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Peteris R.




Location: Latvia
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PostPosted: Tue 21 Aug, 2012 12:22 pm    Post subject: Maille in comparison to scale/lamellar.         Reply with quote

While mail was undoubtedly more common (at least in Europe), how did it compare to these two alternative types of armor? I've read contradictory sources and articles on this subject, although the consensus appears to be that that mail was in some way more readily available, even if it didn't give as much protection. But wasn't mail very expensive?


I apologize if this question is somewhat noobish.
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Tue 21 Aug, 2012 12:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not an expert on it, but the cost to produce in manpower would be a lot less.

Apparently it was stiffer and less flexible than mail, but which could give it better blunt trauma protection.

As it was stiffer, it was not as good at covering gaps, so areas like the armpits could be a problem to cover properly. I have seen somelammelar harnesses where you have in essence a back and breast - with other pieces attached to the top as shoulder protection.

Being stiffer again, it would not work great for covering arms and legs, particularily at the joints.

As far as defensive abilities, I'm guessing roughly similar, of course this depends on the thickness of the lames.
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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Tue 21 Aug, 2012 2:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Two other thing to consider:

1) Metal was quite expensive itself. Probably much more so than manpower. I'm not sure, but a lamellar armor may weigh more (use more metal) than mail.

2) For a long period, it seems that the use of any armor was a bonus. Considering this, one might wonder why organic (wooden or bone) lamellar seems to have never caught on in Western Europe in the period 500-1000.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Tue 21 Aug, 2012 2:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The cost of raw materials for mail is higher than scale/lamellar since iron wire requires better quality iron
The time required to make iron wire is greater than that required to make scales/lamellae
The time requireed to assemble mail is greater than that required for scale/lamellar

Mail costs more than scale/lamellar in every stage of production. It cost more to produce than any other type of armour. Nobody would have worn it unless they considered it superior to the alternatives to justify the additional cost.
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
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PostPosted: Tue 21 Aug, 2012 3:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Maille in comparison to scale/lamellar.         Reply with quote

Peteris R. wrote:
While mail was undoubtedly more common (at least in Europe), how did it compare to these two alternative types of armor? I've read contradictory sources and articles on this subject, although the consensus appears to be that that mail was in some way more readily available, even if it didn't give as much protection. But wasn't mail very expensive?


I apologize if this question is somewhat noobish.

We don't really know: the necessary experiments and archival research have not been done and published. The only published tests of bronze and rawhide scale are of New Kingdom Egyptian examples. In general, maille has the advantages and disadvantages of flexible armour: it can protect everywhere and is easy to move in but can't resist blunt trauma or joint locks as well as rigid armour. Semi-flexible armours like scale and lamellar are in between.

In England around 1300, pairs of plates averaged more expensive than hauberks according to Dr. Storey's research. But this might have reflected that plates were relatively new and fashionable armour, whereas most soldiers had a hauberk and there were lots of used hauberks available. I suspect that in a society which produced both on a similar scale, basic, functional iron scale/lamellar would be cheaper than basic, functional maille for the reasons that Dan suggests.
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Ralph Grinly





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PostPosted: Tue 21 Aug, 2012 10:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not sure..but I suspect that scale or lamellar , whilst giving reasonable protection, just wasn't suitable, on long term basis under European wartime conditions. Scale is wired together from side to side..whith the top of the individual rows of scales wired, or laced to some sort of backing material. Lamellar, on the other hand is all laced together without the need for built in backing material. I'm only guessing , but maybe the lacing and wiring together just didn't stand up to damge caused by european fighting styles where-as plain mail did ?. None of this precludes the ,,possibility..of using scale or lamellar as additional protection over mail. But this seems to be uncommon ?
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R Lister




Location: Hamwic
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 1:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My Niderstoziner Lamellar is very heavy and needs alot of mainatance, after each fight with blunts, i have to re do a couple of strands of leather.

I feel that Lamellar is very good vs things such as arrows and blunt trauma. However it has the flaws later plate armour has, it leaves voids in your protection, ie under arms etc. I think lamellar should be used over a maille shirt. The Plates will protect from bodkin like penetrating trauma, as well as take more of the energy from blunt trauma. The maille and padding would hopefuly take any more energy from the blow.

It is faster to make, once you have the lamellar plates, however once the plates are damaged, they, i feel, would be harder to repair in the field.
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 6:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One thing to remember about scale and lamellar is that they get worn and damaged *just by wearing them*. Lacings and backings get chafed and worn through, sweat and rain and mud cause rot, and bits start falling off. Walking or riding in armor, wearing a sword belt over it or a shield slung on the back (let alone a backpack of some sort!), that's daily wear and tear. Even in storage, leather and fabric will rot or get eaten by mice.

None of that is really an issue with mail. A little oil now and then, and it's happy for decades. Heck, mail is largely self-cleaning--just the motion and friction of wearing it removes rust and grime. Armor spends a lot more time in storage or just being worn than it does being worn *in battle*.

