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Edward Lee




Location: New York
Joined: 05 Jul 2013

Posts: 313

PostPosted: Tue 15 Apr, 2014 9:45 pm    Post subject: Question regarding the use of greaves         Reply with quote

Hello

I've been doing some reading on the usage of greaves recently, was it true that the greaves weren't common during 11th-13th century? It also seems like mail was used a lot more for leg protection, and according to Wikipedia during the 13th century greaves only protected the front shin, was this true? From what I saw from the osprey books most of the 14th century knights had a full closed greaves while most earlier knights had mail leg instead. Also my my last question is what kind of people wore greaves (demi or full)? Was it exclusive for knights? Thanks.

Ed
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Elling Polden




Location: Bergen, Norway
Joined: 19 Feb 2004
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Apr, 2014 4:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greaves are in use during roman times, but fall from common use during the dark ages.
They reappear sometime in the late 13th century, as supplement to mail chauses for knights. In the same period knee and elbow protectors of plate start to appear, and untill about mid 14th c. knights mix and match these reinforcements according to taste.
In the late 14th c, full leg and arm harness becomes the norm.
I do not recall seeing many soldiers with loose greaves without the rest of the harness, but it is not my main period.

One thing to keep in mind is that while we cosider greaves and vembraces very logical pieces of armour for sword figthing, the main weapons on the battlefield where spears and lances. This could partialy explain the lack of focus on limb defences in atique and dark age armours.

If you would like to look at some sources yourself, I recomend having a look at
http://manuscriptminiatures.com/
and its sister site
http://effigiesandbrasses.com/
both excellent resources.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Mart Shearer




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

Posts: 1,276

PostPosted: Wed 16 Apr, 2014 5:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In English, these shin defenses are found in records as schynbalds, skinbaux, etc.. They first appear c. 1250, slightly after the earliest plate armor on the knees which appears about a quarter century earlier. These continue in use in the first half of the 14th century alongside fully enclosed greaves. Some examples on Manuscript Miniatures have already been tagged.

http://manuscriptminiatures.com/search/?tags=...alds"

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Edward Lee




Location: New York
Joined: 05 Jul 2013

Posts: 313

PostPosted: Wed 16 Apr, 2014 2:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply guys.

I'm trying to imitate this kind of leg defense, but I'm not sure what kind of material this is, or if this is just a theory of what they had back then. I'm assuming this leg defense is made of leather?

http://minimumwagehistorian.files.wordpress.c...ttiere.jpg
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Tyler Jordan





Joined: 15 Mar 2004

Posts: 93

PostPosted: Wed 16 Apr, 2014 7:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Edward Lee wrote:
Thanks for the reply guys.

I'm trying to imitate this kind of leg defense, but I'm not sure what kind of material this is, or if this is just a theory of what they had back then. I'm assuming this leg defense is made of leather?

http://minimumwagehistorian.files.wordpress.c...ttiere.jpg


Leather just isn't very protective for the weight. I'd sooner guess those are shells of light gauge steel, painted and laced together.
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Mart Shearer




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

Posts: 1,276

PostPosted: Wed 16 Apr, 2014 9:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

We do know shin defenses were sometimes made of leather from inventories, but it's impossible to tell from a picture if we're seeing leather, or cloth or leather coverings on plate, which are also documented. The early 14th century Modus armandi milites ad torneamentum calls for muscylers, in tibiis de ascer ou de quyr boily -- limb armor for the shin in steel or of cuir bouilli. I suspect Turner used Italian miniatures such as this one as a guide for the referenced painting.
http://manuscriptminiatures.com/4170/7886/

Thom Richardson's thesis mentions schynbalds, greaves, and a third defense known earlier as tibia, and later as jambers (geambers). His theory is that the tibia-jambers were of splints riveted to leather, while the greaves and schynbalds were of plate or cuir bouilli.

Laced hinges as shown on the Turner painting also appear on gray greaves apparently made of iron, See this thread from the late Tony Bryant on Armour Archive for examples.
http://forums.armourarchive.org/phpBB3/viewto...mp;t=86587

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Edward Lee




Location: New York
Joined: 05 Jul 2013

Posts: 313

PostPosted: Wed 16 Apr, 2014 10:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies guys. Wow I never knew they used lacing on leg harness.
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