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Sjors B




Location: Zevenaar, The Netherlands
Joined: 31 Aug 2011

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PostPosted: Wed 04 Jul, 2012 4:44 pm    Post subject: belly plate half armour         Reply with quote



A friend of mine is looking into a suit of armour like this.
I do know the belly plate and gorget are used in combination with a brigandine, but is there also any evidence of it being worn with just a gambeson or haubark. Any authentic pictures on the subject are most welcome.

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Bob Haynes




Location: Mount Perry, Ohio
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PostPosted: Thu 05 Jul, 2012 3:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm surprised that nobody has responded to this yet. I'm not an expert on this, in fact a historical belly plate is new to me and I'm finding it pretty neat looking. Likely to reduce cost? Worn with brigandine under it sounds pretty bulky heavy, as I've heard such an armor alone is pretty weighty, and you say this thing was worn over that? Then again basinets started as skullcaps under great helms, soooo.... But yeah, sounds awful protective though.
As does the mail hauberk, its a nice looking thought as well, damn fine!
I know an armor's function is protection and not fashion, but still!


Last edited by Bob Haynes on Thu 05 Jul, 2012 9:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 05 Jul, 2012 6:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Try searching for threads mentioning words like plackard, plackart, and placard. That's the term some use for this plate.

Here are some to get you started.

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=14134
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=12877
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=20187
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=6733

Happy

ChadA

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Raman A




Location: United States
Joined: 25 Aug 2011

Posts: 143

PostPosted: Thu 05 Jul, 2012 7:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

"I do know the belly plate and gorget are used in combination with a brigandine." What are your sources on this? I know there are many paintings that display fabric covered chest armor with a bare plackart, but most scholars seem to agree that those are fabric covered breast-plates, not brigandine, although it would be easy to mistake them as such. I know there's some debate on this issue so if you have some non-pictoral evidence for brigandine with a plackart I'm interested to see it, but I fear you might be mistaken on this point. As far as I know, globose (pigeon-breasted) breastplates came about first and were worn with maille and/or brigandine, and were later supplemented with the plackart to extend the protection of solid plate down to the navel instead of just the upper chest. It is possible some of the examples are actually brigandine and a plackart and not a fabric-covered breastplate and plackart, for whatever reason. This is probably worth looking into.

I've never seen a plackart with just maille or gambeson. However, I know extra thick gambesons meant to be worn as armor by themselves were used, so its possible. I've just never heard of it, and frankly it doesn't make much sense from a logical standpoint. In general the head and upper chest are the most critical parts to protect and afforded the best protection possible. Biologically speaking, that's where the most vital organs are and the body itself has evolved to protect those areas with the thick skull and rib-cage. In most periods of history the general trend seems to support this, with helmet and chest armor being first priority with armor for the extremities coming secondary. Now this is just speculation on my part with no evidence, but it does not make much sense to me to carefully guard the stomache with plate and leave the heart and both lungs considerably more vulnerable. However, as I mentioned before that is just my personal reasoning, and just because I have not personally seen evidence of this set-up does not mean it does not exist.

I have seen this set-up in two other places, one was in a fantasy video game, and the other was a picture of a user on this forum who admitted he wore it for comfort and had no historical basis for it.

It still could have existed certainly, I'm definitely not an expert on the subject. I just have never seen evidence for it, and it doesn't make much sense to me.
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
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PostPosted: Thu 05 Jul, 2012 8:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Raman,

I think you have it but one piece breastplates of the 14th often go to the navel so the reason for the two part breastplate of the 15th century with plackard is something else. Further they go back to solid one piece breastplates after it as well all at least to the navel.

My gut feeling is the plackard that looks to have a fabric top to match is as you said simply a covered topplate.

RPM
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Zac Evans




Location: London
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PostPosted: Fri 06 Jul, 2012 12:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't think anyone has been able to say convincingly that brigandine/plackart combinations weren't used, as many images of plackarts are part of miniatures, where it is impossible to tell one way or another due to lack of detail. Is it not possible that both were used alongside each other?
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
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PostPosted: Fri 06 Jul, 2012 5:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Zac,

I think it is but we have the most armour of any medieval era from this period and none survived where as we have brigs and breastplates in ample supply. Seems we'd have some remaining armours of this nature if they were so prevalent.

