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Kurniawan Widjaja





Joined: 07 Dec 2005

Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sat 07 Feb, 2015 11:48 am    Post subject: Wearing Armor and Carrying Weapons on the March         Reply with quote

Good day to you gents,

I have recently watched this video by Mr. Matt Easton, a HEMA instructor and part-time historian on what arms and armor historical people would and could carry when travelling, and his opinion (supported as always by a lot of historical evidences) seemed to be that in general they didn't carry and wear a whole lot

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llPAuGy6XvQ

Now I could understand that civilian travelers would definitely concern themselves with too much heavy gear for the simple reason of hassle, but what about soldiers?

Mr. Easton made a point that there was only a limited amount of weight that a man could carry on travel, which was carrying a lot of arms or wearing too much armor did not make sense. Now I know that in general historical foot soldiers has been known to carry 60-70 lbs on extended distances for a few days, certainly Roman foot soldiers did so, special forces soldiers these days could carry as much as 150 lbs. Ditto the Sherpa porter of Nepal, who were recently measured to carry on average 93% of their body weight, often uphill!!!

Given these facts, was it impossible for a man in top physical condition and used to his armor to wear a set of full field plate walking all day long, and remain combat ready? From your practical experiences with plate would there be any other hindrances, such as overheating and dehydration? Or perhaps simply exposing the expensive plates to the elements?

I recently read an article that wearing as set of full plate greatly increased the bodily exertion its wearer, by a factor of nearly two. It seemed that human beings could carry a lot of weight on their backs or their heads (!) without much trouble, given training, but put some weights on their lower limbs and they'd in a lot of trouble.

http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/279/1729/640

Of course it could simply be the fact that Medieval men-at-arms were not used to heavy continuous physical labor for hours on end. I read once that the leg armor of a lot of extant historical pieces would not fit modern humans of similar height and shoulder width, simply because the nobility back then did not walk as much as we did and hence has much smaller leg muscles than us today. That was an un-scholarly article and it could be utter poppycock, but those Medieval greaves do look mighty tiny for me! I'd expect bigger calf muscles on men who called themselves warriors. If this was true then battles like Agincourt and Sempach would make even more sense.

Any thoughts from those of you who regularly wore armor for reenactment? Was it extremely hot and stifling in slightly warm climate? Thanks!
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Pieter B.





Joined: 16 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Sat 07 Feb, 2015 12:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Wearing Armor and Carrying Weapons on the March         Reply with quote

Kurniawan Widjaja wrote:
Good day to you gents,

I have recently watched this video by Mr. Matt Easton, a HEMA instructor and part-time historian on what arms and armor historical people would and could carry when travelling, and his opinion (supported as always by a lot of historical evidences) seemed to be that in general they didn't carry and wear a whole lot

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llPAuGy6XvQ

Now I could understand that civilian travelers would definitely concern themselves with too much heavy gear for the simple reason of hassle, but what about soldiers?

Mr. Easton made a point that there was only a limited amount of weight that a man could carry on travel, which was carrying a lot of arms or wearing too much armor did not make sense. Now I know that in general historical foot soldiers has been known to carry 60-70 lbs on extended distances for a few days, certainly Roman foot soldiers did so, special forces soldiers these days could carry as much as 150 lbs. Ditto the Sherpa porter of Nepal, who were recently measured to carry on average 93% of their body weight, often uphill!!!

Given these facts, was it impossible for a man in top physical condition and used to his armor to wear a set of full field plate walking all day long, and remain combat ready? From your practical experiences with plate would there be any other hindrances, such as overheating and dehydration? Or perhaps simply exposing the expensive plates to the elements?

I recently read an article that wearing as set of full plate greatly increased the bodily exertion its wearer, by a factor of nearly two. It seemed that human beings could carry a lot of weight on their backs or their heads (!) without much trouble, given training, but put some weights on their lower limbs and they'd in a lot of trouble.

http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/279/1729/640

Of course it could simply be the fact that Medieval men-at-arms were not used to heavy continuous physical labor for hours on end. I read once that the leg armor of a lot of extant historical pieces would not fit modern humans of similar height and shoulder width, simply because the nobility back then did not walk as much as we did and hence has much smaller leg muscles than us today. That was an un-scholarly article and it could be utter poppycock, but those Medieval greaves do look mighty tiny for me! I'd expect bigger calf muscles on men who called themselves warriors. If this was true then battles like Agincourt and Sempach would make even more sense.

Any thoughts from those of you who regularly wore armor for reenactment? Was it extremely hot and stifling in slightly warm climate? Thanks!


