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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Sun 19 Mar, 2017 7:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

T. Kew, good point. When full plate armour came into use, places like the armpit were protected by mail voiders, and probably only 3 or 4 layers of cloth. I wonder how good of a defence this offered against something like a rondel dagger.


Randall Moffett wrote:
There are all sorts of makes and styles of aketons. Multilayered linen, padded, multilayered and padded. To be honest those remaining seem to be the latter two. I have never seen a multilayered aketon or jack though we have some textual evidence for them.


Yes there were multiple ways of making arming garments and textile armours, but for the sake of this thread, I've been using the word aketon to refer only to a padded and quilted arming garment. What I'm proposing is that perhaps the tunics we see in the Maciejowski Bible, and other MS, are multilayered (but un-quilted) arming garments. To distinguish this hypothetical garment from aketons and regular tunics, from now on, I'm going to refer to them as arming doublets.

Randall Moffett wrote:
I think the over mail padding were likely heavier duty. Not sure as we do not have much to go on but I figure the inside ones would have limits of how far you can pad or layer them before they become less advantageous to movement and overheating.


I agree.

Randall Moffett wrote:
As I have said before I am more likely to trust textual evidence that is clear to artwork. There are far too many variables to consider in both cases but art more so to me. Much is left ambiguous. That is not saying they do not ever have value as they for sure do, some have great detail but not all MS are the same. Just like not all text is the same.


The problem with the literary evidence in this case is that there is no consistency in the use of terms. We have references to aketons, gambesons, panzars etc. and all of these words were apparently used for garments worn under armour, over armour, or for armour in its own right. Some of these references mention padding and quilting, while others don't. So far the earliest reference which undeniably describes a padded and quilted arming garment is from 1298. Does this mean that this type of garment wasn't in use until the late 13th century? I don't know. Maybe it does. Maybe before the late 13th century people used arming doublets.

Éirinn go Brách


Last edited by Stephen Curtin on Mon 20 Mar, 2017 5:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sun 19 Mar, 2017 8:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alexander Hinman wrote:
Dan Howard wrote:
Randall Moffett wrote:
I disagree Dan. I think aketons were intended to provide some level of protection when used with mail, more than just against rubbing and fit. I think we have several accounts from period such as the examples of multilayers being penetrated and the impressive nature of this which to me shows this was an expectation or protection for each layer.

Winter clothes provide some protection against weapons but that is not why we wear them.


This is not a fair comparison. None of us wearing​ winter clothing normally expect to be attacked with hand weapons, yet I dare say those wearing aketons might have held such an expectation. Though if this is an oblique reference to the myth of Chicom winter clothing stopping M1 Carbine bullets, that is just as I framed it: a myth.

You completely missed the point.

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Alexander Hinman




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PostPosted: Sun 19 Mar, 2017 8:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:

You completely missed the point.


Then enlighten me.
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Sun 19 Mar, 2017 5:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's a thought. We know the word aketon comes from the Arabic word for cotton, so it makes sense that an aketon was stuffed with cotton and quilted.

The word gambeson comes from the German wambeis. A related word to wambeis is wams, which in the 12th and 13th centuries was an over-tunic or kyrtle type garment, and In the 14th and 15th centuries wams was the German equivalent of the French/English doublet. Perhaps the wambeis (gambeson) was a militarized wams (tunic/doublet).

Perhaps this is what initially differentiated an aketon from a gambeson. Aketons were stuffed and quilted garments, and gambesons were multilayered garments. Of course later these terms become interchangeable. This idea is probably easily shot down, but I thought I'd share it anyway.

Éirinn go Brách
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J. Douglas




PostPosted: Mon 20 Mar, 2017 1:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Philip Dyer wrote:
Randall Moffett wrote:
Phil,

I am not sure that anyone here is saying mail is useless without some type of under garment. At least I hope not. That is just not true. Depending on the type of mail I suspect it provides very good protection from many threats. I have not seen anyone make this comment and I sure have not. My point is that I think you have men wearing a variety of combinations for increased protection and that historically we have evidence of this being done. I have little doubt that some wore only mail with a heavy tunic or something. I am sure others wore a more substantial aketon under mail as well. There is an account from the early 14th century in England that gives an strong indication of a such an aketon under a mail shirt. So it could go for fit and comfort but I suspect it also could be something much more substantial. I do think that some of the super heavy modern ones likely are more akin to those used alone in the medieval period but we really cannot be sure one way or the other as most of the accounts use terms that are not exactly quantifiable. All I can say is that in the 1st half of the 14th we see requirements for aketons, aketons with mail shirts or pairs of plates and even some requiring aketons with mail and a pair of plates for commoners. Clearly the combination was seen as being a standard by Edward II and Edward III from their point of view. More to come as my book gets further developed on this.

