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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Tue 18 Apr, 2017 10:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jason O C wrote:
Stephen. On the subject of the necessity of padding under mail to help with blunt force. The human body can be conditioned to receive very hard blows without taking serious injury. Think of professional Muay Thai fighters. These guys can kick ridiculously hard, possibly as hard as a sword blow, and yet they can take dozens of hits on a regular basis. If I remember correctly, King's Mirror advises young knights to spar with sword and shield at least once a day. I'm sure that after years of daily sparring, a knight's body would be well used blunt force. Just some food for thought.


If you try to do this, you'd die. Seriously. A blunt sword -- even a light wooden one with thick "safe" edges -- concentrates the force of its blow over a much smaller area than any fist, foot, knee, or elbow. A hit that merely bruises with a fist or foot would break bones with a blunt sword, and one strong enough to knock the opponent out with an unarmed blow would simply crush their skull with a weapon, leaving them dead or crippled for life.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Tue 18 Apr, 2017 4:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

We have plenty of ballistics data these days to know that no muscle-powered weapon can deliver enough blunt trauma through torso armour to kill someone. You need firearms to do this. Targeting the skull is the only way to kill someone through armour with muscle-powered weapons.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Tue 18 Apr, 2017 4:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Or not. My rubbish French tells me that line 2812 could also be translated "But/also the pourpoint that was beneath the aketon." It does name the aketon but doesn't explicitly say that it meant or was made of cotton.


As far as I can tell, the last word translates as cotton, not aketon. The fact that it is extremely unlikely for a person to be wearing a hauberk, a pourpoint, and an aketon supports this..

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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Tue 18 Apr, 2017 4:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Jason O C wrote:
Stephen. On the subject of the necessity of padding under mail to help with blunt force. The human body can be conditioned to receive very hard blows without taking serious injury. Think of professional Muay Thai fighters. These guys can kick ridiculously hard, possibly as hard as a sword blow, and yet they can take dozens of hits on a regular basis. If I remember correctly, King's Mirror advises young knights to spar with sword and shield at least once a day. I'm sure that after years of daily sparring, a knight's body would be well used blunt force. Just some food for thought.


If you try to do this, you'd die. Seriously. A blunt sword -- even a light wooden one with thick "safe" edges -- concentrates the force of its blow over a much smaller area than any fist, foot, knee, or elbow. A hit that merely bruises with a fist or foot would break bones with a blunt sword, and one strong enough to knock the opponent out with an unarmed blow would simply crush their skull with a weapon, leaving them dead or crippled for life.


I'm not sure if you're aware of this Lafayette, but the King's Mirror states that this sparring should be done in heavy armour; either a hauberk or a panzar. Are you saying that this armour wouldn't prevent broken bones? I think that Jason's point is a good one. Men who sparred with weapons on a daily basis probably had a much higher threshold for pain than your average modern person, and so it's plausible that they didn't pad their arming garments as thick as we think they did.

Dan Howard wrote:
As far as I can tell, the last word translates as cotton, not aketon. The fact that it is extremely unlikely for a person to be wearing a hauberk, a pourpoint, and an aketon supports this..


I agree.

Éirinn go Brách
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Wed 19 Apr, 2017 6:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan,

I am not sure that is true on the ballistics comment. I think in general with many weapons that is true. I'd love to see what tests you are referring to.

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Jason O C





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PostPosted: Wed 19 Apr, 2017 10:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Lafayette. As Stephen said sparring was done wearing heavy armour.

Didn't we already have an example of modern people (Rod Walker and another gentleman,whose name I don't remember) using swords on one another. Sure they bruised each other up a bit, but other than that they were fine as far as I know. Maybe if these two men had years of daily sparring practice, they wouldn't have bruised so much, that was my point. Also who is to say that people went all out full force in sparring? Perhaps they sometimes pulled their blows.



Anyway getting back to the King's Mirror. If we take the description of the horse's equipment literally, it doesn't seem to match any other evidence that I'm aware of.

