Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > 11th Century Mail Details Reply to topic
This is a standard topic Go to page 1, 2  Next 
Author Message
Stanley Hauser





Joined: 17 Sep 2013

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 34

PostPosted: Sun 03 Nov, 2013 1:41 pm    Post subject: 11th Century Mail Details         Reply with quote

I've been researching mail for quite some time now and thought I would compile a list of facts that people who are particularly knowledgeable on mail could verify. I'm imagining it as a sort of quick reference guide for future enthusiasts who are interested in producing something typical of the time. Of course, I understand that "typical" may be hard to pin down for something as widely used as mail, but at the same time I feel that some features were common enough to be worthy on mention. Please be brutally honest with any corrections.

-Mail of this period was typically demi-riveted.

-Typically, round sectioned rings were used with ONLY a flattened overlap, but sometimes the whole ring was slightly flattened overall.

-European mail had rivets that were flush at the back (against the body) with the rivet head at the front, while Middle Eastern mail typically had a rivet head on the front and back

-Solid rings were typically, or almost always, punched from sheet

-Solid rings typically had a square cross section

Additionally, I have read that the back of pin-riveted mail had a convex shape. How common was this practice, and is there any particular reason for it? Would it have been done intentionally, or was it simply an artifact of the riveting process?


Last edited by Stanley Hauser on Sun 03 Nov, 2013 5:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Ahmad Tabari





Joined: 15 Jun 2008

Posts: 148

PostPosted: Sun 03 Nov, 2013 4:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know if I would call myself "particularly knowledgeable" on mail but from my research I would say points 1, 2, and 5 are correct. As for your third point, I would point out that most of the Eastern mail we have no is from the 15th century onwards so whether or not the same riveting style was used in the Middle ages is uncertain. Also I would avoid using the term "Eastern" as it could refer to a massive geographical area with significant regional varieties.

As for the solid rings, I would say that virtually all of them were punched from plate. There are examples of welded rings but those are not from the Medieval period as far as I remember.

I hope this helps.
View user's profile Send private message
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,203

PostPosted: Sun 03 Nov, 2013 5:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't think we have enough examples of 11th century mail to make any generalisations about the period.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books


Last edited by Dan Howard on Sun 03 Nov, 2013 5:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
View user's profile Send private message
Stanley Hauser





Joined: 17 Sep 2013

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 34

PostPosted: Sun 03 Nov, 2013 5:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It absolutely helps, thanks so much.

I'm make the appropriate edits.

I suppose the welded links may have been more Viking-era then.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Stanley Hauser





Joined: 17 Sep 2013

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 34

PostPosted: Sun 03 Nov, 2013 5:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
I don't think we have enough examples of 11th century mail to make any generalisations about the period.


How about if we broadened the period a bit and said "Early Medieval Mail", from the year 800 to 1200?
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Foong Chen Hong




Location: Malaysia
Joined: 18 May 2013
Likes: 2 pages

Posts: 150

PostPosted: Mon 04 Nov, 2013 1:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Seeing this thread was made, how about 13th century?

Do the Western Europe use flattened rings with wedge rivets? How big would they are?

Descanse En Paz
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
S. Sebok





Joined: 13 Jan 2011
Likes: 9 pages

Posts: 82

PostPosted: Mon 04 Nov, 2013 4:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote



Heres an example of Erik Schmid's 12th century Northern European maille. I saved it before his site was hacked. Notice the flat inside and the punched rings.
View user's profile Send private message
Stanley Hauser





Joined: 17 Sep 2013

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 34

PostPosted: Mon 04 Nov, 2013 7:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

S. Sebok wrote:


Heres an example of Erik Schmid's 12th century Northern European maille. I saved it before his site was hacked. Notice the flat inside and the punched rings.


I also notice a convex shape to the underside of the overlap. I'm wondering how this feature was produced and what its purpose was.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Erik D. Schmid




Location: St. Cloud, MN
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 80

PostPosted: Tue 05 Nov, 2013 8:07 am    Post subject: Re: 11th Century Mail Details         Reply with quote

Let me take a stab at this Stanley.

-Mail of this period was typically demi-riveted. Correct.

-Typically, round sectioned rings were used with ONLY a flattened overlap, but sometimes the whole ring was slightly flattened overall. Correct.

-European mail had rivets that were flush at the back (against the body) with the rivet head at the front, while Middle Eastern mail typically had a rivet head on the front and back Not necessarily. Typically most mail had a more or less flush backside. There are variations to be found, but the majority do seem to be smooth. A little further back in time than you're asking about, but there are Roman examples with a rivet head on both sides.

