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Michael Long





Joined: 10 Apr 2018

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr, 2018 5:00 pm    Post subject: Depictions of pre-plate barding         Reply with quote

Greetings everyone, occasional lurker here.

I am looking for images of barding that predates plate armor. I have had no luck searching for information on horse armor because of how famous and ubiquitous certain specimens are. Any search term will bring up the well-known plate variants, which it seem still inspire a lot of skepticism that they were light enough to be used on the battlefield by fighting men, as opposed to highly-visible (and wealthy) commanders.

Such as: http://c7.alamy.com/comp/ENWJTN/armor-for-com...ENWJTN.jpg

Specifically, I am interested in maille and quilted defenses for the chest and body. This book was interesting, but just a start:
https://archive.org/details/recordofeuropean03lakiuoft

It is my understanding that from the 13th Century on, many armies encouraged or expected their men-at-arms to ride armored horses. At the same time, actual depictions of armored horses in battle scenes are relatively rare.

I recall various examples of full-length caprison-type maille defenses for horses, sometimes depicted in videogames:
https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/mountandblade/images/a/a4/Warhorse.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20090530142631

Does this amount of mail also inspire skepticism in modern researchers? It certainly appears restricting and massively expensive, especially in the 1200s.

Surely a more modest armor design, such as a maille 'peytral', would provide better 'bang for your buck.' Specifically I can imagine how a relatively small amount of frontal armor would enable a determined knight to crash into a line of infantry with the confidence that the horse would not impale itself on a dagger. Because without that armor, it seems that even a formation of armed manikins would prove highly lethal to a charging destrier. One lance thrust by the rider can't prevent the horse from collision with a sharp weapon.

Does anyone have any insight to share, or just examples of maille and textile horse armor with modest (or not) coverage of the head and body?
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Dan Howard




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

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,123

PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2018 6:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Horses wore armour continuously for a period of over three thousand years starting around the 15th C BC. You need to narrow down your time period and region before you can get a sensible answer.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Michael Long





Joined: 10 Apr 2018

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2018 6:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Horses wore armour continuously for a period of over three thousand years starting around the 15th C BC. You need to narrow down your time period and region before you can get a sensible answer.

My post referrs to the medieval period pretty clearly, but 1250-1400 if you want numbers. Anything that immediately precedes plate barding in the 15th Century. Or alternately, horse armor that corresponds with what is referred to as transitional armor.

It is my impression that there is a relative scarcity of both artifacts and visual depictions when it comes to this topic, so I don't want to be overly specific.
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Peter Spätling




Location: Germany
Joined: 07 Nov 2015

Posts: 117

PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2018 10:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It was used, also on the battlefield. Same goes for plate horse armour, that was also used. I'm not an expert when it comes to the 13th and 14th century. In the 15th century however we see leather armour for horses first, until around 1470-1480 the first plate armours show up. The one from Friedrich III. being an exception that is an earlier piece. In most manuscripts you see leather armour that has been painted or covered with fabric. Arne Koets knows sources from 16th century Netherlands that talk about breaking pike blocks with heavy cavalry, where the first line uses armoured horses.
Aside from that, manuscript miniatures delivers quite a bit of pictures.
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Michael Long





Joined: 10 Apr 2018

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2018 11:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Spätling wrote:
In the 15th century however we see leather armour for horses first, until around 1470-1480 the first plate armours show up.

Leather armor first, eh? But we already have several centuries of references to horses in "fero", suggesting at least maille barding. Right?

And it's interesting that we hear of cuir boulli shaffrons, well after maille barding was supposedly common. Why not metal for such a relatively small and simple piece of armor?


Is that a plate peytral I spy on the third row of images at left? It's dated mid-14th Century. I'm also intrigued by the horse that's wearing maille on the flanks (forget the term for that piece) but nothing on the chest or head.
http://manuscriptminiatures.com/media/manuscr...l/1-57.jpg
http://manuscriptminiatures.com/media/manuscr...1094-3.jpg


http://manuscriptminiatures.com/media/manuscr.../831-1.jpg
And finally! An image of mail underneath a caparison!

I am not at all well-acquainted with online sources for medieval subjects, so I greatly appreciate the link.
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