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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sun 12 May, 2019 12:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[duplicate post]
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Last edited by Dan Howard on Sun 12 May, 2019 4:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sun 12 May, 2019 12:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Dean wrote:
Apart from my pointing out that Ekkehard may have been referring to felt armour?
And he may have not been referring to felt armour. We need evidence not speculation.

Quote:
Bahā al-Dīn refers to Frankish soldiers wearing felt armour.
al-Din said they wore mail armour. The felt may have been underpadding or some kind of surcoat worn over the top but mail was the primary defence.
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
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PostPosted: Sun 12 May, 2019 1:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Dean wrote:
There also seems to be a strong tradition of layered linen from at least the 1180s, where we first see mention of it. Whether this existed much before the 1180s or was common in lower classes of armour I don't know, but some of the linen layers in the Rothwell Jack were made from multiple pieces of linen sewn together and the linen is described as "coarse", so high grades were not always used, nor complete pieces.

Cultures with armour stuffed with unspun cotton usually also have layered textile armour as a 'luxury option', but I don't know of a culture with layered textile armour but not armour stuffed with unspun silk or cotton. And when a product costs a day's to a week's income the yard new, it is still expensive used!

IIRC, in the 14th-early 16th century before the Great Deflation, basic linen for shirts cost 6 pence to 12d English a yard/ell (maybe you can find it as cheap as 2-4d a yard if you look hard but the nice linen was made by the same poor burgers and villagers as the cheap stuff), the price for a hauberk or haubergeon in the 13th century was usually anywhere from 60d to a pound English. When the Imperialists decided to wear a shirt over their other kit for recognition in the dawn attack at Pavia, a good part of the order was dedicated to explaining what soldiers without a second shirt should do.

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Last edited by Sean Manning on Sun 12 May, 2019 1:26 am; edited 1 time in total
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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Sun 12 May, 2019 1:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The accounts of Robert of Artois from 1314 give a good idea of the economics: “for a pound of silk bourre for Robert’s aketon, 6 s.; for 2 pounds of cotton to put in the said aketon with the aforesaid bourre, 4 s.; 5 ells of white linen for Robert’s aketon, price 2 s. 6 d. the ell, 12 s. 6 d.”

The aketon could be simple with just a facing and a lining, or it could be made twice with an interfacing and an interlining, I am not sure. But we know it makes one aketon and we have the prices for all three typical components.

  • 2-4 layers of linen: 12 s. 6 d (150d)
    So 12-24 layers of the same linen would cost 900d
  • 3 pounds of cotton: 6 s. (72d)
  • 3 pounds of silk bourre: 18 s. (216d)


So a finger-thick aketon stuffed with raw cotton would cost 72 + 150 = 222d, the same aketon of layered linen would cost 900d. Even if they saved money by buying used linen (and the guild rules go back and forth about whether that is acceptable) it would probably be significantly more expensive. Fitzclarence noticed the same thing in India in 1819: "The irregular cavalry throughout India are mostly dressed in quilted cotton jackets; though the best of these habiliments are not, as I supposed, stuffed with cotton, but are a number of cotton cloths quilted together."

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Jonathan Dean




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PostPosted: Sun 12 May, 2019 2:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Jonathan Dean wrote:
Apart from my pointing out that Ekkehard may have been referring to felt armour?
And he may have not been referring to felt armour. We need evidence not speculation.


Either he was referring to improvised armour made by the monks to go with their improvised shields in order to fight a Magyar invasion or, in the Bachrachian interpretation, the monastery's soldiers wore felt armour while training. Both hint at the existence of felt armour, although the spread and usage of the armour is dependent on which interpretation you follow.

What's your take?

Quote:
Quote:
Bahā al-Dīn refers to Frankish soldiers wearing felt armour.
al-Din said they wore mail armour. The felt may have been underpadding or some kind of surcoat worn over the top but mail was the primary defence.


Unless you have a source that contradicts the traditional translation of "thick vests of felt", I don't see how you can call it underpadding or surcoat.

Sean Manning wrote:
Jonathan Dean wrote:
There also seems to be a strong tradition of layered linen from at least the 1180s, where we first see mention of it. Whether this existed much before the 1180s or was common in lower classes of armour I don't know, but some of the linen layers in the Rothwell Jack were made from multiple pieces of linen sewn together and the linen is described as "coarse", so high grades were not always used, nor complete pieces.

Cultures with armour stuffed with unspun cotton usually also have layered textile armour as a 'luxury option', but I don't know of a culture with layered textile armour but not armour stuffed with unspun silk or cotton. And when a product costs a day's to a week's income the yard new, it is still expensive used!

