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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jul, 2015 5:20 pm    Post subject: Etruscan mail         Reply with quote

Most believe that the Celts invented mail armour around 300 BC but some argue that the Etruscans invented it because of a curious find that is dated a little earlier. It consists of a bunch of long chains, joined by a few cross-links, and suspended from the bottom of metal plate.




Based on the fact that it was attached to the bottom of the plate it seems likely that this was an attempt to make metal ptyruges. I wouldn't call it "mail" because it doesn't form an interlinked mesh but it definitely could be a kind of "proto mail". I could also see how further experimentation with this could lead to the 4-in-1 mail mesh that appears a century or so later. The contention would be whether the Etruscans developed it themselves and were the true inventors of mail or whether the Celts were the ones to develop this idea. We'd need to find an Etruscan example of proper mail dating to the 3-4th century to know for sure.

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J. Nicolaysen




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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jul, 2015 5:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are some supposed links between Etruscans and Celts. I need to find where I read that somewhere...

Guess Mail could be independent development since it is such a useful and long-lived technology.

Interesting pictures and post, thanks!
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Gregory J. Liebau




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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jul, 2015 6:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J. Nicolaysen wrote:
There are some supposed links between Etruscans and Celts. I need to find where I read that somewhere...

Guess Mail could be independent development since it is such a useful and long-lived technology.

Interesting pictures and post, thanks!


Well, the Celts did share a border with the Etruscans in northern Italy during the period just before our earliest evidence of Celtic mail comes in to play, so yes... Definitely some possibilities for technological transmission in that regard.

-Gregory
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J. Nicolaysen




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PostPosted: Thu 23 Jul, 2015 5:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Found one of my sources regarding Celts and Etruscans. Peter Berresford Ellis discusses the theory and ultimately dismisses it on linguistic grounds. The book is The Celtic Empire: The First Millennium of Celtic History, 1990. He writes that Roman historians had associated the two groups way back when and in the late 19th century the idea was picked up again, mainly using by comparing some remnants of Etruscan language with Irish Gaelic. However, Ellis quite effectively discards it.

Anyhow, technological transmission isn't necessarily discouraged here, just the idea of seeing them as closely related culture groups with language sharing.
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Eric S




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PostPosted: Thu 23 Jul, 2015 11:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Etruscan mail         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
I wouldn't call it "mail" because it doesn't form an interlinked mesh but it definitely could be a kind of "proto mail".
I would call it mail, if it was used as a defensive measure and was not just hanging vertical chains but was connected by horizontal links as well, which this example seems to be.
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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Fri 24 Jul, 2015 2:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maybe we should call it kusari? It is a type of chain armor, without necessarily being a net. Then again, I'm not really fond of calling many types of kusari "mail".
ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Fri 24 Jul, 2015 2:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Me neither. The word essentially means "mesh". If the construction doesn't form an interlinked mesh then it isn't mail. A few cross-links don't change that. I'd simply call it a "chain skirt".
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Henrik Zoltan Toth




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PostPosted: Fri 24 Jul, 2015 2:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I know that assyrians got different lammelled armour types, but these look like chainmails:

http://digilander.libero.it/marcoguidocorsini...%20III.jpg

http://www.archaeologyillustrated.com/see/389...ury-bc.jpg
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Fri 24 Jul, 2015 3:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Henrik Zoltan Toth wrote:
I know that assyrians got different lammelled armour types, but these look like chainmails:

http://digilander.libero.it/marcoguidocorsini...%20III.jpg

http://www.archaeologyillustrated.com/see/389...ury-bc.jpg

Not really.

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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Fri 24 Jul, 2015 3:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan,

Are you familiar with this one from Hansen's The Armor of the Kelts?
https://www.academia.edu/2761101/Die_Panzerung_der_Kelten._Eine_diachrone_und_interkulturelle_Untersuchung_eisenzeitlicher_R%C3%BCstungen_Kiel_2003_

P.26: Brno-Židenice grave discovered in 1925, 15,000 (bronze?) rings recovered, with a preserved sample measuring 20 cm². The rings are stung on a proven remain of organic cord. (Fig.7)



 Attachment: 31.55 KB
Brno-Židenice ring armor.jpg


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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Fri 24 Jul, 2015 5:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mart Shearer wrote:
Dan,

Are you familiar with this one from Hansen's The Armor of the Kelts?
https://www.academia.edu/2761101/Die_Panzerung_der_Kelten._Eine_diachrone_und_interkulturelle_Untersuchung_eisenzeitlicher_R%C3%BCstungen_Kiel_2003_

P.26: Brno-Židenice grave discovered in 1925, 15,000 (bronze?) rings recovered, with a preserved sample measuring 20 cm². The rings are stung on a proven remain of organic cord. (Fig.7)


Oh, neat! Never seen that bit before. I was gonna say it's probably jewelry, but 15,000 rings?? Holy smokes! Don't tell the "ring mail" crowd... Thanks for the dissertation link, too!

Dan, I've seen that "chain-veil" thingy before, but never really saw the plate it's hanging from. Is that one of those bronze belts? It looks like there are two of the usual hooks at the top right corner of the smaller photo. If so, I would have thought it would be identified as Samnite or some other Italian group, rather than Etruscan, but I don't know Etruscan stuff that well. I tend to think of those belts as 4th century, but they could certainly be earlier.

If that really is a bronze proto-mail miniskirt, I might have to make one...

Matthew
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Fri 24 Jul, 2015 6:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mart Shearer wrote:
Dan,

Are you familiar with this one from Hansen's The Armor of the Kelts


Nope. Never seen it before. My first guess would be the same as Matt's. I've seen bracelets made in a similar fashion.

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Eric S




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PostPosted: Sat 25 Jul, 2015 4:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mart Shearer wrote:
Maybe we should call it kusari? It is a type of chain armor, without necessarily being a net. Then again, I'm not really fond of calling many types of kusari "mail".


Dan Howard wrote:
Me neither. The word essentially means "mesh". If the construction doesn't form an interlinked mesh then it isn't mail. A few cross-links don't change that. I'd simply call it a "chain skirt".


You guys are using an unnecessarily strict definition of what is and is not mail (in my opinion). George Stone considered all of the above mentioned forms to be "mail" including the Etruscan example which he specifically mentions in his book.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 25 Jul, 2015 5:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stone first starting writing that book in the 19th century. His first sentence on mail says, "The earliest mail was made of rings sewn on leather..." Stone's photos are wonderful but his text is seriously outdated and full of inaccuracies.
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Sat 25 Jul, 2015 2:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If we would call this Etruscan skirt a "mail", than there is plenty of similar Ilyrian decorative pieces made of bronze rings that we would have to call "mail" and they are all earlier than what we now call first mail armour we know of.
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Eric S




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PostPosted: Sat 25 Jul, 2015 3:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
If we would call this Etruscan skirt a "mail", than there is plenty of similar Ilyrian decorative pieces made of bronze rings that we would have to call "mail" and they are all earlier than what we now call first mail armour we know of.
Luca, "decorative" is not the same as "defensive" use. Do you have any images of this Ilyrian jewelry or whatever it is?
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Sat 25 Jul, 2015 3:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eric S wrote:
Luka Borscak wrote:
If we would call this Etruscan skirt a "mail", than there is plenty of similar Ilyrian decorative pieces made of bronze rings that we would have to call "mail" and they are all earlier than what we now call first mail armour we know of.
Luca, "decorative" is not the same as "defensive" use. Do you have any images of this Ilyrian jewelry or whatever it is?


I agree, but how do we know Etruscan skirt is a defensive piece?

I'll try to find some pics tomorrow.
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