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Travis Gorrie




Location: Springfield, Illinois
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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2005 6:39 am    Post subject: Brigandine Armor Clarification         Reply with quote

If someone could provide me with some definitive armor answers it would be greatly appreciated.

I have read many posts (on this forum and others) about what brigandine armor actually looks like, and there appears to be two conflicting descriptions.

The first group claim that brigandine armor is an evolution of the coat of plates. Except with a lot more and smaller overlapping metal plates (sounds like scale armor to me), which allows greater flexibility than the CoP. This group sites the Wisby armor from the book entitled Armour from the Battle of Wisby by Bengt Thordman.

The second group claim brigandine armor consists of non-overlapping metal plates sewn onto cloth. It is claimed that the non-overlapping plates are quieter and could be hidden under cloths. As a result brigandine is considered 'court' armor and could provide protection in civilian situations without offending the royal court. The only example that I can think of for this theory would be the armor the English soldiers wear in the Scotish village in Braveheart (soldiers that attack his wife).
Even though the Braveheart armor is not concealed for court use the metal plates are not overlapping and appear to be square metal plates sewn onto cloth.

Which group is correct? Or are they both.
-If group 1 is correct. What is the difference between Brigandine and Scale armor?
-If group 2 is correct. Is the Braveheart armor a good historically accurate example of Brigandine armor or is it Hollywood rubbish?
-If the Braveheart armor is not Brigandine and not Hollywood rubbish, then what is it?
Question
Regards,
-Travis
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Alexi Goranov
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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2005 8:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Travis,

both groups have provided some valid points to what brigantine is. Here is a picture of a brigantine form the Met museum.

If I remember correctly, some authorities like Claude Blair do propose that the brigantine is an evolved coat of armor, and that does make sense since the construction is similar: metal plates secured under a cloth garment. I am aware of examples that have overlapping metal plates, and I also know examples where the plates are non overlapping. In both cases however the plates are sewn or rivetted to a cloth garment. usually the plats are not visible from the outside. The sice and shape of the scales varied.

I have a picture from the Higgins museum of the inside of a brigantine but my photo collections are at home.

In some aspects scale armour and brigantines are not so different, but they were used (were popular) during different times. Brigantine use picks up popularity at the end of 14th century and continues into the 16th century. Scale was used earlier, and I think it was restricted to Scandinavia and Russia, but I might be confusing it with lamellar armour. Scale and lamellar were used at the same time but were popular at somewhat different regions. That does not mean that they were never used on the same battlefield.

"Battle of wisby" is a great reference, Barave heart is not.

Here is a link to ChivalryBookshelf Go to catalogue and click on Battle of Wisby book (somewhere towards the bottom of the page). There are numerous scans of pages that show different kinds of armour including lamellar and brigantine. I hope you find this useful

I hope this helps.
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Travis Gorrie




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2005 8:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alexi,

Thanks for the info, the link that you provided is perfect and very informative. I appreciate it.

So are you telling me that the Braveheart armor has no historical basis?

-Travis
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Alexi Goranov
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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2005 9:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Travis Gorrie wrote:
Alexi,

Thanks for the info, the link that you provided is perfect and very informative. I appreciate it.

So are you telling me that the Braveheart armor has no historical basis?

-Travis


You are welcome!

Let's just say that I would not base my research on Braveheart. It was an entertaining movie, but it was just that: a movie made to entertain and not educate.

If memory serves me right, in the scene you referred to the English soldiers were wearing scale armour (or something that resembled scale armour) not brigantines.

Almost by definition, the scales must be under the cloth or between two layers of cloth for the garment to be a brigantine.

I am not a specialist in the area, so if someone else chimes in this will be helpful.

Alexi
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Allan Senefelder
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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2005 9:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Travis, that i'm aware of bridandine is made up of a large number of small plates( although at least based on funery effigies and other period art several large plates for the chest were often used in the later 14th and very early 15th century ) riveted to the inside of a fabric jacket the best using velvet. When the plates are sewn or quilted between two layers of fabric the resultant garmnet is refered to as a "jack" . Scale armour is a very old from of armour and alot of the surviving scales indicate that the scales were attached to each other and whatever backing there was using rings. The scales could also be sewn or riveted to a fabric/leather backing( the two examples i've seen up close were the Roman horse barding in the Higgins which was sewn and a scale jack that was part of and hussars armour in a small art musem in Baltimore which had the plates riveted on to a canvas base and was of 17th century date) . Scale seems to have gone out of fashion for the most part in Western Europe by the end of the 14th century(although it remained in use in the east into the early 18th century) with the use of brigandine waning twords the end or the 16th century. The "jack" seems to have come into use sometime in the 15th century and faded around the end of the 16th like brigandine. Some one else may be able to flesh this out better but I believe this is basically how it works.
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Travis Gorrie




Location: Springfield, Illinois
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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2005 10:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Allan,

Thanks for replying.

