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Mark Millman





Joined: 10 Feb 2005

Posts: 232

PostPosted: Thu 19 Nov, 2015 2:27 pm    Post subject: Caterina Sforza's armor         Reply with quote

Folks,

I'm looking for good photos of Caterina Sforza's armor. It was shown in her town of Forlė in 2010, but the one image I've been able to find isn't great:

http://www.amicisantandrea.com/Eventi/2009/Mo...0Forli.htm

I believe, but am not certain, that the armor is held permanently in Forlė, probably in the municipal museum.

I've checked the albums and fora here, but have not been able to find anything helpful.

If any of you have images you'd be willing to share, I'd be most grateful.

Best,

Mark Millman
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Mark Griffin




Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Joined: 28 Dec 2006

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Fri 20 Nov, 2015 2:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's an even worse one.....

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/457467274622579992/

Maybe not an immediate help but I'm going to be doing work on a tv series next year focusing on strong characters that haven't had much attention and she's on the list so will probably go and shoot that.

Yours,

Griff

Currently working on projects ranging from Elizabethan pageants to a WW1 Tank, Victorian fairgrounds 1066 events and more. Oh and we joust loads!.. We run over 250 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
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Mark Millman





Joined: 10 Feb 2005

Posts: 232

PostPosted: Sat 28 Nov, 2015 11:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dear Griff,

I apologize for having missed your reply. My 'Net time has been spotty over the past few weeks.

Thank you very much for this reference. Indeed, one of the features I was hoping to check--an engraving of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Caterina Sforza's patron saint, supposedly on the breastplate's upper right--isn't distinguishable in the Pinterest photo because of its lack of clarity.

As you suspect, the work you'll be doing for the TV series will be a bit late for my immediate needs, but I appreciate your mentioning it and I look forward to hearing about your findings. I'm sure that my own project will be ready for some updating by then. And more people definitely need to hear about Sforza, so I'm glad that you plan to include her.

Best,

Mark
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Philip Dyer





Joined: 25 Jul 2013

Posts: 494

PostPosted: Sat 28 Nov, 2015 11:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting, I've always the peasod waist for women's armor would be bit higher to account anatomical differences. Would she have just bound her breasts to her ribcage somehow?
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Michael Beeching





Joined: 22 Jan 2014
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 165

PostPosted: Sat 28 Nov, 2015 4:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding something in your post - otherwise, I'm not sure I understand your rationale all that much. I think we have a lot of misconceptions on how armor is worn (also, the proportions of armor) as well as how our ideas of physique contrast with the reality of the physique of fighting people.

Granted, I don't think the lady in question here did much fighting herself (perhaps I'm wrong), but I'm not inclined to believe she was unhealthy, either. I say this as I get the impression that women today might be a bit "bustier" than they used to be in the past - this would be due to diet and contaminants in the environment. Next, armor tends to be tight about the waist to distribute the load to the hips, but also tends to have an appreciable air void in the chest area. Combining these two factors, really specialized armor for women, which we often see in fantasy, is in fact unnecessary. Plate armor seems to be form-fitting in most areas, but it is not skin-tight, either. Nor would the chest protection be like a modern piece of steel or ceramic body armor, pressing against the chest uncomfortably. Armor had to be tailored to the individual, obviously, but aside from that general caveat, there'd be no noticable feature to distinguish a man's armor from a woman's. If anything, I think you'd see most differences in the shapes of the leg harness rather than the torso armor.

As an interesting aside on modern ballistic body armor, it seems that it rests on the shoulders rather than the hips. I think we've forgotten a lot about how to design body armor in that respect.
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Mark Lewis





Joined: 19 Apr 2014

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 359

PostPosted: Sat 28 Nov, 2015 7:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Is there any direct evidence to link this armour to Caterina Sforza? She was deposed by the Borgias in 1500 and died in 1509... This armour immediately strikes me as being of somewhat later date than Caterina's period of military activity.

The caption on Pinterest suggests the armour is held in Bologna... I suspect this is the same armour photographed on p. 128 of Scalini's Armoury of the Castle Churburg, held in the Museo Civico Medievale. Scalini describes it as "the remains of a light cavalry armour, c. 1520."
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Thu 10 Dec, 2015 4:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Beeching wrote:
Next, armor tends to be tight about the waist to distribute the load to the hips, but also tends to have an appreciable air void in the chest area. Combining these two factors, really specialized armor for women, which we often see in fantasy, is in fact unnecessary. Plate armor seems to be form-fitting in most areas, but it is not skin-tight, either. Nor would the chest protection be like a modern piece of steel or ceramic body armor, pressing against the chest uncomfortably. Armor had to be tailored to the individual, obviously, but aside from that general caveat, there'd be no noticable feature to distinguish a man's armor from a woman's. If anything, I think you'd see most differences in the shapes of the leg harness rather than the torso armor.


Correct. The waistline of armour was particularly high in the early 16th century, too, though still not quite as high as it would become in the waning days of armour in the 17th century. A male armour in this era would probably have fit reasonably well on a woman of roughly similar size, perhaps with the help of some extra padding between the body and the armour.

As for whether the armour really belonged to Caterina Sforza, that's still pretty much an open question.
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Kevin Legg
Industry Professional



Location: High Wycombe
Joined: 05 Sep 2013

Posts: 9

PostPosted: Sun 13 Dec, 2015 3:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Taking a quick look at the pictures of the armour already posted it seems obvious that the breast and back plates do not match as a pair. Great care must be taken when attributing armour. Victorian curators were well known for not allowing the truth to get in the way of a good story!
Working weld free since 2008
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