In battle, how often are you *aiming* a blow at someone's armor? Very rarely, I'd say. A sharp blade can lay flesh open with very little effort, wimpy slaps and slashes that you can dish out for hours without greatly tiring. You can deliver them quickly, from odd angles, at targets of opportunity, and cause wounds with little more than a touch. But if you aim at a mail-covered part, you *have* to deliver a solid blow with literally bone-crushing force to have any significant effect. This obviously takes a LOT more physical effort, has a much greater chance of being blocked or dodged, and is more likely to leave you exposed to a counter-attack. So the whole issue of "blunt trauma" through mail is seriously overblown, though I wouldn't be so bold as to say that it was not a consideration at all.

That leaves arrows, which are often not aimed but loosed in large volleys. But mail is pretty good protection against arrows. (And of course one usually had a shield in the Age of Mail!)

Combine all that with the sheer comfort of mail, it's greater flexibility and ability to cover joints, and the fact that it does not need to be so carefully tailored, and the advantages of scale and lamellar start to fade!

Matthew
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 8:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ralph Grinly wrote:
I'm not sure..but I suspect that scale or lamellar , whilst giving reasonable protection, just wasn't suitable, on long term basis under European wartime conditions. Scale is wired together from side to side..whith the top of the individual rows of scales wired, or laced to some sort of backing material. Lamellar, on the other hand is all laced together without the need for built in backing material. I'm only guessing , but maybe the lacing and wiring together just didn't stand up to damge caused by european fighting styles where-as plain mail did ?. None of this precludes the ,,possibility..of using scale or lamellar as additional protection over mail. But this seems to be uncommon ?

Scale armour was popular in Mycenaean Greece, the Roman empire, and 13th through 16th century Latin Christendom. All of those are in Europe, and over 3,000 years there is nothing distinctive about the western end of Eurasia. What we may see is armour traditions: once a region has a scale tradition, or a maille tradition, or a lamellar tradition the existing infrastrucure and fashion encourages it to keep it. Since maille was invented in Europe, and scale in southwest or central Asia, it makes sense that maille remained popular forever after in Europe (especially since it is such good armour).
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 10:15 am    Post subject: Re: Maille in comparison to scale/lamellar.         Reply with quote

Sean Manning wrote:
In England around 1300, pairs of plates averaged more expensive than hauberks according to Dr. Storey's research. But this might have reflected that plates were relatively new and fashionable armour, whereas most soldiers had a hauberk and there were lots of used hauberks available. I suspect that in a society which produced both on a similar scale, basic, functional iron scale/lamellar would be cheaper than basic, functional maille for the reasons that Dan suggests.

Dr. Storey also noted the increasing cost of equipping knights in the 13th century, largely due to the new requirements for mail armor for the horses. It's likely some innovation in puching rings or using water power to draw wire allowed more mail to be produced for less money during the 13th century, as the dropping price of mail and it's common usage both occur over the first half of the 14th century. As others have noted, once it's been made, mail tends to be around for a while to use. Most medieval depictions of scale armors in western Europe show them being worn in addition to mail, and armoring improvements long seem to have been accomplished by adding extra layers: Wear mail, need more protection? --add an aketon under the mail, need more protection? ---add another mail shirt or gambeson, or scale armor, or pair of plates over the mail. It's worth noting that city militia start offering pairs of plates as a substitute for cloth armors by c. 1250, while the knights started wearing these over mail instead of substituting them for mail.

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Peteris R.




Location: Latvia
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 12:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

But is having more flexibility and slightly more coverage worth the massive decrease in protection?
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 12:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
But is having more flexibility and slightly more coverage worth the massive decrease in protection?


First, I don't think there is any evidence to lammelar offering a "massive" amount more protection than mail. If anything, they are probably pretty equal.

Secondly, the area not covered may not be huge - but weapons will find a way to strike there. If you look at most recorded arrow severe wound to men in full armour, it is when they raise their visor or similar.

I think it was Beneveto perhaps? Where one group of knights wearing COP's were dispatched by the other force once they noticed a weakness in the armour - the underarms. I guess these were worn without mail under them.

And finding a way to voer the full body in lammellar is not as easy task. Most uses of lammelar are as a corslet offering primarily torso protection.
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Peteris R.




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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 1:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gary Teuscher wrote:
Quote:
But is having more flexibility and slightly more coverage worth the massive decrease in protection?


First, I don't think there is any evidence to lammelar offering a "massive" amount more protection than mail. If anything, they are probably pretty equal.

Secondly, the area not covered may not be huge - but weapons will find a way to strike there. If you look at most recorded arrow severe wound to men in full armour, it is when they raise their visor or similar.

I think it was Beneveto perhaps? Where one group of knights wearing COP's were dispatched by the other force once they noticed a weakness in the armour - the underarms. I guess these were worn without mail under them.

And finding a way to voer the full body in lammellar is not as easy task. Most uses of lammelar are as a corslet offering primarily torso protection.


But if lamellar does not cost much more, why not just make a coat of it? Plus what is the point of the increased coverage mail offers when it doesn't actually protect the added area?
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 1:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
But if lamellar does not cost much more, why not just make a coat of it?


Because you cannot make one flexible enough to offer protection for the entire body including arms/legs/head

Quote:
Plus what is the point of the increased coverage mail offers when it doesn't actually protect the added area?