Doug,

I think that if you are comparing the blunt force trauma from jousting in plate without an aketon to that of mail that we need to be clear that these are very different animals. I'd joust in plate without heavy padding. I'd be wary to joust in mail in general as a sold defense unless all involved were really good and we were playing shield and helmet tag. It depends on the context heavily but I have seen 12 gauge breastplates go basically inverted with a hard lance strike. I'd not like to think what that would have looked like with mail with padding, let alone without it.

I think much of the anecdotal examples are a bit misleading and can be dangerous unless all the variable are applicable and well setup in any case. I have seen enough jousting to realize things just can be unlucky or just happen as well.

There was some testing done at the Royal Military Academy about a decade ago with force transference that was pretty interesting and had some good info. I think Mike Loades was involved or I might be confusing a few tests done.

RPM

Wouldn't assessment that depend allot on the lances used? From what I've seen, what is popularly thought of as a lance was development of the end of the High Middle Ages. Lances before that were essentially longer spears and impacted a target with much less force.


That's true....

Randall- would you know what lances were used?

~JD (James)
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J. Douglas




PostPosted: Mon 20 Mar, 2017 1:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

and in case anyone wants to quote me my first name is James.
'J" really annoys me. Laughing Out Loud

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Rod Walker




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PostPosted: Mon 20 Mar, 2017 1:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi all, just a very quick reply as I have to get to bed to go do another 12 hour shift.

This is one of the passes from the actual joust itself. Solid pine lances, approx. 34mm dia. (roughly, as they were made by hand so they varied a bit here and there). I am in the black and yellow coming towards the camera.


These are the coronels I had made and we used.


I have photos somewhere of the gouges in my shield from the coronel strikes. My shield is 15mm thick and covered in layers of glued cloth and it was pierced all the way through in a couple of spots.

Something more coherent later in the week.

Cheers

Rod
Jouster
www.jousting.com.au

"Come! Let us lay a lance in rest,
And tilt at windmills under a wild sky!
For who would live so petty and unblessed
That dare not tilt at something, ere he die?"
--Errantry, John Galsworthy
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Mon 20 Mar, 2017 4:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks very much for chiming in Rod. If you get the time, some more details would be much appreciated.
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Mon 20 Mar, 2017 5:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was reading a book on gallowglass when I came across this reference to an aketon in Wyntoun's chronicle. According to Wyntoun, at the siege of Dunbar Castle in 1338, William Spense was killed by an arrow which passed through his shield, then his haubergeon, and then his aketon of three ply. This at least is David Caldwell's interpretation of the text, which I've linked to below.

http://digital.nls.uk/publications-by-scottis...=114629316

If this is correct then perhaps William Spense's aketon was made like the cloth foundation for Japanese kote. Kote are armoured sleeves which consist of mail, or splints, or a combination of mail and splints, sewn to a cloth foundation. This foundation was usually made of three layers, a stout canvas-like cloth core, with layers of finer cloth (cotton or silk) on the inside and outside.

As I said before the Maciejowski Bible shows us tunics and surcoats of at least two layers. These garments could have made with three layers just like kote, and possibly like the William Spense's aketon of three ply.

Éirinn go Brách
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 20 Mar, 2017 3:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Curtin wrote:
I was reading a book on gallowglass when I came across this reference to an aketon in Wyntoun's chronicle. According to Wyntoun, at the siege of Dunbar Castle in 1338, William Spense was killed by an arrow which passed through his shield, then his haubergeon, and then his aketon of three ply. This at least is David Caldwell's interpretation of the text, which I've linked to below.

http://digital.nls.uk/publications-by-scottis...=114629316

If this is correct then perhaps William Spense's aketon was made like the cloth foundation for Japanese kote. Kote are armoured sleeves which consist of mail, or splints, or a combination of mail and splints, sewn to a cloth foundation. This foundation was usually made of three layers, a stout canvas-like cloth core, with layers of finer cloth (cotton or silk) on the inside and outside.

As I said before the Maciejowski Bible shows us tunics and surcoats of at least two layers. These garments could have made with three layers just like kote, and possibly like the William Spense's aketon of three ply.


kote are standalone armour - made from a dozen or more layers of cloth - just like a padded jack or linothorax or ichcahuipilli or dozens of other textile armours around the world. Torso armour made like this was worn over the top of mail, never underneath. A garment made from 2-3 layers of cloth is not armour (unless it is a very thick weave such as twining). These garments were used to stop chafing and improve the fit of the armour, not to provide extra protection, Any extra protection provided is incidental, just like regular clothing..