IIRC, in the 14th-early 16th century before the Great Deflation, basic linen for shirts cost 6 pence to 12d English a yard/ell (maybe you can find it as cheap as 2-4d a yard if you look hard but the nice linen was made by the same poor burgers and villagers as the cheap stuff), the price for a hauberk or haubergeon in the 13th century was usually anywhere from 60d to a pound English. When the Imperialists decided to wear a shirt over their other kit for recognition in the dawn attack at Pavia, a good part of the order was dedicated to explaining what soldiers without a second shirt should do.


Based on A history of agriculture and prices in England, vol I & II, in the 1270s an ell of cloth cost between 2d and 8.25d, with 4d being the most common price. 2d is probably a good base price for coarse linen/used linen. I'm not 100% certain on how many ells are required for each layer, but going off Clifford Rogers' comment that the 183 ells of cloth used for one of Edward I's aketons would amount to 50-80 layers, the answer is probably somewhere between 2.3 and 3.7 ells.

Nicetas Choniates mentions a layered textile armour consisting of at least 18 layers of linen, so if that holds true for the late 13th century then we're looking at 83-133d for the raw materials. If it's 30 layers, as with 15th century jacks, then the price range would be 138-222d. The average price of a hauberk according to Randall Storey was 138d, while for an aketon it was 67d and for a gambeson it was 28d.

Obviously even the best case scenario for the 18 layer armour is more expensive than the average price for aketons and triple the average price of the gambesons, but even a basic cotton stuffed armour is going to be on par with the 18 layers of linen for much less protection.
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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Sun 12 May, 2019 2:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Dean wrote:
Sean Manning wrote:
Its also worth remembering that before the 19th century, most people seem to have owned about 2 or 3 sets of clothing and maybe one more set of underwear. The widespread use of quilted armour seems to go hand in hand with the cultivation or import of cotton: it was strong and lofty, and much much cheaper than weaving 20-90 yards of fabric just to turn it into one armour. Cultures which cultivated cotton or imported it by the shipload tend to develop quilted armour, cultures without that access don't tend to use it, because if you were rich enough for a 10, 20, or 30 layer fabric armour you could probably afford armour of some other material.


I'm not 100% convinced by this, since there's some evidence of felted wool being used in armour, albeit more in early Byzantine, as well as Crusade era Islamic, sources than in European. Depending on how Ekkehard IV is read, it may even predate cotton based armour in Europe.

I can't think of any good evidence that felt armour was common anywhere in the Mediterranean world, except maybe those Arab sources from the time of Saladin and we would need someone to tell us the Arabic words and what they mean. The Roman sources are "I hear tell that armour can be made from felt" or "soldiers without other protection improvised armour during a siege" not "soldiers wear four kinds of armour, mail, strips of iron, scales, or for the humbler recruits felt."

Here is the Carolingian source which you found.

The Casus Sancti Galli wrote:
Nam Ungri, auditis tempestatibus regni, Noricos rabidi invadunt et vastant, Augustaque diu obsessa, precibus Uodalirici episcopi, sanctissimi quidem inter omnes tunc temporis viri, repulsi, Alemanniam nemine vetante turmatim pervadunt. At Engilbertus, quam idoneus ad mala toleranda quidem fuerit, impiger ostendit. Nam malis his immenentibus militum suorum unoquoque pro semetipso sillicito, validores fratrum arma sumere iubet, familiam roborat, ipse velut Domini gigans lorica indutus, cucullam superinduens et stolam, ipsos eadem facere iubet: 'Contra diabolum,' ait, 'fratres mei, quam hactenus animis in Deo confisi pugnaverimus, ut nunc manibus ostendere valeamus, ab ipso petamus.' Fabricantur spicula, piltris loricae fiunt, fundibula plectuntur, tabulis compactis et wannis scuta simulantur, sparrones (< DE Sperr) et fustes acute focis praedurantur.

Sed primo fratrum quidam et familiae, famae increduli, fugere nolunt. Eligitur tamen locus velud a Deo in promptu oblatus, ad arcem parandam circa fluvium Sint-tria-unum; quem sanctus Gallus quondam sanctae Trinitatis amore de tribus fluviis in unum confluentibus sic equivocasse fertur. Praemunitur in artissimo collo vallo, et silva excisis locus, fitque castellum, ut sanctae Trinitati decuit, fortissimum. Convehuntur raptim, quaeque essent necessaria. Haec in vita Wiboradae per scriptorem eius minus dicta, a fratribus qui haec noverant docti perstrinximus. ...


"For the Huns (ie. Magyars), having heard the disorders of the realm, savagely invaded and ravaged Noricum (in 926), and besieged Augusta (ie. Augsburg) for a long time; driven off by the prayers of bishop Woldaliric, certainly the most holy man of that time, they penetrated the forbidden Alemannian forest in squadrons." Abbot Engilbert of St. Gall prepared the "stronger of the brothers" and the hangers-on to defend themselves, so "darts are made, body armour (loricae) created from felts, slings woven, with joined tablets and twigs shields are imitated, bolts and cudgels are hardened to a sharp point in the hearth" but a few lines later they are retreating to a high place called Siteruna (Sint-tria-unum "Three shall be one" explains the chronicler, "that is folk etymology for an honest German word!" says the editor) with all the most necessary things before the scouts of the Huns arrive.