I have seen the experiment you linked a few times but one thing that continues to bother me is that he's holding the sword with two hands. Not moving your hands in a normal manner is usually cited as increasing energy expenditure by 10-20%. Maybe they tried to emulate walking with a polearm but they could have simply tested that with an actual polearm.

Back to your questions; the folks who had sufficient armor to weigh them down sufficiently usually had a horse to carry them or a packhorse to carry the armor. As for small calves, it could be that they spend so much time in the saddle that they didn't really develop them. However I think nutrition and type of physical activity had more to do with it, maybe the modern man is just a freak compared to humans of the past 2000 years. Your everyday Joe eats meat daily, shower daily, has no nutritional deficits and probably had no prolonged childhood illnesses to lessen his growth. These things are all really just post WWII things and people born before WWII tend to look a lot more skinny and less muscled. Google some beach photos from the era of 1900-1950 and just look at how the adults look, you'll quickly notice that their legs would probably fit in those museum pieces just fine.



PS, Those guys on beach photo's really look skinny compared to today's standards, an 18 year old footballer probably packs more muscle than two of those adults combined.
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Neil Bockus





Joined: 14 Dec 2010

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PostPosted: Sat 07 Feb, 2015 2:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My own armor is still a work in progress right now, but while I was being fitted, I asked my armorer about it (I've only worn more modern stuff, but I found flak jackets to be bearable even at the peak of summer in Alabama - maybe not fun, but bearable). What he told me was that if your armor fits well, and you're used to wearing it, it isn't very difficult to carry about for long spans of time. He recalled wearing armor for periods of 8 hours or so without difficulty. I think that a big part of it would be acclimation to the armor - getting used to having it on. Maximilian I's "Theuerdank" includes a section where the titular character (based on himself) wears full armor while he sleeps, anticipating treachery during the night.

I also don't trust the conclusions drawn from the RS:B study. What the study does give us is a bit of information on how much energy a 30-40 year old reenactor's body will burn if he's wearing full plate armor, walking, jogging, or running on a treadmill. This, in turn, allows us to extract that yes, wearing armor is less energy efficient than not wearing armor. What it doesn't give us is the delta in efficiency for a trained warrior, who has been wearing some form of armor since about age 6, first fielded in combat 10 years later, and by 26, already has 20 years of wearing, training, and fighting in armor, in combat, with the intent to kill other people and survive himself at close quarters.

The conclusions drawn are far over-reaching. It's the old theory that "heavy armor" was a chief reason for the failure of the French at Agincourt and other battles. This disregards the lack of centralized command for the French army, the fact that the field itself funneled the army, making its size a disadvantage (no room to fight or maneuver), the fact that the field was sodden North French soil which clings to smooth metal surfaces regardless of weight (it could have been anachronistic aluminum armor and would still have caused problems), and that the armor was necessary just to reach the English lines! In an arrow storm that heavy, had they worn no armor, the French wouldn't have had a single kill that day, as they'd all have died in the advance. Some of these factors, which were much more important to the failure of the French, are thrown in at the very end almost as an afterthought in that study.

Also, while today's athletes may have more muscle thanks to better nutrition, the average man today probably wouldn't fit into similarly sized plate armor because we're heavier and in worse shape than our historic predecessors. We sit all the time these days - go to work sitting in a car, get to work, sit, go home sitting in a car, get home, sit watching TV, sit and use a computer, sit, sit, sit, sit! Even being on horseback is much more effort, physically and mentally, than driving a car. A car can achieve faster speeds, but it isn't another living creature you're trying to control at fast pace. Add to the fact that these were men training and fighting in close combat, where endurance and skill were tantamount to living, and I'd say that at least the class who could afford armor was probably in better shape than most people today. They may not be able to bench 350 pounds, but at the same time, they don't need to: they need to be able to sustain combat with a 3 pound sword or mace, in about 50 pounds of armor for minutes on end, and potentially many times over several hours.

Something else for consideration, Dr. Tobias Capwell found that in England at least, dismounting and fighting on foot was so common for knights, that a unique form of greave and sabbaton evolved there during the 15th century. The greave has a small gap between it and the sabbaton to allow for more free foot movement, while the sabbaton is constructed to allow dirt and debris to fall out without jamming the articulations in the plates. If fighting on foot were so troublesome, it wouldn't have been so popular a tactic, and armor probably wouldn't have changed to allow for better combat capabilities in a region so rarely used. He talks about this during one of his presentations currently on youtube ("Building Medieval Plate Armor: An Operator's Guide"); I'd highly recommend checking them out; his "Operator's Guide" is a wonderful presentation on myriad aspects of armor, and can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COAIQPsgZWY.

