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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 10:03 am    Post subject: Middle Eastern vs Western European textile defenses         Reply with quote

I was curious if there was much of a difference between the quilted armour of a byzantine/Mamluk of say the 12th-13th century and a French or english warriors quilted protection. I have heard that Saracens wore "lighter" mail, I don't think this is necessarily credible, but perhaps it refers not to the mail but the textile defense beneath.

From what I have read, it seems that western textile defenses often consisted of 25-30 layers of linen. Earliest reference to this that I am aware of is the 10th century irish description of Cu-Chulain's armour. There are later mentions of less layers of linen with cotton padding.

I guess one question here, was the 25-30 layered garment intended more for stand alone armour, or designed to be worn under mail as well? It seems the thinner depictions of textile armour fall later, when plate was commonly worn.

And The eastern textile Armours? any idea what these were comprised of? The only reference I know of is that of 11th century "Latin" knights in the service of the Byzantines, commenting on the 27 layer garments worn.

Perhaps the Saracen "model" was a thinner (thinner than frankish) gambeson type garment with mail. And perhaps as the padding was lighter, this is why at times a lamellar cuirass was worn over it.

My thoughts on why here - piercing weapons like arrows even if they do not punch a hole int he mail can still penetrate to some depth, the depth dependent upon the structure of the head or point. Thicker textile defenses may well absorb these minor penetrations - but perhaps thinner quilt allows the arrow to "prick" the body.

If you wear lamellar over this it nullifies the chance of minor injury unless the armour is fully compromised.

And perhaps the light textile armour was worn due to the fact it was a hotter climate?

Just some hypothetical ideas, which may not be accurate, but any knowledge of Middle Eastern textile armours would be of interest.
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 11:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Middle-Eastern armors were typically made with the mail and textile integrated into one garment, the jazeraint or khazaghand.

Usamah ibn munqidh described one he made with two mail byrnies in it, one frankish one arabic, with several layers of textile and stuffed "in the usual manner" with rabbit fur.

“Salah Al din (Saladin) stood in his place until a part of the army joined him.
He then said, "Put on your armor". The majority of those did so while I
remained standing by his side. After a while he said again, 'How many times
do I have to say "Put on your Armor?'' I said 'Oh my Lord, surely thou does
not mean me?' 'Surely' said he. I replied 'By Allah, surely I cannot put on
anything more. We are in the early part of the night, and my quilted jerkin
(kuzaghand) is furnished with two coats of mail, one on top of the other. As
soon as I see the enemy I shall put it on.' Salah al Din did not reply, and we
set off. ‘

In the morning we found ourselves near Dumayr. Salah-al Din (Saladin)
said to me 'Shall we not dismount and eat something? I am hungry and have
been up all night.' I replied 'I shall do what thou orderest.' So we
dismounted, and no sooner than we had set foot on the ground, when he said
'Where is thy jerkin?' Upon my order, my attendant produced it. Taking it
out from it's leather bag, I took my knife and ripped it at the breast and
disclosed the side of the two coats of mail. The jerkin enclosed a Frankish
coat of mail extending to the bottom of it, with another coat on top reaching
as far as the middle. Both were equipped with the proper linings, felt
pads, rough silk, and rabbits hair.'


Usama ibn Munqidh

Kitab al-I'tibar circa 1190 AD

J

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

Essays on Hroarr

Introducing the Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 11:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sounds like perhaps a thinner layer of textile defense was incorporated in the Muslim hauberks?
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 4:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The actual word Usamah used was kazaghand. I left that word unchanged in the Mail Unchained article. Hitti uses the word "jerkin" but "jazerant" would be a more exact English translation. The passage does imply that Frankish mail was superior to native mail in some manner. Another interesting point is that the native mail covers the entire torso while the Fankish mail only covers the upper part. It would give max protection to the chest while leaving more flexibility in the abdomen. Two layers of mail could hamper flexibility.

The problem is that this passage tells us nothing about standalone textile defenses. All we have here is a glimpse of how the kazaghand (mail sandiwched between padding) was constructed.
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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 6:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Actually, it's the franj or Frankish mail that extends to the bottom, with the Arabic mail going to the waist. The Russian baidana with it's large flat rings offers similar limited coverage, was worn over finer mail, and supposedly draws its name from Arabic badan which might have been similar. Possibly a mail hauberk layered (doubled) with a larger, flatter ringed badan, all sandwiched between fabrics with all the necessary felt, silk and padding Usamah mentions.
ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Sam Gordon Campbell




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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 7:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
The Middle-Eastern armors were typically made with the mail and textile integrated into one garment, the jazeraint or khazaghand.

Usamah ibn munqidh described one he made with two mail byrnies in it, one frankish one arabic, with several layers of textile and stuffed "in the usual manner" with rabbit fur.