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Last edited by Dan Howard on Mon 20 Mar, 2017 6:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Mon 20 Mar, 2017 3:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And what of the three-fold haubergeon?
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 20 Mar, 2017 3:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You have evidence of standalone textile armour made with three layers?
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Mon 20 Mar, 2017 5:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
kote are standalone armour - made from a dozen or more layers of cloth - just like a padded jack or linothorax or ichcahuipilli or dozens of other textile armours around the world.


Have you got a reference for this Dan. Here is where I got the information on kote.

http://www.sengokudaimyo.com/katchu/katchu.html

This site claims that kote were armoured sleeves, with mail and splints sewn to a foundation of three layers of cloth. If this information is incorrect then I apologize for bringing it up.

My reasoning is, since we have no surviving aketons left from Europe, but we have mail from places like Turkey, India, and Japan, which was lined, then perhaps these linings can tell us something about aketons.

Dan Howard wrote:
A garment made from 2-3 layers of cloth is not armour (unless it is a very thick weave such as twilling). These garments were used to stop chafing and improve the fit of the armour, not to provide extra protection, Any extra protection provided is incidental, just like regular clothing..


I agree. I don't think that I ever referred to these 2 - 3 layer garments as armour. I believe I called them arming garments, which as you say, had more to do with comfortably wearing armour than protection.

Mart Shearer wrote:
And what of the three-fold haubergeon?


Yeah I noticed that. I haven't a clue what to it means though.

Dan Howard wrote:
You have evidence of standalone textile armour made with three layers?


Who said anything about standalone textile armour made with three layers.

Éirinn go Brách
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 20 Mar, 2017 6:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Curtin wrote:
Dan Howard wrote:
kote are standalone armour - made from a dozen or more layers of cloth - just like a padded jack or linothorax or ichcahuipilli or dozens of other textile armours around the world.


Have you got a reference for this Dan. Here is where I got the information on kote.

http://www.sengokudaimyo.com/katchu/katchu.html

This site claims that kote were armoured sleeves, with mail and splints sewn to a foundation of three layers of cloth. If this information is incorrect then I apologize for bringing it up.


I think we might be talking past each other. Japanese used many ways to make armoured sleeves. All of them were called kote. I've posted an example of layered cloth kote in earlier threads. It is a good example of martial quilting..Anything made of three layers of cloth will just be a foundation for the real armour - just like aketons. So it looks like I agree wiith you Happy.

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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Tue 21 Mar, 2017 12:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah I see. You meant kote as in the ones used in the practice of kendo. I should have remembered that you have used that example many times in discussions about textile armours.

AFAIK the Japanese lined all of their armours rather than wearing separate arming garments. Here is an image of a kusari katabira (japanese equivalent of a jaserant or kazaghand) sent to me by user worldantiques over on Armour Archive. Because of the hole, you can count the number of layers of cloth used in its construction. Apparently it has four layers on the outside and one on the inside. If you consider that this armour would have been worn over probably two undershirts, then that's three layers under, and four layers over the mail. This is a similar amount of layers that I suspect might have been worn with mail in 13th century Europe.



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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Tue 21 Mar, 2017 9:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

James,

Good to know James.


Stephen,

I agree that terms in period are slippery. This is one of the reasons why I think trying to isolate them is a mistake by term. It is easier to look at clear or clearer descriptions. The problem is how infrequent solid evidence comes along and it often is not clear for actual use with or without mail or plate. This is the curse of research. I am rereading the close rolls in my free time for research I am doing. I will go through dozens of pages without what I am needing, maybe a hundred or more when I hit something really important and new.

Could it be 2-3 layers of some fabric or combination of fabric types. For sure. By the way I read the one account I think it follows Mart which to me indicates it could be something more. I think for example of Tasha's work on Charles's. These layers of padding and fabric could be seen as one of two layers or three going into the sections. So we are left unsure still. Padding can be very light to rather heavy. That is why I tend to focus on the accounts with details if we have them but truth is we lack much to create anything like a standard. Mart has brought up several of the main ones but we have the 1311 Parisian town ordinance and the 1323 Edward II Wardrobe accounts along with these that give some great detail on materials and weights. they list 3.1lbs and 2.3lbs of raw cotton for the inside layers. Trying to replicate these amounts of cotton for padding has been interesting to see how the thickness comes out.

