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William P




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PostPosted: Sat 22 Nov, 2014 4:30 am    Post subject: When and how quickly were solid plate defenses adopted?         Reply with quote

The topic is pretty much my question, essentially Ive been leafing through, mostly pintrest and google to get an idea of 13th century and early 14th century knights in continental Europe. in PARTICULAR a well to do brother knight of the hospitillar order but i'd imagine armour trends were somewhat similar for secular knights and kingdoms as well

during the 13th century, how fast and to what extend did other pieces of armour like, arm defences knee cops etc become introduced?
currently my major source is the compilation of osprey books known as knight: noble warrior of england which tracks the evolution of the english knight from 1200-1600 over the course of 2 books joined together one for each century

things such as this http://dick-k.narod.ru/Historical_Arts/Englis...ght_03.jpg 1250 apparently
http://s11.postimg.org/5ibg24egj/English_Medi...003892.jpg 1290 apparently

however i am unsure just how accurate these are, the macejowski bible for example makes no mention of any of the solid plate defenses shown in the modern artworks.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 22 Nov, 2014 4:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The real answer is that we don't know. Before "all white" armour became fashionable, most metal-plated armour was covered in cloth. It is impossible to tell from an illustration whether that cloth is concealing a solid plate, or an assembly of smaller plates, or whether it is just padded cloth. Sometimes rivet patterns can give a clue but not always.
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Philip Dyer





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PostPosted: Sat 22 Nov, 2014 6:41 am    Post subject: Re: When and how quickly were solid plate defenses adopted?         Reply with quote

William P wrote:
The topic is pretty much my question, essentially Ive been leafing through, mostly pintrest and google to get an idea of 13th century and early 14th century knights in continental Europe. in PARTICULAR a well to do brother knight of the hospitillar order but i'd imagine armour trends were somewhat similar for secular knights and kingdoms as well

during the 13th century, how fast and to what extend did other pieces of armour like, arm defences knee cops etc become introduced?
currently my major source is the compilation of osprey books known as knight: noble warrior of england which tracks the evolution of the english knight from 1200-1600 over the course of 2 books joined together one for each century

things such as this http://dick-k.narod.ru/Historical_Arts/Englis...ght_03.jpg 1250 apparently
http://s11.postimg.org/5ibg24egj/English_Medi...003892.jpg 1290 apparently

however i am unsure just how accurate these are, the macejowski bible for example makes no mention of any of the solid plate defenses shown in the modern artworks.

Like Dan said, before the time than cap and pie plate armor was prevalent, solid plate protection of varying sorts was often worn in various states of concealment across the body. What I find interesting is weird flares in a surcoats in certain manuscript depictions they inculsion in the 1290 picture of what seems to be a thick mitten covered in bone scales that the knight wears under his chain mitts. Spectating about armor made anything other than cloth or metal is risky business, but I think would be interesting venture.
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Neil Bockus





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PostPosted: Sat 22 Nov, 2014 7:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd echo what everyone else said, but it's been stated 3 times now that we don't really know. Another source for your consideration looking into this subject: The King's Mirror. It's a mid-13th century manuscript (ca. 1250) which includes a section that describes how a warrior ought to be armed. The King's Mirror states that one ought to wear a plate chest defense, though its role isn't as the primary armor; it's worn in addition to the mail as a reinforce, as well as good iron knee cops worn over mail and linen breeches. Everything else is layers of mail and linen. The plate defending the chest should vertically cover from the nipples to the belt line, and is worn UNDER the hauberk, according to the manuscript. It doesn't mention how wide the plate should be, nor how it is constructed. Also, supposedly King Richard I and William des Barres wore iron plate reinforces during their duel in the 1180's, so plated defenses seem to begin taking up a reinforcing role as early as the late 12th century.
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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Sat 22 Nov, 2014 7:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In the 13th century:
Helmets with face masks at the beginning of the century, but full protection over the back of the head not until around 1230.
Knee cops after c. 1225.
Skinbaux / Schynbalds covering the front of the shin after c. 1250.
Roundels over the point of the elbow no earlier than c. 1275, though still uncommon into the early 14th century. (the identification and dating of the effigy attributed to William Longsword II being much disputed)
Other than that, we don't see any sort of plate reinforcement over the limbs in the 13th century.

Pairs of plates covering the mail are usually hidden under the surcoat, but are generally considered to start appearing around 1250.

