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Devin A




Location: Alabama
Joined: 09 May 2014

Posts: 5

PostPosted: Fri 09 May, 2014 6:04 am    Post subject: Lamellar Construction         Reply with quote

Ok, so I am new to this site, SCA, and historical reenacting in general and I have armor but not really period. I am looking into lamellar and I think that will be my best bet, I had a few questions about it. First, I have a source but no idea on the quantity of the order I should make, I am wanting to make a front and back panel suspended by armored leather straps but how many of the "D" plates should I order? Some say 500 or even 700 are needed and I have done some counting on pictures Ive seen and they can be 200ish to 500ish. Second, I know that most say that it isnt Viking but With Berka and Visby along with the Byzantine Empire that is enough for me to qualify for it to be period but what are you opinions? Finally, there are are alot of construction sites but which seem to to be the best for your experience or just in general? Thanks for any input in advance!
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Fri 09 May, 2014 7:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My advice would be not to wear lamellar when doing a viking. You can wear it if you are a foreign mercenary from the east or Byzantium, but not if you are a scandinavian... Absolutely no evidence for that...
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Baard H




Location: Norway
Joined: 13 Mar 2013

Posts: 99

PostPosted: Fri 09 May, 2014 7:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Demotivational: Birka is considered an anomaly, maybe belonging to mercenaries or emmisaries from the east. Visby is 300 years after the viking age and recently I heard that the Byzantines themselves considered the maille worn by the European/Scandinavian mercenaries to be superior to their own lamellar. If that was the case, why would the mercenaries bring them back home?

Upside: it is relatively light weight, if it's properly made it will feel even lighter. I'm soon going to make one myself to use on medieval markets, training and places where historical accuracy is in the backseat.

As for the amount of plates, it depends on your size and what shape you're going for.

At kveldi skal dag leyfa,
konu, er brennd er,
mćki, er reyndr er,
mey, er gefin er,
ís, er yfir kemr,
öl, er drukkit er.
-Hávamál, vísa 81
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Devin A




Location: Alabama
Joined: 09 May 2014

Posts: 5

PostPosted: Fri 09 May, 2014 11:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Its just, Maille is the most laborous armor there is but the most sure, other than the guess of them using just simple leather/hide armor(no proof on that either, rots too easy), the most common form of armor any viking wore was absolutely nothing. Its just they were a really out reaching people and even though there is no solid evidence to it, it seems like one or two sets may have slipped into Scandinavia whether they were destroyed or rotted leather. But like he pointed out, they are light and not so bad to make. =/
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Edward Lee




Location: New York
Joined: 05 Jul 2013

Posts: 313

PostPosted: Fri 09 May, 2014 2:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

https://www.flickr.com/photos/108451978@N06/11264684464/in/photostream

This is the lamellar I made couple months ago. I used large plates on this one and it took about 200 plates because my size is small. If you do leather strapping it should be reduced. I have considered D plates before, and they should be around 200 if you are 173cm with a waist of 28. I would order 400 and see what happens, you can use the extra to make something else.

The viking leathercraft makes D plates, and they are very thick.
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Márk György Kis





Joined: 02 Jul 2013

Posts: 25

PostPosted: Fri 09 May, 2014 2:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You should always try to portray the average, not the exception. Wearing mail may be associated with portraying a wealthier individual, but still authentic, contrary to the lamellar. Apart from the much contested Birka finds (which are still haven't been properly reconstructed, we don't even know if they make on set or more), we have no evidence whatsoever for lamellar construction armours used by vikings.

Also, sources from Byzantium (i.e. manuals) consistently mention leather or horn as a material if iron is scarce. But this does not mean you should experiment with half (or full) fantasy things.

Assuming mercenaries brought home equipment (we don't even know if they could), we still don't have more evidence for that, than assuming vikings fought with chinese and tibetian swords (since trade was intense at those times with the East).
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Devin A




Location: Alabama
Joined: 09 May 2014

Posts: 5

PostPosted: Fri 09 May, 2014 5:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the input, I know there is little evidence but everyone says to be usual and not unique. It comes down to, if you were be absolutely period, maille or nothing at all. If you were going with sagas, there is mention of enchanted reindeer hide and a slab of stone but those fantastical and all should be taken with a pinch of salt. So with the choice of dropping a load of cash on maille or continuing to wear my bulky carpet, I started looking at other options. I know leather lamellar was mostly asian and metal was everywhere else, so Im gonna invest in the metal lamellar.
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Dan Howard




