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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Thu 21 Apr, 2016 10:56 pm    Post subject: Armour of Horn: 12th Century         Reply with quote

I was reading an excerpt about the conflict between Heinrich V and the city of Cologne in 1114 AD. When mentioning the first battle between the emperor and Cologne, the text says:

"In the meanwhile the cavaliers of both sides had a free field and rode against one another as if they were taking part in a spectacle; but when a great cloud of arrows came showering in from the side of the Cologne people the knights of the enemy fell dead or wounded. There was in the emperorís army a corps whose armor was made of horn and so could not be pierced by iron. When these removed their armor, however, in order to get a little air, for it was very hot, they were immediately covered with arrows, and all but six fell on the spot."

What kind of armour might this be? Does anyone know what the original Latin text says and whether or not "horn" is the best translation? The text itself comes from The Greater Annals of Cologne and was written in 1175 AD. Obviously, a text written over 60 years after the event may not be entirely reliable in terms of describing the armour worn, but I'm curious what others make of it.

Here's the rest of the excerpt: http://deremilitari.org/2014/02/warfare-betwe...ogne-1114/
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
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PostPosted: Thu 21 Apr, 2016 11:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fastolf had horn jacks in 1459.
Quote:
Item j. jakke of blakke lynen clothe stuffyd with mayle.
Item vj. jakkes stuffyd with horne.
Item j. jakke of blake clothe lyned with canvas mayled.


I would suspect some sort of scale armor might be more appropriate in the 12th century.

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Apr, 2016 1:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As Mart said, the time period suggests that it is scale armour. Horn jacks date much later.
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Mark Griffin




Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
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PostPosted: Fri 22 Apr, 2016 1:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've always suspected the very stiff looking 'jacks' in the Beauchamp Pageant battle scenes have horn in them. The skirts are very stiff and the rivets might be there to hold the plates in place. Just a pet theory though.
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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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Apr, 2016 5:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's a reproduction of the primary source:

https://archive.org/details/chronicaregiaco00waitgoog

If anyone can extract the corresponding Latin passage (or at least locate where it is in the book), we can discuss it in more detail. I'm currently too lazy to do that myself.
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Fri 22 Apr, 2016 6:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was of the impression that scale armour was non-existent in Western Europe and the Empire at this time.
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
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PostPosted: Fri 22 Apr, 2016 8:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Here's a reproduction of the primary source:

https://archive.org/details/chronicaregiaco00waitgoog

If anyone can extract the corresponding Latin passage (or at least locate where it is in the book), we can discuss it in more detail. I'm currently too lazy to do that myself.


Thanks for finding a copy of the source. Fortunately, it's a chronology. The year 1114 begins on p. 53, with the relevant passage on 6 August, p.54.

Quote:
Circa loricis corneis ferro impenetrabilibus utebatur, uas dum captande aure gratia exuissent -- estus quippe erat -- continuo sagittis excepti, ad sex in momento sunt extincti.


Lorica is generally used to denote hauberks in this period, so I would translate the armor as, "hauberks of impenetrable, horn-like, iron", i.e. a descriptor of toughness, rather than the material. What are everyone else's thought on this?

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Sat 23 Apr, 2016 5:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh man, that's screwed up. We can't really tell whether the "ferro" is connected to "corneis" or "impenetrabilibus." I don't think the idea of the armour being made of horn is invalidated, but it's not completely proven either.

Given that the Annals were probably composed towards the end of the 12th century, it's also possible that the armour described here reflects contemporary trends rather than something that actually came from 1114. Weren't the accounts of Richard I wearing "plates" under his mail from roughly the same timeframe? If so, we may be seeing hints of a particular form of experimental proto-coat of plates with horn rather than metal plates.
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Neil Melville




Location: Scotland
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PostPosted: Sun 24 Apr, 2016 5:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I admit that my knowledge is of classical rather than medieval Latin, but the text seems to me to read quite straightforwardly: " they used hauberks of horn, impenetrable by iron, which since they had taken off for the sake of getting fresh air.....". The word 'corneis' must apply to 'loricis' and 'ferro' qualifies 'impenetralibus'.
As for the use of horn as armour I defer to Craig, Mart, Lafayette etc, but remember that helmets made from slices of boar's tusk were worn by Mycenean warriors back in the 14th century BC!
Neil

N Melville
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
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PostPosted: Sun 24 Apr, 2016 11:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Didn't the Benty Grange helmet use horn panels between the iron?
ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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