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Rodolfo Martínez




Location: Argentina
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PostPosted: Mon 19 Feb, 2007 7:23 pm    Post subject: Parade and combat armour usage of the Knights of Malta         Reply with quote

Hello to all.
I was browsing the web, due to the previously spoken topic of Malta knights and their equipment, and i found something that i haven´t noticed earlier.

Are the following armours, combat or parade armours? If they are parade armours, Why Malta knights would spend their money in that parade suits instead of buying gunpowder, swords, horses, and field armours?

I´ve seen some horse´s helmet (I´m not sure of it´s name) in the Malta museum, and, despite the horse´s armour regulation, there are examples of flat (Maybe intended for combat) full suit for horses or late XVI century (Around 1560), so
Does someone know how common the employment of combat full suits of armours for both man and horse was for battle?

Thanks.



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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Tue 20 Feb, 2007 6:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have moved this topic to the Historic Arms Talk forum.

Please note the description for this forum:

"Discussions of reproduction and authentic historical arms and armour from various cultures and time periods"

Thank you.

Happy

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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Tue 20 Feb, 2007 8:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Rodolfo,

Are you positive that these armours were definitely worn by the Knights of Malta? They appear to be "lordly" armours to me; lavish armour made for the nobility. I know a lot of the earlier armour from the Rhodes Armoury, left behind by the Knights of St. John when they left Rhodes, is rather plain. Now, the higher ranking Knights of Malta would probably were fairly decorated armour, just like the regular nobility. I just don't know how decorated the armour for the "rank-and-file" would be.

As for how common the use of armour was; there are references to Knights of Saint John wearing armour in combat during the siege of Malta in 1564. According to Desmond Seward in The Monks of War, many brethren must have worn half-armour for fighting on foot, and some may have worn brigandine. Seward, and period art, also hint at full harness being worn during the three sieges of Rhodes in the fifteenth century and early sixteenth century.

There are some armours, such as the "puffed and slashed" armour and certain armours with elaborate embossing, that were made mostly for parade.

By the way, a "horse's helmet", armour that protected the horse's forehead and face, is called a shaffron (or chamfron, or chanfron). It was possibly the most common piece of plate armour for the horse, used in battle and in tournament and parade.

Below, I've included a photo from the Royal Armouries of a shaffron made for Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, one of Elizabeth I's favorites.

Stay safe!



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Shaffron made for Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester.
Copyright Board of Trustees of the Armouries.


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James Arlen Gillaspie
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PostPosted: Tue 20 Feb, 2007 6:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The last two photos Rodolpho posted would appear to be the very armour that is in Caravaggio's 'Portrait of Alof de Wignacourt' painted about 1607, and is a perfectly good field armour, decoration or no. Seems to me that the harness worn by the Grand Master who repelled the Turks during the siege of Rhodes in 1480 was gilded.
http://www.abcgallery.com/C/caravaggio/caravaggio46.html

The harness is, however, much earlier than de Wignacourt's time. My personal hypothesis is that it originally belonged to the great Grand Master de la Vallette, who repulsed the Turks in 1565, and that de Wignacourt, by posing in his armour, is saying that there's still plenty where that came from.[/url]

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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Tue 20 Feb, 2007 8:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

James;

You're probably quite right, that armour does look remarkably like the armour painted by Caravaggio! Good eye. And I suspect that you're also right in that Caravaggio and Wignacourt were stating a lot more in the posing of that painting, in that armour, than we can really get out of it today.

Cheers!

Gordon

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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Tue 20 Feb, 2007 8:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Parade and combat armour usage of the Knights of Malta         Reply with quote

Rodolfo Martínez wrote:
Are the following armours, combat or parade armours? If they are parade armours, Why Malta knights would spend their money in that parade suits instead of buying gunpowder, swords, horses, and field armours?


They actually seem to sit on the dividing line between the two--it's too ornate to be the armor of an ordinary soldier, but not sufficiently embossed to make it too weak for combat. So it might have been worn in battle.

As for why the knights would have bothered to procure one, the answer is one word: prestige. And I doubt it was really a harness procured by the Knights of St. John as an organization. If the supposition that the armor originally belonged to de la Valette is correct, then it would have been his private purchase, probably made at his own expense rather than the organizations.

