armor. As hard as many reenactors have tried, a solid connection can't be found. To assume that Italo-Normans used it due to their exposure to the Byzantine Empire is just that, supposition. I'm not saying it isn't a logical train of thought, there's just no evidence of it.
"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr, 2012 6:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Personally I think that Beatson's reconstruction is a lot closer to Byzantine armour than Dawson's, but I would not attribute either one to a Norman.
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Alexander Bastoky





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PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr, 2012 6:36 am    Post subject: Norman Lamellar         Reply with quote

I was intrigued by illustrations like the attached. These are all drawn on the assumption that the Normans adopted Byzantine equipment while battling or serving them. There is, however, no hard evidence to support this assumption, correct?


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Normans.jpg

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Sebastian Pachmayr




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr, 2012 9:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As I'm currently working on a 12th c. siculo-norman kit (sadly, only have a phrygian nasal helm at the moment) I'd like to join this discussion Happy. Personally, I think I will stay with just a mail hauberk, but I am interested in lamellar as well, possibly as a future addition some day, if it can be historically supported.

I'd like to add some more images to the discussion, especially the chess figure at the bottom right of the page, which to me looks quite a bit like the armour is made of scales as opposed to rings (the chess figure on the left is a bit more dubious in my eyes, could be either). http://www.fiefetchevalerie.com/fief/?siculo-norman-miles-c-1186

If anyone could give any insight on these pictures and/or the authenticity of this kit in general it would be much appreciated.
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr, 2012 11:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sebastian Pachmayr wrote:
As I'm currently working on a 12th c. siculo-norman kit (sadly, only have a phrygian nasal helm at the moment) I'd like to join this discussion Happy. Personally, I think I will stay with just a mail hauberk, but I am interested in lamellar as well, possibly as a future addition some day, if it can be historically supported.

I'd like to add some more images to the discussion, especially the chess figure at the bottom right of the page, which to me looks quite a bit like the armour is made of scales as opposed to rings (the chess figure on the left is a bit more dubious in my eyes, could be either). http://www.fiefetchevalerie.com/fief/?siculo-norman-miles-c-1186

If anyone could give any insight on these pictures and/or the authenticity of this kit in general it would be much appreciated.


The illustration that Alexander has shown is by the artist Angus McBride and was commissioned by Osprey books for their Men at Arms series. While I love McBrides illustrations for what they are, he did have a habit of taking a lot of creative liberties. Consequently, they can't be used as proof of anything really.

The problem with the evidence shown in your link is none of it is siculo-norman based. The statuary and the chess pieces are byzantine, not norman. I'd say the chess pieces are illustrating Byzantine heavy cavalry, whereas the stone carvings are obviously od Byzantine troops, not normans. The phrygian helmet with the face plate absolutely rocks though. Reenactors have literally tried for decades to show proof of lamellar being used among normans as well as the scandinavian cultures. To date there is simply no strong evidence, or even slight evidence that it was used by these cultures.

The argument can be made that lamellar would make a good additional defense over mail and it would, much like a later coat of plates. However, like the endless argument of padded garments worn under mail (gambeson, aketon, etc.), no matter how logical it may seem to us all we can firmly state is there is no evidence of its use.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Alexander Bastoky





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PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr, 2012 11:57 am    Post subject: What about Scale Armor?         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
The argument can be made that lamellar would make a good additional defense over mail and it would, much like a later coat of plates. However, like the endless argument of padded garments worn under mail (gambeson, aketon, etc.), no matter how logical it may seem to us all we can firmly state is there is no evidence of its use.


Patrick Thank you for your insight! I had no idea that such a debate existed about the use of padded garments under armor. So it would seem that if one made absolutely no assumptions and only worked from hard evidence we would be left wanting.

To continue the discussion, what about scale armor on Norman knights? Is the story any different?

Also, i've just been curious about scale armor in general. Does anyone make it nowadays?
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr, 2012 2:10 pm    Post subject: Re: What about Scale Armor?         Reply with quote

Alexander Bastoky wrote:

To continue the discussion, what about scale armor on Norman knights? Is the story any different?


No.