When my armor gets done (and so long as nothing else goes wrong), I'll be able to relate my own experiences with it, bearing in mind, of course, that I haven't trained since age 6 to use it, and will (probably) never use it in combat of any form apart from sparring.

"The Sword of Freedom is kept sharp by those who live on its edge." - Scott Adams
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Tom King




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PostPosted: Sat 07 Feb, 2015 8:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I fought in, then wore and walked around in my armor for about 3 and a half hours this afternoon. Personally my biggest problem is how much my back and shoulders are killing me from the breastplate/ gambeson supporting the legs/arms., but the last time I wore my kit for a long stint was halloween.

If I was in the habit of wearing it 3-5 times a week, I doubt I'd have much issue walking, marching, or fighting in a full suit of plate for extended periods of time.

I've found that the most important thing is proper arming garments for weight dispersion and mobility. I use a form fitting 15th century styled arming jacket with points for attaching the arms and legs. Internal belts to support leg armor are a killer; they slip and wrack up your knees while making it increasingly harder to walk.
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William P




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PostPosted: Sun 08 Feb, 2015 5:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

id also add thaty in general, the load someone carries on campaign always stays roughly the same, whether you're a legionary or imperial rome in gaul, a redcoat, a ww1 soldier, or a modern infantryman whether you carry armour, or a big pack or sometimes both it usually averages out at abot the same weight
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Raman A




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PostPosted: Mon 09 Feb, 2015 2:37 am    Post subject: Re: Wearing Armor and Carrying Weapons on the March         Reply with quote

Kurniawan Widjaja wrote:
Of course it could simply be the fact that Medieval men-at-arms were not used to heavy continuous physical labor for hours on end. I read once that the leg armor of a lot of extant historical pieces would not fit modern humans of similar height and shoulder width, simply because the nobility back then did not walk as much as we did and hence has much smaller leg muscles than us today. That was an un-scholarly article and it could be utter poppycock, but those Medieval greaves do look mighty tiny for me! I'd expect bigger calf muscles on men who called themselves warriors.


What's the source on that? It's possible they did have smaller calves, but the walking explanation makes no sense to me. First of all, even the most royal of nobles probably walked more than a modern person, or at least as much. Modern society is extremely sedentary. Secondly, simply walking around with your own body weight won't cause any hypertrophy of your leg muscles, unless you gain a significant amount of weight. Third, ask any jouster and they'll tell you it takes a lot of leg work to ride and joust. Medieval men-at-arms used a full-length stirrup, their legs weren't just dangling there lifeless.

Pieter B. wrote:


Back to your questions; the folks who had sufficient armor to weigh them down sufficiently usually had a horse to carry them or a packhorse to carry the armor. As for small calves, it could be that they spend so much time in the saddle that they didn't really develop them. However I think nutrition and type of physical activity had more to do with it, maybe the modern man is just a freak compared to humans of the past 2000 years. Your everyday Joe eats meat daily, shower daily, has no nutritional deficits and probably had no prolonged childhood illnesses to lessen his growth. These things are all really just post WWII things and people born before WWII tend to look a lot more skinny and less muscled. Google some beach photos from the era of 1900-1950 and just look at how the adults look, you'll quickly notice that their legs would probably fit in those museum pieces just fine.



PS, Those guys on beach photo's really look skinny compared to today's standards, an 18 year old footballer probably packs more muscle than two of those adults combined.


It's fallacious reasoning to compare the early 20th century with the medieval period just because they were both "before the present day."

It's also a bad comparison to compare two random people from the early 1900s with the obvious outlier than is a modern football player, who is much larger than most modern adults as well.

If it is true that men-at-arms had smaller calves than the modern average, the most likely explanation is that they were simply thinner than we are today. Modern society has such a disproportionate amount of overweight and obese people with huge calves that it must skew the average up.
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Nat Lamb




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PostPosted: Mon 09 Feb, 2015 2:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fewer multi story buildings so fewer stairs, maybe?
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Mon 09 Feb, 2015 4:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Muscle size (for instance size of the calf) is not clear determinant for strength. You can have very strong person with long muscles - wiry build - instead of todays pumped muscle, that can give more explosive strength but rarely good stamina.

I have seen very skinny professional removers, that can carry enormous weights and for a long time.
People were generally way shorter and more skinny then, but that doesn't mean they didn't have strength and stamina.