I think the problem is first we assume there was a uniform standard when in military history that is not true often, even today in the day of standing armies. One man might have had a padded or unpadded under garment. You can make layers of padding incredibly thin and still have some advantage over none in this. Even if one account is very clear there is not reason to assume it discounts other evidence as they might simply wear a different arrangements.

We like simply they used a, b and c but the truth is that may not be the case


Rod,

Thanks for adding that info. Looking good as usual.

RPM
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Tue 21 Mar, 2017 4:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
I agree that terms in period are slippery. This is one of the reasons why I think trying to isolate them is a mistake by term.


I feel that the benefits of using words like aketon with a precise and consistent definition, in modern conversation, outweigh any drawbacks. Yes you have to remember that this consistency did not exist in the past, but I don't see this as being an issue. Using standardized terminology makes communication much easier. For example, in this thread, instead of having to say a stuffed and quilted arming garment each time, I've simply used the word aketon. This is much quicker and easier IMO.

Randall Moffett wrote:
Could it be 2-3 layers of some fabric or combination of fabric types. For sure. By the way I read the one account I think it follows Mart which to me indicates it could be something more. I think for example of Tasha's work on Charles's. These layers of padding and fabric could be seen as one of two layers or three going into the sections. So we are left unsure still.


I agree, this account is not detailed enough to be certain of anything.

Randall Moffett wrote:
Mart has brought up several of the main ones but we have the 1311 Parisian town ordinance and the 1323 Edward II Wardrobe accounts along with these that give some great detail on materials and weights. they list 3.1lbs and 2.3lbs of raw cotton for the inside layers. Trying to replicate these amounts of cotton for padding has been interesting to see how the thickness comes out.


Out of curiously, have you or anyone you know tried their hands at making an aketon with 2.3 - 3.1 lbs of cotton? If so, how thick did it turn out.

Randall Moffett wrote:
I think the problem is first we assume there was a uniform standard when in military history that is not true often, even today in the day of standing armies. One man might have had a padded or unpadded under garment.


I agree. I've seen evidence of this in a 6th century Byzantine text, which said that soldiers should not wear their armour over their regular clothing, as many do, but should wear their armour over a garment of at least a finger's thickness. If I find the text again I'll post it.

Éirinn go Brách


Last edited by Stephen Curtin on Wed 22 Mar, 2017 2:40 am; edited 2 times in total
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Tue 21 Mar, 2017 4:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As I said earlier, I didn't originally intend to make this thread about 13th century aketons. I intended for this thread to challenge the two most common arguments that I've seen for the use of aketons in the Viking Age, and to question whether Viking Age warriors even needed aketons in the first place.

For years I have believed that stuffed and quilted armours and arming garments came to Western Europe sometime during the early crusades. The evidence for this being that "aketon" is derived from the Arabic word for cotton, and that aketons and wambeis' only show up in text in the 12th century.

What always struck me as odd however, is that even 150 years after the first crusade, images which show men donning their mail, show mail worn over a un-quilted garment, not an aketon. In fact aketons (still using my own definition) don't show up in manuscripts or effigies until about 1300.

I then realized that the best 13th century literary description of arming that I knew of (the King's Mirror), didn't actually mentioned stuffing, padding, or quilting when speaking of textile armour or arming garments. Thanks to Mart we see that the earliest undeniable literary evidence for aketons dates to 1298, right around the same time that undeniable visual evidence for aketons starts to show up. Coincidence? I don't know, maybe.

What I'm really getting at is that perhaps the evidence for 13th century arming garments needs re-examining. I'm not saying that there is no evidence, just that it might not be as solid as many think.

Éirinn go Brách
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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Wed 22 Mar, 2017 4:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Where are our Latin scholars?

Radulfus Niger, De re militari et triplici via peregrinationis Ierosolimitane, 1187-1188

Quote:
19. De multiploi linea et corio cocto

Ad vitalium quoque custodiam multiplois linea varie consuta lorice
superponitur et subinduitur aut corium excoctum. Per lineam
predictum industria significatur, que multo labore perquirtur, sicut linum
multo labore candidatur et conficitur. Per hanc industriam venialium evitatur
contagio, per corium exoctum inveterata boni consuetudo intelligitur, que
otia repellit et occasiones venialium.

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Thu 23 Mar, 2017 6:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for sharing Mart. Unfortunately I can't make much sense of it. It definitely makes reference to hardened leather, but I'm not sure if it talks about textile armours or arming garments or not. Either way thanks again.
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