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Hardy Barddal




Location: Stockholm
Joined: 17 Aug 2012

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PostPosted: Fri 17 Aug, 2012 4:00 pm    Post subject: Speculum Regale         Reply with quote

I'm aware that this thread is about 8 months old, but I have some pertinent information people might find interesting.

This text is from the translation of the Norwegian King's Mirror, written around 1250:

Quote:

"Wide shields and chain mail of every sort are good defensive weapons on shipboard; the chief protection, however, is the gambison made of soft linen thoroughly blackened, good helmets, and low caps of steel. There are many other weapons that can be used in naval fights, but it seems needless to discuss more than those which I have now enumerated.

The man who is to fight on horseback needs to make sure, as we have already stated, that he is thoroughly trained in all the arts of mounted warfare. For his horse he will need to provide this equipment he must keep him carefully and firmly shod; he must also make sure that the saddle is strong, made with high bows, and provided with strong girths and other saddlegear, including a durable surcingle across the middle and a breast strap in front. The horse should be protected in such a way both in front of the saddle arid behind it that he will not be exposed to weapons, spear thrust or stroke, or any other form of attack. He should also have a good shabrack made like a gambison of soft and thoroughly blackened linen cloth, for this is a good protection against all kinds of weapons. It may be decorated as one likes, and over the shabrack there should be a good harness of mail. With this equipment every part of the horse should be covered, head, loins, breast, belly, and the entire beast, so that no man, even if on foot, shall be able to reach him with deadly weapons. The horse should have a strong bridle, one that can be gripped firmly and used to rein him in or throw him when necessary. Over the bridle and about the entire head of the horse and around the neck back to the saddle, there should be a harness made like a gambison of firm linen cloth, so that no man shall be able to take away the bridle or the horse by stealth.:

The rider himself should be equipped in this wise: he should wear good soft breeches made of soft and thoroughly blackened linen cloth, which should reach up to the belt; outside these, good mail hose which should come up high enough to be girded on with a double strap; over these he must have good trousers made of linen cloth of the sort that I have already described; finally, over these he should have good knee-pieces madeof thick iron and rivets hard as steel. Above and next to the body he should Wear a soft gambison, which need not come lower than to the middle of, the thigh. Over this he must have a strong breastplate made of good iron covering the body from the nipples to the trousers belt; outside this, a well-made hauberk and over the hauberk a firm gambison made in the manner which I have already described but without sleeves. He must have a dirk § and two swords, one girded on and another hanging from the pommel of the saddle. On his head he must have a dependable helmet made of good steel and provided with a visor. He must also have a strong, thick shield fastened to a durable shoulder belt and, in addition, a good sharp spear with a firm shaft and pointed with fine steel. Now it seems needless to speak further about the equipment of men who fight on horseback; there are, however, other weapons which a mounted warrior may use, if he wishes; among these are the "horn bow" and the weaker crossbow, which a man can easily draw even when on horseback, and certain other weapons, too, if he should want them."


Now, in the original text, found here:

http://books.google.is/books?vid=OCLC05178869...mp;f=false

the text (in the section on weapons and warfare) has "cloth" or "léreptum", in plural in all cases but once. So when the author describes gambesons and shabracks, he says that they are "made from soft canvases and well blackened", the plural here would imply a multi-layered garment, worn both as standalone armour, and in conjuction with metal armour. Here described for the knight as being first one under, and then another over, armour. Both made in the same way, but the overgarment made without sleeves. In the Maciejowski Bible one can also see that some of the people only wearing padded armour seem to be wearing two, one thin one, with a thick sleeveless one over it.