“Salah Al din (Saladin) stood in his place until a part of the army joined him.
He then said, "Put on your armor". The majority of those did so while I
remained standing by his side. After a while he said again, 'How many times
do I have to say "Put on your Armor?'' I said 'Oh my Lord, surely thou does
not mean me?' 'Surely' said he. I replied 'By Allah, surely I cannot put on
anything more. We are in the early part of the night, and my quilted jerkin
(kuzaghand) is furnished with two coats of mail, one on top of the other. As
soon as I see the enemy I shall put it on.' Salah al Din did not reply, and we
set off. ‘

In the morning we found ourselves near Dumayr. Salah-al Din (Saladin)
said to me 'Shall we not dismount and eat something? I am hungry and have
been up all night.' I replied 'I shall do what thou orderest.' So we
dismounted, and no sooner than we had set foot on the ground, when he said
'Where is thy jerkin?' Upon my order, my attendant produced it. Taking it
out from it's leather bag, I took my knife and ripped it at the breast and
disclosed the side of the two coats of mail. The jerkin enclosed a Frankish
coat of mail extending to the bottom of it, with another coat on top reaching
as far as the middle. Both were equipped with the proper linings, felt
pads, rough silk, and rabbits hair.'


Usama ibn Munqidh

Kitab al-I'tibar circa 1190 AD

J


I always enjoy reading Near and Middle Eastern texts on equipment and training. They just have a nice concise flow to them.

Member of Australia's Stoccata School of Defence since 2008.
Host of Crash Course HEMA.
Founder of The Van Dieman's Land Stage Gladiators.
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 11:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mart Shearer wrote:
Actually, it's the franj or Frankish mail that extends to the bottom, with the Arabic mail going to the waist. The Russian baidana with it's large flat rings offers similar limited coverage, was worn over finer mail, and supposedly draws its name from Arabic badan which might have been similar. Possibly a mail hauberk layered (doubled) with a larger, flatter ringed badan, all sandwiched between fabrics with all the necessary felt, silk and padding Usamah mentions.

Thanks for the clarification. I misread the order of the two layers.
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Thu 23 Aug, 2012 7:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sam Gordon Campbell wrote:
I always enjoy reading Near and Middle Eastern texts on equipment and training. They just have a nice concise flow to them.


I highly recommend reading his memoirs, they are fascinating and very entertaining, with everything from leopards being used for assasinations and lions attacking knights and caravans, to gripping accounts of cavalry fights and duels, pyrotechnics being used in sieges, to amusing scenes in bath-houses where the arabs were scandalized that the Franks brought their wives in with them.

http://www.amazon.com/Book-Contemplation-Crus...bn-munqidh

J

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

Essays on Hroarr

Introducing the Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic
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Eric S




Location: new orleans
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PostPosted: Fri 24 Aug, 2012 1:12 am    Post subject: Re: Middle Eastern vs Western European textile defenses         Reply with quote

Gary Teuscher wrote:


My thoughts on why here - piercing weapons like arrows even if they do not punch a hole int he mail can still penetrate to some depth, the depth dependent upon the structure of the head or point. Thicker textile defenses may well absorb these minor penetrations - but perhaps thinner quilt allows the arrow to "prick" the body.

If you wear lamellar over this it nullifies the chance of minor injury unless the armour is fully compromised.

And perhaps the light textile armour was worn due to the fact it was a hotter climate?

Just some hypothetical ideas, which may not be accurate, but any knowledge of Middle Eastern textile armours would be of interest.
Gary, I took this picture showing the penetration of an Indo-Persian type arrow head through the links of a late 1600s Indo-Persian riveted mail shirt at the fore arm area, you can see exactly how far the right kind of arrow could have penetrated and why some kind of padding would have been very useful. This particular mail shirt is 29 lbs/13kg and has thick metal plates in the front and back but any other areas would have been exposed to this kind of attack. Adding more armor on top of this and padding in addition to clothing, weapons and other equipment would have been quite a load to carry around.


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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Fri 24 Aug, 2012 9:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes Eric, that was the type of penetrating blows I was thinking about. Not deep enough to cuase evere wounds for the most part, but mre than an irritant.

And I would think the thicker quilt such as a 25+ layer linen garment would do a good job. Or a multi layer jack on the outside and a 5-10 layer of linen but padded garment on the inside.

But from the passage quoted earlier, it looks like the Khazghand was a padded mailed garment, but not perhaps as protective as mail over a many layered cloth garment.

Perhaps the Khazghand was lighter than european mail over padding, and why if one wanted to sacrifice added weight for protection a lammelar cuirass was worn over the mail.