Sir Guy is supposed to be wearing scale on the Bayeix Tapestry but IMO it is a civilian garment, not armour.
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Sebastian Pachmayr




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr, 2012 5:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:


The problem with the evidence shown in your link is none of it is siculo-norman based. The statuary and the chess pieces are byzantine, not norman. I'd say the chess pieces are illustrating Byzantine heavy cavalry, whereas the stone carvings are obviously od Byzantine troops, not normans. The phrygian helmet with the face plate absolutely rocks though. Reenactors have literally tried for decades to show proof of lamellar being used among normans as well as the scandinavian cultures. To date there is simply no strong evidence, or even slight evidence that it was used by these cultures.

The argument can be made that lamellar would make a good additional defense over mail and it would, much like a later coat of plates. However, like the endless argument of padded garments worn under mail (gambeson, aketon, etc.), no matter how logical it may seem to us all we can firmly state is there is no evidence of its use.


Thanks for clearing the confusion in regards to the evidence, that it is byzantine actually makes a lot of sense. I agree that logically it would make a lot of sense to wear the extra armour but since there is no evidence, we definitely can't assume that they did it just because it would make sense to us with our modern set of thinking. Who knows, perhaps at that time the extra armour would have been looked upon as unmanly or unchivalrous?

I can definitely understand why people would try to find any way possible to support lamellar though... I think it looks totally badass Razz
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr, 2012 6:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nope, no evidence of scale armor either. Scale and lamellar look cool and would seem to be a logical progression. Like the foundation garment controversy I think it's a perfectly plausible idea. Unfortunately that doesn't serve as real evidence of use. Dan is right about the Bayeaux Tapestry. There are figures present that seem to be wearing something other than mail. However, there are also blue, green and red horses and a plethora of other strylistic choices, so it's impossible to know if the makers were trying to denote different types of armor or simply trying to add visual variety. There is a real parsity of evidence when it comes to the normans. We have far more concrete evidence of both earlier and later periods and it can be frustrating when the 11th century is a period of interest.
"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Len Parker





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PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr, 2012 10:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Does this look like it's meant to be lamellar? http://www.tforum.info/forum/index.php?showtopic=9170&st=20 Says c.1140 but I can't make out the name of the church.

Also, a couple of interesting pics here at top. http://13c.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=275
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Aleksei Sosnovski





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PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr, 2012 11:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Actually many armors did not survive. There was scale armor in Roman empire. There was scale armor in the later medieval period (quite a lot of illustrations of scale aventails, sabatons and faulds). Also when peoples using different types of equipment meet they tend to borrow from each other to some extent. So it is pretty safe to assume that some normans at some point wore lamellar or scale or whatever other Bysantian armor.

However the problem with such assumption is that nowerdays most reenactors think the same way. We don't fight for real, we want to come home from our events not only alive but also unscathed. And if we get too tired we just fall to the ground and say we are "dead". Also we use blunt weapons, often don't use thrusting weapons and so our priorities are quite different from those of real medieval warriors. Also reenactors often lack knowledge about availability, quality and prices of different materials during the period they reenact. And so we end up seeing "vikings" all wearing leather lamellars in my country because they are cheap and easy to make, light and offer enough protection from cuts with blunt swords. The fact that a sharp spear/sword/knife/arrow would thrust through such "armor" almost as if it was not there usually doesn't even come to their mind.

If there was a large event (let's say at least 100 people reenacting norman warriors) and one or two wore lamellars it would probably be OK. But if out of 10 people 5 are wearing them it's way too much.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Apr, 2012 1:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aleksei Sosnovski wrote:
Actually many armors did not survive. There was scale armor in Roman empire. There was scale armor in the later medieval period (quite a lot of illustrations of scale aventails, sabatons and faulds). Also when peoples using different types of equipment meet they tend to borrow from each other to some extent. So it is pretty safe to assume that some normans at some point wore lamellar or scale or whatever other Bysantian armor.

