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Martin Kealey




Location: Georgia, USA
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PostPosted: Wed 29 Apr, 2015 5:02 am    Post subject: Literary speculation: Don Quixote's armour         Reply with quote

Given that Cervantes wrote Don Quixote in 1605 and assuming the events would be contemporary: what sort of armour would Don Quixote have been wearing? According to the narrative his harness had belonged to his grandfather. I figure, given the protagonist's age and social position, the armour would be about 70 years old and of a lesser, probably colloquial, quality and design. So, when riding off to adventure, how was the hero harnessed? An old sallet (sans visor, since he has to make one out of paper mache) with a placard and simple arms? Any gauntlets? How about legs? A simple exercise in imaginative speculation I started when I decided to do a drawing of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza that I thought might be fun to share.
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Jeffrey Faulk




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PostPosted: Wed 29 Apr, 2015 6:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

He makes a helmet out of a barber's shaving-basin, as I recall. Normally he's portrayed with a fairly generic breast-plate and perhaps fauld and tassets, but not much more. Drawings often show him with a comb-morion or cabasset, but that would be anachronistic considering.

I think (though don't quote me on it, I don't recall where I read it) that the Spanish were not big on the sallet; they preferred the kettle-hat and armet. Later, close-helms are frequently portrayed in artwork, but in practice they may have worn more open helmets like the burgonet (again though that's getting into the wrong period).
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Martin Kealey




Location: Georgia, USA
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PostPosted: Wed 29 Apr, 2015 8:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The barber's basin came later, after the helmet had been pretty much demolished in one of his failed adventures. The narrative explains that the original helmet lacked a visor, so he made one out of (according to my translation) paper mache.
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Wed 29 Apr, 2015 9:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In his grandfathers day (lets say around 1520's - 1530's ?) it's really just about the heydey of the armor industry in Europe, so truly excellent armor was available fairly cheap. If his family were nobles or wealthy burghers they should have been able to afford a pretty nice Milanese harness. Armor of that quality would cost far less in 1520 than in 1600.

For example this armor was captured by the city of Bremen around that era (1530's I think) from a low-level Robber Knight, and was used to adorn an automata in the Merchants guild hall, where it still resides. The purpose was rather Cervantes-esque (mockery of the knightly class)

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons...entury.jpg



Swap out the helmet with a kettle hat and you probably have a reasonable idea of Don Quixote's grandfather's armor.

There is another Mid-15th Century knightly novel which Cervantes actually praised, the Catalan Tiran-Lo-Blanc. In Don Quixote at one point it is saved from among a bunch of romance books from being thrown into a fire. If you liked Cervantes I recommend that book, you can find translations online.

J

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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Wed 29 Apr, 2015 3:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would place the armor at middle 15th century based upon a credible historical inspiration. I frequently encounter statements that Suero’s story “may have been” inspired Cervantes’ Don Quixote. (I am not guaranteeing it definitely is the basis of Don Quioxte, but am repating that many have identified it as a source that should have been available to Cervantes which was well known both then and today.)

A pas d’arms style challenge conducted during the 15th century was documented by Don Luis Alonso Luengo. I do not have the exact date, but figure it can be tracked down. This occurred on the bridge near Hospital De Orbigo, and was conducted by Sureo des Quiñones and nine of his mantenedores in 1434, beating 67 challengers in 166 lance courses at which point Sureo’s team was too injured to continue. Sureo des Quinnone’s original goal has been stated for his team to “break 300 lances”, altlhough I believe the actual record states they were unable to proceed beyond the point at which they stopped.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Wed 29 Apr, 2015 3:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If he wasn't wearing Maximilian armor around 1525 then there is a chance he wore something less ornate like this.

Attributed to Bayard.



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Martin Kealey




Location: Georgia, USA
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PostPosted: Wed 29 Apr, 2015 6:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I know many of the images of Don Quixote show him wearing a morion, cabacet, or burgonet due to: 1) a need to show the hero's face and 2) probable ignorance of the proper armour style available to Don Quixote (most people think morion/cabacet when they think of Spanish knights, even in the wrong time periods). If it is indeed true that sallets were not common in Spain, I will need to figure how to fit Don Quixote in an old armet (he was wearing the helmet, not the barber's basin, when he combated the windmill) that will not obscure his features.
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Raman A




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Apr, 2015 2:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Don Quixote takes place at the end of the sixteenth, beginning of the seventeenth century. Cervantes published part one in 1605, but the premise of the book is that Cervantes is simply translating a history of Quixote that has already been written. This implies that the events take place sometime BEFORE 1605. With that established, we can estimate what period the armor was from because Cervantes states that the armor belonged to his great-grandfather. Quixote is nearly 50 when the book begins, so he was born around 1550. If his father was around 25 when Quixote was born, then he would have been born around 1525. Using the same logic, his grandfather would have been born around 1500, and his great grandfather in 1475. If his grandfather purchased or received the armor when he was 20, that gives a date of 1495. I'm making a big assumption here that each generation was 25 years, and that his great grandfather purchased the armor at a young age, but I'm also assuming the latest possible time for the events of Don Quixote. I think it's safe to say that would be from the end of the fifteenth century, or the first decade or so of the 16th, predating Maximillian armor.