I am very interested in hearing your thoughts.
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Sam Gordon Campbell




Location: Australia.
Joined: 16 Nov 2008

Posts: 677

PostPosted: Sat 18 Aug, 2012 5:43 am    Post subject: Re: Speculum Regale         Reply with quote

Hardy Barddal wrote:
I'm aware that this thread is about 8 months old, but I have some pertinent information people might find interesting... the text (in the section on weapons and warfare) has "cloth" or "léreptum", in plural in all cases but once. So when the author describes gambesons and shabracks, he says that they are "made from soft canvases and well blackened", the plural here would imply a multi-layered garment, worn both as standalone armour, and in conjuction with metal armour. Here described for the knight as being first one under, and then another over, armour. Both made in the same way, but the overgarment made without sleeves. In the Maciejowski Bible one can also see that some of the people only wearing padded armour seem to be wearing two, one thin one, with a thick sleeveless one over it.


My thoughts? Awesome!
Thanks Hardy, now I can make my aketon and gambeson/panzer!
I'd always wondered about the details and now I think I have a pretty clear idea of how to construct these.

Member of Australia's Stoccata School of Defence since 2008.
Host of Crash Course HEMA.
Founder of The Van Dieman's Land Stage Gladiators.
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
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PostPosted: Sat 18 Aug, 2012 7:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Makes sense. The under-armour might have around a dozen quilted layers while the outer one could have up to thirty.
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
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PostPosted: Sun 19 Aug, 2012 12:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Regulations made by the Armourers of London.

15 Edward 11. A.D. 1322. Letter-Book E. fol. cxxxiii. (Norman French.)


.....that from thenceforth arms made in the City for sale should be good and befitting, according to the form which follows; that is to say:—

That a haketon and a gambeson covered with sendale, or with cloth of silk, shall be stuffed with new cotton cloth, and with cadaz, and with old sendales, and in no other manner. And that white haketons shall be stuffed with old woven cloth, and with cotton, and made of new woven cloth within and without.

http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?...y=armourer

Remember that aketon is derived from the same Arabic root as the modern Spanish algodon, al qutun or cotton, which constituted the original stuffing material. The 1322 regulations mention of cadaz is open to interpretation, with ffoukes giving it as cadar which he translates as paper, while the British-History Online footnote lists it as, "Or cadas; flocks of silk, tow, cotton, or wool." I have even seen it suggested to be cedar shavings, presumably to discourage moths and vermin. Sendales or cendal is a light, gauzy silk. The old cloth specified might have been shredded rags, as I have seen my own mother use such scrap cuttings in making quilts.

Citing Meyrick, ffoulkes gives an expense for cendal and tow to sew gambesons.
Quote:
1286. Comptus Ballivorum Franciae
Expense pro cendatis bourra ad gambesones, tapetis.


Quote:
Watch and Ward at the City Gates

25 Edward I. A.D. 1297. Letter-Book B. fol. xxxiii. old numeration. (Latin.)

It was ordered that every bedel shall make summons by day in his own Ward, upon view of two good men, for setting watch at the Gates;—and that those so summoned shall come to the Gates in the day-time, and in the morning, at day-light, shall depart therefrom. And such persons are to be properly armed with twopieces; namely, with haketon and gambeson, or else with haketon and corset, or with haketon and plates.

http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?...ry=cuirass

From this we see that aketons and gambesons could both be worn at the same time. Since the 1322 regulation doesn't distinguish between the material construction, the difference must be one of form or function, e.g. hauberks and haubergeons are both mail armors for the torso but differ in the amount of coverage offered and cost, or braies and hosen can both be made of linen but serve differing functions in clothing. It is this sort of distinction in historical documents which allow many writers to suggest that, at least early on, aketons were worn under armor, while gambesons acted as stand-alone or reinforcing armor.

Armors composed of multiple layers of fabric do exist, and a number of regulaions describe their construction in detail, but I agree that they should best be grouped under the term jacks, and reserve gambeson for textile armors filled with some lofting material such as cotton or tow.

On the FireStyker board, Bob Reed has noted the 10-layer jack is from the Ordinance of St. Maximin de Treves, published October of 1473.
Quote:
It is in the section describing the equipment of members of a lance - specifically the mounted archer "... The mounted archer must possess a horse worth not less than six francs, and should wear a visorless sallet, a gorget (I'd translate bevor or standard), a brigandine, or a sleeveless mail shirt under a ten layer jack...."
So it seems the 10-layer jack was a reinforce for a mail vest or brigandine, not padding to be worn beneath armor as the aketon was.