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

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PostPosted: Sat 10 May, 2014 12:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Birka lamellar has been confirmed as Khazar armour. There were plenty of foreigners at Birka so there is no reason to think that it wasn't worn by a Khazar. So there is no evidence for any kind oif Scandinavian lamelalr - regardless of whether it is metal or leather. We don't have a clue what armour the Varangian Guard wore so nobody can claim that one of them took lamellar back with him when he wnet home either. Those with money usually wore mail in the Byzantine army, not lamellar.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Márk György Kis





Joined: 02 Jul 2013

Posts: 25

PostPosted: Sat 10 May, 2014 6:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan, can you point me to a study, where this Khazar theory has been confirmed? I don't oppose it, don't get me wrong, just need something I can show people Big Grin
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O. Stockhaus




Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Joined: 29 Jan 2014

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sat 10 May, 2014 7:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Baard H wrote:
Demotivational: Birka is considered an anomaly, maybe belonging to mercenaries or emmisaries from the east. Visby is 300 years after the viking age and recently I heard that the Byzantines themselves considered the maille worn by the European/Scandinavian mercenaries to be superior to their own lamellar. If that was the case, why would the mercenaries bring them back home?

.


Birka shouldn't be considered an anomaly, rather a place with slightly different cultural ties than the rest of Scandinavia. I also think it is quite pointless to debate who wore an item, the point is that the technology was known. Aside from that there is no way of telling who wore it or when or why. It is all speculative.

There are at least two different forms of lamellae in Birka, both found in the same context. They were found abandoned together with a lot of weapons and some mail fragments in a building close to the hillfort. The complex is usually referred to as the "Garrison", based on a theory that the warriors defending Birka lived there. This suggests that the armour in question was being used by warriors in birka, whether local or foreign.

As for the finds in Visby, yes they are from the battle in 1361, but they belonged to a peasant army. Many of the pieces of armour are considered very old by the time they end up in the earth. The visby lamellar, although found within the context, is almost archaic in its construction when compared to the other armour. It is not impossible nor in my opinion unlikely that someone found their great-great grandfathers armour in the attic, polished it up and wore it to battle. Properly cared for metal armour can survive almost indefinately.

In my own experiance, lamellar armour also protects the wearer better from the kinetic force behind the blow than mail. It is not impossible that some warriors preferred lamellar to mail because of this. Or why not wear both?
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,436

PostPosted: Sat 10 May, 2014 8:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

from what i understand of ancient roman, and byzantine armies, according to dan howards research, lamellar and lorica segmentata are more the equivelent of munitions plate, aka mass produced, easily made and cheap armour to help a larger portion of the infantry and cavalry have that extra protetction to give them an edge in battle

maille as we all know was then and still is now, something with a high up front cost, and takes an ungodly amount of time to construct..

however, as dan has pointed out maille has a few advantages, namely that its harder wearig

from what ive heard here on the forum, training manuals for mamluk cavalrymen, have stated that a man needs to be careful dismounting while wearing his jawsham, (whih most people agree refers to lamellar armour) lest it be damaged

in japan, the samurai had HUGE problems in their erly days on campaign because their lamellar became hopelessly mucky and impossible to clean.

now, the munitions armour thing probably refers more to a simple corslet of lamellar covering the chest and the back. that's cheap easy to amke, and is a big upgrade when worn (referring to byzantine troops for a moment) over the standard kavadion worn by heavy infantry and most cavalry from loight to heavy horsemen.. (which was a long, thick gambeson worn by troops of byzantine armies, and from what i gather they are pretty much the ONLY ones who used padded gambeson like arming garments with some level of regularity.


im sure though that if i misspoke something (it's late over here) dan howard will mention the full story but all in all if you;'re gonna be scandinavian, lamellar is out, if a rus, khazar, byzantine etc, sure thing


the longer lengthier pieces with tassets and arm pieces of lamellar and shoulder guards were probably reserved for richer, heavier troops.
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Mart Shearer




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

Posts: 1,276

PostPosted: Sat 10 May, 2014 9:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Devin A wrote:
Second, I know that most say that it isnt Viking but With Berka and Visby along with the Byzantine Empire that is enough for me to qualify for it to be period but what are you opinions?