Firstly the author says that the layer of padding under the mail could be decorated as one likes. Why would you decorate this layer if is is going to be covered by mail? No one is going to be able to see it anyway.

Secondly the "grima" is supposedly padding which goes over the mail, but only covers the horse's head and neck. I haven't ever seen or heard of an item of equipment like this, how about the rest of you guys?

Jason
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Wed 19 Apr, 2017 11:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jason O C wrote:
Hi Lafayette. As Stephen said sparring was done wearing heavy armour.


Well, you brought up the example of muay thai fighters, so I thought you were trying to point out that humans could condition themselves against blunt training swords even without armour. We know that this isn't true from the surviving records of deaths and injuries during practice in Japanese sword training (especially during the late Edo and early Meiji/Bakumatsu era when regulation was inconsistent and traditional sword schools were doing all sorts of weird things to cope with the frequent and unpredictable changes to sword laws).
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Jason O C





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PostPosted: Thu 20 Apr, 2017 12:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry for the misunderstanding Lafayette. I should have made my point more clear.

Jason
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Philip Dyer





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PostPosted: Thu 20 Apr, 2017 7:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[quote="Lafayette C Curtis"]
Jason O C wrote:
Stephen. On the subject of the necessity of padding under mail to help with blunt force. The human body can be conditioned to receive very hard blows without taking serious injury. Think of professional Muay Thai fighters. These guys can kick ridiculously hard, possibly as hard as a sword blow, and yet they can take dozens of hits on a regular basis. If I remember correctly, King's Mirror advises young knights to spar with sword and shield at least once a day. I'm sure that after years of daily sparring, a knight's body would be well used blunt force. Just some food for thought.


If you try to do this, you'd die. Seriously. A blunt sword -- even a light wooden one with thick "safe" edges -- concentrates the force of its blow over a much smaller area than any fist, foot, knee, or elbow. A hit that merely bruises with a fist or foot would break bones with a blunt sword, and one strong enough to knock the opponent out with an unarmed blow would simply crush their skull with a weapon, leaving them dead or crippled for life.[/quote. Do top level materiaal artistists break cinder blocks with thier heads or volunter to het hit nut bats om thier head? From what I've seem, they break rocks with thier fists amd het hit acties thier back. Most parts of the human torso are alot more resident than the neck and skull. This thread is all about torso armor and I've personally seem people that brutal torso hit with light wooden swords while wearing nothing more than a lightly padded jacket and a wieghtlifter's belt and reconversie from it amd these people don't train as frequently as recomended in the king's mirror.
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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Thu 20 Apr, 2017 5:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another way of looking at the question of necessity would be to say that an aketon isn't necessary until the law deems it so. In that case, we are looking at aketons not being "necessary" until the turn of the 13th-14th century, when we have more details of their construction. Although the English Assize of 1181 calls for gambesons for burghers and free men, it does not call for their use in conjunction with the knightly mail. Neither does the Assize from 1242. Storey's thesis says the aketon and hauberk are required in the Arrays of 1276/7, though I haven't seen the Latin text for those. The Statute of Winchester in 1285 only calls for the mail, without an aketon, for the wealthiest men. The London Array of 1316 calls for aketon and mail, as do the Arrays of 1322 and 1324.
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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Thu 20 Apr, 2017 6:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Perhaps we can glean a bit more information from this passage?

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 two pieces; namely, with haketon and gambeson, or else with haketon and corset, or with haketon and plates.


It seems the aketon alone is sufficient for the arms, but, even for city watchmen, is not "proper" or sufficient for protection of the more vital torso, and so it must be used in conjunction with other armors. Perhaps it's simply not as thick as the gambeson, or perhaps two layers are enough, when one isn't?

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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Sat 22 Apr, 2017 1:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good point Mart. Legally speaking, in England, arming garments for under mail were not required until the late 13th / early 14th century. This also lines up with the late 13th century Norwegian Hirdskraa, which calls for vapntreyju to be worn under either a panzar or a mail shirt. This could mean that before this point "aketons" were optional, and the decision to wear one was down to the individual.