This thread at Firestryker from nearly a decade back also gives some published information concerning several surviving textile armors, as well as detailed construction notes from historic sources on jacks.
http://www.wolfeargent.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb...p;t=000159
Quote:
There is apparently one Late 15th century or early 16th century padded and quilted jack, preserved in the parish church of Rothwell, near Leeds. It has been published recently by R. Knowles "A Defensive Garment in the Church at Rothwell, West Yorkshire", in the Journal of the Arms and Armour Society, Vol XI, 1985, pp. 299 - 305, pls LXX-LXXI.

This is reportedly stuffed with wool and layers of cloth, like layering several thin quilts and sewing them together.
Quote:
There´s a nice (german) book by Heinrich Müller entitled "Albrecht Dürer. Rüstungen und Waffen" (ISBN 380532877X) dealing with arms and armour depicted in Dürer´s art.
In this volume there are two photos of surviving jacks, dated to the late 15th/early16th century.

One of the pictures shows TWO jacks in the Holstentor Museum in Lübeck. The one still on display there is the one that Tobias has posted, the other one must be hiding somewhere in the reserve collection.

The second picture shows another specimen which is in the possession of a museum in Stendal. It looks pretty much like the Lübeck one, but seems to be in a better condition. The chest portion is still there, that is;o)

Photos of the Stendal and Lubeck jacks/arming coats/etc. can still be found here:
http://www.historiclife.com/Essays/Jacks.htm
Reportedly these are mad of a double layer fabric covering, inside and out, filled with cotton.

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Sam Gordon Campbell




Location: Australia.
Joined: 16 Nov 2008

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PostPosted: Sun 19 Aug, 2012 3:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Mart and Dan.

So, let's see if I've got this right...

Assuming they are wealthy enough to afford good protection, might it go something like this?

For a 13th Century kit one might have a quilted (flexibility being important) aketon under their hauberk, with the addition of a stuffed (or quilted) gambeson over the maille, in addition to some form of rigid torso protection and surcoat over that?

But for a 15th C. kit one would have an arming doublet over which they might wear a quilted and stuffed (stuffed and then stitched, or visa versa?) wappenfrock/panzer alone, and/or with a cuirass?

I must sound like a broken record, but I have little to no experience with textiles and mostly rely on other more educated than myself to figure it out and make them. But the properties that each way poses are interesting. Quilted is more flexible and with sufficient layers pretty much "proof", but stuffed provides equal if not superior kinetic protection and usually may be cheaper. If both are worn in conjunction they can be used as "standalone" armour.

Regardless, I think I'll just use natural fabrics, whether cotton, linen, or otherwise, as they seem to function similarly as a material by themselves, but what counts is in what way they are constructed.

Welp, I'm confused WTF?!

Member of Australia's Stoccata School of Defence since 2008.
Host of Crash Course HEMA.
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
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PostPosted: Sun 19 Aug, 2012 12:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sam Gordon Campbell wrote:
Thanks Mart and Dan.

So, let's see if I've got this right...

Assuming they are wealthy enough to afford good protection, might it go something like this?

For a 13th Century kit one might have a quilted (flexibility being important) aketon under their hauberk, with the addition of a stuffed (or quilted) gambeson over the maille, in addition to some form of rigid torso protection and surcoat over that?

But for a 15th C. kit one would have an arming doublet over which they might wear a quilted and stuffed (stuffed and then stitched, or visa versa?) wappenfrock/panzer alone, and/or with a cuirass?


All the evidence of surviving defences shows "stuffed then stitched" is the method. I can't really speak to 15th century practice, as this is outside my primary field of interest, and I'm certain other members have more knowledge on the subject. As for the second half of the 13th century, it's usually aketon under the hauberk, followed by a gambeson OR a coat of plates OR a leather cuirie Or a scale armor over the mail IF any additional armor is worn at all.