If studying this subject has taught me anything then it is that it is absolutely, positively, definitely NOT "safe to assume" anything. No it is not safe to assume that the Normans wore scale or lamellar. You can't even assume that Varangians wore scale or lamellar even though they actually served the Byzantine emperor. Lamellar is actually a very poor armour compared to mail. Reenactors today don't realise it because they haven't worn it for weeks in the rain and mud and tried to clean the blood out of it after a fight.
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William P




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Apr, 2012 1:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
There's no evidence of Norman Miles using lamellar armor. As hard as many reenactors have tried, a solid connection can't be found. To assume that Italo-Normans used it due to their exposure to the Byzantine Empire is just that, supposition. I'm not saying it isn't a logical train of thought, there's just no evidence of it.

that said one could make a plausible case for being a later period latinkon. im not too sure how true this is but i keep hearing among byzantine reenactors that the varangians and other semi permanent merc forces were slowly 'hellenized' i.e issued with byzantine kit. for example as they became less of a mercenary force and were more and more integrated into the byzantine army.


most people assume the kievan rus of the viking age used lamellar in fact we think thats probably untrue, that maybe a noble here or there adopted khazar arms and armour (the khazars had quite advanced armour for their time) but the evidnce (and the assertions of my fellow reenactors as well) suggests that a majority of the varangian guard and rus, like most 'vikings' prior to hastings would have worn maile mostly
the use of lamellar as a major and widespread form of armour among the rus being a more 12th-13th century development.

interestingly the byzantines are one of the few peoples where wehave CONFIRMED use of padded armour during the viking age.. IIRC almost all of the army wore at least a bambakion i.e a typical padded gambeson made using vertical stuffed tubes. the pikemen sometimes wore two gambesons, but nothing else aside from a simple helmet. and i think the kataphracts had a quilted garment OVER their lorikon and klibanion, called an epilorikion.
the prescence of some form of padded armour is confirmed by the records in the military manuals around that time.

also as for ittalian churches one should remember that the byzantines had a fair presence in italy during the 11th century.. after that the normans under robert guiscard and other leaders chased them out alittle prior to hastings..

that said dan as to tim dawsons partilly rivetted lamellar, peter betson and a few of his collegues reckoned when i asked them about tims stuff, was that its still called lamellar and itsnt just upside down scale, to them the presence or absence of a backing makes no difference instead its the fact the plates are attatched to each other both horizontally and vertically, if its just horizontally attatched then its scale.
(im not being conforntational, its just merely i wished to voice that contrary opinion)
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Aleksei Sosnovski





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PostPosted: Fri 20 Apr, 2012 2:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:

If studying this subject has taught me anything then it is that it is absolutely, positively, definitely NOT "safe to assume" anything. No it is not safe to assume that the Normans wore scale or lamellar. You can't even assume that Varangians wore scale or lamellar even though they actually served the Byzantine emperor. Lamellar is actually a very poor armour compared to mail. Reenactors today don't realise it because they haven't worn it for weeks in the rain and mud and tried to clean the blood out of it after a fight.


Well, assuming that they never did would be like assuming that no US soldier ever used an AK in Afghanistan or Iraq :-) I agree with you on most points though. I wrote that "some normans at some point". If out of hundreds or thousands of men at least 2 would do it it would make my statement true. But I certainly agree that if they already had a superior armor they wouldn't switch it for an inferior one. But if their armor was lost/badly damaged or they were offered for it a price too good to refuse...

The key thing is that based on the current evidence for somebody reenacting a norman it would be wrong to use lamellar.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Apr, 2012 5:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William P wrote:
that said dan as to tim dawsons partilly rivetted lamellar, peter betson and a few of his collegues reckoned when i asked them about tims stuff, was that its still called lamellar and itsnt just upside down scale, to them the presence or absence of a backing makes no difference instead its the fact the plates are attatched to each other both horizontally and vertically, if its just horizontally attatched then its scale.
(im not being conforntational, its just merely i wished to voice that contrary opinion)

It depends entirely on whether the backing provides structural support. If the armour can be assembled without the need for a backing then it is lamellar. It can have a backing, but if it is necessary to maintain structural integrity then it isn't lamellar, it is scale. In any case, it doesn't matter whether you call Dawson' armour scale or lamellar, it still isn't the most resonable interpretation of byzantine armour.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Apr, 2012 5:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aleksei Sosnovski wrote:
I wrote that "some normans at some point". If out of hundreds or thousands of men at least 2 would do it it would make my statement true.

So? Right now you have evidence for 0 out of hundreds or thousands.
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