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Jonathan Hodge




Location: East Tennessee
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PostPosted: Thu 21 Dec, 2017 1:11 pm    Post subject: 14th Century Archer’s Gambeson         Reply with quote

Most of what I can see in period art seems to show archers in the last quarter of the 14th century wearing long sleeved gambesons. However there are some examples of short sleeve and sleeveless gambesons being worn in this time period as well. Do we have any documents or sources which point toward vented armpit or stitched shoulder gambesons during this period?
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Anton de Vries





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PostPosted: Sat 30 Dec, 2017 8:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was told that vented armpits are a "re-enactism".
However, i recently encountered this picture and there they are:



 Attachment: 34.34 KB
gambeson-medieval-armor.jpg

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Jonathan Hodge




Location: East Tennessee
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PostPosted: Sat 30 Dec, 2017 10:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, well, well. How interesting! Care to share the dates on this piece?
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
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PostPosted: Sun 31 Dec, 2017 12:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Also, note the chainmail UNDER the gambeson. And the 'jack chains' on the arms and the 'skull cap' helm. Wink Those details might go a long way on a reconstruction of a period kit, which I'm thinking is Late 15th-Early 16th c. I could be a bit off on that though. Happy If I'm wrong, someone please correct me. Worried .....McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Mart Shearer




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

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PostPosted: Sun 31 Dec, 2017 8:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Hodge wrote:
Well, well, well. How interesting! Care to share the dates on this piece?


It's from Hans Memling's 1489 St. Ursula Shrine.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Ursula_Shrine

These are not gambesons, but jacks. Instead of layers of fabric surrounding loose fill, they are a semi-rigid construction composed of numerous layers of fabric (sometimes with a layer of deerskin as a covering). Two Burgundian ordinances specifically call for the lighter jacks made of 10 or 12 layers of fabric to be worn over mail.

La jaque qui couvre le paletot de haubergerie sera de 10 toiles (au lieu de 12), ils joindront à leur armure, demi avant-bras à petites gardes et manches d’acier pendant jusqu’au coude, assez larges pour ne point les gêner lorsqu’ils tireront.

L’archer sera monté sur un cheval de 10 écus au moins, habillé d’une jaque à haut collet tenant lieu de gorgerin, avec bonnes manches; il portera une cotte de mailles ou paletot de haubergerie dessous cette jaque qui sera de 12 toiles au moins dont 3 de toile cirée et 9 de toile commune. Il aura pour garantir sa tête une bonne salade sans visière; il sera armé en outre d’un arc solide, d’une trousse pouvant contenir 2 douzaines et demie de flèches, d’une longue épée à deux mains, d’une dague tranchant des deux côtés et longue d’un pied et demi

The hole in the armpit is necessary because of the rigid nature of this defense.

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui


Last edited by Mart Shearer on Sun 31 Dec, 2017 8:41 am; edited 1 time in total
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Jonathan Hodge




Location: East Tennessee
Joined: 18 Sep 2015

Posts: 110

PostPosted: Sun 31 Dec, 2017 8:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Moore wrote:
Also, note the chainmail UNDER the gambeson. And the 'jack chains' on the arms and the 'skull cap' helm. Wink Those details might go a long way on a reconstruction of a period kit, which I'm thinking is Late 15th-Early 16th c. I could be a bit off on that though. Happy If I'm wrong, someone please correct me. Worried .....McM


You’re right! 1489.
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Jonathan Hodge




Location: East Tennessee
Joined: 18 Sep 2015

Posts: 110

PostPosted: Sun 31 Dec, 2017 8:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mart is becoming a personal hero of mine lol. It makes total sense that this would be a jack - especially since it is accompanied by jack chains.

So what do we know about multi color gambesons being a thing in period? On some modern sites I see quartered gambesons being sold that look very nice, but in manuscripts I’m only seeing solid color, or some two-toned examples - and really only in France. I’ve also found an example of a quilted gambeson much earlier than I thought they came about. Can’t currently upload the files from phone as they’re too large. Will hopefully be able to edit and upload later.
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