It's always been a question in my mind - if mail over something similar to a jack was so effective at protecting one from arrows, one of the most common battlefield threats in the middle east, why would one wear lammelar over it?

I am of the opinion (only an opinion at this point of course) that the reason for this was that the padding beneath was not as heavy as european padding (Looking at the early to mid crusades time period), not that the mail was easy to compromise.
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Fri 24 Aug, 2012 10:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From some experiments I've seen, having some textile, not necessarily very thick, over the mail, seems to make a significant difference especally against arrrows. I know there was one guy who posted the results of an experiment on here, complete with a lot of photos. With the usual configuration, arrows were going through the mail either partially or fully, but with the textile on top, there was no penetration.

That may be one important characteristic of the Middle Eastern mail armor with integrated textile both over and under the mail. I would not at all be surprised if the Middle Eastern armor was more specialized for dealing with arrrows, since horse archery was so prevalent, whereas the Frankish panoply which seemed in some circumstances to be more effective, was more specialized for dealing with say, lances and other hand weapons, and in general also designed for sustained fighting as opposed to hit-and run.

I think this is also part of the reality of lamellar, which was not very popular in Europe, I suspect it's better against arrows.


J

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

Essays on Hroarr

Introducing the Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Fri 24 Aug, 2012 10:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
That may be one important characteristic of the Middle Eastern mail armor with integrated textile both over and under the mail. I would not at all be surprised if the Middle Eastern armor was more specialized for dealing with arrrows, since horse archery was so prevalent, whereas the Frankish panoply which seemed in some circumstances to be more effective, was more specialized for dealing with say, lances and other hand weapons, and in general also designed for sustained fighting as opposed to hit-and run.


You bring up a good point. From many illustrations, it's tough to tell if mail was worn under a garment that looks like cloth, just as it's hard to tell if a helmet was worn under the many illustrations of turbans.

Quote:
I think this is also part of the reality of lamellar, which was not very popular in Europe, I suspect it's better against arrows.


Interesting, I have seen almost no testing of lammelar vs mail. There were ssome interesting tests of a sword vs hardened leather lammelar. This was intersting. Swords but through standard leather, even thicknesses of 8 oz weight with ease, but the leather lammelar was not cut through and it was barely able to be pierced.

The closest thing to any documented metal lammelar testing is Bane's test, but this was a COP with no overlap, and he does not mention the thinckness of the plates either, though I'm guessing he used the 1.2mm thick plates that he used for the "plate" armour. The COP held up rather well, though Bane's test had many flaws so it's tough to derive much from them.
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Bartek Strojek




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PostPosted: Fri 24 Aug, 2012 10:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gary Teuscher wrote:

And I would think the thicker quilt such as a 25+ layer linen garment would do a good job. Or a multi layer jack on the outside and a 5-10 layer of linen but padded garment on the inside.
.


I'm pretty sure that 25+ layers of linen mean weight going into 20+ pounds already, not to mention significant thickness and bulkiness... Used as a standalone armor in late Medieval Early Renaissance.

That's at least with modern reproductions, maybe they were preparing their linen to be much lighter, but...

Under the mail some way lighter clothing would be probably sufficient.
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Fri 24 Aug, 2012 10:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm pretty sure that 25+ layers of linen mean weight going into 20+ pounds already, not to mention significant thickness and bulkiness... Used as a standalone armor in late Medieval Early Renaissance.


Or the 27 tunics worn by Cu Chulain. Seems to be remarkably similar to later jacks, the specific number of 27 layers being between the 25-30 layers often mentioned. From the Tain Bo Cualinge:

“…twenty-seven tunics [cneslenti] worn next to his skin, waxed, board like, compact, which were bound with strings and ropes and thongs close to his fair skin…Over that outside he put his hero’s battle girdle [cathchriss] of hard leather, tough and tanned, made from the best part of seven ox-hides of yearlings, which covered him from the thin part of his side to the thick part of his arm-pit; he used to wear it to repel spears [gai] and points [rend] and darts [iaernn] and lances [sleg] and arrows [saiget], for they glanced from it as if they had struck against stone or rock or horn. Then he put on his apron [fuathbroic] of filmy silk with its border of variegated white gold, against the soft lower part of his body. Outside his apron of filmy silk he put on his dark apron [dond{f}uathbroic] of pliable brown leather made from the choicest part of four yearling ox-hides with his battle-girdle [cathchris] of cows’ skins about it.”

Probably more 10th century Irish practices, as when it was written than an insight into ealrier times.