I think especially Roman soldiers were drilled to insane stamina levels (they also carried around 40 kg around on marches), so when meeting Germanic and Celtic warriors they could take them out in prolonged fights, if they could survive the initial shield smash of these comparatively larger and more muscular people.
Germanic warriors thought that the Roman soldiers were midgets and thus probably underestimated them initially.

It seems Celtic and Germanic battles were over much sooner than roman battles. Everything gambled on a wedge formation breakthrough of the King with his comitatus/hird around him. So they weren't drilled to the same stamina level, and emphasized individual boldness and daring when engaging the enemy (later viking Berserkers with no regard to their own life as the extreme example), though they also had discipline, just not drilled to the extent of the Roman soldiers.

Especially Roman centurions also believed in “Virtus“ (manliness) and it was hard for roman commanders to hold them back if calling for defensive (cowardly) measures.
It is speculated that Caesar lost control of his troops at Gergovia and his centurions rallied the men for a further attack on the Gallic fortification. 46 centurions died in that attack.

Both Roman and Germanic people had “virtus“ and “disciplina“, but Romans had more stamina and Germanic people had greater individual size and weight.
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Mon 09 Feb, 2015 8:20 am    Post subject: Re: Wearing Armor and Carrying Weapons on the March         Reply with quote

Quote:
It's fallacious reasoning to compare the early 20th century with the medieval period just because they were both "before the present day."

It's also a bad comparison to compare two random people from the early 1900s with the obvious outlier than is a modern football player, who is much larger than most modern adults as well.

If it is true that men-at-arms had smaller calves than the modern average, the most likely explanation is that they were simply thinner than we are today. Modern society has such a disproportionate amount of overweight and obese people with huge calves that it must skew the average up.


That's what I said and the reason for this is diet, hence I compared pre WII photos with earlier people. You call it fallacious, while I agree it's not very scientific it does illustrate a point, namely that our modern nutrition differs more from early 20th century people than the difference between them and people of the preceding centuries.

As for the obese thing, that's not what I am talking about. People today pack more muscle than they used too, it's not just fat.
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Philip Dyer





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PostPosted: Mon 09 Feb, 2015 12:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Muscle size (for instance size of the calf) is not clear determinant for strength. You can have very strong person with long muscles - wiry build - instead of todays pumped muscle, that can give more explosive strength but rarely good stamina.

I have seen very skinny professional removers, that can carry enormous weights and for a long time.
People were generally way shorter and more skinny then, but that doesn't mean they didn't have strength and stamina.

I think especially Roman soldiers were drilled to insane stamina levels (they also carried around 40 kg around on marches), so when meeting Germanic and Celtic warriors they could take them out in prolonged fights, if they could survive the initial shield smash of these comparatively larger and more muscular people.
Germanic warriors thought that the Roman soldiers were midgets and thus probably underestimated them initially.

It seems Celtic and Germanic battles were over much sooner than roman battles. Everything gambled on a wedge formation breakthrough of the King with his comitatus/hird around him. So they weren't drilled to the same stamina level, and emphasized individual boldness and daring when engaging the enemy (later viking Berserkers with no regard to their own life as the extreme example), though they also had discipline, just not drilled to the extent of the Roman soldiers.

Especially Roman centurions also believed in “Virtus“ (manliness) and it was hard for roman commanders to hold them back if calling for defensive (cowardly) measures.
It is speculated that Caesar lost control of his troops at Gergovia and his centurions rallied the men for a further attack on the Gallic fortification. 46 centurions died in that attack.

Both Roman and Germanic people had “virtus“ and “disciplina“, but Romans had more stamina and Germanic people had greater individual size and weight.

Good point, and as Arnold found when he was doing the Conan movies, there is such thing as two much bulk for a fighter, to much bulk can actually limit motion in your joints and in Arnold's case, his massive pecs inhibited from using a two handed sword. If you look at Professional Martial artists, they are usually extremely cut with extremely dense bodies instead of extreme bulk because enormous bulk can inhibit complicated fast fine motor motion.
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Gary T




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PostPosted: Mon 09 Feb, 2015 4:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think there is a common fallacy that people in the middle ages were much smaller than they are now. Those living in the 11th-13th centuries were maybe an inch or two shorter than today's man.

The height of a society is determined largely by the overall health of a society and what stress people are under, stress meaning the broad look of how the societies survival is being threatened.

Prior to the agricultural revolution prior to recorded history, man was taller than after the revolution. European height came back to close to today's standards until the 14th-18th centuries, when stress, which was probably a combination of the plague, the little ice age and the industrial revolution again reduced average height by almost 6 inches. Then up until modern times height increased again as to what he have today.

As far as strength and mass go, I'd agree that modern man is in general "thicker", a combination of fat and muscle making this the case.

