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Philip Dyer





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PostPosted: Sun 25 Aug, 2019 5:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[quote="Dan Howard"]
Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:
I don't remember if it was in Osprey's Knight of the Outremer or in Italian Militiamen, but the author says leather pieces of armor was a lighter alternative to metal ones. I don't know if thats actually true.

It's not true. In order for leather to provide similar protection to metal, it has to be significantly thicker and heavier than metal. The whole point of going to the trouble and expense of using metal is that it was the lightest material available. That remained true until the development of aramid (Kevlar).

The primary threat on a battlefield for thousands of years was from spears and arrows. Single-layered leather armour is useless against these weapons, even when it is hardened into cuirbouilli; which is why it was layered over mail. The leather provided the concussion resistance while mail provided the point resistance. Proper, stand-alone leather armour was multi-layered and very thick. Seven layers is the most I've seen but 2-4 layers were common, depending on the thickness of the hide.[/quote. But if that source is refering to sport combat, then the leather could be lighter because it is specifically not combat usefull thickness because it works againist the weapons used in the sport.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sun 25 Aug, 2019 8:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Philip Dyer wrote:
But if that source is refering to sport combat, then the leather could be lighter because it is specifically not combat usefull thickness because it works againist the weapons used in the sport.

And the metal plate can be made even thinner, which still makes it lighter than leather. Fluted steel only needs to be half a mm thick to stop a wooden stick or rebated sword edge.

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Jonathan Dean




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PostPosted: Mon 26 Aug, 2019 12:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Manning wrote:
Yes, it looks to me like the cuirie was basically a reinforcement for mail, I can't think of any source where someone wears just a cuirie. The Modus Armandi Milites from before 1333 says that a knight should wear a cuirie over his hauberk for a tournament, but German plates for war and a gambeson for a joust.

It says that either steel or leather greaves are acceptable. There are a few references from the Hundred Years' War to poor footsoldiers wearing leather or wicker caps instead of iron headpieces.


The Gesta Herewardi, Roman De Rou, and Policraticus all refer to infantry wearing only leather (Wace is the only one to call it a "cuirie", but the well cooked leather/very hard leather of the Gesta and Policraticus is probably the same kind of armour. Walter Map merely speaks of "leather", and description is overall ambiguous as to whether or not "calibe" is part of the armour or the weapons.
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Anthony Clipsom




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PostPosted: Mon 26 Aug, 2019 3:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but Rothwell was the clerk of the Wardrobe of the Tower, responsible for the keeping and manutention of the King's arm stocks, right? So theorically these were intended for the King's court only?


William Rothwell was Keeper of the Privy Wardrobe. The Privy Wardrobe was the government department responsible for arms and armour (amongst other things) with its headquarters in the Tower. The equipment was intended for use in the King's military activities, which would include issues to members of the court. But its role included equipping garrisons, expeditions and ships. It was buying, issueing, receiving back and restoring equipment in the hundreds of sets.

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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Mon 26 Aug, 2019 8:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Dean wrote:
The Gesta Herewardi, Roman De Rou, and Policraticus all refer to infantry wearing only leather (Wace is the only one to call it a "cuirie", but the well cooked leather/very hard leather of the Gesta and Policraticus is probably the same kind of armour. Walter Map merely speaks of "leather", and description is overall ambiguous as to whether or not "calibe" is part of the armour or the weapons.

Jonathan,

good point about Wace's description of bowmen with bows, swords, iron caps and cuiries or gambesons in the Roman de Rou and the spearmen wearing felt or leather armour in the Gesta Herewardi. I want to have another look at John of Salisbury's Policraticus, maybe in January?

The Cervi of Bologna in Jürg Gassman's APD article could also count a curatia of leather towards their membership requirements in 1255, but they seem to have been 'down scale,' they also allowed leather caps when most guilds required iron. Generally these guilds required one headpiece, one piece of body armour, and one shield.

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Jonathan Dean




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PostPosted: Tue 27 Aug, 2019 3:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean, I don't think the Cervi were so much 'down scale' as they were very catholic in their membership. The Cervi was one of only two to allow leather caps and the only one to allow leather torso protection, but they were also one of only five societies to have metal armour on their books. Whether the leather reflected the reality and the metal the goal, whether they only had a limited population to draw on and wanted to get as many people as possible, or whether they simply decided that leather was good enough, I don't know, but I do agree that the very limited use of it by the Bolognese armed societies suggests it was not only a cheaper option, but also generally less effective than textile armour.

Regarding John of Salisbury, Chris Dobson is currently doing a translation of that passage (also Walter Map), and apparently he knows a few experts on medieval Latin he intends to reach out to to check his work, so hopefully we'll have a good modern translation soon.
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Sat 02 Nov, 2019 11:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Manning wrote:
There are a few references from the Hundred Years' War to poor footsoldiers wearing leather or wicker caps instead of iron headpieces.


