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M D McCullough





Joined: 23 Jan 2007
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Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sat 27 Jan, 2007 10:26 pm    Post subject: Man-at-Arms series by Osprey Publishing         Reply with quote

Just checking to see if anyone here has had access with the Man-at-Arms series of books by Osprey Publishing.

I've been attending the Texas Renaissance Festival for quite some time now, and every year I go, the more depressed I get with the garb people wear there (not to mention the general way TRF is headed). So, to remedy that, I would like to put together something for myself that would be historically accurate. TRF is set in the 1520s, and I like messers a lot, so I was thinking about getting the Armies of the German Peasants' War 1524-26:

http://www.amazon.com/Armies-German-Peasants-...mp;s=books

I'd like to know what some of y'all think of the Man-at-Arms series before I bought the book.

Thanks.

Happy
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Bob Burns




Location: South Indianapolis IN
Joined: 09 Sep 2005
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Reading list: 112 books

Posts: 1,019

PostPosted: Sat 27 Jan, 2007 11:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While I have some booklets and books from Osprey and they are excellent, I am not at all familiar with the
"Men at Arms Series".
However, you did mention a fancy for the German Messer swords, of which I too have a particular affection for Exclamation

I liked your post in what you had to say about the renaissance fair in your area and the lack of reality to the time period of the attire of most of the patrons. From what I gather this is quite common place, it is certainly the situation at the renaissance fair in my area which is on the WI / IL border which is set in 1576 Bristol, England. Although there are quite a few patrons who do dress in period attire.

But getting back to the subject matter of German Messer Swords, there is a particular dandy of a Kriegsmesser that will be on the market from Albion Swords, sometime in the future. Perhaps you are familiar with it? If not, here is a direct link to the information of this most splendid messer one could imagine Exclamation
You mentioned that you wanted to attire yourself in a fashion so as to really make a statement at this fair that you attend regularly, well this sword will most certainly be the shining star of your period kit Exclamation

http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/albion/ne...knecht.htm

Personally, I would LOVE to add this sword to my single blade facet of my collection which so far consists of the
Albion Berserkr and the Albion Vassal, this Albion Knecht would really set things on fire Exclamation

Happy Collecting!

Bob
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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
Reading list: 42 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 5,686

PostPosted: Sun 28 Jan, 2007 12:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My wife and I attended TRF last year with friends and may do so again this year, time permitting. Like most Ren. Faires, TRF is based in the elizabethan era, but extremely loosely so. In that sense I wouldn't worry about adhering to that era if you have another more favored one, since even those claiming to represent mid-16th century were hardly that. I've attended many, many faires over the years and I've never seen one that was even close to any kind of serious accuracy.

The Osprey books were originally intended as an aid for war-gamers and modelers. As such the historical value in the text is limited, as it's often just "the high points" on the particular subject. The artwork is almost always suspect. Some of the artists they've used have been very talented but also very free with historical interpretation. Osprey books may be a good basic aid but I wouldn't use them as a stand-alone resource. If your desire is to be accurate you should substantiate anything you see in an Osprey book with some other source.
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Hisham Gaballa





Joined: 27 Jan 2005
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 508

PostPosted: Sun 28 Jan, 2007 3:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have a great affection for Osprey's Men-at-arms series, but I would agree that some of the reconstructions need to be taken with a pinch of salt, sometimes the authors' enthusiam overtakes the available evidence. David Nicolle in particular has a thing about dressing everyone in lamellar armour...
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Bob Burns




Location: South Indianapolis IN
Joined: 09 Sep 2005
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Reading list: 112 books

Posts: 1,019

PostPosted: Sun 28 Jan, 2007 7:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What Patrick Kelly said is exactly correct, these booklets started out intended for the war gamers and modelers, now that Patrick mentioned this, I remember Ryan the owner of Kult of Athena telling me exactly the same thing, as he stocks a lot of Osprey Booklets.
As for medieval history books, I have several from Cambridge, Yale, and other university Publishers that I bought from a specific Borders near me in Oakbrook, IL. Which to my great fortune happens to be the 2nd largest history section selection of the chain in this state. My first discovery of this store was a year ago, I walked into this store's history section and my eyes "bugged out" Exclamation That was when I learned the status of this store from the manager. Laughing Out Loud
Chivalry Bookshelf has been a great help to me also! But a fantastic place to check is the bookstore section of this website!
What about a library specializing in History and Genealogy Research, if large enough, these also cater to authors and various fields of professional research. Such as here in Chicago there is the Newberry Library, perhaps if you have such a library large enough near you, they will have reference books on time periods and the related culture and clothing associated with it Question Or perhaps a local college or university library Question

I was just thinking of one of our forum colleagues who has access to the library of Notre Dame University, was at his house once and Wow did he have some amazing books that were extremely specific with armor and time periods Exclamation
So why not clothing Question

Hope this helps!