Man's body will morph to what it is needed to do. Which is why frequent swimming makes it difficult to get under 10% body fat, as fat is needed to float. If endurance is required, man will lose excess weight to get the physique that is needed.

Which is one reason I think Middle Ages warriors did not have the bulging muscles of modern weight lifters. Talk to a weight lifter who is looking to gain mass - most will tell you that extensive cardio even low impact cardio such as walking makes it difficult to build mass, even to retain mass. The body tries to makes itself morph towards a body that is good for low impact cardio. Man's natural state is more cardio related and there is little need for heavy weight lifting - which is why it would be tough to be a real massive warrior in the middle ages. A fat one possibly for a lethargic type, bu tmuscle mass is different.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Feb, 2015 8:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gary T wrote:
I think there is a common fallacy that people in the middle ages were much smaller than they are now. Those living in the 11th-13th centuries were maybe an inch or two shorter than today's man.

The height of a society is determined largely by the overall health of a society and what stress people are under, stress meaning the broad look of how the societies survival is being threatened.

Prior to the agricultural revolution prior to recorded history, man was taller than after the revolution. European height came back to close to today's standards until the 14th-18th centuries, when stress, which was probably a combination of the plague, the little ice age and the industrial revolution again reduced average height by almost 6 inches. Then up until modern times height increased again as to what he have today.

As far as strength and mass go, I'd agree that modern man is in general "thicker", a combination of fat and muscle making this the case.

Man's body will morph to what it is needed to do. Which is why frequent swimming makes it difficult to get under 10% body fat, as fat is needed to float. If endurance is required, man will lose excess weight to get the physique that is needed.

Which is one reason I think Middle Ages warriors did not have the bulging muscles of modern weight lifters. Talk to a weight lifter who is looking to gain mass - most will tell you that extensive cardio even low impact cardio such as walking makes it difficult to build mass, even to retain mass. The body tries to makes itself morph towards a body that is good for low impact cardio. Man's natural state is more cardio related and there is little need for heavy weight lifting - which is why it would be tough to be a real massive warrior in the middle ages. A fat one possibly for a lethargic type, bu tmuscle mass is different.


Good points - the question depends how you define “much smaller“. People in the middle ages had “class-heights“.
As the aristocracy and wealthy farmers ate mostly meat and poor people ate mostly vegetables, then you would have quite a growth difference.
Viking Age Scandinavian males were around 1.73 meters in average, but with the caveat that the upper class vikings often were often 1.75 and the thralls lover.
What is interesting is that Stone Age male hunters in the Danish area were 1.80 meters and modern Danish males are 1.80 meters in average. Both with “daily“ access to meat and fish. Everyone in between from these hunters [Neolithic period to 1980's are lover -> “veggies makes for shorties“]!!
The lowest it had ever been in Denmark's history is in fact 1852-1856 [Industrial period] where it was only 1.66 cm [recorded conscription heights].

People in the industrial cities had really bad food (and often starved) and no sun [English disease, lack of D vitamin] and also the backbreaking work caused taller people to die or be seriously injured, so the smallest procreated. I think the average life expectancy in Manchester in the 1840-50's was 17 years. People started working when they were 5-6 years in the mines. If you even survived to become 17-18 and have children you had a body build (and luck) that could cope with working in the mines or the steel industry.

So you are absolutely right that stress (lack of food caused by war, disease, climate) will lover the population height. The surprising fact is that that stress were most severe in the Industrial age.

So for the viking age/middle ages (at least in Scandinavia) it would be on average ~3 inches (7 cm) lower than the modern average; but probably no real difference between upper class people and modern people.

In Denmark there is a marked height change around 1600. Before that most people still ate meat on a regular basis (but not almost exclusively as for Stone Age Hunters), but afterwards vegetable becomes dominant, especially from the 1700's. [1600-1700 is a transition period from meat to vegetables as primary food for most of the population]
So from 1700 you see a real sliding down until the low point of 1850's.
Recovery to “Stone Age health“ came about in 1980 and has been stable so far.
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Gary T




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Feb, 2015 10:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen - the various "revolutions" were not as good for man as a general rule than often given credit for Big Grin

Sad to say, the Hunter-gatherers lived in a much more egaltarian way. The agricultural revolution made it easier to concentrate power and wealth in the hands of the few.

Not sure of the social impacts of the industrial revolution, but it seemed again it was not good for the common man as height again suffered.