-Solid rings were typically, or almost always, punched from sheet This does seem to be the case.

-Solid rings typically had a square cross section More or less. As has been stated, there are examples of round section solid links. How common they were is anyone's guess.

Dan is quite correct in that there are not enough known pieces of 11th century European mail with which to draw any concrete conclusions as to how common a specific feature was.

With regards to my links, the convex shape is created during the rivet setting process. This is a common feature on quite a few mail items regardless of national origin.

http://www.erikds.com
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Stanley Hauser





Joined: 17 Sep 2013

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 34

PostPosted: Tue 05 Nov, 2013 9:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ok! Thanks for the clarification Erik. I take it that the convex back section added to the strength of the peening. So, here is the updated list, with a new feature I thought of...

-Mail of this period was typically demi-riveted.

-Typically, round sectioned rings were used with ONLY a flattened overlap, but sometimes the whole ring was slightly flattened overall.

-To quote Erik; "Typically most mail had a more or less flush backside. There are variations to be found, but the majority do seem to be smooth." (Perhaps only a few extant examples from this period have a convex shape?)

-Solid rings were typically, or almost always, punched from sheet.

-Solid rings typically had a square cross section, but there are some examples of round cross sections as well. (Were these perhaps made by wear, grinding, or drop forging?)

-(NEW) Links from this period were more often "D" shaped, as opposed to circular.

Thought I'd throw in some typical features of mail from the mid 13th century and on...

-Mail of this period used wedge rivets in place of the earlier pin or round rivet.

-Mail of this period was typically flattened all around, with the overlap often being even flatter.

-While mail of this period was sometimes demi-riveted, guilds standardized the process of using 100% riveted links.

-Much of this mail was made in Southern Germany and exported to the rest of Europe

-Mail of this period had a feature known as the "watershed" which served the purpose of peening the rivet more securely

-Examples exist of case-hardened and tempered mail from this period


Well, that's what I have so far. Feel free to add more or make appropriate corrections. Thanks guys.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

Posts: 1,280

PostPosted: Tue 05 Nov, 2013 10:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stanley Hauser wrote:
-(NEW) Links from this period were more often "D" shaped, as opposed to circular.

What evidence brought this additional comment? The Kungslena hauberk from c. 1200 has "nut-shaped" rings, where the overlap is forced outward. Again, as Dan and Erik have noted, we simply don't have enough surviving examples from this period to make such generalizations.

Quote:
Thought I'd throw in some typical features of mail from the mid 13th century and on...

-Mail of this period used wedge rivets in place of the earlier pin or round rivet.

-Mail of this period was typically flattened all around, with the overlap often being even flatter.

-While mail of this period was sometimes demi-riveted, guilds standardized the process of using 100% riveted links.

-Much of this mail was made in Southern Germany and exported to the rest of Europe

-Mail of this period had a feature known as the "watershed" which served the purpose of peening the rivet more securely

-Examples exist of case-hardened and tempered mail from this period


I think there is a transition in mail construction methods, moving from demi-riveted construction to all-riveted, but I don't know if it should be attributed to beginning from the mid-13th century so much as the mid-14th. Perhaps Erik has a good idea of when wedge riveting first appears: I don't. Likewise, I don't know if I'd say that mail of this period was "typically" flattened. It seems to be a growing trend, but a hard date for claiming it to be typical is difficult, if not impossible to assign. There's plenty of evidence for mail being made in the Netherlands and Milan as well as southern Germany being exported. Not all later mail has the "watershed".

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
View user's profile Send private message
Stanley Hauser





Joined: 17 Sep 2013

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 34

PostPosted: Tue 05 Nov, 2013 11:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Excellent. Let me play with the wording a bit then...

Mail from about 800 to about 1100

The following are features present in extant examples and may or may not be typical of all mail at the time.

-Mail of this period was typically demi-riveted.

-Typically, round sectioned rings were used with ONLY a flattened overlap, but sometimes the whole ring was slightly flattened overall.

-To quote Erik; "Typically most mail had a more or less flush backside. There are variations to be found, but the majority do seem to be smooth." (Perhaps only a few extant examples from this period have a convex shape?)

-Solid rings were typically, or almost always, punched from sheet.

-Solid rings typically had a square cross section, but there are some examples of round cross sections as well. (Were these perhaps made by wear, grinding, or drop forging?)