Devin A wrote:
Thanks for the input, I know there is little evidence but everyone says to be usual and not unique. It comes down to, if you were be absolutely period, maille or nothing at all. If you were going with sagas, there is mention of enchanted reindeer hide and a slab of stone but those fantastical and all should be taken with a pinch of salt. So with the choice of dropping a load of cash on maille or continuing to wear my bulky carpet, I started looking at other options. I know leather lamellar was mostly asian and metal was everywhere else, so Im gonna invest in the metal lamellar.


Odd that Devin knows that lamellar is incorrect for the portrayal he seeks, has sought advice which confirms this informed opinion, yet continues to acquire it anyway. Perhaps a reading of Plutarch's Moralia would be of greater use than archaeological reports?

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Dan Howard




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

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,193

PostPosted: Sat 10 May, 2014 3:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Márk György Kis wrote:
Dan, can you point me to a study, where this Khazar theory has been confirmed? I don't oppose it, don't get me wrong, just need something I can show people Big Grin

The link I had bookmarked is broken.
http://www.vikingsna.org/translations/birkaarmour/

IIRC the study showed that the Birka lamellar was identical in style to those made in Tibet and Siberia, and they concluded that it was probably worn by a Khazar in the Birka garrison. I'll keep looking for an alternative link.

Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Dan Howard




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

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,193

PostPosted: Sat 10 May, 2014 4:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William P wrote:
from what ive heard here on the forum, training manuals for mamluk cavalrymen, have stated that a man needs to be careful dismounting while wearing his jawsham, (whih most people agree refers to lamellar armour) lest it be damaged

This is from The Nihayat al-Su’l

"If, during the winter, the lamellar gets wet or damp from rain, he must examine its leather straps and its connections carefully and wipe off any dampness or mud from its individual pieces and any wetness from its laces. If he fails to do this, the inside of it will rot and it will become out of shape. Such rotting shows negligence and carelessness."

Quote:
in japan, the samurai had HUGE problems in their erly days on campaign because their lamellar became hopelessly mucky and impossible to clean.

This is from Chukokatchu Seisakuben

"When soaked with water the armour becomes very heavy and cannot be quickly dried; so that in summer it is oppressive and in winter liable to freeze. Moreover, no amount of washing will completely free the lacing from any mud or blood which may have penetrated it, and on long and distant campaigns it becomes evil-smelling and overrun by ants and lice, with consequent ill effects on the health of the wearer."

Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Dan Howard




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

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,193

PostPosted: Sat 10 May, 2014 4:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

O. Stockhaus wrote:
As for the finds in Visby, yes they are from the battle in 1361, but they belonged to a peasant army. Many of the pieces of armour are considered very old by the time they end up in the earth. The visby lamellar, although found within the context, is almost archaic in its construction when compared to the other armour. It is not impossible nor in my opinion unlikely that someone found their great-great grandfathers armour in the attic, polished it up and wore it to battle. Properly cared for metal armour can survive almost indefinately.

There was no lamellar found at Wisby. They were all variations of CoPs and proto-brigandines. One possibility is that some of the constructions MAY have originally come from lamellar and the lames were cut to shape and riveted together, but they could also have been made like that to begin with.

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Last edited by Dan Howard on Sun 11 May, 2014 8:03 am; edited 1 time in total
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,436

PostPosted: Sat 10 May, 2014 11:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
William P wrote:
from what ive heard here on the forum, training manuals for mamluk cavalrymen, have stated that a man needs to be careful dismounting while wearing his jawsham, (whih most people agree refers to lamellar armour) lest it be damaged

This is from The Nihayat al-Su’l

"If, during the winter, the lamellar gets wet or damp from rain, he must examine its leather straps and its connections carefully and wipe off any dampness or mud from its individual pieces and any wetness from its laces. If he fails to do this, the inside of it will rot and it will become out of shape. Such rotting shows negligence and carelessness."

Quote:
in japan, the samurai had HUGE problems in their erly days on campaign because their lamellar became hopelessly mucky and impossible to clean.