Bob
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 2,098

PostPosted: Sun 28 Jan, 2007 7:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just to add my two cents on Osprey books. I own about 2 dozen of them and think they are great. If more reenactors or others involved with such pursuits read them the ren faires and other events would be a few steps closer. So much of what goes around these groups is camp myths that never die and are retold to ever newbie.

It is also worth pointing out they have some very, very good and informed writers. Chris Gravett, A former senior curator at the BM, has written a good number of them as have other top scholars related to military history. Anne Curry, one of the top hundred years wars experts wrote on as well. Just because the book is not a large academic volume the author is still the same. Still worth the read.

They do tend to be general and some writers do tend to have their own themes they love and push, but to be fair in their academic works it is often the same. As with any book do some background on it. The book on the hussites was very good, not perfect but it draws into the light many of the misunderstandings and misconcenptions about them. For a short read on them it was a good bang for teh buck.

One other down side if that some of the writers base most of their work on secondary sources. Not bad as it is good to know what others have done, and needed I might add, but the need to esablish many of the points on any theme is primary sources and judging each source as well. Sadly sometimes it does not happen.

One Osprey book out is the Hundreds Years War by Anne Curry. A very good historian and a book that anyone interested should read. My favorite era and the book is a quick read worth the 15-20 dollars it cost.

RPM
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Steve Grisetti




Location: Orlando metro area, Florida, USA
Joined: 01 Mar 2004
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Reading list: 28 books

Posts: 1,809

PostPosted: Sun 28 Jan, 2007 9:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As noted in several of the prior posts, the Osprey books should not to be treated as absolute authorities. However, I do find the Osprey books to be very valuable as "bite-size history" - they give a relatively concise review of a particular subject. I have probably a dozen of them.
"...dismount thy tuck, be yare in thy preparation, for thy assailant is quick, skilful, and deadly."
- Sir Toby Belch
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Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 3,459

PostPosted: Sun 28 Jan, 2007 9:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'll just say that I own several, and I enjoy reading them. Definitly not something to be considered a primary source, but they do have uses. I like to read them as overview material from which I can decide whether or not I'm really interested enough in a given period or topic to give it serious consideration and study. I just don't quote them as a general thing.
"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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M D McCullough





Joined: 23 Jan 2007
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Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sun 28 Jan, 2007 1:38 pm    Post subject: Thanks for the replies!         Reply with quote

It seemed to me the Osprey books would be picture heavy, which is what I am after.

The Knecht from Albion looks great! I've also looked at pieces from A&A, but I've never seen a messer from them. I've also been drooling over this piece from another thread:

http://www.olofsgillet.org/marsch/images/_MG_1659.jpg

http://www.olofsgillet.org/marsch/images/_MG_1644.jpg

http://www.olofsgillet.org/marsch/images/_MG_1733.jpg

Keep the replies coming, and I will do more research.
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Richard Fay




Location: Upstate New York
Joined: 29 Sep 2006
Reading list: 256 books

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Posts: 782

PostPosted: Sun 28 Jan, 2007 1:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!

M. D. ,

I own a huge collection of Osprey Men-at-Arms, Campaign Series, Warrior, and Elite for the medieval period. Many people will tell you be careful with Osprey, but they have some very good books mixed in with the mediocre and down right bad volumes. The colour reconstructions can be dubious at times, but they can be a useful resource when used in conjunction with other sources. In other words, compare the colour plates to period art instead of relying solely on the colour plates.

The information in Osprey books can be brief, but it's brief by design. They aren't meant to be in-depth studies of the subjects they cover. Some have more costume and arms and armour information than others. The warrior series are more in-depth than the men-at-arms, and have some interesting colour plates of equipment and uniforms. Again, some are better than others.

Where I think Osprey really shines is in the cheap and easy access to photos of period art and surviving historical pieces. Some rely heavily on line drawings, but many others have black and white photos of period art and surviving examples of arms and armour. While they might not have as extensive a collection of photos as some much more expensive books, they have a good selection in certain volumes. I have encountered several examples of period art (knightly effigies and the like) that never appear anywhere else, sometimes showing things outside the "norm".

My suggestion would be to view the books before purchasing. See if the information in the book is what you are looking for. If that particular volume is rich in photos of period examples, go for it.

I wish I could comment on the particular volume you are interested in, but I don't happen to have that one. If it has photos of period artwork, it could definitely be worth it.

I hope this helped!

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar
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Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 3,459

PostPosted: Sun 28 Jan, 2007 2:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Thanks for the replies!         Reply with quote

M D McCullough wrote:
It seemed to me the Osprey books would be picture heavy, which is what I am after.

The Knecht from Albion looks great! I've also looked at pieces from A&A, but I've never seen a messer from them. I've also been drooling over this piece from another thread:

http://www.olofsgillet.org/marsch/images/_MG_1659.jpg

http://www.olofsgillet.org/marsch/images/_MG_1644.jpg

http://www.olofsgillet.org/marsch/images/_MG_1733.jpg

Keep the replies coming, and I will do more research.


With A&A there is no messer in the production line I'm aware of. That said, in my experience with them, in general all you have to do is ask.

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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