Quote:
Under the mail some way lighter clothing would be probably sufficient


We really don't know, do we? Unless there are any documents specifically stating the construction of any padding to be worn under mail prior to it being commonplace to where Jacks, COP or plate over Mail.
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Bartek Strojek




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PostPosted: Fri 24 Aug, 2012 11:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gary Teuscher wrote:


We really don't know, do we? Unless there are any documents specifically stating the construction of any padding to be worn under mail prior to it being commonplace to where Jacks, COP or plate over Mail.


Certainly, we probably don't know right now.

Just pointing out that 25 layers is the hell of soft armor already, and probably would be quite bulky with mail.

Which at least contradicts a lot of depictions from the period, showing mail fitting the body very well.

And on topic, 17th century padded żupan of hetman Żółkiewski:

http://www.muzeum.czartoryskich.pl/pl/node/13386

Apparently from satin, canvas inner layer and silk wadding inside.

Later example, but I guess useful.

There's some more mentions of such padded (with cotton) cloth under the mail in sources.
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Fri 24 Aug, 2012 11:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Certainly, we probably don't know right now.

Just pointing out that 25 layers is the hell of soft armor already, and probably would be quite bulky with mail.


One thing here Bartek - Later period mail combinations apparently used Jacks of many layers, and an under padding as well.

I'd think these would be rather bulky/heavy as well, though it is two layers, one inside, one outside, so I certainly don't think the 25-30 layers underneath would be a problem.

Perhaps though heavier in the thorax and lighter (less layers) on the limbs would make sense.
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Ahmad Tabari





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PostPosted: Fri 24 Aug, 2012 1:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
The passage does imply that Frankish mail was superior to native mail in some manner

How so? While I do suspect that Frankish mail was somewhat more protective than Middle Eastern mail, I dont see how this particular passage implies that.

Quote:
Gary, I took this picture showing the penetration of an Indo-Persian type arrow head through the links of a late 1600s Indo-Persian riveted mail shirt at the fore arm area, you can see exactly how far the right kind of arrow could have penetrated and why some kind of padding would have been very useful. This particular mail shirt is 29 lbs/13kg and has thick metal plates in the front and back but any other areas would have been exposed to this kind of attack. Adding more armor on top of this and padding in addition to clothing, weapons and other equipment would have been quite a load to carry around.

Sounds like an interesting test. I do have a few questions though. Do you know what the mail was placed against? Was it simply left to hang or did they place it on some kind of solid object? Also, do you know from how far the bow was shot?

Assuming the arrow only pierced the front layer of the mail, I would say that any form of thick clothing worn under the mail would have prevented (or at least dramatically reduced the chances) of a serious injury.
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Fri 24 Aug, 2012 1:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I always thought that the really thick (25 layers) textile armors were moe for stand-alone protection, and the under-armor textile armor was usually thinner.

But you do see period artwork of men fighting with what look like very thick padded coats, like the Michelin tire man, from a certain era (13th - 14th Century) like this



or this http://muckley.us/1386/men-armour-3-hallam.JPG


J

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

Essays on Hroarr

Introducing the Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic
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Eric S




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PostPosted: Fri 24 Aug, 2012 6:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ahmad Tabari wrote:

Sounds like an interesting test. I do have a few questions though. Do you know what the mail was placed against? Was it simply left to hang or did they place it on some kind of solid object? Also, do you know from how far the bow was shot?

Assuming the arrow only pierced the front layer of the mail, I would say that any form of thick clothing worn under the mail would have prevented (or at least dramatically reduced the chances) of a serious injury.


Ahmed in the photo I was simply holding an arrowhead in my hand up against the mail to show how far it would go through the mail link, it was not shot by a bow, sorry for the inadequate explanation, I wanted to show how far it was possible for an arrow to penetrate the mail defense with out actually breaking the link. I think my photo shows that it would in fact be necessary to wear some sort of other armor and or padding in order to eliminate this type of damage. If a bow had been used and the mail was being worn up against the body I think the damage could have been worse as the arrowhead even with out actually breaking the mail link could have been driven deeper into flesh. The arrow tip was sticking through the mail link 3/4 of an inch and while maybe not deadly that would be a serious and painful wound I would think.
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Fri 24 Aug, 2012 9:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A lot of historical mail though has smaller rings than what you usually see today. I know that was an antique piece, of course there is variation. Your avatar says you live in New Orleans, if you do there is a gallery on Royal Street in the French Quarter, near canal, called Whisnant gallery

I don't know if it's still there but last time I was there a year or two ago they had a Turkish or possibly Persian Bakhterets panoply in there which had very small links, I think too small for even a bodkin point arrow to penetrate without breaking a link, maybe you can have a look and see what I mean. A lot of antique European mail is like that too, quite small links. By no means all, of course.

J

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

Essays on Hroarr

Introducing the Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic


Last edited by Jean Henri Chandler on Fri 24 Aug, 2012 9:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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