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M Boyd




Location: Northern Midlands, Tasmania
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PostPosted: Tue 17 Sep, 2013 4:46 pm    Post subject: Depictions of Norman hauberks in art         Reply with quote

In many modern images of Normans in book their chain hauberks are shown to have a, presumably, leather edged square on their chests. Sometimes artwork shows a system of strapping, other times not:









Now, before anyone suggests I'm a retard for taking my information from modern artwork I'll pose my question.
What are these artist trying to depict and do we have any extant examples of it or accounts of them?


Last edited by M Boyd on Tue 17 Sep, 2013 6:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Sep, 2013 5:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The best theory is that it is a ventail that was unfolded up over the face to protect the chin and throat. It probably tied behind the head.
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Robin Smith




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Sep, 2013 5:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
The best theory is that it is a ventail that was unfolded up over the face to protect the chin and throat. It probably tied behind the head.

Agreed...

Here is an example that shows more clearly


A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine
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T. Kew




Location: Cambridge, UK
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PostPosted: Tue 17 Sep, 2013 5:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Also visible on the Bayeax tapestry, if I recall correctly.

And yes, the most common and reasonable interpretation is that it's a ventail which is currently folded down. Think of it like the Norman equivalent to a raised visor.

Though as an aside, and while I believe there's no historical evidence for it, if you've got slightly poorly tailored mail, a upper chest system of straps like the ones shown in a few of those photographs can make it easier to move in, by reducing the amount of mail you shift when you raise your arms. It's much the same principle as taking some of the load on a belt. But this is rather less likely to have been a concern historically, where mail was much more likely to be properly tailored and fitted, and simply readjusted to each new wearer instead of bodged.

Instructor and scholar, Cambridge HEMA
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
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PostPosted: Tue 17 Sep, 2013 5:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Montecassino MS seems to show a green linen lining.
http://manuscriptminiatures.com/4942/14884/
The Roda Bible also shows several examples.
http://manuscriptminiatures.com/4358/13468/

Interestingly enough, some of the surviving conical helms, like this one from Augsburg, have a hook on the nasal which might have helped hold the mail.



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Corey Skriletz




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Sep, 2013 6:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There has also been speculation that that square is an extra sheet of maille meant to afford even more protection to that vulnerable area. However, this theory may have been conclusively disproved since last I read about it. I would concur that it is most likely an unfastened ventail, hanging down on the Norman soldier's chest. You can see them in the Bayeux Tapestry as Mr. Kew stated.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Sep, 2013 6:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mart Shearer wrote:
Interestingly enough, some of the surviving conical helms, like this one from Augsburg, have a hook on the nasal which might have helped hold the mail.

That's marvellous; I haven't seen that before. I can't think of another reason to put a hook on that part of the helmet. Has anyone tried a reconstruction to see how well it works?
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Robin Smith




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Sep, 2013 6:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Mart Shearer wrote:
Interestingly enough, some of the surviving conical helms, like this one from Augsburg, have a hook on the nasal which might have helped hold the mail.

That's marvellous; I haven't seen that before. I can't think of another reason to put a hook on that part of the helmet. Has anyone tried a reconstruction to see how well it works?

I had Jeff Hildebrandt at Royal Oak make me this helmet with nasal hook recently.





It works great. It's nice to have some breathing room between the mail and my mouth.

A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine
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M Boyd




Location: Northern Midlands, Tasmania
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PostPosted: Tue 17 Sep, 2013 6:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies.
I had thought the options were a face piece or a double-thickness of mail for the chest.
Some of the contemporary images seem to show the piece in question as lashed down with, apparently, buttons or discs in the corners.
I wonder if anyone has any pics of an aventail in place on the face AND the square piece represented on the chest.

I'll start looking through the usual places.


Last edited by M Boyd on Tue 17 Sep, 2013 8:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
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PostPosted: Tue 17 Sep, 2013 7:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Mart Shearer wrote:
Interestingly enough, some of the surviving conical helms, like this one from Augsburg, have a hook on the nasal which might have helped hold the mail.

That's marvellous; I haven't seen that before. I can't think of another reason to put a hook on that part of the helmet. Has anyone tried a reconstruction to see how well it works?


Dan, there's a few other extant and artistic examples on this reenactor's page.
http://www.reenactment.de/reenactment_start/r...guide.html

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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M Boyd




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Sep, 2013 8:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote


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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Sep, 2013 9:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Rob,

Does hooking the ventail to the nasal resrict your head movement?

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Robin Smith




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Sep, 2013 4:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
Rob,

Does hooking the ventail to the nasal resrict your head movement?
Yes, but... I don't think I have my design or tailoring right yet in the neck area.
A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Sep, 2013 6:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robin Smith wrote:
Patrick Kelly wrote:
Rob,

Does hooking the ventail to the nasal resrict your head movement?
Yes, but... I don't think I have my design or tailoring right yet in the neck area.

I don't think you will be able to do much tailoring to free up neck movement. I'm guessing that's why they needed to be able to detach the ventail and drop it onto the chest - it was uncomfortable to leave it up.
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Sep, 2013 1:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robin Smith wrote:
Patrick Kelly wrote:
Rob,

Does hooking the ventail to the nasal resrict your head movement?
Yes, but... I don't think I have my design or tailoring right yet in the neck area.


I agree with Dan, I don't think there's much you'll be able to do with freedom of movement. Still, it's an interesting variation that's pretty cool. Make sure you share some photos when you have it done.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Fri 21 Feb, 2014 8:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It could be that the hook or out-turn on the end of the nasal have some other purpose. Some of the illustrations show the mail below the nasal. Here's another.


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Raymond Deancona





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PostPosted: Fri 21 Feb, 2014 8:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is an old Angus McBride painting for an Osprey book depicting Anglo-Saxon cavalry before the conquest. The main figure is wearing a conical helmet with a hook on the nasal. This was always one of my favorite illustrations.


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Michael Beeching





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PostPosted: Sat 22 Feb, 2014 10:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I wonder, were there any other attachment points on the helmet if that was indeed an aventail? Or rather, would a tie string have simply been attached to the ends of the aventail, possibly having a recieving string or cord being attached to the liner of the helmet?

...Obviously, if it were the latter, all evidence of such would have most likely rotted away.
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William P




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PostPosted: Sun 23 Feb, 2014 4:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://www.manningimperial.com/catalogue/helm...o-helm/299 this isnt norman, but this reconstruction by manning imperial, of a helmet from the Caucasus region shows a similar nasal hook, although this one is apparently dated to the 9th century.

although this one has the hook on the INSiDE not the outside of the nasal
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