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Dan Howard




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

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PostPosted: Tue 30 Sep, 2014 3:12 pm    Post subject: Mail origins         Reply with quote

On armourarchive Mart posted an interesting passage from the Nuremburg Hausbuch inscriptions suggesting that the Germans thought that a Greek jeweller named Midias invented mail.

Ich bin ein Pantzermacher frembd,
Ich mach die Stählen Pantzerhembd,
Auch Pantzer Ermel vnd Pantzerstrich,
Die man tregt, offen vnd heimlich,
Auch von Pantzer gut Stählen Krägn,
Ich kann auch Pantzer rollen und fegen,
Wo sie mit Rost anlauffen thon,
Midias Pantzermacher fieng an.


The last line translates as something like: "Midias, the mail-maker, invented this craft."

I was wondering where this tradtion comes from. I can't think of anything in the Roman texts suggesting that mail was anything but a Gallic invention.

The other possible origin of mail may have been Etruscan. We have an example hanging from the bottom of a cuirass that consists of long chains joined by a few cross links. It isn't mail, since it doesn't form a mesh, but it may be a precursor to mail.



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Mail - Etruscan01.jpg


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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
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PostPosted: Tue 30 Sep, 2014 5:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan, for clarification, the inscription is found in Jost Amman's 1568 Book of Trades or Das Ständebuch -- "Eygentliche Beschreibung aller Stände auff Erden hoher und nidriger, geistlicher und weltlicher, aller Künsten, Handwerken und Händeln".


According to this source Midias of Messene is credited with invention of the breastplate (loricam) by Pliny the Elder in Natural History Book 7, 200-202.
http://books.google.com/books?id=Md2IAgAAQBAJ...mp;f=false


http://penelope.uchicago.edu/thayer/l/roman/t...er/7*.html
200
Proelium Afri contra Aegyptios primi fecere fustibus, quos vocant phalangas. clupeos invenerunt Proetus et Acrisius inter se bellantes sive Chalcus Athamantis filius, loricam Midias Messenius, galeam, gladium, hastam Lacedaemonii, ocreas et cristas Cares.

201
arcum et sagittam Scythen Iovis filium, alii sagittas Persen Persei filium invenisse dicunt, lanceas Aetolos, iaculum cum ammento Aetolum Martis filium, hastas velitares Tyrrenum, eundem pilum, Penthesileam Amazonem securim, Pisaeum venabula et in tormentis scorpionem, Cretas catapultam, Syrophoenicas ballistam et fundam, aeneam tubam Pisaeum Tyrreni, testudines Artemonem Clazomenium,

202
equum (qui nunc aries appellatur) in muralibus machinis Epium ad Troiam, equo vehi Bellerophontem, frenos et strata equorum Pelethronium, pugnare ex equo Thessalos, qui Centauri appellati sunt, habitantes secundum Pelium montem. bigas prima iunxit Phrygum natio, quadrigas Erichthonius. ordinem exercitus, signi dationem, tesseras, vigilias Palamedes invenit Troiano bello, specularum significationem eodem Sinon, inducias Lycaon, foedera Theseus.

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Oct, 2014 1:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting stuff.
Éirinn go Brách
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Oct, 2014 2:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mart Shearer wrote:

According to this source Midias of Messene is credited with invention of the breastplate (loricam) by Pliny the Elder in Natural History Book 7, 200-202.
http://books.google.com/books?id=Md2IAgAAQBAJ...mp;f=false


http://penelope.uchicago.edu/thayer/l/roman/t...er/7*.html
200
Proelium Afri contra Aegyptios primi fecere fustibus, quos vocant phalangas. clupeos invenerunt Proetus et Acrisius inter se bellantes sive Chalcus Athamantis filius, loricam Midias Messenius, galeam, gladium, hastam Lacedaemonii, ocreas et cristas Cares.

201
arcum et sagittam Scythen Iovis filium, alii sagittas Persen Persei filium invenisse dicunt, lanceas Aetolos, iaculum cum ammento Aetolum Martis filium, hastas velitares Tyrrenum, eundem pilum, Penthesileam Amazonem securim, Pisaeum venabula et in tormentis scorpionem, Cretas catapultam, Syrophoenicas ballistam et fundam, aeneam tubam Pisaeum Tyrreni, testudines Artemonem Clazomenium,

202
equum (qui nunc aries appellatur) in muralibus machinis Epium ad Troiam, equo vehi Bellerophontem, frenos et strata equorum Pelethronium, pugnare ex equo Thessalos, qui Centauri appellati sunt, habitantes secundum Pelium montem. bigas prima iunxit Phrygum natio, quadrigas Erichthonius. ordinem exercitus, signi dationem, tesseras, vigilias Palamedes invenit Troiano bello, specularum significationem eodem Sinon, inducias Lycaon, foedera Theseus.


That's the problem with Greek and Roman sources. Most of them simply use the word thorax or lorica, which just mean "armour". There is no way to tell which type to which they are referring unless they elaborate in the text. It is definitely possible that he was referring to mail but Pliny lived between 23 AD and 79 AD, right when segmentata was starting to spread through the legions.

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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Wed 01 Oct, 2014 3:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For medieval Germans all evidence that Celts invented mail would be hidden in Roman or Greek texts, some of which weren't translated or known until the 15th century.

Now: "Das Ständebuch -- "Eygentliche Beschreibung aller Stände auff Erden hoher und nidriger, geistlicher und weltlicher, aller Künsten, Handwerken und Händeln". sounds like an encyclopedic work. We can't tell how many sources they used so maybe they just went to a blacksmith and asked who invented mail armor and Medias was his answer. A forgivable mistake perhaps. A lot of sport fencers think their saber is related to a cavalry saber and many more people don't know the history of their profession/hobby/craft.
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Bartek Strojek




Location: Poland
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Oct, 2014 3:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Late Medieval and Renaissance writers loved to create mythology and tales about things/places/people originating from some Hellenistic, Roman, etc. things.

Lublin being raised by Julius Ceasar, Sarmatian Poles, swords of St. Peter and so on.

It may be possible that someone had actually discovered some today forgotten historiography about origins of mail, but it doesn't seem likely.
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