So if I am following you correctly. The main difference between scale and brigandine armor is the way in which the overlapping metal plates are attached to the underlying garment. With scale armor the small metal plates are attached with metal rings while a brigandine jack has the plates rivetted onto the garment, and then another layer of cloth placed over top.

Is it safe to say that a brigandine jack is the evolution of scale armor due to the advances in metal working (rivetting)?

Regards,
-Travis
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Gordon Clark




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2005 10:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

By the way - production brigandines are hard to find, but I think these are (not perfect perhaps) but fairly accurate
White Rose : http://www.whiteroseapparel.co.uk/brigpage.htm
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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2005 10:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Travis, part of the problem here too is in trying to apply a strict definition of terms to items that have a lot of, well, overlap, for lack of a better word. At the same time we're dealing with an age in which strict definitions of terminology, or for that matter spelling, were pretty foreign ideas. So there is going to be a lot of controversy as to just what a person of the era is actually talking about when mentioning something, as well as controversy in our own age when discussing these sorts of things. Any given author may well be VERY specific in their own minds as to what they are talking about... but to the rest of the world, it's Greek, unless they include a pretty complete "definition of terms" (with illustrations!) in the process.

So just some fair warning that it's a murky business, and rife with mis-understandings, errors and obfuscations. Sort of like politics and international law. Big Grin

Good luck with this though, glad you're digging into this!

Cheers,

Gordon

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2005 10:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You may find This Topic to be of some use, too.
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Allan Senefelder
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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2005 10:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Travis generally speaking the direction of overlay is down. The plates in a brigandine coat are riveted inside the coat but the liner if any was present wasn't held in with those same rivets( the rivets would quickly pull throught the liner from the stresses of the plates flexing with the body as I understand it) . Brigandine plates overlap down in roughly verticle rows while scales overlap down but in a staggered fashion like bricks. Scale armours have the plates on the outside of the garment while brigandine plates are on the inside . I don't really know if brigandine developed from scale or coats of plates or not but brigandine construction is not particularly high tech. It is very time consuming but essentialy taking some iron and chopping it into smaller bits of iron and riveting them down is not tech intesive.

Those White Rose brigs are awfully nice looking!
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Travis Gorrie




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2005 10:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan: That topic basically prompted this topic, because it contradicted what I understood on brigandine armor and as a result created more questions. I guess I enjoyed that topic so much I didn't want it to end.

Gordon Frye: I understand it is difficult to classify armor into nice neat categories. Even the site Gorden Clark (linked above) displays many different types of brigandine armor that vary in the number plates, plate size, and shape. I guess I was hoping / searching for something like Oakeshott's typology of medieval swords that explains the evolution and types of armor.

I do appreciate the input guys.

-Travis
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Travis Gorrie




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2005 11:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Allan,

Interesting .... so scale overlaps like bricks while brig is vertical.
Is a one particular style of overlapping plates better than the other?


PS. Yes those White Rose brigs are nice.
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2005 12:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gordon Clark wrote:
By the way - production brigandines are hard to find, but I think these are (not perfect perhaps) but fairly accurate
White Rose : http://www.whiteroseapparel.co.uk/brigpage.htm


Thanks for sharing.

Looks nice.

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Alexi Goranov
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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2005 12:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gordon Clark wrote:
By the way - production brigandines are hard to find, but I think these are (not perfect perhaps) but fairly accurate
White Rose : http://www.whiteroseapparel.co.uk/brigpage.htm


Another source for decent brigantines is valentine armouries

Alexi
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Jeff Johnson





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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2005 7:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alexi Goranov wrote:

Another source for decent brigantines is valentine armouries

Alexi


Umm... Not. Confused Worried

Those are not properly constructed brigs. More like a bad coat of plates and a interpretation of an abomination in the Met.

A brig has hundreds of plates. (like the White rose one does) Here's another Very Good brig:


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Jeff Johnson





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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2005 7:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Travis Gorrie wrote:
Allan,

Interesting .... so scale overlaps like bricks while brig is vertical.
Is a one particular style of overlapping plates better than the other?