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Sam Gordon Campbell




Location: Australia.
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PostPosted: Mon 20 Aug, 2012 12:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mart Shearer wrote:
All the evidence of surviving defences shows "stuffed then stitched" is the method. I can't really speak to 15th century practice, as this is outside my primary field of interest, and I'm certain other members have more knowledge on the subject. As for the second half of the 13th century, it's usually aketon under the hauberk, followed by a gambeson OR a coat of plates OR a leather cuirie Or a scale armor over the mail IF any additional armor is worn at all.


Ah, thanks for clearing that up for me Mart. Big Grin

Member of Australia's Stoccata School of Defence since 2008.
Host of Crash Course HEMA.
Founder of The Van Dieman's Land Stage Gladiators.
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Mikael Ranelius




Location: Sweden
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PostPosted: Mon 20 Aug, 2012 2:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Does anyone have any information about the so called sleeve of St Martin, a 13th century (?) gambeson sleeve similar to those featured in the Maciejowski bible, preserved in a Paris church? So far I have only seen a single photo of the sleeve, in Osprey's European medieval tactics vol.1 by David Nicolle.
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
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PostPosted: Mon 20 Aug, 2012 11:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tracy Justus provided these French links on Armour Archive back in 2003.
http://www.guerriersma.com/contenu/Telecharge...Martin.pdf
http://www.cndp.fr/carte-des-ressources/rclvi...TABL=17700

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Mikael Ranelius




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PostPosted: Mon 20 Aug, 2012 12:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting link Mart, thank you for sharing it. from the French text I have understood that the sleeve mas made of an inner layer of linen and and outer layer of silk taffeta, stuffed with cotton felt? There are also a mentioning of several layers of linen?
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
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PostPosted: Mon 20 Aug, 2012 9:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm sure a native speaker of French can be of more help than I! My understanding from others is that the upper sleeve contain more layers of fabric than the forearms.

Over on SFI some years ago, Endre Fodstad posted this:
Quote:

The Chronicon colmariense fra 1298 says this about "wambais": ”armati reputabantur qui galeas ferreas in capitibus habebant, et qui wambasia, id est, tunicam spissam ex lino stuppa, vel veteribus pannis consutam, et desuper camisiam ferream, id est vestem ex circulis ferreis contextam

This calls for an iron helmet (galeas ferreas) and a gambeson (wambasia), that is a thick tunic from linen and tow (tunicum spissam ex lino (et) stuppa), or "veteran" (veteribus) rags pieced together, and above (desuper) an iron shirt (camisiam ferream), that is a garment out of joined together iron rings (circulis ferreis contextam).

So one document calling the armor beneath mail a "wambais" or gambeson.

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Brian Robson





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PostPosted: Tue 21 Aug, 2012 5:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Makes sense. The under-armour might have around a dozen quilted layers while the outer one could have up to thirty.


It feels to me like that would be overkill. I wear the textile under-armour/mail/textile over-armour combination in re-enactments where we do hit quite hard. Both textile layers are fairly thin (about 4-5mm each - the centre layer being wool cloth and outer layers a very stiff, rough linen - but compacted, ie there is little/no compression), but they protect from heavy 1-handed blows without me feeling a thing. Just this weekend, Itook a thrust from a rebated sword which bent a good 5cm to the side yet did not feel anything. I believe if it were sharp, the result would have been the same (but perhaps with some damage to the outer-gamby).

Also the combined layers are about as bulky as it could get without it really interfering with movement. I was disappointed when the outer-gambeson came because I was wanting a thicker layer and thought it too thin - but after a season of use - it's perfect.

I'm of the view that over-gambesons were probably used to sap energy from piercing blows (especially arrows) to reduce the likelyhood that it will break a mail link - ie. armour for the armour. Especially for the extended pyramidal shapes used on bodkins and some lanceheads primarily for breaking mail.
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