My guess is the nobility during both of these periods kept a fairly good average height.in comparison.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Feb, 2015 12:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gary T wrote:
Niels Just Rasmussen - the various "revolutions" were not as good for man as a general rule than often given credit for Big Grin

Sad to say, the Hunter-gatherers lived in a much more egaltarian way. The agricultural revolution made it easier to concentrate power and wealth in the hands of the few.

Not sure of the social impacts of the industrial revolution, but it seemed again it was not good for the common man as height again suffered.

My guess is the nobility during both of these periods kept a fairly good average height.in comparison.


No definitely not health wise. Paleolithic and Mesolithic population in Denmark had never caries, but that explodes in numbers in the Neolithic and forward to modern time. Heavy farm and industrial labour caused people to be insanely broken.

A remember hearing a story many years ago [so I might have a lot of details wrong, but it could be something like this:]
From France in the 1700's where a young nobleman comes along a peasant woman and call her “old woman“, which she didn't like since she was in her mid to late 20's. The nobleman have thought her 60 or so (being used to be around nobles), because she was so broken from hard work. Likely Terry Jones got the idea for the Old Woman - Man - Dennis mixup in Quest for the Holy Grail.
If anyone can find the origin and details of this story, please let me know.

Then it is a lot more safe to live on a more organized society with a monopoly in violence. In the Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age Denmark around 15-20% of all males (10-15% for females) have murderous injuries visible to the skeleton and skulls (so killing flesh wounds can't be detected on the material). Actually the Viking Age were probably the most peaceful period in Scandinavia up to that point in time Laughing Out Loud

So from “healthy and unsafe“ to “unhealthy and safe“ has been the journey of man through these revolutions Laughing Out Loud
Stone Age societies (Paleolithic and Mesolithic) from Scandinavian seems totally egalitarian based on grave goods and burial customs.

Nobility has always had the money to continue a “stone age lifestyle“ - why do aristocrats so often go hunting by the way. Because it makes you feel so good - essence of being human. Desmond Morris stated that men that has a job where there is an element of chase enjoy their work the most (photographers still “shoot“ a picture though the flash doesn't kill, people doing business or salesmen going for the “kill“, police men love car chases and people love watching them and so on.....).
The rest of us are confined to work with no chase element - “most men live lives of quiet desperation“........

So the “hunting“-meat-eating-nobility would probably have retained more or less the same height through the ages. [though lack of D-vitamins when childbearing, which happened when women had to be “deathly“ pale white, would have caused “English disease“ and stunted growth even among nobles].
Why are people white in Northern Europe? -> simply because of lack of D-vitamins will cause children to be more weak than those who didn't lack D-vitamins when carried by the mother and during early growth phases until after puberty. It is simply an adaptation to “bad climate“. [Only the colour of the mother have direct influence on the fetus, though as the child grows up the darker skin it is the more risk of lacking D-vitamin].
Since the Stone Age and Bronze Age were generally warm periods in Northern Europe and arctic people needs dark skin (or they will sunburn severely) so even Ice Age wouldn't give you white skin, then it was most likely accelerated in the very wet Iron Age, where sun light would have been quite limited. 25% of Denmark was bog in the Iron Age - the rest forest.
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Tue 10 Feb, 2015 2:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Where I come from the late Neolithic Early Bronze age is most commonly lauded as the safe and healthy era. Little to no sign of warfare, reasonably aged people and short work days since people could still subside on a mix of farming and hunting/fishing/trapping.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Feb, 2015 5:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pieter B. wrote:
Where I come from the late Neolithic Early Bronze age is most commonly lauded as the safe and healthy era. Little to no sign of warfare, reasonably aged people and short work days since people could still subside on a mix of farming and hunting/fishing/trapping.


In the Danish area you have a lot of fighting between the Mesolithic people and the incoming Neolithic farmers around 3900 BC. [before that the Mesolithic people had intense inter-tribal conflicts, probably with extermination goals & cannibalism of enemies].
As the neolithic expansion push the original “kitchen midden“ people back you seem to have more peace from around 3400 BC especially coinciding with new religious believes. Then from 2800 BC in the Late Neolithic the violence erupts with the development of warriors graves with combat axes and many skulls showing axe lesions where some of them were even healed with shows expertise in combat wounds. So Late Neolithic is quite violent in Denmark.

Then you have very high degree of violence with the arrival of the Bronze age pastoralists in 2000 BC and the invention of “real war“ and fully professional aristocratic warriors buried in single grave mounds (kurgans). The Bronze Age people then takes dominance and from 1700 BC creates a special Nordic Bronze Age culture, where they change from nomadic pastoralism to become a bit more farming and sedentary, though retaining their aristocratic warrior culture.