On the scale gauntlets, there are references to gauntlets of baleen, though we have no evidence from a literary source of their construction or appearance. The scale gauntlets are largely derived from the images in the St. Denis manuscripts of 1317. (BNF Fr. 2091-2093, and the later copy BNF Latin 5286)

http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b8452762k/f265.item
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b84478804/f84.item
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9066031c/f95.item



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BNF Latin 5286 fo095r

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Last edited by Mart Shearer on Sat 22 Nov, 2014 7:39 am; edited 1 time in total
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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Sat 22 Nov, 2014 7:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Neil Bockus wrote:
Also, supposedly King Richard I and William des Barres wore iron plate reinforces during their duel in the 1180's, so plated defenses seem to begin taking up a reinforcing role as early as the late 12th century.


If memory serves me correctly the Latin term used for this plate is paten, quite literally a small serving plate, usually used today to refer to the communion dish on which the bread is laid.

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William P




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PostPosted: Tue 25 Nov, 2014 6:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

what about the coat of plates and such? im aware of the so called 'reinforced surcoat'
but in general what's the generally agreed timeline for the evolution of the coat of plates?

also at what point was the cuir boulli cuirass used?
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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Tue 25 Nov, 2014 10:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William P wrote:
what about the coat of plates and such? im aware of the so called 'reinforced surcoat'
but in general what's the generally agreed timeline for the evolution of the coat of plates?

also at what point was the cuir boulli cuirass used?


The earliest depictions seem to be the "sleeping guard" from Kloster Wienhausen (now dated to c. 1280-1290), and the St. Maurice of Magdeburg often dated to c.1250, though Claude Blair notes there is no reason why it couldn't date to c. 1300.

Orientalists like David Nicolle find parallels in Mongol armor, and suggest the pair of plates was adopted in Germany and Central Europe first following the Mongol attack of 1241-1242. I think a first adoption of c. 1250 is widely accepted, but it takes 50 years afterwards to become widespread in inventories.

On the leather cuirie, Claude Blair gives this:
Quote:
Another early body defence which should probably
be included under the heading of plate armour
was the cuirie. This term first appears in
texts of the third quarter of the 12th century
and occurs frequently until the middle of the
14th. It was almost certainly synonymous with
cuirass (also curate, quiret), a word first recorded
as paires de cuiraces in an inventory of the effects
of Eudes, Comte de Nevers, drawn up after
his death in 1266 and one that remained in use as long as armour did.


It seems this leather defense, as well as occasional coats of scale armor, served as additional reinforcement over mail until the pair of plates became widespread.

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William P




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PostPosted: Fri 12 Dec, 2014 7:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mart Shearer wrote:
In the 13th century:
Helmets with face masks at the beginning of the century, but full protection over the back of the head not until around 1230.
Knee cops after c. 1225.
Skinbaux / Schynbalds covering the front of the shin after c. 1250.
Roundels over the point of the elbow no earlier than c. 1275, though still uncommon into the early 14th century. (the identification and dating of the effigy attributed to William Longsword II being much disputed)
Other than that, we don't see any sort of plate reinforcement over the limbs in the 13th century.

Pairs of plates covering the mail are usually hidden under the surcoat, but are generally considered to start appearing around 1250.

On the scale gauntlets, there are references to gauntlets of baleen, though we have no evidence from a literary source of their construction or appearance. The scale gauntlets are largely derived from the images in the St. Denis manuscripts of 1317. (BNF Fr. 2091-2093, and the later copy BNF Latin 5286)

http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b8452762k/f265.item
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b84478804/f84.item
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9066031c/f95.item


by pairs of plates, are you referring to a solid breastplate or similar, or something like a coat of plates?

and better yet, since my question concerns the hospitillar order, to what extent did these innovations spread to the brother knights, particularly those on duty in high ranking places such as the Vatican or major hospitillar fortresses?
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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Fri 12 Dec, 2014 7:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

"Pair of plates" is the phrase most frequently found in medieval inventories for what is usually called a "coat of plates" today. They're the same thing. Randall mentioned the plates from the Norwegian King's Mirror of about 1250 calling for an iron plate from nipples to belt worn beneath the mail. Some of the pairs or coats of plate excavated from Wisby have only the front plates.

