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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Sun 18 May, 2014 3:02 pm    Post subject: Regarding Chevalier Bayard and his armor and weapon usage         Reply with quote

Hey there folks, reading the story of Chevalier Bayard again I came across a few things that puzzled me. I hope you might be able to help clarify the following pieces.

A description of the Siege of Padua

Quote:
The city was strongly fortified and defended, and it was decided to attack the most important gate which led to Vicenza. This being a most perilous enterprise, the command was given to Bayard of the attacking party. The gate was approached by a long, straight road between deep ditches, and there were four great barriers at two hundred steps from each other, all thoroughly defended. There was a fierce contest at every one of these barriers, and many gallant knights fell in the attack, but the last one was the worst, for it was only a stone'sthrow from the battlements. The besieged rained stones on them with their artillery, and the assault lasted more than an hour with pike and battle-axe.

Then the Good Knight, seeing that this became tedious, cried to his companions : " Gentlemen, these men give us too much play ; let us charge on foot and gain this barrier. " Thirty
or forty men-at-arms sprang from their horses and with raised visors dashed at the barriers with their lances.


Should I read lance as pike in this part of the text or as actual lance? Further in the story they mention a pike as separate weapon so I am inclined to believe they are actually referring to the cavalry lance. Would this have been a light cavalry lance or a stronger one? I cannot really picture a group of men-at-arms charging with such a lance and wonder if you could help clarify this. Another thing I would like to know is if these war lances were hollow like the war lances used by the later Polish Hussars.



The second part is from the siege of Brescia

Quote:
The general and many other knights took off their broad, plated shoes (I assume bearpaw) to gain a firmer hold with the felt slippers worn under the armour, for no one wished to be left behind.


Quote:
But in the very moment of victory the Good Knight was wounded, receiving the blow of a pike in his thigh, which entered in so deeply that the iron was broken and remained in the wound.


Did a pike penetrate his leg armor or did he simply not wear leg armor? A nineteenth century postcard displays Bayard as wearing all his armor besides leg armor (He does wear a mail skirt and the faulds reach down a little)Is there any agreement on what the men-at-arms would be wearing during the siege? Would they wear their completely armor or most of their armor without leg protection?

Regarding the removal of sabetons: Those bearpaw sabetons of that period did not have metal soles right? Maybe someone who has worn sabetons and walked on slippery ground can tell me what the purpose of this would be?
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Sun 01 Jun, 2014 6:42 am    Post subject: Re: Regarding Chevalier Bayard and his armor and weapon usag         Reply with quote

Pieter B. wrote:
Should I read lance as pike in this part of the text or as actual lance? Further in the story they mention a pike as separate weapon so I am inclined to believe they are actually referring to the cavalry lance. Would this have been a light cavalry lance or a stronger one? I cannot really picture a group of men-at-arms charging with such a lance and wonder if you could help clarify this. Another thing I would like to know is if these war lances were hollow like the war lances used by the later Polish Hussars.


Real cavalry lances wouldn't have been unlikely, but it's hard to be sure about what kind of lance they were because French cavalry at this time used both heavy lances (the kind shown in the picture) and light lances (straight or with a simple taper from butt to point, no grapers or vamplates), and the division between the two did not neatly follow the line between light and heavy cavalry (due to the multirole nature of both types of cavalry). It's worth noting that the practice of using cavalry lances to fight dismounted wasn't exactly new; the English might have done this at Bremule (early 11th century), did so again in Italy (according to some Italian chronicles -- either Villani or the chronicle of the White Company), and the Italians themselves likely did so at Arbedo (1422) against Swiss halberdiers.


Quote:
Did a pike penetrate his leg armor or did he simply not wear leg armor? A nineteenth century postcard displays Bayard as wearing all his armor besides leg armor (He does wear a mail skirt and the faulds reach down a little)Is there any agreement on what the men-at-arms would be wearing during the siege? Would they wear their completely armor or most of their armor without leg protection?


Could be either. especially since high-end suits of armour from the era could be made as garnitures with pieces that could be exchanged for various different roles. For example, one fairly common configuration for field combat (as opposed to tournaments) on foot would leave out the tassets and leg armour entirely, use an open-faced helmet, and arm the wearer with sword and target (Montluc -- a contemporary of Bayard -- was dressed this way when he led his first infantry command, though his armour might not necessarily have been part of a garniture).


Quote:
Regarding the removal of sabetons: Those bearpaw sabetons of that period did not have metal soles right? Maybe someone who has worn sabetons and walked on slippery ground can tell me what the purpose of this would be?


I haven't seen any with metal soles except for the very last piece at the very tip of the shoes. Metal soles would have been too vulnerable to deformation and damage from normal combat footwork. So I'm not exactly sure about the answer to this question but it might be worth checking about whether the explanation was in the original text or just the translator's interpretation (since some translators aren't kind enough to mark the difference between the two). Try giving us the chapter numbers for these troublesome passages so people who have the original French version (or a different translation) could cross-reference them.
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Mon 02 Jun, 2014 2:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Regarding Chevalier Bayard and his armor and weapon usag         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Pieter B. wrote:
Should I read lance as pike in this part of the text or as actual lance? Further in the story they mention a pike as separate weapon so I am inclined to believe they are actually referring to the cavalry lance. Would this have been a light cavalry lance or a stronger one? I cannot really picture a group of men-at-arms charging with such a lance and wonder if you could help clarify this. Another thing I would like to know is if these war lances were hollow like the war lances used by the later Polish Hussars.