Which reminds me: I saw some nice photos of multi-layered rawhide helmets, c. 1300, Damascus. See figures 12-20 in http://orient.spbu.ru/books/tahiyyat/index.html#89

While rather far from England, it shows the kind of construction that gives adequate protection.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 02 Nov, 2019 11:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
Which reminds me: I saw some nice photos of multi-layered rawhide helmets, c. 1300, Damascus. See figures 12-20 in http://orient.spbu.ru/books/tahiyyat/index.html#89

While rather far from England, it shows the kind of construction that gives adequate protection.

Very cool book. Good find.

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Graham Shearlaw





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PostPosted: Tue 12 Nov, 2019 12:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The following is some of the best testing done to date on on leather armour in it multiple forms.
Non-metallic armour prior to the first world war
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Tue 12 Nov, 2019 7:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Manning wrote:
Yes, it looks to me like the cuirie was basically a reinforcement for mail, I can't think of any source where someone wears just a cuirie. The Modus Armandi Milites from before 1333 says that a knight should wear a cuirie over his hauberk for a tournament, but German plates for war and a gambeson for a joust.

It says that either steel or leather greaves are acceptable. There are a few references from the Hundred Years' War to poor footsoldiers wearing leather or wicker caps instead of iron headpieces.


Interesting information.
Jonathan Dean wrote:
It says that either steel or leather greaves are acceptable. There are a few references from the Hundred Years' War to poor footsoldiers wearing leather or wicker caps instead of iron headpieces.


The Gesta Herewardi, Roman De Rou, and Policraticus all refer to infantry wearing only leather (Wace is the only one to call it a "cuirie", but the well cooked leather/very hard leather of the Gesta and Policraticus is probably the same kind of armour. Walter Map merely speaks of "leather", and description is overall ambiguous as to whether or not "calibe" is part of the armour or the weapons.[/quote]

Heath usually considers most of the references for "leather" in chest armor as meant to be gambeson (probably leather covered gambeson). He also does that in an occasion where a greek source from the Siege of Constantinople (1453) where it says at least a quarter of the ottoman soldiers had mail shirts or leather armor (in this case the considers leather as brigandine)
Timo Nieminen wrote:
Sean Manning wrote:
There are a few references from the Hundred Years' War to poor footsoldiers wearing leather or wicker caps instead of iron headpieces.


Which reminds me: I saw some nice photos of multi-layered rawhide helmets, c. 1300, Damascus. See figures 12-20 in http://orient.spbu.ru/books/tahiyyat/index.html#89

While rather far from England, it shows the kind of construction that gives adequate protection.


This was intended to be stand-alone armor or was intended to be dressed over mail?

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Jonathan Dean




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PostPosted: Tue 12 Nov, 2019 9:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Graham Shearlaw wrote:
The following is some of the best testing done to date on on leather armour in it multiple forms.
Non-metallic armour prior to the first world war


Cheshire is fantastic, but I'm not sure whether he dismissed Chris Dobson's theory out of hand or if he simply couldn't find a source of scabbard butt leather and just stuck to acknowledging the existence of Dobson's paper and chose not to address the possibility it was the real historical method. Because, ultimately, Dobson's method matches the archaeological evidence most closely and is identical to a 15th century recipe.

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:
Heath usually considers most of the references for "leather" in chest armor as meant to be gambeson (probably leather covered gambeson). He also does that in an occasion where a greek source from the Siege of Constantinople (1453) where it says at least a quarter of the ottoman soldiers had mail shirts or leather armor (in this case the considers leather as brigandine)


I have enormous respect for Ian Heath but, in this case I believe he lacked the same level of information as we do. The leather armour in the Gesta Herewardi is clearly hardened, as is the leather armour in John of Salisbury. Ralph Niger also mentions hardened leather, while the "cuirie", when mentioned in conjunction with knights, is clearly some form of leather defence worn over the mail that Heath assumes was hardened. Combining all of these together, the "leather" of Walter Map and the "cuirie" of Wace were most likely hardened leather.

I can't speak for the Byzantine source on the Ottoman leather armour being brigandines.
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Wed 13 Nov, 2019 8:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
A lot of leather protection used in Western Europe was for sport not combat. When we see pieces of leather armour mentioned in various sources, we need to be able to distinguish between tourney and field armour or they aren't much use.


Just wanted to mention that I agree here. I was working with Dr Gassman at that time he wrote about the Bolognese armed societies, and we briefly went into a rabbit hole about that armor in the Bolognese source and some other similar ones from Krakow, Swiss towns and so on, and had trouble finding anything definitive that said the leather armor was actually suitable for warfare, whereas there were some references to it's use in tournaments and other festival activities and martial sports / training.

The references posted here to leather vambraces and so on in the Tower of London are quite interesting. Is there any chance that could mean the type used for archery?

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PostPosted: Wed 13 Nov, 2019 9:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Manning wrote:
Andrew Gill wrote:
Is a currisia not perhaps another name for or a near-relation of a corrazina?

I would guess its the Latinized German of Kürass or Küriss (the Grímm brothers list it as Küris), English cuirass, and Italian corazza. In 1349/1350, I would expect both words to mean "pair of plates." Corazzina is the diminutive ("little cuirass") like Anthony says.