Scale is more like shingles. The problen with scale is that you can readily drive a point up UNDER it.
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Alexi Goranov
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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2005 7:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeff Johnson wrote:
Alexi Goranov wrote:

Another source for decent brigantines is valentine armouries

Alexi


Umm... Not. Confused Worried

Those are not properly constructed brigs. More like a bad coat of plates and a interpretation of an abomination in the Met.

A brig has hundreds of plates. (like the White rose one does) Here's another Very Good brig:


Well thanks for the input. I never really questioned R. Valentine's attention to historical accuracy, and the word around is that his products are top notch. The repro of the "corazinna brest plate" form the Met does have few large plates, but so does the original. Their "brigantine" has many smaller plates. I have never seen this product in person to make a strong statement. Maybe they have taken few shortcuts, but maybe this is based on a real example.

Alexi
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Jeff Johnson





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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2005 7:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alexi Goranov wrote:

Well thanks for the input. I never really questioned R. Valentine's attention to historical accuracy, and the word around is that his products are top notch. The repro of the "corazinna brest plate" form the Met does have few large plates, but so does the original. Their "brigantine" has many smaller plates. I have never seen this product in person to make a strong statement. Maybe they have taken few shortcuts, but maybe this is based on a real example.

Alexi


Nope. No such brig. That product reeks of Braveheart influence. You should always question every armor & weapon-maker's source. Far to often, their product is a loose interpretation. Always check the references yourself. Trust, but verify, etc.. Happy

Problem with the Corazina is, that the one in the Met it is patterned after is nigh-universally ackowledged among armor scholars to be wrong. It was assembled by a fellow named Bashford Dean from other bits of armor and he took a LOT of liberties with his interpretation. See the plates below the waist? That configuration is not functional - you can't bend over in it. It should have been removed from display ages ago out of shame, but they keep it on display.
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Alexi Goranov
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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2005 8:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeff Johnson wrote:


Nope. No such brig. That product reeks of Braveheart influence. You should always question every armor & weapon-maker's source. Far to often, their product is a loose interpretation. Always check the references yourself. Trust, but verify, etc.. Happy


Very true!!!! I have not intended to purchase a brigantine otherwise I'd have done my homework Wink

Quote:

Problem with the Corazina is, that the one in the Met it is patterned after is nigh-universally ackowledged among armor scholars to be wrong. It was assembled by a fellow named Bashford Dean from other bits of armor and he took a LOT of liberties with his interpretation. See the plates below the waist? That configuration is not functional - you can't bend over in it. It should have been removed from display ages ago out of shame, but they keep it on display.


Interesting detail. Someone ought to scold the current curator for that. You'd think that museums would not want to propagate inaccuracies Eek!

Alexi
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W. R. Reynolds




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2005 8:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Travis Gorrie wrote:
Allan,

Thanks for replying.

So if I am following you correctly. The main difference between scale and brigandine armor is the way in which the overlapping metal plates are attached to the underlying garment. With scale armor the small metal plates are attached with metal rings while a brigandine jack has the plates rivetted onto the garment, and then another layer of cloth placed over top.

Is it safe to say that a brigandine jack is the evolution of scale armor due to the advances in metal working (rivetting)?

Regards,
-Travis


Travis,

I think a little clarification may be in order here. Jacks to the best of my knowledge were a padded armor and had no plates of any kind in them. Generally they were made of layers of linen (anywhere between 18 and 30) sewn together, probably with thinner areas at the armpits and elbows to faciltate movement. The layers were then quilted usually in longitudinal rows. The tough part about proving this is that cloth armor does not have very good characteristics for surviving the ravages of time. Look at some of the period paintings that are out there and you will see what I mean. The artists give no indication of plates underneath. Sometimes "Jack chains" would be run down the outer arm for added defense. If you think that layered linen does not have very good protective properties, give some thought as to why the ancient Greeks (using a different method of construction ) used it for thier armor.

The reproduction brig that Jeff Johnson sent the picture of is a good example of the late fifteenth century. Yes the plates do overlap. During the next century the typical brig would lose the large lung plates in favor of smaller ones. Check out hte site below for detailed information on the construction of brigs.


http://www.eskimo.com/~cwn/index.html


Bill


Jeff,

How are you doing? Are you coming out to Bates this year? We've had some changes.

Bill
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