Real cavalry lances wouldn't have been unlikely, but it's hard to be sure about what kind of lance they were because French cavalry at this time used both heavy lances (the kind shown in the picture) and light lances (straight or with a simple taper from butt to point, no grapers or vamplates), and the division between the two did not neatly follow the line between light and heavy cavalry (due to the multirole nature of both types of cavalry). It's worth noting that the practice of using cavalry lances to fight dismounted wasn't exactly new; the English might have done this at Bremule (early 11th century), did so again in Italy (according to some Italian chronicles -- either Villani or the chronicle of the White Company), and the Italians themselves likely did so at Arbedo (1422) against Swiss halberdiers.


Quote:
Did a pike penetrate his leg armor or did he simply not wear leg armor? A nineteenth century postcard displays Bayard as wearing all his armor besides leg armor (He does wear a mail skirt and the faulds reach down a little)Is there any agreement on what the men-at-arms would be wearing during the siege? Would they wear their completely armor or most of their armor without leg protection?


Could be either. especially since high-end suits of armour from the era could be made as garnitures with pieces that could be exchanged for various different roles. For example, one fairly common configuration for field combat (as opposed to tournaments) on foot would leave out the tassets and leg armour entirely, use an open-faced helmet, and arm the wearer with sword and target (Montluc -- a contemporary of Bayard -- was dressed this way when he led his first infantry command, though his armour might not necessarily have been part of a garniture).


Quote:
Regarding the removal of sabetons: Those bearpaw sabetons of that period did not have metal soles right? Maybe someone who has worn sabetons and walked on slippery ground can tell me what the purpose of this would be?


I haven't seen any with metal soles except for the very last piece at the very tip of the shoes. Metal soles would have been too vulnerable to deformation and damage from normal combat footwork. So I'm not exactly sure about the answer to this question but it might be worth checking about whether the explanation was in the original text or just the translator's interpretation (since some translators aren't kind enough to mark the difference between the two). Try giving us the chapter numbers for these troublesome passages so people who have the original French version (or a different translation) could cross-reference them.


Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, I read Montluc too but his fighting is a bit later and he was poor to begin with so he might not be able to afford a full set of armor.

I will look up which chapters the passages where from, should've done that when I made the thread Blush
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Raman A




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Jun, 2014 9:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There's nothing abnormal about using a lance on foot. In that case it would simply be a heavy spear, not unlike a pike. Off the top of my head I remember Froissart describing this, although he was writing much earlier I believe the general concept still applies.

Quote:
Héliot de Plassac yelled, "Every man on foot, on foot! Let no man flee but let his horse go. If the day is ours we will have plenty of horses and to spare. If it goes against us then we will have no need of them!" The English and Gascons and all those of Héliot's company drew up in good order on foot. The French did the same for fear of losing their horses to lance heads. It was a fierce encounter and a hard battle which went on for a long time, for they were fighting hand to hand and violently thrusting their lances wherever they touched, until they were out of breath. Many great deeds of arms were performed there, many captures and many rescues.

Book II Foilio 2r

Quote:
'They went their separate ways, and the lord of Bénac and the Bourc d'Espagne set up an ambush at the bridge between Mauvezin and Tournay while the other division took to the fields. The two parties met at the pass we are riding through now, called l'Arrêt. As soon as they saw one another, they promptly dismounted and let their horses go off to graze. They readied their lances and charged towards each other, for fight one another they must, shouting their battle cries of "St George, Lourdes!" and "Our Lady, Bigorre!" There they clashed and began to push and shove vigorously, gripping their lances tightly and thrusting forward with their chests, not sparing themselves in the slightest. They went on like this for a time, thrusting and shoving at each other with their lances

Book III Folio 213 v



I can't say whether or not the lances were hollow. Will McClean wrote a nice blog post about hollow lances, which you can read here. My understanding is that at the time of Padua hollow lances were still a relatively new and premium item due to their more difficult construction methods, so I don't believe the cavalry would have been commonly equipped with them. It's possible the wealthier combatants used hollow lances.


No sabaton has metal soles as that would make it impossible to walk. The removal of sabatons for foot combat is well documented, although I've never seen better grip as the reason. Usually it's because the sabatons weigh down the feet and can make sprinting more tiresome. I think there's been some sort of misunderstanding, either by the original writer or the translator.

As for his leg wound, you should check the original French and carefully read all the surrounding text for clues. Maybe try to find a different chronicler who also recorded the same event. It's possible he removed all of his leg armor in preparation for the foot assault. Since cuisses didn't give full coverage it's also possible that he was wearing leg armor, but was simply struck in the inside or back of his thigh.

I don't think that it penetrated his armor, because from my reading I have found that chroniclers generally considered such an occurrence a rare feat of arms and made sure to mention it.

A final note is don't give any credence to how historical figures were interpreted in the 19th century. Here's an 1835 painting of Gilles de Rais (c. 1405-1440), wearing a nice armor he was 100 years too early to have worn


Last edited by Raman A on Wed 04 Jun, 2014 7:16 am; edited 1 time in total
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Tue 03 Jun, 2014 8:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't think early 16th-century French lances for men-at-arms were hollow. A heavy cavalry lance used on foot is just a shorter, somewhat more awkward pike.

I doubt a pike thrust through armor - a difficult feat to begin with - would have penetrated so deeply, so I suspect Bayard's thigh was unarmored at the time.

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Christian G. Cameron




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PostPosted: Wed 21 Jan, 2015 12:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Since these are translations--is this from Jaques de Maille? I suspect the term used could have meant lance or spear. I'd note that the weapon in the Artillery Museum in Paris ascribed to Bayard (at least by Shelabarger in 1928) is somewhere between a Partisan and a ghivarinna with a very long haft. Men at arms like 'the Good Knight' had archers and pages to hand up spare weapons--nor is De Maille an unbiased or completely accurate observer...
Christian G. Cameron

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