I'm not sure what you are asking or actually stating here? Mail Would indeed protect the area it covers
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Henrik J. Fridh




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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 1:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Maille in comparison to scale/lamellar.         Reply with quote

Mart Shearer wrote:
Sean Manning wrote:
In England around 1300, pairs of plates averaged more expensive than hauberks according to Dr. Storey's research. But this might have reflected that plates were relatively new and fashionable armour, whereas most soldiers had a hauberk and there were lots of used hauberks available. I suspect that in a society which produced both on a similar scale, basic, functional iron scale/lamellar would be cheaper than basic, functional maille for the reasons that Dan suggests.

Dr. Storey also noted the increasing cost of equipping knights in the 13th century, largely due to the new requirements for mail armor for the horses. It's likely some innovation in puching rings or using water power to draw wire allowed more mail to be produced for less money during the 13th century, as the dropping price of mail and it's common usage both occur over the first half of the 14th century. As others have noted, once it's been made, mail tends to be around for a while to use. Most medieval depictions of scale armors in western Europe show them being worn in addition to mail, and armoring improvements long seem to have been accomplished by adding extra layers: Wear mail, need more protection? --add an aketon under the mail, need more protection? ---add another mail shirt or gambeson, or scale armor, or pair of plates over the mail. It's worth noting that city militia start offering pairs of plates as a substitute for cloth armors by c. 1250, while the knights started wearing these over mail instead of substituting them for mail.


What do you mean when you say "pairs of plates"? Do you mean a reinforced surcoat? A coat of plates? Forgive me for my ignorance.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 3:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The word "pair" does not mean what many think. Today it means "two" - usually two similar items. At the time it meant a "set" of similar items - the exact number didn't matter. Whenever "pair of plates" is mentioned in a document it is usually referring to some kind of coat-of-plates.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 3:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peteris R. wrote:
But if lamellar does not cost much more, why not just make a coat of it? Plus what is the point of the increased coverage mail offers when it doesn't actually protect the added area?

The obvious answer is that lamellar was not considered to be better than mail. We can make lots of guesses as to why but we'll never know for sure.
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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 4:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Maille in comparison to scale/lamellar.         Reply with quote

Henrik J. Fridh wrote:
Mart Shearer wrote:
Sean Manning wrote:
In England around 1300, pairs of plates averaged more expensive than hauberks according to Dr. Storey's research. But this might have reflected that plates were relatively new and fashionable armour, whereas most soldiers had a hauberk and there were lots of used hauberks available. I suspect that in a society which produced both on a similar scale, basic, functional iron scale/lamellar would be cheaper than basic, functional maille for the reasons that Dan suggests.

Dr. Storey also noted the increasing cost of equipping knights in the 13th century, largely due to the new requirements for mail armor for the horses. It's likely some innovation in puching rings or using water power to draw wire allowed more mail to be produced for less money during the 13th century, as the dropping price of mail and it's common usage both occur over the first half of the 14th century. As others have noted, once it's been made, mail tends to be around for a while to use. Most medieval depictions of scale armors in western Europe show them being worn in addition to mail, and armoring improvements long seem to have been accomplished by adding extra layers: Wear mail, need more protection? --add an aketon under the mail, need more protection? ---add another mail shirt or gambeson, or scale armor, or pair of plates over the mail. It's worth noting that city militia start offering pairs of plates as a substitute for cloth armors by c. 1250, while the knights started wearing these over mail instead of substituting them for mail.


What do you mean when you say "pairs of plates"? Do you mean a reinforced surcoat? A coat of plates? Forgive me for my ignorance.

A “pair of plates” is the normal 13th and 14th century English or French phrase for what English writers today usually call a "coat of plates." Sometimes the sources just say “plates” or use other expressions like "coat of plates."
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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 6:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What Dan and Sean said. Wink

Original source terminology can be frustrating to decode at times. Regulations for the Societa Dei Lombardi in Bologna in 1256 give members three options for body armor, a cubam or guayferiam or lamerium. None of these words translate from Latin to anything we readily understand. Your guess for the cubam is as good as the next mans. We can guess the guayferiam, which appears in other sources with slightly altered spelling, is made of iron (ferro), and that the lamerium is made of small plates or lames. In 1297, English watchmen are given the choice of three armors to wear over their aketons, either a gambeson, a corset, or plates. We understand the gambeson, and believe "plates" is a pair (or coat) of plates. The corset (L. corsetum, EI corsetto) might be made of riveted plates but only be a "belly band", but we don't really know

It's always good to ask and find out, though.

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Peteris R.




Location: Latvia
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PostPosted: Thu 23 Aug, 2012 3:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Peteris R. wrote:
But if lamellar does not cost much more, why not just make a coat of it? Plus what is the point of the increased coverage mail offers when it doesn't actually protect the added area?

The obvious answer is that lamellar was not considered to be better than mail. We can make lots of guesses as to why but we'll never know for sure.


So there is just no answer?



Quote:
I'm not sure what you are asking or actually stating here? Mail Would indeed protect the area it covers

How well, though? Well enough to matter? Wouldn't a padded garment do the same at a lower price tag?
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