As far as the adoption speed by the monastic orders, it seems armor was always in short supply in the Holy Land. I've seen a number of regulations calling for knights returning to Europe to leave their armor behind for others. With a generally accepted date of adoption of c. 1250, you wouldn't see pairs of plates in use until the 7th Crusade (1248-1254) and later.

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Fri 12 Dec, 2014 9:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The word "pair" had a different meaning back then. It didn't refer to two items but a set of similar items. A "pair of plates" is better interpreted as a "set of plates". As Mart said, it is referring to what we call a coat-of-plates.
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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Fri 12 Dec, 2014 10:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
The word "pair" had a different meaning back then. It didn't refer to two items but a set of similar items. A "pair of plates" is better interpreted as a "set of plates". As Mart said, it is referring to what we call a coat-of-plates.

We still retain some of the earlier meaning when we tell kids on a tour or dancers to "pair up", join together into equal sets --although speech in the American Deep South sometimes tends to be more archaic than elsewhere.

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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Sat 13 Dec, 2014 6:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Textual evidence really makes up in many ways for the issues mentioned with art. By the last quarter of the 13th century we see more and more evidence of plate being used to support mail. Toward the very end of this beginning of the 14th we see more and more plate objects, such as pairs of plates intended for commoners. By the 1320s plate for the knightly class and up is pretty much common in much of mainstream Europe to various degrees. Seems legs go before arms in general for limbs.

By Edward II's reign in England we see evidence in the various accounts, Calendar of Patent Rolls and such, of requirements for pairs of plates and gauntlets for common troops.

Ralph de Nesle's inventory indicates a late 13th, early 14th century lord would have access to more or less head to toe plate in addition to their mail. His inventory also has loads of plate likely to be used for others. In England the first reference to plate torso armour is in the later part of Henry III's reign, in the same entry as a visored helm interesting enough, so the gent was likely wearing pretty state of the art gear.

I do not see any reason to assume the Sleeping Guard or saint Maurice are from the 13th. In fact both have characteristics that to me are more mid 13th than late, the wide pommel on Maurice's sword and such, but I can see the argument. As well we have several depictions of cuirass armours on effigies from the 2nd half of the 13th as well to corroborate it.

How fast is far to complex to answer. Some of it is economics. It likely impacted the commoners pretty late compared to knights and nobles. AS well regionalism plays a part. In some places more rural some knights really linger in the past of military technology. Some places are at the tip of the spear so where is important to when in these cases.


RPM
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Daniele Trentin




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jan, 2015 4:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi guys, I think I can say something about Italy.

We have various text sources that are communal statutes for the northern Italy. I have to state that I don't have any of them, I'm still looking for, but I have talk with some reenactor friends about this topic.

They gave me some interesting informations.

First of all, there are rumors that in the site of the battle of Val D'Elsa (northern Italy) were found some iron breatplates - not coat of plates, full breastplates similar to the XIV century ones. It would be interesting to know more, but this discovery is not still public. But I think it could be likely: the King's Mirror mentions such breastplates, and Aldo Settia (one of the major italian medievalists) says they could have been used (I don't have the source yet).

A similar find might have been done on the site of the battle of Montaperti (Tuscany, 1260), another friend of mine told me of some metal plates which seems to be similar to XIV century coat-of-plates. But this is only a rumor by now, I'm not sure if they're true or not.

In communal statutes (as you may know) there is often a part with the regulations for the communal army, especially about the defences to be used: the level of defensive pieces required is often calculated on the value of the civilian robes, and there are penalties if you don't have the required gear. In these statutes it is often used the word lameria, which is associated with a defence similar to the St.Maurice's surcoat or an early coat-of-plates. This lameria is often required as an alternative to the panziera (which is a short-sleeved short hauberk), and for higher-level fighters such as knights or cavarlrymen it is required over the hauberk.

The term lameria is not the only one: it is often mentioned also thecorettum, later corettum de fero but is not clearly known what this item is. It is possibly of leather (the word corettum deriving from corio, corame which means leather) so it could be something rigid (like the one we see in the Macejowski bible, the garment worn by the right man here ).

About time references, it seems tha these terms are seen from the second quarter of the XIII cenury onwards to became common from dhe mid-century onwards. Unfortunately we have no pictorial references, so we can only imagine how they are made.

Another reference I am aware of, some german knights during the 1260 battle of Benevento are said wearing some kind of rigid armor (perhapa a lameria) over their hauberk, and french knights fighting them had to hit under their armpits to injury them.