This is from Chukokatchu Seisakuben

"When soaked with water the armour becomes very heavy and cannot be quickly dried; so that in summer it is oppressive and in winter liable to freeze. Moreover, no amount of washing will completely free the lacing from any mud or blood which may have penetrated it, and on long and distant campaigns it becomes evil-smelling and overrun by ants and lice, with consequent ill effects on the health of the wearer."


thanks dan, i definately wanna check those out now

but, with regards to the mamluk, theres the issue of rot and such, but another issue it highlighted that oughly dismounting from ones hourse could somehow damage the structure as WELL, id perhaps assume this is by the plates being bnt or the lacing strained or whatever. which you outlined was a similar disadvantage of the lorica segmentata aka its possibly more fragile and higher maintainence.

but i'll definately try and find those to read those sources myself
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Baard H




Location: Norway
Joined: 13 Mar 2013

Posts: 99

PostPosted: Sun 11 May, 2014 10:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

O. Stockhaus wrote:


Birka shouldn't be considered an anomaly, rather a place with slightly different cultural ties than the rest of Scandinavia. I also think it is quite pointless to debate who wore an item, the point is that the technology was known. Aside from that there is no way of telling who wore it or when or why. It is all speculative.

...

As for the finds in Visby, yes they are from the battle in 1361, but they belonged to a peasant army. Many of the pieces of armour are considered very old by the time they end up in the earth. The visby lamellar, although found within the context, is almost archaic in its construction when compared to the other armour. It is not impossible nor in my opinion unlikely that someone found their great-great grandfathers armour in the attic, polished it up and wore it to battle. Properly cared for metal armour can survive almost indefinately.

In my own experiance, lamellar armour also protects the wearer better from the kinetic force behind the blow than mail. It is not impossible that some warriors preferred lamellar to mail because of this. Or why not wear both?



I didn't mean that Birka itself was an anomaly, just the lamellar find.

Actually it isn't that archaic as one might think. At least one of the armours from Visby was a lamellar that had been converted to look and function like a coat of plates, complete with cloth covering, rivets and plate shoulders (memory escapes me on the other lamellars).

Yes, because of the rigid overlapping plates the lamellar protects against blunt trauma much better than the "soft" maille. This is probably one of the reasons it's so popular amongst reenactors. However, due to the need of leather laces being exposed along the entire armour, it's only a matter of time until one of them snaps or get cut apart, and then it's rather easily penetrated.

Maille and lamellar worn together would be like maille and CoP wich because a popular combo in the middle ages. There is one drawback to that, weight. Considering the relative light weight of most infantry at the time (in possession of neither lamellar or maille) and the large shields of the time, you have to think about wether it would be worth sacrificing mobility and stamina for the extra defence.

At kveldi skal dag leyfa,
konu, er brennd er,
mćki, er reyndr er,
mey, er gefin er,
ís, er yfir kemr,
öl, er drukkit er.
-Hávamál, vísa 81
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Nicholas Barton




Location: Australia
Joined: 17 Jun 2012

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Sun 11 May, 2014 4:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

G'day Devon and welcome to the hobby

i'm in the process of making some lemellar from the medieval fight club plates for the SCA, i would suggest getting many more plates than you expect to need, you can always make extras fro your Armour out out them, i got 500 and have used most of them, and i'm pretty small.

if your doing specifically viking in the SCA i would suggest wearing a bunch of sports armor covered by garb, looks good is light and protects well, as the most viking that many people think is chain, and it doesn't protect all that well from the SCA rattan, unless you have a good gamberson and heavy chain.

that said SCA has a pretty broad range of settings amongst its fighters, from ancient Greek all the way to full plate so as long as your kit fits itself i will be fine lamellar goes well with heavy leather bauzabands and heavy leather upper legs with cops (can be hidden under pants)

one last thing, Medieval fight club and plasticlamelar.com both have good calculations for how many plates are needed

hope that helps

Why are you standing still?
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Len Parker





Joined: 15 Apr 2011

Posts: 277

PostPosted: Sun 11 May, 2014 7:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is the wisby lamellar (fig 1) and the image from Broddetorp c.1160-1190 (fig 4) http://tgorod.ru/index.php?topgroupid=2&g...tentid=294

There's a mention of a platebrynje in King Sverre's saga, and a spanga-brynja in the Greenlander's saga. I think these are all post viking period, but there may have been some pagans in northern sweden at this time.
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Len Parker





Joined: 15 Apr 2011

Posts: 277

PostPosted: Sun 11 May, 2014 8:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is something that looks like the Broddetorp lamellar http://curiavitkov.cz/images/zivot/bochumi.jpg
Here's where this came from. ( a little past half way down) http://curiavitkov.cz/valka23.html Can anyone read the text to date this?
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