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Ushio Kawana




Location: Japan
Joined: 17 Aug 2008

Posts: 146

PostPosted: Wed 20 Aug, 2008 10:53 am    Post subject: Please teach me about a "codpiece"...         Reply with quote

Hello.

please teach me about a "codpiece"...

On the Internet, there are a lot of phots about the codpiece, but there are few commentaries (about armour's codpiece).

I think that it is very dangerous that a vital part is prominent from an armour.
Do not you think it to be easy to take attack?
or a weapon bounces and may be the codpiece even if other places are attacked?
I think it to be dangerous even if it is an armor used for only training use. Question

Is this a decoration or a symbolic thing?
Or does the knight really inserted a penis in this codpiece?
I want to know about a historical fact of codpiece.
Please teach me... (an episode about codpiece or a detailed internet site etc...)

**********************************************************
If a woman is read... I am grateful if offended.
but I want to know about a historical fact of codpiece.
It is not a thing of the obscenity by any means.
**********************************************************

p.s.
I am a Japanese.
and my English is very very poor... sorry...



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codquestion.jpg
Is this a decoration or a symbolic thing?

I'm interested in Medieval Arms and Armor.
But... My English is very poor ><;
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Christopher Gregg




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Aug, 2008 11:31 am    Post subject: Codpiece!         Reply with quote

Dear Ushio,

I believe the armour pictured in your post is parade or ceremonial armour (notice the intricate engraving?), and the attached codpiece is purely decorative, although quite provacative. Combat armour would have no such protruburance projecting from such a vulnerable area! Warriors seldom wore such unnecessary and/or inhibiting decorations on their kits meant for serious combat (although some did, it's true). I'm sure there are many others on this forum who are much more knowledgeable than I who will chime in on this topic. Oh, and welcome to the forum!

And by the way, your English isn't so bad - and thank you for making the effort! Big Grin

Christopher Gregg

'S Rioghal Mo Dhream!
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Joshua Connolly




Location: Massachusetts, USA
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PostPosted: Wed 20 Aug, 2008 12:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm probably no more knowledgeable than Christopher on the subject, or perhaps even less so, but I do have to say that I too think that it seems to be a parade armor of some sort. The exquisite engraving and exaggerated codpiece tells me that there it's considered more of an 'art' piece than an actual piece for the battlefield, which tended to be less 'flamboyant' in a way. To answer your question though, from what I know of armored codpieces you don't actually put anything 'in' it, so much much as try and give the 'impression' that you've put something in it (Symbolic or otherwise). So yes, it's more a decorative piece than anything else. I'm sure I'm totally off base somewhere though, so don't take my words for being accurate without any verification from following users.

Ushio; I do have to say that your english is pretty good as well.
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Mick Czerep




Location: Poland
Joined: 30 May 2007

Posts: 59

PostPosted: Wed 20 Aug, 2008 12:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi!
Armour imitated civilian clothes and coidpieces were (decorative in 16th century) part of the hose (trousers). Codpiece on cililian clothes appeared in the 15th century. First, legs were covered by 2 separate legs of hose (like stockings). The upper garments were at first quite long and covered the uderwear. Later, as fashion changed and upper garments became very short, many people felt offended because the underwear became visible. With time hose was joined at the back and a codpiece was added at the front.

In the 16th century fashion became very dramatic and sometimes rude. The codpieces became large and provocative. Armourers copied this, along with some other civilian fashion elements. This is a very simplified history of codpieces, also in simplified English Happy Hope this helps

All the best
Mick

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 20 Aug, 2008 12:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Codpiece!         Reply with quote

Christopher Gregg wrote:
I believe the armour pictured in your post is parade or ceremonial armour (notice the intricate engraving?),

Please note that intricate engraving, etching (as is the case here), and other decorative techniques is not alone an indication of a parade or ceremonial armour. Many, many, many highly decorative armours were meant for, and used in, battles. Such features are much more an indication of the wealth of the commissioner/owner of the items in question rather than their purpose..

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Aug, 2008 3:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mick is right. Codpieces were simply an emulation of civilian fashion and have no protective function.
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Bill Sahigan





Joined: 06 Jun 2008

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PostPosted: Wed 20 Aug, 2008 8:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

so... all that is protecting their crotch is that flimsy piece of mail?


I've always wondered about that.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Wed 20 Aug, 2008 8:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Sahigan wrote:
so... all that is protecting their crotch is that flimsy piece of mail?


Plus an arming doublet that extends below the waist and the woolen (?) hose underneath.