So a part of the Neolithic were (3400-2800 BC) “more peaceful“ (they had won and pushed the mesolithic people back) in contrast to the preceding and following periods of conflict between different people with different cultures for control over the land.

It is very possible that these 3 cultural and ethnically different people had different average height depending on their lifestyles. Funny enough Denmark have three major bulks of Y-chromosome markers that actually fit these three people:

Haplotype I - unique for Europe: Possibly Mesolithic people emigrating to Northern Europe from “The Balkan refugium“, where they had survived during the height of the last ice age. They would be the “new“ founding population in Scandinavia as the Paleolithic ancestors of the Sami people would retreat North up in Scandinavia as the climate got warmer to follow the reindeers.
Haplotype R1b - dominant along the Atlantic seaboard: Possibly the incoming people bringing Neolithic culture as Denmark have the same megalithic tombs as originated in Bretagne and spread along the Atlantic seaboard (New Grange Ireland, Maeshowe, Orkney etc).
Haplotype Ra1 - dominant in eastern Europe coinciding with the hypothetical Indo-European homeland: The incoming Bronze Age pastoralists with bronze age weapons, kurgan burials and chariots.

Then perhaps during the Bronze Age and certainly from Iron age all these becomes a mixture which could be called “Germanic“ that thus is a hybrid of these three people. Funny enough it is the Haplotype I that has become “the Viking Marker“ for genetic research in Great Britain and Ireland as it proves an origin in Southern Scandinavia.

The stats for the European Y-chromosome haplotypes according to Nation is here:
http://www.eupedia.com/europe/european_y-dna_haplogroups.shtml
Modern Danish men are:
34% Haplotype Ia [ + 5,5% Haplotype I2b, that is also Northern European + 2% I2/I2a] -> 41,5% Haplotype I
33% Haplotype R1b
15% Haplotype R1a
Rest is a lot of small groups comprising 10,5%

An alternative hypothesis is that only the small I2/I2a is the mesolithic people and that Ia and I2b are neolithic incoming people from Germany and R1b neolithic incoming people from the Atlantic coast.


Last edited by Niels Just Rasmussen on Wed 11 Feb, 2015 5:48 am; edited 1 time in total
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Feb, 2015 5:46 am    Post subject: Re: Wearing Armor and Carrying Weapons on the March         Reply with quote

Kurniawan Widjaja wrote:
Given these facts, was it impossible for a man in top physical condition and used to his armor to wear a set of full field plate walking all day long, and remain combat ready? From your practical experiences with plate would there be any other hindrances, such as overheating and dehydration? Or perhaps simply exposing the expensive plates to the elements?


Walking around all day in a full suit of plate armour might be rather hot and tiring, but basically doable given sufficiently good armour and adequate physical conditioning. But of course there was considerable scope for variation; Francois de la Noue complained in the mid-16th century that men of older generations could last for nearly twenty-four hours in their lighter suits of armour but people in his own days wore such heavy armour that they could scarcely bear the weight for more than two or three hours at a time.

That's not what Matt was talking about, though. His video is mostly meant as a criticism for fantasy games where the main character is able to carry armour, several weapons, and a rucksack or pack (or two, or three) stuffed with a variety of supplies and magical items without feeling any degree of encumbrance as long as it did not surpass their maximum weight-carrying limit. History is full of instances where soldiers were required or ordered to drop their packs and any excess equipment (including excess/unnecessary weaponry) prior to going into battle -- in fact, it's still standard procedure today to drop rucksacks at the objective rally point when time and circumstance allowed, since going at far less than maximum load allows soldiers to move faster, cover longer distances before suffering fatigue, or both. In fact, units have even been known to drop armour on the battlefield -- the Rangers at Takur Ghar (in Afghanistan) did precisely this because they felt that losing the protection of the armour parts they discarded was a reasonable price for being able to climb the mountain fast enough to rescue the SEALs trapped and surrounded near the mountain's peak.


Quote:
Of course it could simply be the fact that Medieval men-at-arms were not used to heavy continuous physical labor for hours on end.


There's physical labour, and then there's physical labour. Different kinds of strenuous physical work require different adaptations. Sure, crushing rocks for several hours every day will build enormous strength as well as muscular and cardiovascular stamina, but it doesn't necessarily teach the person how to move efficiently and maintain a great deal of fine motor control while wielding a weapon at high speed, or to adapt to the different movement patterns needed to make the most of armour protection without compromising the wearer's balance or agility. Similarly, a man-at-arms who had trained to move and fight in armour since childhood might not last very long when told to hoe and rake a field by hand, but he'd be far better adapted than a peasant who had a similar basic level of physical fitness but no prior training or experience in wearing armour (though, that being said, the kind of "peasant" who was likely to be called up to war in the Middle Ages was usually rich enough to afford a limited amount of armour and get some practice in wearing it, albeit to a lesser degree than the men-at-arms).