Now, onto the helmet. Here's an excerpt describing it in chapter 1:

Quote:
Limpiólas y aderezólas lo mejor que pudo, pero vio que tenían una gran falta, y era que no tenían celada de encaje, sino morrión simple; mas a esto suplió su industria, porque de cartones hizo un modo de media celada, que, encajada con el morrión, hacían una apariencia de celada entera.


Here's Edith Grossman's translation:

Quote:
He did the best he could to clean and repair it, but he saw that it had a great defect, which was that instead of a full sallet helmet with an attached neckguard, there was only a simple headpiece; but he compensated for this with his industry. and out of pasteboard he fashioned a kind of half-helmet that, when attached to the headpiece, took on the appearance of a full sallet.


Cervante uses the terms "celada" and "morrion." He states that Quixote's grandfather's armor had a "morrion simple" but he really wanted a fully enclosing "celada." Hopefully someone with more knowledge of what the terms celada and morrion specifically mean in 1605 can chime in. Cervantes may not not have understood the history of the combed morion as well as we do, and meant an actual morion/cabasset as we would think of it. I don't think that's the case, and interpret morion to simply mean any light, open helmet. Given the estimated date of the armor, I imagine it to be a late 15th century German style armor with a sallet and no bevor. It seems that what Quixote makes is a bevor/buffe to complete the helmet.

Finally, remember that it has been left to rust and mold for years. Quixote does his best to restore it but it's still in rough condition, so I think you should represent this in your work. I don't think Cervantes explicitly states that it's ill fitting, but I would imagine it is because of how skinny Quixote is.
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Martin Kealey




Location: Georgia, USA
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PostPosted: Thu 30 Apr, 2015 4:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Definitely "rough" finish from years of neglect and Quixote's attempts to restore it. I envisioned a sallet myself, but my translation was not specific as to helmet type. I pictured armour well out of date by 1520. I'll attach a photo of the piece when I'm done.
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James Arlen Gillaspie
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PostPosted: Thu 30 Apr, 2015 12:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Martin, forget about German armour. Spain is Spain. It has its own styles.


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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Apr, 2015 2:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Were there major armor production centers in the Iberian peninsula like the ones in Augsburg, Nuremberg, Milan and Brescia? I mean, that armor could have been imported. A lot of the armor in France and England was.

then again I'd assume there would be some armor production centers in Aragon.

J

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Michael Parker




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Apr, 2015 7:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While we're talking about this, what do we make of the seeming uselessness of Don Quixote's armor? I am reading the Smollett translation, and from a couple of adventures it seems like he gets grievously injured as if his armor weren't protecting him at all. In one part he gets beat up by a bunch of guys with staves, and in the chapter where he mistakes flocks of sheep for armies he gets wrecked by a bunch of shepherds with slings. Not to mention the fight with the Biscayan where part of his helmet gets chopped off. Cervantes actually got his arm wounded while fighting in the battle of Lepanto in 1571, so I'd be surprised if he was not familiar with the deflective qualities of arms and armor. Could it be that the armor is just in such a bad condition, or that Cervantes is bending the truth for laughs, or that this is part of his parody of earlier chivalric romances where chopping through armor is commonplace? Any thoughts?
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Jeffrey Faulk




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PostPosted: Fri 01 May, 2015 1:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think it's two things.

First, yeah, he's shooting for comic effect. The pratfall has a long history in comedy.

Second, Quixote likely has little experience actually mounting the harness correctly, and it's quite possible that he just kind of halfheartedly straps it on. Perhaps 'halfheartedly' is the wrong adjective, but in any case poorly mounted harness is almost worse than not having harness. It gets in your way, leaves gaps, and so forth.
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James Arlen Gillaspie
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PostPosted: Fri 01 May, 2015 1:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Spain had a healthy indigenous arms industry, but imported vast quantities of armour from Italy, less from Germany. The Italian stuff was shaped to Spanish taste, however, as was usual for export armour. As you go deeper into the 16th century, Spanish and Italian styles become more and more alike, as there is a tendency towards homogeneity of styles across Europe.
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Mark Griffin




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PostPosted: Tue 05 May, 2015 1:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What James said...

I often see people using distinctly Spanish items in a way that is unlikely, another example of using a huge amount of historical sources as a re-enactment Sears Catalogue. I'm not sure if any work has been done on how much, if any, armour Spain exported but there are bits spread about through service use. The Rhodes items for example and the Coventry Sallet is probably Iberian. Its certainly not 'one of the only bits of surviving English Armour' as i heard tell at the weekend.

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James Arlen Gillaspie
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PostPosted: Fri 08 May, 2015 5:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm glad I checked in. The Coventry sallet is probably Iberian and NOT English?! Eek! Tell me more!
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