Happy

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Nathan Johnson




Location: Australia
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PostPosted: Wed 20 Aug, 2008 8:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi, codpiece both decorative and extremely utilitarian were standard on 16thC foot combat harness
both my brother and my self wear 3/4 armours with steel codpiece and they protect just fine.
The codpiece sits over the flap of the hosen or is filled by the material codpiece which contains no part of the anatomy either! (remember everyone wears codpiece at this time and a groin plate has to be shaped to fit it)

It is the steel base plates that extend from either side of the codpiece to cover the crotch gaps in the tassets that is the real armour component of these pieces
As to effectiveness, for some reason every one aimes at the EMPTY COD!! not at you, And a curved surface like that dissipates force very very well.
My brother was once hit at full speed with a Zweihänder on the tip of his codpiece and he didn't know or even feel it untill we all pointed out the dent to him!!



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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Wed 20 Aug, 2008 9:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
Bill Sahigan wrote:
so... all that is protecting their crotch is that flimsy piece of mail?


Plus an arming doublet that extends below the waist and the woolen (?) hose underneath.


Not to mention that many harnesses are designed for a knight to be able to sit on horseback. (And I wouldn't doubt it if the ability to use the latrine played a part as well, but that's pure conjecture.)

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Ushio Kawana




Location: Japan
Joined: 17 Aug 2008

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PostPosted: Thu 21 Aug, 2008 8:59 am    Post subject: Thank you for all of you!         Reply with quote

Thank you for all of you!

I understood it well. (However, I think of why this thing is not written in the various Arms&Armours sites...)


p.s.

>Christopher Gregg
>And by the way, your English isn't so bad - and thank you for making the effort!

>Joshua Connolly
>Ushio; I do have to say that your english is pretty good as well.

thanks ^^

I'm interested in Medieval Arms and Armor.
But... My English is very poor ><;
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Lancelot Chan
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PostPosted: Thu 21 Aug, 2008 10:07 am    Post subject: Re: Thank you for all of you!         Reply with quote

I've also learned much from the topic. Thanks for bringing it up.

BTW, since you're located in Japan and are interested in medieval arms and armors, have you contacted Jay Noyes of Avalon group?

Ushio Kawana wrote:
Thank you for all of you!

I understood it well. (However, I think of why this thing is not written in the various Arms&Armours sites...)


p.s.

>Christopher Gregg
>And by the way, your English isn't so bad - and thank you for making the effort!

>Joshua Connolly
>Ushio; I do have to say that your english is pretty good as well.

thanks ^^

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 21 Aug, 2008 10:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have read that German Landsknecht mercenaries, who were prone to flashy dress, sometimes used their codpieces as purses. So, codpieces could theoretically protect a man's valuables, just not in the way we imagine.

Learn more here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codpiece

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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James Arlen Gillaspie
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PostPosted: Thu 21 Aug, 2008 12:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have to side with Nathan Johnson on this one. They were usually easily detachable for riding, but I wouldn't play on foot without mine, anymore than most people would play without a cup, which is really what it is. When it comes to steel or plastic, you wouldn't wear plastic on your head, would you?
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Robert MacPherson
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PostPosted: Thu 21 Aug, 2008 8:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The division between the tassets happens at or just above the level of the pubic bone. This must be the case so that the legs can move freely enough to walk. The gap between the tassets must be wide enough to accommodate a saddle. This leaves a lot of the lower abdomen and the inguinal area protected only by mail. Quite aside from the unpleasant possibility of injury to the genitals, this is vital and lethal target area.

I am sure the men at arms of the sixteenth century were more than pleased to hang a piece of plate in the gap when they were not mounted. Its defensive value was no doubt like that of the besagews they hung in front of their (likewise only mail protected) arm pits.

Mac
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Fri 22 Aug, 2008 11:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Please teach me about a "codpiece"...         Reply with quote

Ushio Kawana wrote:

Do not you think it to be easy to take attack?


Ushio,

In my experience, the groin isn't the easiest location to attack. The reason I say this is because it is difficult to specifically hit a codpiece with a cut. You're far more likely to hit the leg or the hip with a cut first. So that means that a lot of the attacks made with a sword, at least, are not likely to strike it. On the other hand, a thrust is still very dangerous, and it's not too difficult to hit someone in the groin when thrusting. It can also be possible to hit someone's codpiece with a vertically rising cut, although this is still relatively uncommon.
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Russ Thomas
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PostPosted: Sat 23 Aug, 2008 11:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Folks,

Also remember that the codpiece , or brayette, in the later 16th century is usually attached to the lower lame of the fauld ( the skirt attached to the bottom of the breastplate), so any blow hitting the codpice would be absorbed somewhat by the mass of the breastplate, as well as all the various padding worn underneath the armour. The earlier, larger, and more famous, codpieces associated with King Henry VIII, are much more substancial affairs, that are strapped to the body, and cover the whole area surrounding the groin, and as the genitals are not actually in the codpiece a direct hit is not likely to bring tears to the wearers eyes, providing that the codpiece is fitted correctly.