There's a very similar anecdote from the French Foreign Legion where a Legionnaire tried to help an old woman with the heavy load she was carrying on her back, but he couldn't carry it for more than a short distance before he gave up and the woman resumed carrying it for several kilometers afterwards. But would the old woman have the Legionnaire's speed and agility in dashing from cover to cover, his skill in employing his weapons and coordinating with his team in an attack, or his tactical appreciation (however rudimentary it might be) of his surroundings?


Quote:
I read once that the leg armor of a lot of extant historical pieces would not fit modern humans of similar height and shoulder width, simply because the nobility back then did not walk as much as we did and hence has much smaller leg muscles than us today. That was an un-scholarly article and it could be utter poppycock, but those Medieval greaves do look mighty tiny for me! I'd expect bigger calf muscles on men who called themselves warriors.


What article and where, and written by whom? The medieval military aristocracy had no automobiles, trains, lifts, or escalators. They had to walk or ride wherever they wanted to go, and riding requires considerable exertion from the leg muscles in giving the horse riding cues through the pressure of the thighs and the knees as well as the use of the spur. So I find it pretty ridiculous to think that they had weaker calves than we do!

Smaller calves might still make sense since training for strength (and especially the kind of strength that provides explosive speed, which matters more than most other physical attributes in combat) does not necessarily lead to a great deal of muscle hypertrophy. All the same, I think modern men may have an inflated sense of how large their calves really are since we tend to see them with a foreshortened view from above. Look at yourself in the mirror and you'll find that you calves look much more slender from a distance than they do up close. Better still, look at Olympic athletes known for enormous explosive speed in their legs (such as sprinters and fencers) and see how slender (but tough and dense) their calf muscles are.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Feb, 2015 6:00 am    Post subject: Re: Wearing Armor and Carrying Weapons on the March         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:

There's physical labour, and then there's physical labour. Different kinds of strenuous physical work require different adaptations. Sure, crushing rocks for several hours every day will build enormous strength as well as muscular and cardiovascular stamina, but it doesn't necessarily teach the person how to move efficiently and maintain a great deal of fine motor control while wielding a weapon at high speed, or to adapt to the different movement patterns needed to make the most of armour protection without compromising the wearer's balance or agility. Similarly, a man-at-arms who had trained to move and fight in armour since childhood might not last very long when told to hoe and rake a field by hand, but he'd be far better adapted than a peasant who had a similar basic level of physical fitness but no prior training or experience in wearing armour (though, that being said, the kind of "peasant" who was likely to be called up to war in the Middle Ages was usually rich enough to afford a limited amount of armour and get some practice in wearing it, albeit to a lesser degree than the men-at-arms).

There's a very similar anecdote from the French Foreign Legion where a Legionnaire tried to help an old woman with the heavy load she was carrying on her back, but he couldn't carry it for more than a short distance before he gave up and the woman resumed carrying it for several kilometers afterwards. But would the old woman have the Legionnaire's speed and agility in dashing from cover to cover, his skill in employing his weapons and coordinating with his team in an attack, or his tactical appreciation (however rudimentary it might be) of his surroundings?


Totally in agreement. The human body is very adaptable and you build a muscle memory and specialized power and stamina based on the kind of work you do. A english longbow man could shoot a powerful bow which others couldn't, but that doesn't mean he could run around doing “acrobatics“ in plate armour. By the way I have seen a 16 year old skinny kid shoot a strong longbow (can't remember precise pounds) because he trained from an early age. Even gym-fit people trying that without prior training would probably tear their shoulder muscle off the socket (which did happen in the club to one guy that wanted to shoot with his normal longbow after taking a year break from it).
A person used to move in armour from childhood just likely did it as second nature.
Your anecdote from the Foreign legion is spot on!
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Wed 11 Feb, 2015 10:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The thing about greaves being the one item that modern people could seldom wear was mentioned in a video by an armorer. It could be Capwell or D. Wasson or someone else.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Mon 16 Feb, 2015 3:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Really? I follow Toby Capwell's and Jeff Wasson's screen and online appearances fairly closely, and the closest thing I can remember would be the explanation in one of Toby's videos that greaves and sabatons often had a greater range of motion than the shins and feet they protect. Nothing to the effect that medieval and Renaissance armour-wearers' calves were smaller than ours.
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