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Cyrus S.




Location: Australia
Joined: 27 Jul 2017

Posts: 12

PostPosted: Fri 28 Jul, 2017 1:11 am    Post subject: Reconstructing a 13th c. Flat-Topped Coif w/ Square Bib         Reply with quote

G'day from Victoria, Australia!

I've been using myArmoury as a research tool for many years. It's a fantastic resource and the information is invaluable Happy As my understanding of primary sources expanded, I moved away from 1180-1200 towards 1250-1280, to accommodate more heraldic embellishments (ailettes, torse/mantles, etc).

My mail is flat, riveted and galvanized. I'll need to double check the diameter. It came from an Indian seller called AllBestStuff. I've had it for almost 5 years and it has held up well to punishment, although I want to refine it and tailor it. My first job on the coif is to create a flat top, followed by squaring off the bib.

There are several primary examples of flat-topped coifs, mainly effigies. A sculpture from Wells Cathedral depicts what looks like a flat-topped coif. There are six entries for flat-topped coifs on Effigies & Brasses, although others exist. I have found no illuminated depictions so far.


Effigy of William Longespée c.1226 - © Copyright Philip Halling

My inspiration came from the movie Ivanhoe (1953), starring Robert Taylor. He is depicted with a flat-topped coif, presumably wearing a pot shaped cervelliere underneath.


Ivanhoe before his duel with Sir Brian Bois-Gilbert.

I have found French discussion forums where they suggest the flat-topped coif was achieved using a 'tortilla' (a gamboised torse, as used for helm ornamentation) or a mortar (a cervelliere). I decided to use the lid of a frying pan to construct a 'test' cervelliere.


Test Cervelliere, with and without coif.

I know it looks as though it's sitting high on my head, but my head is actually touching the top of it. I do have a big forehead Razz It was slightly too wide to fit my great helm over, so the real cervelliere will have a lesser circumference. Depending on the materials I have at hand, it will be either stainless steel, aluminum, or brass. Since it's purely aesthetic, I'm not fussed. As you can see, the face opening and bib need tailoring.

Progress photos to come! Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome!


Last edited by Cyrus S. on Fri 28 Jul, 2017 8:19 am; edited 1 time in total
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
Joined: 01 Oct 2003
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 2,256

PostPosted: Fri 28 Jul, 2017 5:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think with a bit of refinement, that will look spot-on, mate! A frying pan lid.... Laughing Out Loud ....You're my kinda fellow! Laughing Out Loud .....McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

Posts: 1,276

PostPosted: Fri 28 Jul, 2017 7:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm afraid you're making an unhistorical pairing. All of the sources for the flat topped mail coifs that I have ever found are English. The squared bib mail coifs seem most popular in Germany, Central Europe, and Scandinavia, though you sometimes find them in French sources. I've never seen a square-bib mail coif in an English source, nor a flat-topped one outside of England.

P.S. You might also note that the flat-topped coif is not only restricted to England, but also pretty much to the second quarter of the century. Sorry to bear so much bad news, but it's better to get it now than after the project is completed.


http://effigiesandbrasses.com/search/?tags=%22flat-top%20coif%22
http://manuscriptminiatures.com/search/?tags=%22square%20coif%22

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Cyrus S.




Location: Australia
Joined: 27 Jul 2017

Posts: 12

PostPosted: Fri 28 Jul, 2017 7:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

@Mark Cheers mate, bit of a McGyver yourself eh? Cool Nothing like scratching around and improvising what you need.

@Mart Thanks Mart, yes you are correct that regional differences exist. But when interpreting the dress of the past, what we call a primary source should be called a secondary source. The Maciejowski Bible, for example, carries itself with extreme consistency in even minute details. Therefore, we can rely on it to be an accurate, general depiction of that time and place.

However, a 'general depiction' of the arms and armour of a timeframe and region, doesn't take into account subtleties, that would exist. It is entirely possible that a knight, German, French or English, could have been exposed to both ideas within the time period I've specified. Flat coifs and square bibs. Depictions are static whereas the people they feature are not.

So yes you are correct that according to our sources, English knights have not appeared with square bibs (or Germans with flat coifs). But I like both flat coifs and square bibs. Maybe if the knight also had a katana, that would be a bit iffy. But hey, maybe he traveled the silk road and brought back a trinket? Wink
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

Posts: 1,276

PostPosted: Fri 28 Jul, 2017 7:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's a dangerous train of thought to leave the station, and you can already see where it leads with your reductio ad absurdum, already leading you to katanas, etc.. There's always the possibility, but there's simply no evidence. It's possible a square bib was tucked beneath the surcoat, for example. Still, you also have the problem of being 25-50 years outdated if you want the ailettes.

Within the time frame of these square-topped English coifs, you can still have an heraldic surcoat and a painted helm, at least.



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ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Cyrus S.