I came across this. Towards the end of the document there are regulations for the city wards in London, and they were required to wear plates and aketon or gambeson and aketon or aketon and corset. We are in 1297.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jan, 2015 5:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniele Trentin wrote:
First of all, there are rumors that in the site of the battle of Val D'Elsa (northern Italy) were found some iron breatplates - not coat of plates, full breastplates similar to the XIV century ones. It would be interesting to know more, but this discovery is not still public. But I think it could be likely: the King's Mirror mentions such breastplates, and Aldo Settia (one of the major italian medievalists) says they could have been used (I don't have the source yet).

A similar find might have been done on the site of the battle of Montaperti (Tuscany, 1260), another friend of mine told me of some metal plates which seems to be similar to XIV century coat-of-plates. But this is only a rumor by now, I'm not sure if they're true or not.


We'd all be interested in physical evidence of plate cuirasses dated this early. Nobody has produced anything so far that could be corroborated.

Quote:
In communal statutes (as you may know) there is often a part with the regulations for the communal army, especially about the defences to be used: the level of defensive pieces required is often calculated on the value of the civilian robes, and there are penalties if you don't have the required gear. In these statutes it is often used the word lameria, which is associated with a defence similar to the St.Maurice's surcoat or an early coat-of-plates. This lameria is often required as an alternative to the panziera (which is a short-sleeved short hauberk), and for higher-level fighters such as knights or cavarlrymen it is required over the hauberk.

The word lameria suggests a scale/lamellar or segmented construction (such as a coat of plates), not a solid plate construction.

Quote:
Another reference I am aware of, some german knights during the 1260 battle of Benevento are said wearing some kind of rigid armor (perhapa a lameria) over their hauberk, and french knights fighting them had to hit under their armpits to injury them.

They were most likely wearing a coat of plates over mail in this battle, not a solid cuirass.

Quote:
I came across this. Towards the end of the document there are regulations for the city wards in London, and they were required to wear plates and aketon or gambeson and aketon or aketon and corset. We are in 1297.

In this thread it has already been explained that the phrases "plates" and "pair of plates" are referring to the coat of plates, not a cuirass.

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Bartek Strojek




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jan, 2015 8:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is curious thing excavated in modern Putgarten in old Polabian fortifications:

http://asmund-pgd.blogspot.com/2012/09/magdeb...wiety.html

Considered to be "Reste eines eisernen Brustpanzers" by Hans-Dieter Berlekamp in "Die Funde aus den Grabungen im Burgwall von Arkona auf Rügen in den Jahren 1969-1971"

It certainly looks quite a like, there 'catch' is that it's dated to 12th century.

Dunno if there's anyone can tell more about it, but it's interesting, certainly.
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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jan, 2015 9:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Daniele Trentin wrote:
Another reference I am aware of, some german knights during the 1260 battle of Benevento are said wearing some kind of rigid armor (perhapa a lameria) over their hauberk, and french knights fighting them had to hit under their armpits to injury them.

They were most likely wearing a coat of plates over mail in this battle, not a solid cuirass.


We had a previous discussion regarding the Battle of Benevento:
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...mp;start=0

Mart Shearer wrote:
Dan Howard wrote:
We don't need a translation of the whole battle - just the few passages in which armour is mentioned.


This is the famous call to use the point, "l'estoc". France mentions the use of the knife and stabbing at Bouvines, and then this rebuttal is found while discussing the Battle of Benevento (bolding mine). The orginal source would seem to be Andrew (III) of Hungary.

John France, Western Warfare in the Age of the Crusades, 1000-1300, Chapter 13, Note 24:

Quote:
The tactic of stabbing under the armpit recurs in Primatus's account of the Battle of Tagliacozzo of 1268, and Delbruck, Medieval Warfare, pp. 353-7, criticized the notion as the invention of a later writer on the basis of soldiers' tales, but Delbruck did not know the sources himself: in particular, he did not know that the story is found in Andrew of Hungary, and was relying on the studies of others. Oman, Art of War, vol. 1, pp. 502-3, studied the battle of Benevento at length and supposed that this tactic was designed to avoid German plate armour. Runciman, Sicilian Vespers, pp. 109-11, follows Oman and repeats this myth. However, there is no mention of plate-armour at Benevento: the accounts stress the close order of the Germans.

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