(Although it's not always possible to distinguish between "public" and "private" money in these cases, where embezzlement is far from impossible.)
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Merv Cannon




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PostPosted: Tue 20 Feb, 2007 8:48 pm    Post subject: Maltese Armour         Reply with quote

This is a new study area for me......Malta and Rhodes, I mean. I have recently recieved the book "The Great Siege, Malta 1565" by Ernle Bradford. I havent had time to read much of it yet, but my good friend and historian/author says its one of the best and most exciting reads that he's had ! You can get a out of print copy on line starting at $4.00 here..... http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults...5&x=20
I also did a web-hunt and learned that the Heads of the Order did both have and wear expensive armour in battle. The men could easily identify their leader and got a good boost of morale by doing so.
Theres another book that might be of great help. I dont think its widely known that there is a Maltese on-line bookshop stocking the title "Armoury of the Knights" by Stephen Spiteri ( Midsea Books ) 400 pages and "copiously Illustrated " And only 20 Maltese Lires too... Eek! !! ....you'll have to do your own maths here ! ( Actually, I think it comes to about $50 - 70 delivered from memory...I cant remember exactly but I know that the freight from Malta was about as much as the book, I think. ) I hope this helps.......I havent ordered my copy yet but perhaps someone else will sooner than me and might even add it too the myArmoury booklist .

Merv ....... KOLR
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Merv Cannon




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PostPosted: Tue 20 Feb, 2007 8:50 pm    Post subject: Maltese Armour         Reply with quote

Ooops......... i forgot the book link to Malta -

http://maltaonlinebookshop.com/product_info.php?products_id=92

Cheers !

Merv ....... KOLR
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"Then let slip the dogs of war ! "......Woof !
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Rodolfo Martínez




Location: Argentina
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PostPosted: Wed 21 Feb, 2007 8:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Beautiful shaffron Richard.

Thanks for all the info people! Happy
As far as i know a lot of Malta knights were of noble birth, and if they wanted they could but their own weapons and armour but giving part of their fortune to the organization. Do you know if the fact of their nobility was true?

Thanks

¨Sólo me desenvainarás por honor y nunca me envainarás sin gloria¨
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Colin F.




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PostPosted: Wed 21 Feb, 2007 10:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Merv,
I've tried to add the Armoury of the Knights to the booklist but it won't let me for some reason. Maybe because Amazon don't stock it? I bought the book in Malta a few years ago and like you say, it has tons of illustrations. Not badly written either, bar the "cracking plate armour with two handed swords..." contentious stuff that is in it.

Nice bits of history though. The author was the curator of the Palace Armouries in Valetta and knows the collection inside out. The museum was also a very good place to visit.

As for the Armour, from what I remember the armour, although gilded and decorated, was built for it's original purpose as it was the personal armour of the owners. As for who the owners were I can't remember and the book is at home, whereas I am at university. I will try to pick it up next time I visit home so I can dig out the info for you.

I bought it for 17 Lira (Ł26) brand new and that is just over $50 iirc.

cheers,

Colin

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Rodolfo Martínez




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Feb, 2007 2:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Colin, what kind of two handed swords those armours have? Zweihander type, or a simpler type? Are the two handed sword wielder armours full or half harness?

Thanks!

P.D.

Does someone know if only Malta maestres used full armours (Around 1550) or it was more a personal and acquisitive choice? I mean, if another noble or rich members could buy a full armour by it´s own (Maybe plainer versions of the previously showed), or there was any armour regulation?

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Colin F.




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PostPosted: Mon 26 Feb, 2007 6:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Rodolfo Martínez wrote:
Hey Colin, what kind of two handed swords those armours have? Zweihander type, or a simpler type? Are the two handed sword wielder armours full or half harness?

Thanks!

P.D.

Does someone know if only Malta maestres used full armours (Around 1550) or it was more a personal and acquisitive choice? I mean, if another noble or rich members could buy a full armour by it´s own (Maybe plainer versions of the previously showed), or there was any armour regulation?


Straight simple hand and a half type swords. There were no actual zweihanders in the Armoury that I saw and non in the book as far as I remember!

There were no armours linked with the swords... the armours were in a different room...