-Extant examples of riveted links include both round and "D" shaped links

Mail from about the mid 13th to mid 14th century and later

Mail made a transition over time into a style which exhibited the following features. Again, the following are features present in extant examples and may or may not be typical of all mail at the time.

-Mail of this period used wedge rivets in place of the earlier pin or round rivet.

-Mail of this period was typically flattened all around, with the overlap often being even flatter.

-While mail of this period was sometimes demi-riveted, guilds standardized the process of using 100% riveted links.

-Much of this mail was made in Southern Germany and exported to the rest of Europe, though it was not made exclusively in Germany

-Mail of this period typically had a feature known as the "watershed" which served the purpose of peening the rivet more securely

-Examples exist of case-hardened and tempered mail from this period.

How's this?
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Jean Henri Chandler




Location: New Orleans
Joined: 20 Nov 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,078

PostPosted: Wed 06 Nov, 2013 9:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Do you have any information on the armor-making guilds in southern Germany at this time? What towns? Augsburg?

J

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

Essays on Hroarr

Introducing the Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic
View user's profile Send private message
Stanley Hauser





Joined: 17 Sep 2013

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 34

PostPosted: Wed 06 Nov, 2013 8:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
Do you have any information on the armor-making guilds in southern Germany at this time? What towns? Augsburg?

J


You know what? I actually can't back this one up. I'll go ahead and remove it if I can't find the source.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

Posts: 1,280

PostPosted: Wed 06 Nov, 2013 8:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
-Mail of this period was typically flattened all around, with the overlap often being even flatter.

Again, I would remove "typically" and replace it with something less inclusive like "sometimes".

Quote:
-While mail of this period was sometimes demi-riveted, guilds standardized the process of using 100% riveted links.

Do we know this process was driven by guilds rather than some economic influence, say cheaper wire drawing?

Quote:
-Much of this mail was made in Southern Germany and exported to the rest of Europe, though it was not made exclusively in Germany

Most mail made in large centers like Augsburg, Cologne, or Milan seems to have been offered for large-scale export. Erik has previously suggested that wedge riveting seems to have originated in Germany, but the move to fully riveted mail away from the demi-riveted construction with half-solid rings seems to have been more universal across Europe. Islamic areas seem to have continued the demi-riveted tradition. Unless you can find evidence specific to this claim, I would suggest deleting it as well.

Quote:
-Mail of this period typically had a feature known as the "watershed" which served the purpose of peening the rivet more securely

Again, I would remove "typically". Perhaps simply stating "Some mail of this period had a feature..."

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
View user's profile Send private message
Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

Posts: 1,280

PostPosted: Wed 06 Nov, 2013 8:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thought I would block copy one of my posts from a thread on Armour Archive which shows some of the difficulty of defining "typical" for a given time.
http://forums.armourarchive.org/phpBB3/viewto...p;t=164379


S.U. Kainov, trans. Dmitry V. Ryaboy, Medieval Russian Armour workshop in Gomiy
Likely dated to the destruction from the Mongol Invasion of 1239:
Quote:
The fragments of maille fabric contain from 1 to 200 rings, over 600 rings total. Half the fragments has rings with a circular cross-section (wire diameter 1-1.5 mm), half -- with a flat cross-section (1x2; 1-1.5x3; 1x3 mm). The diameter of the rings is 6, 9, and 14 mm. It is certain that many fragments formed different sheets of maille. The mail-making process looks unfinished: there is one ring left unriveted, and several chains of single rings.

So we have mail in Gomel, Belarus from c. 1239 of both round and flat section. Diameters of 6mm, 9mm, and 14mm in use. While the report doesn't mention rivet or ring type, and may not have been able to discern these from the burned remains, it seems probable that demi-riveted construction with pin rivets was in use.

Lena Grandin, Ringar från en ringväv
The 13th century Tofta mail coif is made of demi-riveted construction The punched rings are almost rectangular section and around 11.5 mm diameter, while the riveted rings are flattened ovals (about 3:1 width to height) with a diameter around 10mm and pin rivets.

Charles ffoulkes
The 1316 inventory of Louis X, le Hutin (the stubborn) has a numer of references to "half-nailed" and haute-nailed mail. For example, we have several horse armors:
un couverture de jazeran de fer.
Item un couverture de mailles rondes demy cloees;
....une testiere de haute clouere de maille ronde.

This makes a distinction between round mail which is demi-riveted and which is highly riveted, so the appearance of all-riveted seems in use by the early 14th century.


