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Henry O.





Joined: 18 Jun 2016

Posts: 158

PostPosted: Wed 22 Nov, 2017 5:49 pm    Post subject: Definition of a "Jack" in the 16th century         Reply with quote

In the 16th century if a writer mentions that soldiers were wearing "jacks" without any additional qualifiers, would that mean that they are referring exclusively to fabric armor, or did it become a general term for a wide variety of flexible armors, including mail and brigandine?
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Tyler Jordan





Joined: 15 Mar 2004

Posts: 93

PostPosted: Wed 22 Nov, 2017 6:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In general I've come to understand jack as referring to a flexible armor with a front closure, so depending on the time period in question it could be a variety of textile or flexible armor in various combinations.
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Mark Moore




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PostPosted: Thu 23 Nov, 2017 6:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's always been my understanding. A 'jack' could be any number of things----a coat-of-plates, a gamboised shirt of mail, or even just a plain gambeson. The term's definition just depends on when and where you are. I may be all wrong about that, but I'll stick to it until someone proves different. Razz .......McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Joined: 14 Mar 2015

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PostPosted: Thu 23 Nov, 2017 2:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Moore wrote:
That's always been my understanding. A 'jack' could be any number of things----a coat-of-plates, a gamboised shirt of mail, or even just a plain gambeson. The term's definition just depends on when and where you are. I may be all wrong about that, but I'll stick to it until someone proves different. Razz .......McM


In which occasions you actually saw coat-of-plates and gamboised shirts of mail (or jazerant, if you will) being simply called "jack"?

----
Regarding the original question, the mention you're having in mind situates in early 16th century, mid or late century? Except in England, Portugal, Spain and some other regions, the gamberson went to a somewhat downfall as we walk into the 16th century, specially in Germany. In 16th century England, a combination of mail or iron scales sandwiched between two layers of paddings were quite popular among archers and billmen. They called it "jack-of-plates", but perhaps there might other terms as well.

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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

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PostPosted: Thu 23 Nov, 2017 2:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It is impossible to say that the gambeson declined because it isn't possible to clearly define what it was. Some texts use the term to describe underpadding for armour while others use the term to denote a standalone armour while others use it to denote part of a multi-layered defence.

We can say that the actual word declines in use but that just means that they started using different terms (such as "jack") to describe the above garments, not that the garments themselves stopped being used.

Regarding the original question, we run into the same problem. The term "jack" was used to denote all of the above garments. We can use a more specific definition today (such as "a flexible armor with a front closure") but that doesn't help us interpret contemporary texts.

Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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