Colin

Melchett - "In short, a German spy is giving away every one of our battle plans."
Cpt. Darling - "You look surprised, Blackadder."
Edmund - "I cerainly am, sir. I didn't realise we had any battle plans."
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Mike Janis




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PostPosted: Mon 26 Feb, 2007 10:59 pm    Post subject: knights of Malta combat Armor         Reply with quote

In The Great Siege Knights vs. Turks 1565, Stephen Spiteri says (page 335): Not all the knights would have worn the latest style of armour. The Hospitaller brethren came from all over Europe and so did their armour. The Order's statutes and regulations, which demanded that each knight arrived at the convent fully equipped with his own arms and armour on pain of being sent back home, ensured that there certainly was no uniformity of gear. Indeed, no knight was to be accepted into the Order before he could prove that the equipment he owned was truly his own! Many of the knights, therefore, would have worn harnesses reflecting the styles of their country of origin, a few of which would have been out of fashion. Indeed, an inventory of the equipment of a young Piedmontese knight by the name of Giovanni Francesco, dated 27 March 1562, for example, shows him armed with an 'outdated' brigantine of red velvet decorated with golden-headed studs, a velvet-covered shield, and a gilded salade. As seen from the studies of the armours recovered from Rhodes in the nineteenth century, many of the harnesses would likewise have been patched up, repaired, and altered during their lifetime. For these were the armours of real 'working' knights. In the words of Guy Wilson, the knights would have looked an 'odd mixture of shapes and sizes' when assembled together on the bastions. Cirni, too, attest to the diversity of armour types worn during the Great Siege - his account speaks of ' corsaletti, corazze, giacchi [brigantines] and maniche di maglia [chainmail shirts]'.

Mike
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Merv Cannon




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PostPosted: Tue 27 Feb, 2007 1:18 am    Post subject: Malta Knights         Reply with quote

I just found this interresting site ....... http://hometown.aol.com/robertbrucesikes/malta_knights.html ....The Knights of Malta, The Knights of St. John , The Hospitallers ...Photos and Story by Bruce Sikes.
Theres THREE pages...the second on armour abd the third just on helmets.

Also here ...... https://secure.vaultserver.com/s/maltabooks/index.php?cPath=45&osCsid=ec3ef155e7440285eed6fe3af9d83616 .......for what seems to be just about every Knights of Malta book imaginable.



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Rodolfo Martínez




Location: Argentina
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PostPosted: Mon 05 Mar, 2007 8:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the info guys.
Does someone knows if during the Siege of Malta any cavalry charge or something like that was performed by the knights? I mean, i haven´t seen many full armours in the armoury (Only have seen 3 and one of them has leather boots, maybe is a three quarter one), most half ones and later cuirassiers, i guess that knights or at least their mercenaries used to fight in foot, or a great amount of infantry...

What i was wondering too is if those knights still used to be lancers like previous Gendarmes during the second half of that century.


Thanks.

¨Sólo me desenvainarás por honor y nunca me envainarás sin gloria¨
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Mike Janis




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PostPosted: Tue 06 Mar, 2007 11:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'll check some of my references, but to the best of my memory: there were some cavalry probes by the Knights of St. John early on, before the siege was fully implemented. After that, the only major cavalry action was by the soldiers (possibly knights, but not Knights of St. John) from Medina.

Considering the terrain of Malta, I’d be surprised if lances were a favored weapon. I think pistols and swords would be preferred (my opinion only).


Mike

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Rodolfo Martínez




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PostPosted: Wed 07 Mar, 2007 9:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pistols? Could it be the reason of their symethrical pauldrons?
I´ve seen earlier similar armours (Peascod cuirass around 1540-1560) with and without lance rest in museums, and both types bearing lances (While in horseback) but maybe it can be some kind of museum ¨mistake¨, Aren´t armours with the added lance rest better for lancers?



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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Mar, 2007 11:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Better, maybe, but we have it on Philippe de Commynes's authority that, in the late 15th century, only a relatively small proportion of men-at-arms realy knew how to "lay a lance in an arret," although it may be a metaphorical reference to skill at arms in general rather than the specific act of lance-armed combat. I don't know how applicable it would be to a 16th-century situation.
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Rodolfo Martínez




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Mar, 2007 2:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So, there´s no need for a lance rest to manage a lanc in a charge?
Did Malta knights used to figh more like mounted pistoleers?

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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Fri 09 Mar, 2007 8:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No, there's no specific need for an arret--but using a heavy lance without one is very unpleasant, if what I heard from practicing jousters is true. And Commynes' comment was essentially a complaint that there weren't enough men-at-arms in the Burgundian force who had the skill to lay a lance in an arret.

I don't know how the mounted contingents among the Maltese defenders actually fought. If it's true that the only cavalry actions fought were minor probes, this would have mattered even less.
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