Ushio,

Your English is good, and quite understandable. I wish that my Japanese was as good ! Wink

Regards,

Russ

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Ushio Kawana




Location: Japan
Joined: 17 Aug 2008

Posts: 146

PostPosted: Sun 24 Aug, 2008 7:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you for a lot of replies!

and I'm sorry my reply is too late...(I spent long time to translated Japanese... I am sorry that I cannot reply to all members...)

Dear Lancelot Chan
>BTW, since you're located in Japan and are interested in medieval arms and armors, have you contacted Jay Noyes of Avalon group?
I know that site.
This myArmoury site has lots members. and I asked this question in this BBS.

Dear Sean Flynt
> I have read that German Landsknecht mercenaries, who were prone to flashy dress, sometimes used their codpieces as purses.
> So, codpieces could theoretically protect a man's valuables, just not in the way we imagine.
> Learn more here:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codpiece
thanks.
I read Wikipedia or other site before, and I thought that "Why needs codpieces(for purses) for the armour?"

Dear Robert MacPherson
> The division between the tassets happens at or just above the level of the pubic bone.
> This must be the case so that the legs can move freely enough to walk.
> The gap between the tassets must be wide enough to accommodate a saddle.
> This leaves a lot of the lower abdomen and the inguinal area protected only by mail.
> Quite aside from the unpleasant possibility of injury to the genitals, this is vital and lethal target area.
> I am sure the men at arms of the sixteenth century were more than pleased to hang a piece of plate in the gap when they were not mounted.
> Its defensive value was no doubt like that of the besagews they hung in front of their (likewise only mail protected) arm pits.
Thank you for teaching it in detail.
(I know "Quite aside from the unpleasant possibility of injury to the genitals, this is vital and lethal target area.".
So I think "Why a vital part was projection?")

Dear Craig Peters
> In my experience, the groin isn't the easiest location to attack.
> The reason I say this is because it is difficult to specifically hit a codpiece with a cut.
> You're far more likely to hit the leg or the hip with a cut first.
> So that means that a lot of the attacks made with a sword, at least, are not likely to strike it.
> On the other hand, a thrust is still very dangerous, and it's not too difficult to hit someone in the groin when thrusting.
> It can also be possible to hit someone's codpiece with a vertically rising cut, although this is still relatively uncommon.
Thank you for teaching it in detail.
(By the fight that used a sword or polaxe... I thought that the "projection" more easily hit than the "flat".)

Dear Folks
> Also remember that the codpiece , or brayette, in the later 16th century is usually attached to the lower lame of the fauld
> ( the skirt attached to the bottom of the breastplate),
> so any blow hitting the codpice would be absorbed somewhat by the mass of the breastplate,
> as well as all the various padding worn underneath the armour. The earlier, larger, and more famous,
> codpieces associated with King Henry VIII, are much more substancial affairs, that are strapped to the body,
> and cover the whole area surrounding the groin,
> and as the genitals are not actually in the codpiece a direct hit is not likely to bring tears to the wearers eyes,
> providing that the codpiece is fitted correctly.
Thank you for teaching it in detail.

> Your English is good, and quite understandable. I wish that my Japanese was as good !
thanks ^^

I'm interested in Medieval Arms and Armor.
But... My English is very poor ><;
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Robert MacPherson
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Location: Jeffersonville USA
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PostPosted: Sun 24 Aug, 2008 12:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ushio Kawana wrote:


Dear Robert MacPherson
So I think "Why a vital part was projection?"


Dear Ushio Kawara,

If I understand your question, you are asking "why does the codpiece stick out?", and "doesn't that compromise its protective value?"

My reply is that it probably does compromise its protective value.... but only very slightly. On the other hand, the little it loses in protective value is more than offset by its gain in stylistic value. Projecting codpieces look strange to our eyes, but to sixteenth century Europeans they looked normal and stylish.

Armor was subject to the whims of fashion then, just as clothes and cars are today. People will always buy what looks good to them, as long as it works almost as well as the thing which does not look as good. People are like that now; they were like that then; and they will always be like that in the future.

Mac
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Pierre T.




Location: Ottawa, Canada
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PostPosted: Sun 24 Aug, 2008 3:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Please teach me about a "codpiece"...         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:
Ushio Kawana wrote:

Do not you think it to be easy to take attack?


Ushio,

In my experience, the groin isn't the easiest location to attack. The reason I say this is because it is difficult to specifically hit a codpiece with a cut. You're far more likely to hit the leg or the hip with a cut first. So that means that a lot of the attacks made with a sword, at least, are not likely to strike it. On the other hand, a thrust is still very dangerous, and it's not too difficult to hit someone in the groin when thrusting. It can also be possible to hit someone's codpiece with a vertically rising cut, although this is still relatively uncommon.


Agreed. Another factor is the instinctual reflex to protect one's groin - it's hard to land a groin shot.
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