I finally found the 6th century Byzantine reference I spoke of in my OP. It can be found on post #39 of this thread:

http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/thread-3698-page-3.html

This text corroborates the idea that, even when the benefits of wearing padded arming garments are known, some soldiers still choose not to wear it.

According to this website; http://www.citedantan.org/site/index.php/fich...8-gambison the sleeve of St Martin was about 5mm thick on the forearm, and 8mm on the upper arm. The forearm is made from raw cotton sandwiched between two layers of silk, whereas the layers of the upper arm arm are; silk / cotton / linen / linen / cotton / silk.

So 5 - 8mm might be a good estimate of the thickness of the sleeves of an aketon as worn by the night's watchmen of London in 1296. Perhaps this was deemed adequate protection for the arms, but it makes sense that this wouldn't have been enough for the torso.

Éirinn go Brách


Last edited by Stephen Curtin on Sat 22 Apr, 2017 5:27 am; edited 1 time in total
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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Sat 22 Apr, 2017 5:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Inspired by Mart, I re-read the Paris armourers' rule from 1364, and transcribed some more of it for Armour in Texts. I focused on the sections on soft armour.
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Sat 22 Apr, 2017 5:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean your efforts are much appreciated. It was re-reading the King's Mirror on your website that prompted a lot of the discussion on this thread.

Jason O C wrote:
Anyway getting back to the King's Mirror. If we take the description of the horse's equipment literally, it doesn't seem to match any other evidence that I'm aware of.

Firstly the author says that the layer of padding under the mail could be decorated as one likes. Why would you decorate this layer if is is going to be covered by mail? No one is going to be able to see it anyway.

Secondly the "grima" is supposedly padding which goes over the mail, but only covers the horse's head and neck. I haven't ever seen or heard of an item of equipment like this, how about the rest of you guys?


These are some of the reasons I suspect that the current interpretation of the text in King's Mirror might not be 100% accurate. Earlier in the thread Håvard Konsgsrud said;

Quote:
I would advice against a too close reading of the text. Some artistic license. And the writer got some critisism from Blom 1867 for mixing up the layers of the horsy stuff


Perhaps the author of the King's Mirror made mistakes?

Éirinn go Brách


Last edited by Stephen Curtin on Sat 22 Apr, 2017 11:22 am; edited 1 time in total
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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Sat 22 Apr, 2017 10:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Curtin wrote:
Jason O C wrote:
Anyway getting back to the King's Mirror. If we take the description of the horse's equipment literally, it doesn't seem to match any other evidence that I'm aware of.

Firstly the author says that the layer of padding under the mail could be decorated as one likes. Why would you decorate this layer if is is going to be covered by mail? No one is going to be able to see it anyway.

Secondly the "grima" is supposedly padding which goes over the mail, but only covers the horse's head and neck. I haven't ever seen or heard of an item of equipment like this, how about the rest of you guys?


These are some of the reasons I suspect that the current interpretation of the text in King's Mirror might not be 100% accurate.


Perhaps one could sometimes use the cloth covering without the mail, and wanted the decoration to be seen? You could always decorate the edges of the aketon or covering where it could be seen even with mail above it, like this: Trinity College, Dublin MS 1440, The Book of De Burgos, fo. 24r, c.1571-1580.
http://digitalcollections.tcd.ie/content/1202..._53_LO.jpg

The horse armor for the head, or grima is merely a mask, not covering the neck, and may be the same as a "testiere" of cloth or mail, which is not the same as the "chanfron" of plate.
Romance of Alexander, Cambridge MS O.9.34 fo.26r, St. Albans, England, c.1250


Quote:
Ramon Llull, Llibre de l'orde de cavalleria, c. 1275

Testera és donada a cavall per significança que tot cavaller no deu fer d'armes sens raó; car enaixí con lo cap del cavall va primer e davant lo cavaller,
The testier is given to the horse with the significance that no knight should take up arms without reason: just as the horses head goes first and in front of the knight, so must the knight put reasoning first in all that he does.