In some 15th Century records I have seen from Krakow a 'platendienst' (some kind of Teutonic Order euphemism, I gather it means something like "underling plates" or plates for a servitor) which is apparently another term for some kind of coat of plates, is considerably cheaper (12 kreuzer) than a mail shirt.(2-7 marks) so that would help explain why the Lucerne town armory has more of the former than the latter.

We think of mail as cheaper armor but it was actually quite expensive and never got really cheap.

A lot of researchers seem to tend to assume that leather armor was a thing and therefore some gaps are 'filled in' with it, so to speak, but we don't know what was actually meant so I think it's wise to be cautious.

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Jonathan Dean




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PostPosted: Wed 13 Nov, 2019 9:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
Dan Howard wrote:
A lot of leather protection used in Western Europe was for sport not combat. When we see pieces of leather armour mentioned in various sources, we need to be able to distinguish between tourney and field armour or they aren't much use.


Just wanted to mention that I agree here. I was working with Dr Gassman at that time he wrote about the Bolognese armed societies, and we briefly went into a rabbit hole about that armor in the Bolognese source and some other similar ones from Krakow, Swiss towns and so on, and had trouble finding anything definitive that said the leather armor was actually suitable for warfare, whereas there were some references to it's use in tournaments and other festival activities and martial sports / training.

The references posted here to leather vambraces and so on in the Tower of London are quite interesting. Is there any chance that could mean the type used for archery?


Apart from the Bolognese sources, were any of the ones you were looking at from the 12th or 13th centuries? I've got a bit of a project going there.
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Wed 13 Nov, 2019 8:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No, the others were 15th -16th Century. We did a partial translation of the Codex Picturatus from Krakow and some records from Strasbourg, Augsburg and Prague. A few other scattered tidbits from some small Hanseatic town armouries, Wismar and Rostock I think.
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Anthony Clipsom




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Nov, 2019 12:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
The references posted here to leather vambraces and so on in the Tower of London are quite interesting. Is there any chance that could mean the type used for archery?


Given the lists they occur in, I'd doubt this is archery equipment. However, I don't know enough to be certain.

Anthony Clipsom
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Nov, 2019 3:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Graham Shearlaw wrote:
The following is some of the best testing done to date on on leather armour in it multiple forms.
Non-metallic armour prior to the first world war


The tests themselves are good, but the analysis is flawed, and the conclusion (that cuir bouilli = boiled rawhide) is based on the flawed analysis.

Cheshire briefly discusses his merit index in Appendix H (see pg 561, in V2). His merit index is the ratio (penetration depth)/(areal density). Less penetration is obviously a Good Thing, so a low merit index is good. But he divides by areal density, which means that heavier armours with the same penetration depth have a lower (and therefore better) merit index.

Thus, he concludes that boiled rawhide is the best unfaced hide armour. However, it's clear from Fig 9:12 (pg 264, V1) that boiled rawhide is worse than plain rawhide - where he tests samples with the same density, plain rawhide performs better (the 3 left-hand yellow triangles (plain rawhide) all have an approximately density-matched blue diamond (boiled rawhide) lying above them (i.e., the boiled rawhide suffers greater penetration). There's a big cluster of boiled rawhide data with similar penetration to the plain rawhide, to the right on the graph - same penetration, but higher areal density. The same protection is achieved at the cost of greater weight.

Cheshire's merit index rates boiled rawhide as twice as good as plain rawhide (half the merit index), but Fig 9:12 contradicts this.

His merit index can be fixed: take the product (i.e., (penetration depth) times (areal density)), not the ratio. Since he gives the data in Appendix H, you can do this easily enough. Doing this, plain rawhide is about 20% better than boiled.

Which casts serious doubt on his conclusion.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Nov, 2019 6:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I seem to remember that most of the Mongol leather lamellar armor was a type of buffalo rawhide...
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Graham Shearlaw





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PostPosted: Sat 16 Nov, 2019 1:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:

The references posted here to leather vambraces and so on in the Tower of London are quite interesting. Is there any chance that could mean the type used for archery?


I don't think so A ) The leather vambraces are mix up with iron ones and rerebraces in the armour records. (See Armour in England, 1325–99 by Thom Richardson )
B) An arm guard protect your arm from the bow sting is kind of your own kit, it goes with the bow that your legally meant to have and practice with.


Given the dateing of the records i can't help but feel that this might be more along the lines of splint armour then pure leather.
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Anthony Clipsom




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PostPosted: Sat 16 Nov, 2019 2:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Graham Shearlaw wrote:
Jean Henri Chandler wrote:

The references posted here to leather vambraces and so on in the Tower of London are quite interesting. Is there any chance that could mean the type used for archery?


I don't think so A ) The leather vambraces are mix up with iron ones and rerebraces in the armour records. (See Armour in England, 1325–99 by Thom Richardson )
B) An arm guard protect your arm from the bow sting is kind of your own kit, it goes with the bow that your legally meant to have and practice with.


Given the dateing of the records i can't help but feel that this might be more along the lines of splint armour then pure leather.


The other thing in addition to Graham's comments is they come in pairs, while archers bracers come in singles.

Anthony Clipsom
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