Bengt Thordeman, Armour from the Battle of Wisby 1361
A good fixed date for the battle, so we know the mail pre-dates this.
Quote:
The size of the rings varies a great deal in the different objects which are made of mail.
The diameter of the majority is probably about 0.8-1 cm., but rings also occur from 0.4
cm. in diameter to 1.7 cm (fig. 99). Even in different parts of the same garment, rings of
different sizes occur. The wire of which the rings are made, also varies greatly; the
section is usually round, but even oval and greatly flattened sections (fig. 99: 6) occur.
The bronze rings especially are often made of very thin wire (fig. 100).


So, in 1361 we have rings from 4mm-17mm diameter and wire with round, oval, and extremely flattened section.

Roland Thomas Richardson, The medieval inventories of the Tower armouries 1320–1410
Quote:
In another receipt
from Langley there are three mail shirts, one riveted in steel, two habergeons, four
pairs of mail chausses, three pairs of mail sleeves and a pair of mail gussets, two
pairs of mail sleeves, one de alta clavatura, the other for the joust; one mail shirt,
hauberk and pair of chausses were of north Italian mail, the habergeon and chausses
part of the same set.

It is believed this "highly-nailed" refers to mail of all riveted construction. It still receives special mention in 1325.

Quote:
The indenture for issues to the fleet in 1337 includes 262 aventails, 257
pisanes, and 157 mail shirts together with other armour. (85) This indenture includes
more detail than Fleet’s own account, and explains a poorly understood aspect of
mail construction, ‘item 120 aventails of good German and Lombard mail, half riveted
[demi enclous] and fully riveted [tut enclous]. (86) This term, also found in
French as de haute clouere, has mystified scholars for over a century. (87) From the
details in Fleet’s account and indenture, it is clear that the word haute (or alta)
evidently refers to the proportion of riveted links in the garments.

Quote:
The accounts of Fleet’s successors as keeper of the privy
wardrobe, Robert Mildenhall and William Rothwell, also distinguish mail ‘with high
nails’ (de alta clavatura), These accounts also show that earlier shirts (made before
1344) had no collars and the newer types did.

Quote:
In Henry Snaith’s account of 1362 (126) the receipt of mail comprised:
186 mail shirts, 29 with pisane collars, 112 with collars of new manufacture, 4 highly riveted
(de alta clavatura), 3 for the tournament, worn out, 1 of jazerant mail, 1 of latten, 18 of steel
and 18 ordinary (communes),
90 pairs of paunces, 40 pairs of various riveting, 48 pairs worn out and 2 pairs of mail of
Lombardy,
194 pairs of mail sleeves

The various or diversis riveting is believed to refer to mail of demi-riveted (half solid, half riveted) construction.

So at the time of the Battle of Wisby we diversity in ring size, section, construction technique, and probably rivet shape, all within northern Europe. You'll need something with a verifiable date to pin down some construction details, and it would be foolish from a single find to conclude that all mail in the same period was made in the same exact form.

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
View user's profile Send private message
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,203

PostPosted: Wed 06 Nov, 2013 10:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mart's right. There is just too much variability to make any kind of generalisation about mail from any time period.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
View user's profile Send private message
Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

Posts: 1,280

PostPosted: Thu 07 Nov, 2013 7:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I like abstraction and generality a lot more than Dan. Wink

I think some generalities can be made, understanding that there are always exceptions to the rule. For example, we can generally say that Roman era mail is constructed of alternating rows of riveted and solid rings. We can say that 15th century German mail is generally of all riveted construction. We can say that Indian patterned mail of copper, brass, and iron rings generally is constructed of butted rings. We can say that most European mail is woven in the 4:1 pattern.

The 14th century seems to be a time of great transition in armor, including mail. Of course, making generalizations with limited evidence usually leads to revisions later.

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
View user's profile Send private message
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,203

PostPosted: Thu 07 Nov, 2013 2:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't like them but I've used them plenty of times. When writing GURPS Low-Tech everything had to be generalised and abstracted so some simpler ways to model them could be developed.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
View user's profile Send private message
Stanley Hauser





Joined: 17 Sep 2013

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 34

PostPosted: Thu 07 Nov, 2013 4:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So perhaps instead of saying "typically" all we can really say in "existing examples include..."

Is there perhaps a list somewhere of existing examples of mail in museums?
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > 11th Century Mail Details
Page 1 of 2 Reply to topic
Go to page 1, 2  Next All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum