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John H





Joined: 08 May 2006

Posts: 60

PostPosted: Wed 08 Nov, 2006 12:35 pm    Post subject: Late 15th Century kit - with a twist         Reply with quote

Hypothetical situation: You are scheduled to travel back into time (mid to late 15th century) and may end up at some point in combat. What would you want to take with you?

Here are the restrictions: Nothing obviously modern (firearms, etc.), however, you can take the best modern reproduction arms and armor you can get your hands on--and here is good part--you can have things modified by modern technology, as long as it is not immediatly obvious to the casual observer. So, special metal alloys, methods of construction, etc.

What would you kit look like and would it simply be the best available reproductions, or does modern technology have some key advantages over historical items? And if you had access to the very best actual historical antiques, would you opt to take them instead?
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Bryce Felperin




Location: San Jose, CA
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PostPosted: Wed 08 Nov, 2006 2:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

First of all what is the reason for going back in time to that period? Tourism? Adventure? Scientific study? The equipment I take would be deteremined by the reason I'm there.

Next you say we're going into combat? Why? Most of the battles fought there or sieges were pretty dangerous with lots of indiscriminate threats. If in battle I'd want be a on a horse so I could get away if my side was routed! If in a siege I'd want to be the town's biggest baker so I can clean up selling bread during the siege. ;-) Otherwise I'd prefer not to be ANYWHERE near a town or city under siege lest I catch all the diseases they had during sieges back then.

That all being said I'd choose to be dressed as a monk with a good solid walking staff. That way I can move around freely, not get into any problems with bandits or soldiers in the period (no loot on me to get) and be well respected by the commoners and nobles alike. Also without money or trade goods in the time period I could be assured of free handouts and food from others to support me. If I mock a vow of silence I can also get by much better because I will gurantee you that I won't speak the local dialects or languages worth a damn without previous training.

I might have a simple and cheap belt knife for utility use, but that and the walking staff (which would be balanced well as a quarterstaff) would be all the weapons I'd need. If you go in with weapons and armor you'd need to explain yourself and what you are doing there. You'd need to speak the language well to be understood and have a good story to explain yourself and what you're doing there.

Also if you're armed, and not part of a foraging group or army, they you'd be automatically suspect by just about everyone and you will need your weapons to fight! ;-)

In summary, I'd be a devout, silent and uninteresting travelling monk who keeps to himself but takes charity as it is offered. That way no one will want to kill me, rob me or molest me in my travels.
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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Wed 08 Nov, 2006 3:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bryce Felperin wrote:

In summary, I'd be a devout, silent and uninteresting travelling monk who keeps to himself but takes charity as it is offered. That way no one will want to kill me, rob me or molest me in my travels.


That's a bit of an unexpected answer given the general theme of the forum, but I agree it's an excellent choice...
Your post had me laughing from the unexpected yet beautiful, logic answer you gave to this fantasy question, so thanks Happy

And chances are that a reproduction of a walking staff can be quite accurate for a minimal cost, so you might well beat everyone for cost efficiency too Wink

--
Vincent
Ensis Sub Caelo
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 08 Nov, 2006 8:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bryce Felperin wrote:
In summary, I'd be a devout, silent and uninteresting travelling monk who keeps to himself but takes charity as it is offered. That way no one will want to kill me, rob me or molest me in my travels.


Extremely good answer if one wants to " play " this as very very real, and unless one has one of those Startrek Universal translators or one avoids the " intelligent ' questions one shouldn't ask of the typical escapist movie or novel, it's all the little things one doesn't know about the period that might kill you.

Assuming one could remotely observe the past and gather a lot of information to be well prepared, then maybe an expedition to the past ( Or similar alternate universe past ? Avoiding all those annoying time travel paradoxes ) would be an interesting and not more dangerous than one would want i.e. survivable with an escape plan !
Back to the Future " fast " if things go south.

It's also important to have some clear idea why one would want to go and have a precise objective.

One possible objective might be to go to the past and observe period swordsmanship and maybe test one's skill against some real masters or just competent swordsmen since the masters would certainly be too steep a learning curve !

If we get back to the original intent of the question it might be limited to what kit one would like to put together and not worry too much about all those embarrassing questions that would certainly come up if it could be done for real or had to be planned out as if real.

Kit could be for full blown battle or might be what a noble would wear travelling armed or the limited weapons one could carry in most cities in period without breaking some laws or just attract unwanted attention.

Walking around fully armed in armour could be seen like window shopping today with an A.K. 47 slung over a shoulder in New York city. ( How long would that last, even with peaceful intentions, before SWAT teams showed up or in period the Town guard or a general Hue and Cry. )

Short answer might be I would want the best heat treated armour made for strength to weight ratios supplemented by maille. A good Albion or A & A sword and maybe a pollaxe and miscellaneous other weapons as well as daggers of various sizes in my baggage. A small group would be better than travelling alone and some gold as well as a cover story.

Oh, and most importantly I would want the most is actual weapons skills that I don't realistically have. Razz Laughing Out Loud

But the silent Monk idea is probably the best idea if one's goal is mostly to learn and observe at the least risk of getting into useless violence.

The knight / warrior route is for danger adrenaline junkies and that's O.K. if one is the type who engages in extreme sports and assumes the high risk of not coming back alive.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Ryan A. C.





Joined: 22 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Thu 09 Nov, 2006 3:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The little things that could get you killed. Reading that I immediately thought of Chaucer and the enjoyment I get from trying to stumble through Middle English. There are a lot of words that obviously mean something, or they wouldnít have been written down, but their meaning is completely lost. Then there are a few phrases that seem at first familiar to me, that when I really look at the words, appear to mean something else entirely.

So...If I were scheduled to be sent back to the big fifteenth, I would want a linguist that could communicate, preferable fluent; in the archaic form of the language I speak. Does such a person exist? I donít have a clue. This is, of course, assuming I get to at least be sent back to a country where I may understand some of what is being said. I get that right?

Okay, letís say I now have my translator guy/gal, and I can talk with the dead locals walking around busy with their lives. I want to be dressed the part. I wouldnít wear obvious armour, possibly a maille vest under my doublet, as I donít want to draw attention to myself. Iím sure Iíll do that anyway by gawking at everything and every person I see. (My linguist can tell everyone Iím simple provided they are better composed than I.)

So I will have my shirt, braies, hose, doublet (appropriate collar, neckline and overall cut), gown to go on top of that, a hat, turnshoes, belt, kidney pouch, a utility knife or ballocks dagger (of a non-threatening size), then some sort of rucksack made of linen for food, utensils, flint and steel, etc. I guess I need a canteen too. Öand my linguist, of course. Big Grin

You mentioned no firearms. I will take that to mean anything period is okay. I would prefer to take a small-bore hand gonne, as the stick like configuration would be easier to hide than a crossbow. I wouldnít even try to carry around a bow. I could keep a few balls and some slowmatch in my kidney pouch or somewhere else on my person. I would much rather kill someone mad at me a good distance away from any sort of nasty thing they may be wielding. Iíd like to think Iím a decent scrapper, but Iíd rather not.

Europe in the middle ages is generally considered to be a deal less civil than it is now, but who ever said the everyday man is some deranged lunatic out for blood? I donít think I should go "armed for battle" when a good part of medieval life was planting, harvesting, trading, and managing estates. If everyone wanted to kill everyone else all the time. We wouldn't have the EU today. Cool

So I'm going as a tourist and and a non-combatant. Maybe a thief too, since you won't let me take a camera. Razz
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Jonathan Blair




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PostPosted: Thu 09 Nov, 2006 4:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

First off, something to keep in mind is not only when, but where. Some places frowned on the peasantry or even gentry coming into town armed. Also, climate is an important factor to plan for. Some areas had less access to certain fabrics (cotton was rare in northern Europe as compared to southern Europe). Heavy research into what what is going on where and when would be vital.
So, if I were to slip back in time, I'd be heading for the late 14th or early 15th century England rather than the late 15th century. Then, I'd be looking at blending in with the locals, like many others have stated, not wearing armor or even clothes made from fabrics from our time.
Linen shirt, braies, and coif.
Wool hosen in a nice drab color like tan or brown, and a green or blue grand assiette cut doublet.
Good, plain, ankle-high turnshoes of vegetable tanned leather with wood pattens.
Belt with not much LMS and a simple pouch, both of veggie tanned.
Woolen hood with liripipe and a side-opening cloke.
Use knife and basilard.
Sword of the type XIV persuasion with no bells or whistles.
Buckler.
Yew longbow and a sheaf of arrows.
Various coinage of the realm for that particular timeframe (enough to last the time I was planning to spend there and no more).
Also, a haircut in the style of the period.

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." - The Lord Jesus Christ, from The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, chapter x, verse 34, Authorized Version of 1611
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James Barker




Location: Ashburn VA
Joined: 20 Apr 2005

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PostPosted: Thu 09 Nov, 2006 7:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Doublet of fence. There are several references from the 2nd half of the 15th century to the doublet of fence, a thick padded doublet made much like a jack but looks like a normal doublet. John Paston was attacked in court by a man wielding a knife and his doublet of fence turned the blade and saved his life.

Lots and lots of repo coins. I would buys some real arms and armor before returning Big Grin
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John Cooksey




Location: NW Ark
Joined: 15 Nov 2003

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PostPosted: Thu 09 Nov, 2006 8:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I dunno . . . at the opposite end of the spectrum from the silent monk idea (which is a good one), one could go as an exotic. An outrageously flamboyant foreigner, from a far-off land that lots of folks have heard of, but have no idea of the actual location and customs thereof.
A travelling scholar from the court of Prester John, or the mysterious land of Hind. Very possibly, one could travel relatively safely in much of Europe as a Moor, anywhere outside of Iberia. These folk are supposed to talk and act strangely.
A couple of good, fast horses (with remounts), maybe a cringing, comical servant or three, and a big, hideously bright-colored tent would be essential.
Or maybe a travelling fireworks entertainer, from the same origins . . . .
That might be some great fun . . . . .

I didn't surrender, but they took my horse and made him surrender.
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Ryan A. C.





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PostPosted: Thu 09 Nov, 2006 10:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

John's idea sounds like a hell of a lot of fun! Laughing Out Loud
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Bryce Felperin




Location: San Jose, CA
Joined: 16 Feb 2006

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PostPosted: Thu 09 Nov, 2006 11:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vincent Le Chevalier wrote:
Bryce Felperin wrote:

In summary, I'd be a devout, silent and uninteresting travelling monk who keeps to himself but takes charity as it is offered. That way no one will want to kill me, rob me or molest me in my travels.


That's a bit of an unexpected answer given the general theme of the forum, but I agree it's an excellent choice...
Your post had me laughing from the unexpected yet beautiful, logic answer you gave to this fantasy question, so thanks Happy

And chances are that a reproduction of a walking staff can be quite accurate for a minimal cost, so you might well beat everyone for cost efficiency too Wink


Thanks, I was kind of inspired since I do role-playing games a lot, have lots of experience wearing some medieval gear at Ren Faires (Linen is the fabric of choice!) and I have a degree in history. One of my old professors put forward this same question once, but we all had different answers back then. Also anyone who saw the not so good but intriguing movie "Timeline" probably has though over this issue some while watching the movie.

Also the walking stick as a quarterstaff is not a bad idea at all. As anyone who has ever fought someone with a quarterstaff can attest, it's a nasty and very effective weapon against anyone up to and including those in light armor. It has some limitations against full armored opponents, but I would be very confident walking around with one in medieval day-to-day life.
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Bryce Felperin




Location: San Jose, CA
Joined: 16 Feb 2006

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PostPosted: Thu 09 Nov, 2006 11:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

John Cooksey wrote:
I dunno . . . at the opposite end of the spectrum from the silent monk idea (which is a good one), one could go as an exotic. An outrageously flamboyant foreigner, from a far-off land that lots of folks have heard of, but have no idea of the actual location and customs thereof.
A travelling scholar from the court of Prester John, or the mysterious land of Hind. Very possibly, one could travel relatively safely in much of Europe as a Moor, anywhere outside of Iberia. These folk are supposed to talk and act strangely.
A couple of good, fast horses (with remounts), maybe a cringing, comical servant or three, and a big, hideously bright-colored tent would be essential.
Or maybe a travelling fireworks entertainer, from the same origins . . . .
That might be some great fun . . . . .


Yes I think you hit upon the opposite approach to the problem very well. If you can't sneak in without being obviously "not from around here" then be flamboyant in your approach as a knight from "lichtenstein" or a far off part of Europe like "Slovenia" or some such place. Then the accent, misuse of grammer of the time period and strange words in your vocabulary have an explanation. Also your exotic gear is readily explained as well.

Of course explaining your exentricities to the local commoners and doing so to the local officials and nobles is two different things. Someone educated or travelled might call you out on your story if they know better.
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Bryce Felperin




Location: San Jose, CA
Joined: 16 Feb 2006

Posts: 552

PostPosted: Thu 09 Nov, 2006 11:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Blair wrote:
First off, something to keep in mind is not only when, but where. Some places frowned on the peasantry or even gentry coming into town armed. Also, climate is an important factor to plan for. Some areas had less access to certain fabrics (cotton was rare in northern Europe as compared to southern Europe). Heavy research into what what is going on where and when would be vital.
So, if I were to slip back in time, I'd be heading for the late 14th or early 15th century England rather than the late 15th century. Then, I'd be looking at blending in with the locals, like many others have stated, not wearing armor or even clothes made from fabrics from our time.
Linen shirt, braies, and coif.
Wool hosen in a nice drab color like tan or brown, and a green or blue grand assiette cut doublet.
Good, plain, ankle-high turnshoes of vegetable tanned leather with wood pattens.
Belt with not much LMS and a simple pouch, both of veggie tanned.
Woolen hood with liripipe and a side-opening cloke.
Use knife and basilard.
Sword of the type XIV persuasion with no bells or whistles.
Buckler.
Yew longbow and a sheaf of arrows.
Various coinage of the realm for that particular timeframe (enough to last the time I was planning to spend there and no more).
Also, a haircut in the style of the period.


I like how you laid out the costume and dress in everything except the sword. I'd only go with a bollock dagger or a rondel since the sword will invariably attract more undue attention than you might like. Everyone though carried knives.
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Bryce Felperin




Location: San Jose, CA
Joined: 16 Feb 2006

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PostPosted: Thu 09 Nov, 2006 11:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Blair wrote:
First off, something to keep in mind is not only when, but where. Some places frowned on the peasantry or even gentry coming into town armed. Also, climate is an important factor to plan for. Some areas had less access to certain fabrics (cotton was rare in northern Europe as compared to southern Europe). Heavy research into what what is going on where and when would be vital.
So, if I were to slip back in time, I'd be heading for the late 14th or early 15th century England rather than the late 15th century. Then, I'd be looking at blending in with the locals, like many others have stated, not wearing armor or even clothes made from fabrics from our time.
Linen shirt, braies, and coif.
Wool hosen in a nice drab color like tan or brown, and a green or blue grand assiette cut doublet.
Good, plain, ankle-high turnshoes of vegetable tanned leather with wood pattens.
Belt with not much LMS and a simple pouch, both of veggie tanned.
Woolen hood with liripipe and a side-opening cloke.
Use knife and basilard.
Sword of the type XIV persuasion with no bells or whistles.
Buckler.
Yew longbow and a sheaf of arrows.
Various coinage of the realm for that particular timeframe (enough to last the time I was planning to spend there and no more).
Also, a haircut in the style of the period.


I like how you laid out the costume and dress in everything except the sword. I'd only go with a bullock dagger or a rondel since the sword will invariably attract more undue attention than you might like. Everyone though carried knives, though not always of the highest quality.

Also there is nice saying that has some applicability to this situation from my days past when getting firearm training: "A handgun is only needed in order to get a shotgun from your enemy and shotgun is only needed in order to get a rifle." Or something to that effect. So if you need to get a sword, then learn some disarm/defense techniques for using a dagger or knife against a sword wielder and take his sword. A bit of a challenge if your opponent is competent, but not too hard if you do it right. ;-)
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Shawn Henthorn




Location: Amarillo TX
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PostPosted: Thu 09 Nov, 2006 6:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The monk and flamboyant stranger are deffinently the best options for casual scholarly exploration. I howerver am going to presume that my mission is to experience a medieval field battle, so my thought must be to arms and armour. Now this is assuming that I have the best training and a ready made cover story before hand. My body armour would be a brigandine of the velvet outside shell but the plates will be made of Chahbum(sp?) ceramic with an inside shell of Spectra composite. the plate parts would be made out of the best light-weight alloys available today (I have no idea what these are but I am sure the slue of scientists that would be backing me up would Big Grin ) For my sword I would have to go with an Albion or some such.
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Geoff Wood




Location: UK
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PostPosted: Fri 10 Nov, 2006 2:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Shawn Henthorn wrote:
The monk and flamboyant stranger are deffinently the best options for casual scholarly exploration. I howerver am going to presume that my mission is to experience a medieval field battle, so my thought must be to arms and armour. Now this is assuming that I have the best training and a ready made cover story before hand. My body armour would be a brigandine of the velvet outside shell but the plates will be made of Chahbum(sp?) ceramic with an inside shell of Spectra composite. the plate parts would be made out of the best light-weight alloys available today (I have no idea what these are but I am sure the slue of scientists that would be backing me up would Big Grin ) For my sword I would have to go with an Albion or some such.


Do you mean Chobham (like on tanks)?
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Jonathan Blair




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PostPosted: Fri 10 Nov, 2006 4:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bryce Felperin wrote:
Jonathan Blair wrote:
Use knife and basilard.
Sword of the type XIV persuasion with no bells or whistles.
Buckler.
Yew longbow and a sheaf of arrows.


I like how you laid out the costume and dress in everything except the sword. I'd only go with a bullock dagger or a rondel since the sword will invariably attract more undue attention than you might like. Everyone though carried knives, though not always of the highest quality.

Also there is nice saying that has some applicability to this situation from my days past when getting firearm training: "A handgun is only needed in order to get a shotgun from your enemy and shotgun is only needed in order to get a rifle." Or something to that effect. So if you need to get a sword, then learn some disarm/defense techniques for using a dagger or knife against a sword wielder and take his sword. A bit of a challenge if your opponent is competent, but not too hard if you do it right. ;-)

I would still pack the sword. Chaucer's Yeoman carried sword and buckler on the pilgrimage to Canterbury (Canterbury Tales, line 112), as did the Miller (line 560), so it wouldn't be too out of place under traveling circumstances for those of middling rank or higher, which would describe a yeoman or well to do merchant or artisan. Remember that travel wasn't too safe those days. Now for in town, I agree: the sword would attract some unwanted attention from the authorities. However, so would the rondel, which was identified as a battlefield weapon, and the bow. I'm not as sure of the ballock dagger, but I think both rondel and ballock daggers would be viewed with as much distrust as the sword and bow. Kind of like carrying a 12-inch long hunting knife or compound bow into the local Wal Mart would generate as much concern as carrying a rifle. That's why I chose the basilard, which for some places was the only self defense weapon allowed in town. Besides, I could easily store the sword and other weapons at some inn while in town, then take them up once I leave.

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." - The Lord Jesus Christ, from The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, chapter x, verse 34, Authorized Version of 1611
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Shawn Henthorn




Location: Amarillo TX
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PostPosted: Fri 10 Nov, 2006 5:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Do you mean Chobham (like on tanks)?[/quote]


That is exactly what I mean...it is also used for ballistic pannels on some bullet proof vests..Thanks for the spelling, I couldn't remember.
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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Fri 10 Nov, 2006 8:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lot of antibiotics?

Microbes of old times used to be more dangerous than weapons.

Laughing Out Loud

More seriously, I would be advantaged in that vowels before the great vowel shift were likely pronounced the continental way.

Plus, tons of words ending in e, a familiar sound for an italian speaker.

Couple of latinisms very often in common discourses of gentlemen, plus some bad latin talk with clergymen, i would have made a beautiful impression (well, after having derusted my latin).


I might make a big impression declamating fashionable italian poetry (mine, who cares, englishmen would not undertstand me but they would find me exotic and a la page)..


Fighting?

The hell, a titanium sword, a titanium mail shirt and armor ... a jacket padded with modern shock absorbing material ... the black knight.
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