Not saying impossible but very little to no evidence of it. None of the MS I know of even show rivets or anything like that to denote a brig build set up. We also have to wonder what the point of having a partly flexible top over bottom would be. Looking at Brigs the opposite tended to be true with the larger more rigid lung plates on the top over lower part.

RPM
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Sjors B




Location: Zevenaar, The Netherlands
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PostPosted: Fri 06 Jul, 2012 3:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

thanks for al the reply's everyone.
As for my own sources on a combi of brigandine and plackard, my prime source is the wel informed armourer Will West, who made a german armour in this fashion ( http://englyshe-plate-armourie.co.uk/Images/P...%2001.html )
Also i have seen a few middle to late 15th century images suggesting this combination, but i'd have to make scans or search out those images. Anyway, thanks again for all your insights (and keep them coming), it will give us a lot to discus this weekend.

Also, a bit off topic but a quote i can't resist replying on:
Quote:
I know an armor's function is protection and not fashion, but still!

in my opinion, armor is a perfect combination of function and fashion. In the 15th century armour becomes higly developed to the demands of that era, but since noblemen are the biggest show-ofs of there time, the armour you have is al about showing your wealth and refined taste.
(so far for my off-topic comment)

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Raman A




Location: United States
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PostPosted: Sat 07 Jul, 2012 12:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sjors B wrote:
thanks for al the reply's everyone.
As for my own sources on a combi of brigandine and plackard, my prime source is the wel informed armourer Will West, who made a german armour in this fashion http://englyshe-plate-armourie.co.uk/Images/P...%2001.html


Hmm, well I have great respect for Will West, so I'm inclined to defer to his wisdom. However, he's still not a primary source. I'd like to know what sources he used in the creation of that harness. Sadly he hasn't shown them on his website like he has for many of his other armors he displays there. I know Will West has done careful research in the construction of his armors, but its possible that specific harness is a bit of his own creativity.

Anyway, like I mentioned before, I believe in general it was covered breastplates represented in period paintings. Did someone, at some point, wear a brigandine with a plackart? Probably. I'd be a little silly to declare definitively no, and I don't think anyone is going to call you out if you choose to do so.

However, just a gambeson or chainmail with a plackart is another matter. If your friend is doing any serious martial arts with his harness I'd strongly advise against it since he's leaving his most vital organs woefully under-armored. If he's just doing re-enactments as a lower-rank footsoldier with a crossbow or bow, well he can probably get away it if he feels its a lot more comfortable for whatever reason. Like I said before, I know extra-thick gambesons different from those worn as arming doublets were used as armor by themselves, so its definitely possible I just don't know of any sources to support it and it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me from a practical stand-point.
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
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PostPosted: Sat 07 Jul, 2012 6:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am not sure I feel that way. Not unless he has info on his web site or can show there is something that shows this being done during the 15th century, which from what I have seen is not the case. Though as I said before would love to see some evidence for this. I have seen amazing work by him but that is not the same as historical basis. He might be OK with further extrapolation than I am. I have no problem with people making guesses as long as they are clear there is limited evidence backing it. Such 'good guesses' can look and function great, perhaps be what was done but without evidence of this done we still are not any further along with Mr Wests work here. I think this is part of reenactment in some respects. Sometimes guess work is what we have to work with, some people are comfortable with more guessing, some less. In this I am not confident this is the right interpretation but I would not stop some one from doing it or say it is impossible it was done that way. It surely 'could' have been done in this way but to me it is not evidence it 'was' done this way in the medieval period.

That said perhaps if any one knows Mr. West he does indeed know something we do not.

RPM
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Zac Evans




Location: London
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PostPosted: Sun 08 Jul, 2012 3:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry I've taken a while in replying, I've been very busy of late, busy enough to read, but not post. I have time to track down the images, and reply now.

Randall, I believe you are asking for the impossible. The need for a plackart:brigandine combo is an almost impossible thing to provide: By their nature, they would be separate items worn together as needed. Secondly we are well aware of the amount of items that have been tampered with over the years. Not finding any placarts by themselves is not surprising considering a: how easy they would be to turn into jack of plates in the 16th century, or b: how much more money a victorian antique seller could get for rivetting a breastplate on.