Location: Australia
Joined: 27 Jul 2017

Posts: 12

PostPosted: Fri 28 Jul, 2017 7:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mart Shearer wrote:
That's a dangerous train of thought to leave the station, and you can already see where it leads with your reductio ad absurdum, already leading you to katanas, etc.


It was a joke, mate. You took it far too literally.

I'm rather shocked at your passive aggression towards a new forum member wanting to be slightly imaginative, rather unkind. I do not care, I will design my kit as I would like. Mark C. Moore may have thought the same as you, but instead he was supportive of someone tackling a project.
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

Posts: 1,276

PostPosted: Fri 28 Jul, 2017 8:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was simply trying to guide you towards a more historically accurate kit, friend. If that's not your goal, you're free to make anything you want. I realize you were not that serious about the katana, and the emoticon certainly made it clear. I'm viewing the goal as making the kit as historically accurate as possible, hence my comment about that being a train of thought which always brings problems.

I hope you continue to find inspiration on the forum.

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Cyrus S.




Location: Australia
Joined: 27 Jul 2017

Posts: 12

PostPosted: Fri 28 Jul, 2017 8:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree that if you were trying to assemble a kit to educationally represent a c.1250 French knight to an audience, with an understanding that it is a facsimile of a knight from said manuscript from said time, then absolutely. Follow the Maciejowski Bible to a tee, copy every detail.

But to say that a French knight in 1250 never, ever wore green socks, until 1260 when he and every single other person in France changed to blue (again, do not take this literally), is simply pointless and diminishes the scope of our understanding of the way people intermingled and shared ideas, and how long it in fact took for ideas to catch on, on a wide scale. The sort of scale where it would begin to appear in manuscripts from a certain time period consistently .

It might have been rare. Perhaps not a single knight sported a flat coif and square bib. But it is possible, and a very, very tame leap to make. As long as the reenactor understands what source material does exist, then that's all that matters.

But I would advise in future that you are more careful about the way in which you guide people, as you aren't aware of their circumstances or their temperament. Some people might never want to come back, and that would be a shame.
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
Joined: 01 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: Fri 28 Jul, 2017 10:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the nice words above, Cyrus. And, no, I try not to think along any particular lines of anyone else--unless it's something I strongly agree with. A lot of folks here are heavy into historical accuracy 100%, and there's nothing wrong with that if it's what floats your boat. Happy I, however, am not one of them. My armor is a hodge-podge of cobbled together pieces that I only use for Ren-Fests and Halloween. I like it, my wife likes it, and I get lots of compliments on it. Am I satisfied with that? Yup!... Wink ....McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Zach Gordon




Location: Vermont. USA
Joined: 07 Oct 2008

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Posts: 218

PostPosted: Fri 28 Jul, 2017 10:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Cyrus,

Take this as you will, but Mart Shearer is a well respected forum member, who was not speaking out of place as far as I can tell.

You yourself suggested you are somewhat new to the hobby, and I think that Shearer's point stands. If, as per your example, we do not have a single example of French knights wearing green socks before 1260... Then it follows to not replicate a 1225 knight as wearing green socks. In this hypothetical scenario, perhaps we do not know the reason why these knights did not wear green socks.

It makes more sense to follow what we DO see than it does to make up what MIGHT have been. Your reasons for thinking something might have been, might be very different from the reason a medieval person did not do such a thing!

If you want a fantasy kit, inspired by history and medieval films from the 1950s... Say so! No one will argue your choice.
If you want a historically accurate kit, representative of a specific time period... Be open to criticism and help! That's what we are all trying to do! I didn't, for example, know the square coif thing... and am happy to have learned about it!

Z
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Cyrus S.




Location: Australia
Joined: 27 Jul 2017

Posts: 12

PostPosted: Fri 28 Jul, 2017 7:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

@Mark C. Moore - Haha it sounds like good fun to me! Would love to see a photo of your garb. When I started off seven years or so, I had nothing but a knitted grey shirt (like what they wear in Monty Python as armour). But I got into combat reenactment and upgraded, piece by piece. It's a good thing, too, because those kids at Ren-Fairs ALWAYS want to show you what they're made of. And since they're usually so low to the ground, if I didn't have my chausses, I might actually be defeated! Laughing Out Loud Laughing Out Loud

@Zach Gorden - Hi Zach. I'm not particularly new, I've been researching for five years (when I got my hauberk, and had to tackle the sleeves). I would point out that, criticism is not the same as a greeting followed by academic discussion of the available sources. Criticism itself is redundant and rude.

That being said, I have absolutely no objections to people's insights. I even asked for them. I replied respectfully and appreciatively to his initial post, concurred what available evidence we had, and decided to continue on. No pressure, easy days. That should have been enough. My objection was to rudeness, not education, which as I pointed out, may chase people away. There is no need to quote the names of logical fallacies in order to attack people over semantics.

If I thought I had to put "There Are No Historical References To Support This Project" in big, bold letters at the top. Or that this unnecessary conversation would continue for 8 posts, I might not have joined myself. Now before this needless discussion escalates into more silliness, I suggest we move on.
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