Quote:
1311 Inventory of John fitz Marmaduke, Lord of Horden

iiij frena cum testar & iiij Webbes cingulorum xl d.
4 bits with testiere & 4 webbed girths, 40d.


Quote:
1316, Long Inventory of Arms of King Louis X

Item une testiere de haute cloüeure de maille ronde.
Item, a testiere of "high nailing" (all riveted rings) of round mail.
------------
Item une testiere, et une crouppiere garnie des armes de France.
One testiere and one crupper decorated with the arms of France.


Quote:
1322 Inventory of arms, Robert of Béthune,(Robert III), Count of Flanders

Item , une testiere a cheval en tiete.
Item a testiere for the head of the horse.

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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Sat 22 Apr, 2017 11:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Curtin wrote:
Good point Mart. Legally speaking, in England, arming garments for under mail were not required until the late 13th / early 14th century. This also lines up with the late 13th century Norwegian Hirdskraa, which calls for vapntreyju to be worn under either a panzar or a mail shirt. This could mean that before this point "aketons" were optional, and the decision to wear one was down to the individual.


Which leads to the question, "What conditions changed in the late 13th century to cause government to require aketons beneath mail?" Was it a new threat on the battlefield, or lower prices for equipment which caused or allowed the universal standard to be raised?

Quote:
I finally found the 6th century Byzantine reference I spoke of in my OP. It can be found on post #39 of this thread:

http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/thread-3698-page-3.html

This text corroborates the idea that, even when the benefits of wearing padded arming garments are known, some soldiers still choose not to wear it.


What I find interesting here is the specification,
Quote:
There should also be a space between the armor and the body.
It (the armor) should not be worn directly over ordinary clothing, as some do to keep down the weight of the armor, but over a garment at least a finger thick.


My mind instantly recalled the Report of England made by Giovanni Michiel, late Ambassador to Queen Mary and King Philip, to the Venetian Senate, on the 13th May 1557.
Quote:
ma l' uso più frequente è di alcuni giubboni di canevaccio imbottiti a molti doppj, alti due dita e più, riparo tenuto sicurissimo contro la furia delle freccie,...

but what they commonly use are certain canvas jupons, upholstered with many doublings, each of which is two fingers or more in thickness; and these are considered the most secure defence against the shock of arrows...

So perhaps the long-standing "rule of finger" was one for under an armor, and two if above or alone?

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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Sat 22 Apr, 2017 1:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mart your interpretation is definitely plausible, more so than the interpretation I put forward I think. I will say one thing though, according to the text the grima covers the horse's neck as well as the head.

"En utan yfir beizli ok’um alt höfuð hestsins ok um háls framan til söðuls"

"Over the bridle and about the entire head of the horse and around the neck back to the saddle"

Here is another image from the same Romance of Alexander which shows what could be a testiere / grima which covers the head and neck.

http://manuscriptminiatures.com/4974/15419/

Éirinn go Brách
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 22 Apr, 2017 4:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mart Shearer wrote:
Which leads to the question, "What conditions changed in the late 13th century to cause government to require aketons beneath mail?" Was it a new threat on the battlefield, or lower prices for equipment which caused or allowed the universal standard to be raised?


The main reason for these garments is to improve the fit and stop chafing, not to increase protection. I would suggest that, at this time, more armour was being produced in generic sizes instead of being custom-tailored for each customer. So an arming garment was more important for the armour to fit properly.

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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Sun 23 Apr, 2017 1:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, a finger's thickness of raw cotton would make armour more comfortable to wear. How much extra protection would it offer though? That is something I would like to see tested. I don't think it would make a very significant difference compared to a 2 or 3 layer tunic.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sun 23 Apr, 2017 2:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aketons provide some incidental protection, but no more than regular clothing. If extra protection was needed, they wore additional layers over the top not underneath. The requirement for aketons under armour had nothing to do with improved protection, so we need to look for other reasons for the requirement.
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