Finally, to say that there is no pictoral evidence is not the case. If you say that every example of a plackart with something solid underneath is a covered breastplate, then I could see you come to that conclusion, but this then becomes a matter of interpretation. Will and I (we ride together, and often talk armour during and after) both see many brigandine/placart combinations in images where you may see covered breastplates. Take a look at these examples showing these things. I've specifically chosen ones showing rivets, as you mentioned you hadn't noticed any in your research:


Bottom left: Gold plated plackart with attached fould. Visible rivets on brigandine/covered breastplate. Right hand ladder, red Breastplate/brigandine with rivets, with what looks like back part of plackart.


Gold coloured plackart/fauld with blue covered breastplate/brigandine with gold rivets.


Archer with trefoil rivets on breastplate/brigandine with attached plackart and fauld. Right hand archer with plackart over stange looking armour.


Two riders with backs turned, showing blue covered breastplates/brigandines with rivets, with plackarts and faulds continuing around back. Other brigandines in picture show similar pattern of rivets, and trefoil pattern.



As far as the practicalities of brigandines and plackarts are concerned, there are several benefits, which can be backed up by my own experience and historical armour development.

To give some background on my experience in this regard, I have fought, and ridden in both brigandine and cuirass, and recently aquired a plackart which I have fought with over my brigandine. I have not yet ridden in the brigandine/plackart combination, but at least three of my friends (one of them Will West) have jousted with such a setup, and one has jousted with a demi-cuirass brigandine combo based on a painting of from the Glasgow museums seen here. We regularly discuss armour and our latest thoughts/findings based on both research and practical tests in some of the most rigorous tests currently being done in re-enactments.

Brigandines are lighter than cuirasses, and give you more movement. This is counteracted by the added protection that the cuirass gives and it's self supporting rigidity which stops your back from hunching under the weight. The two items therefore form two ends of the spectrum of movement/agility - protection. The problem with the brigandines ability to protect is that it is less able to absorb the weight of blows. The plates absorb cutting force, but the lack of rigidity allows a good portion of the concussive force through the brig. Adding a plackart to the brigandine still allows some of the movement which the brig wearer enjoys, while bringing a rigid plate up the central line of the ribcage, which Will West, and several other jousters have proved is enough to reduce the concussive force to manageable levels. This puts the Brig/Plackart combination somewhere in the middle of the mobility - protection spectrum, giving Men at Arms a middleweight option for battles.

Looking into how armour developed after the 15th century supports this idea to me, as we can see in 16th century garnitures interesting developments.


The anima harness becomes the basic breastplate of the garniture, with an additional plackart that can be attached for jousting or heavy cavalry work. This is the answer to the mobility - protection question that every soldier has had to answer: To bring multiple options and choose depending on situation. This may be a solution invented in the 16th century, but myself and many of the people that I discuss this with think that this is more likely the time that armour makers began cashing in on a trend that had started out of necessity already.

A bit long, but I've tried to break it up with pictures, and cover as many points as possible.

Zac
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Mon 09 Jul, 2012 5:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Zac,

I do not think I am asking the impossible. Of all the periods of armour use in the medieval period the second half of the 15th has by far the majority of armour remaining. There are plackards remaining, quite a few actually. We should have some plackards that show evidence of not being attached to a upper which to my current understanding all plackards remaining have rivets or rivet holes for this attachment to a top plate. I never said it was not done only I had seen no conclusive evidence. To be honest I have seen similar illustrations but have seen nothing that could not have been a covered breastplate over a brig. I will not say you cannot interpret them so as I mentioned above but I think saying this is strong evidence for this system is incorrect. I agree it could be but there is nothing concrete here. When looking at several illustrations and sculptures from the 13th to 14th for pairs of plates the artists have shown plates under the fabric as well as rivets. It could easily have been a covered breastplate like the Munich one but we have supporting evidence and highly detailed art to who it was not. This would be great evidence in the 15th century for a brig/plackard combo but I have not seen such a thing. Further I know of no written evidence of this is odd when we see the level of detail present in the 1440s onward. I have seen evidence of brigs and jacks, brigs and mail and several other combinations but never brigs and plackards in text.

Your experience is sensible. Protection where it does not compromise the need for movement. I just am not sure the evidence points to this still. As I said above I would not say it was not done and such but on the sliding scale of living history I'd put this one far outside 100% supported.

Not sure if the anime is a development of the mix brig and plackard. It seems to be popular in areas that had extensive ties to the middle east and areas where plate armour of a more segmented type was in common use.

RPM
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