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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Help in identifying a type of hauberk Reply to topic
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Chloe Massarello

Joined: 28 Mar 2009

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sat 28 Mar, 2009 7:54 pm    Post subject: Help in identifying a type of hauberk         Reply with quote

Hi! I am working on a thesis about Richard I and would greatly appreciate any help in identifying a specific piece of armor that he is recorded as having worn in the History of William Marshal. The original word used in the History is "gazigan." It is translated as "light hauberk" (vol. II, line 10198). I e-mailed the Anglo-Norman Text Society, (the publisher of the History), asking for a fuller explanation and was told that according to the Medieval French Dictionary of Tobler Lommatzsch, a "gazigan" was a "padded hauberk worn by Turks" (vol. II, pg. 63). I would really love to be able to use this bit of information as a supporting detail in my thesis, but I need a better idea of just what this hauberk was like. I know very little about medieval armor, so any ideas or leads for further research will be helpful! Thank you!
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Dan Dickinson
Industry Professional

Location: Michigan
Joined: 03 Oct 2004

Posts: 967

PostPosted: Sat 28 Mar, 2009 8:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Chloe,
My guess is that it was a form of jazerant.

From The Complete Encyclopedia of Arms & Weapons, edited by Leonid Tarassuk and Claude Blair:

jazeran (or jazerant): An alternative term for the KAZAGHAND.

kazaghand: An Arabic word for a type of Oriental mail armor used in Turkey, Persia, and Arabia from the 11th century onward. It consisted of a mail shirt, cloth-lined and covered with good-quality fabric - often silk - which was sometimes colored, patterned, and padded. Although expensive, it must have been a popular type of armor because it was comfortable to wear and attractive in appearance. It was not durable, however; the cloth soon wore out, especially under conditions of war. Only a few examples are well preserved, one of which is in the Topkapi Sarayi Museum in Istanbul. This kazaghand has long sleeves, mitten-like extensions for the backs of the hands, small buttons with corresponding loops to close the center front and sleeves at the wrists, and two pocket-like patches for the attachment of cartridge clips across the top on each side of the breast. The term jazerant is a national name derived from kazaghand for the same type of mail armor.

The word used in your passage seems to be a mixture of the two forms (an in-between form perhaps?).
You should be able to find more information by searching one of the other two words.
I hope this helps,
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Nathan Beal

Joined: 02 Apr 2006

Posts: 68

PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2009 8:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you were to contact the Royal Armouries in Leeds they have at least one garment of this type in their reserve collection, i do not recall the precise date (it's certainly not C12th) but it may be of use to understand how these garments hold together.

The Librarian might be able to help in the first instance or Thom Richardson (who has taken over Ian Bottomley's responsibilities (Mr Bottomley introduced me to it)) might have specifics on the object in question. I do not have records of the accession number but it will have been in one of the oriental store areas.


Beware of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.
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Chloe Massarello

Joined: 28 Mar 2009

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2009 8:59 am    Post subject: Thanks!         Reply with quote

Thank you very much, both of you! This gives me a lot more to go on.
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Dan Howard

Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2009 3:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The time period is certainly correct. By the time of Richard the jazerant would have been fairly common in Western Europe. The term in the above passage (gazigan) also helps to see how the word "jazerant" was derived from the original "kazaghand".

Usamah gives a good description of how his kazaghand was constructed in his memoirs. His example was particularly heavy being made of two layers of mail.

Saladin admonishes him for not donning his armour before a battle. He replies, “By Allah I can not put on anything more. We are in the early part of the night and my kazaghand is furnished with two coats of mail, one on top of the other. As soon as I see the enemy I shall put it on.”

After the battle he demonstrates the armour’s construction to Saladin. “I pulled out my knife and ripped it at the breast and disclosed the side of the two coats of mail. The kazaghand enclosed a Frankish coat of mail extending to the bottom of it, with another coat of mail on top of it reaching as far as the middle. Both were equipped with the proper linings, felt pads, silk stuffing (al-lasin) and rabbits’ hair."

From: Usamah Ibn-Munquidh, An Arab-Syrian Gentleman and Warrior in the Period of the Crusades: Memoirs of Usamah Ibn-Munquidh, Philip K. Hitti (trans.) (New Jersey: Princeton), 1978. 130-31
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