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Jonathan Dean




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PostPosted: Mon 13 May, 2019 1:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just went through my collection of Byzantine military manuals and realised with some embarrassment that I misremembered the felt headwear as felt armour. The case for felt armour has taken a serious battering. I'd guess David Nicolle would be the best bet to determine what the exact term used by Baha al-Din. Anyone have a copy of Crusader Warfare Volume 1?

Thanks also for translating that passage. It definitely sounds like improvised armour and fits into the scheme you've proposed. I think I'll keep a salt shaker next to any book by the Bachrachs.
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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Tue 14 May, 2019 10:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think someone who was willing to go beyond the Arabic, Syriac, and Turkish sources which arms and armour people have talked about for 70 years could find lots of things. Every year there are more translations published and you just need a couple of years of evening courses to use a dictionary! But my Near Eastern languages are things like Aramaic and Sumerian not these newcomers.

Nicolle's Medieval Warfare Sourcebook Volume 1: Christian Europe and its Neighbours pages 76-78 list Greek zaba and Arabic jubbah plus Turkish kazāghand =(= jazeran/jazerain/jazerant?) Pages 165-167 on the high middle ages don't add any words.

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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Tue 14 May, 2019 12:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There also seems to be some dispute whether Medieval Greek zaba is related to Arabic jubbah or to a word from the Eurasian steppes:

Suda On Line entry for 'zaba' wrote:
The term ζάβα (and Latin zaba), probably a loan from an Altaic language, occurs in historical and legislative sources from the early sixth century CE, and is especially frequent in late antique and Byzantine military treatises. For sources and discussion see Haldon (1975) 19-21, 37 n. 126; Kolias (1980); (1988) 37-43, 65-7.

References:
J.F. Haldon, 'Some aspects of Byzantine military technology from the sixth to the tenth centuries', BMGS 1 (1975) 11-47
T.Kolias, 'Ζάβα, Ζαβαρεῖον, Ζαβαρειώτης', JÖB 29 (1980) 27-35
T.Kolias, Byzantinishe Waffen. Ein Beitrag zur byzantinischen Waffenkunde von den Anfängen bis zur lateinischen Eroberung ([Byzantina Vindobonensia 17] Vienna 1988)


The Suda (a lexicon/encyclopedia last updated in the 10th century) equates zaba and λωρίκιον lorikion "little lorica" which is usually thought to be mail.

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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Wed 15 May, 2019 9:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Other sections of the Medieval Warfare Sourcebook mention tijfāf "felt barding" and the kārwa or gārwa of quilted leather stuffed with cotton in modern Afghanistan.

We have so many more sources from Egypt/Syria/Iraq than the Greek world that I would expect there to be evidence for quilted armour in the east before Leo Vi's tactica in the 10th century. Al-Ṭabarī and Al-Tarṣūṣi seem to be two names to look up but its too far from my own areas of research!

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Jonathan Dean




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PostPosted: Thu 16 May, 2019 12:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I didn't manage to track down a copy of the first volume of Nicolle's Crusader Warfare, but I did track down his thesis, The military technology of classical Islam. In Volume I, p180, he mentions the term libd/labūd which means "felt hauberk" or, alternatively, "felt lining of a khazāghand" with Bahā al-Dīn as one example. I don't know whether it relates to our specific example (lack of language skills or original source), but if it does I can see where a potential mistranslation may have occurred.

Crusader Warfare Volume 1 doesn't seem to be available digitally and my library is unlikely to get back to me on the inter-library loan request for a couple of months, so it will probably be a while before I can get my hands on the source most likely to answer the question.

Re: zaba, p1-2 of this paper has a late 7th century Visigothic use of the word, although nothing that clarifies what it was exactly. Haldon, however, is quite sure that zaba and lorikion are both words for long coats of mail or lamellar armour, rather than small ones. The only exception seems to be the 6th century anonymous treatise (now redated to the late 9th century), which uses the term for textile armour, but in light of the redating it can't be certain that the "zaba" was originally textile armour.
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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Fri 17 May, 2019 8:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The himation (in classical usage "cloak" but I don't know what it means later) a finger thick to stop weapons which penetrate the iron in the anonymous on generalship is interesting. That passage has been on the list of Armour in Texts for two years, but its a long list, and making sense of material culture in medieval Greek is hard work. Sometimes they sweat to write only words and case endings Plato would have recognized and sometimes they just stick an -ion on the Arabic or Italian word they actually say. The Lexikon zur Byzantinischen Gräzität has entries for gounion "gown" and zoupa "jupe" which is exactly like a Frankish scribe writing <aketon-um> or <dagar-dus>.

Edit: I think what DN was getting at was the possibility that the zaba had an integral liner.

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