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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    It is as follows:
    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    It is my understanding that the late Roman army replaced the old pila with lead-weighted darts. When did this occur, and why? Is this a cost-saving measure? Is this a response to legionaries of lesser discipline discarding or cutting down their pila to save weight? Is there a good tactical reason to use darts instead of spears? (I know AD&D would say rate of fire, but that's not really a good source!) Is my understanding simply incorrect, or based on misconceptions?

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    It is as follows

    It is my understanding that the late Roman army replaced the old pila with lead-weighted darts. When did this occur, and why? Is this a cost-saving measure? Is this a response to legionaries of lesser discipline discarding or cutting down their pila to save weight? Is there a good tactical reason to use darts instead of spears? (I know AD&D would say rate of fire, but that's not really a good source!) Is my understanding simply incorrect, or based on misconceptions? :
    Oh ok, that is the plumbata. 'Plumbo' for the lead weight that made the thing work so well.





    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plumbata

    You see a nice example of some historical ones here

    It's kind of a neat weapon, and apparently pretty effective at least for 'harassing' missile attacks at a pretty long range. Good for putting pressure on enemy troops and for unnerving horses etc.

    My understanding about the plumbata is the following:

    • It did not ever actually replace the pilum, which continued in use through the fall of the Roman Empire and continued to be found among the Franks long after that as the "Angon"
    • It was used by some Legions IIRC specifically in the Central and Eastern European provinces
    • It's advantage was mainly long range. I think they could also carry more of them (I remember something about sticking them in slots on their shields)
    • I think they rose in prominence as a response to archers such as those of the Huns and the Parthians. The Romans needed a longer-ranged missile weapon to answer long range archery attacks
    • The Romans also did develop specialist archers as troop-types in the Late Imperial period, both mounted (see Equitus Sagitarii) and infantry archers, again mainly in response to their Eastern foes, but it was nice to give the Legions a way to answer attacks too, especially since the Legions had the better endurance (largely due to armor and the scutum shield, but also due to discipline). Archers were often (I think) auxiliary troops.



    Like the Pilum, the Plumbata also lingered a lot longer than most people realize. The Swiss had a very similar weapon (small vaned dart with lead weight built in) still in use at least as late as the 14th Century, when the larger vaned dart started to replace it. Another type of dart which remained popular (but kind of flies under the radar in games and genre culture) is the dart or javelins which work by winding a cord around them, that unwinds and imparts spin when you throw it, like the weavers beam and the Swiss Arrow. These were popular with rural militia in particular and apparently pretty effective as harassing fire (similar to shooting bows with flight arrows)

    EDIT: Oh and another type of vaned dart or javelin is the Kestros, possibly an ancestor of the plumbata

    G
    Last edited by Galloglaich; 2017-08-16 at 02:50 PM.
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  3. - Top - End - #93
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    If I'm interpreting that image correctly, it's a sort of underhand throwing motion?
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  4. - Top - End - #94
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    If I'm interpreting that image correctly, it's a sort of underhand throwing motion?
    Looks like that was at least one way to do it

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tub0zFz5WGc
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiero View Post
    Actually, even in the time of Augustus, the symbol of imperium was an axe wrapped in a bundle of rods, the fasces. Representing the ability to administer capital punishment (the axe) and corporal punishment (the rods). Lictors of magistrates with imperium would each carry one.
    You are, of course, right. The importance of the fasces in later times is testified by Domitian's decision that the Emperor should get 24 fasces.

    What I wrote about the lance depended on something I had read about the restoration of the Augustus of Prima Porta statue, where the restored staff he carried was removed, and it was supposed that he carried a lance. I don't exactly remember what was written, maybe it said that it was a symbol of being a military commander. Unfortunately I can't find where I read this, the only trace I found was an article or book that should say something about spears in Roman imperial iconografy (Hölscher 1967, title unknown.)

  6. - Top - End - #96
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    Another type of dart which remained popular (but kind of flies under the radar in games and genre culture) is the dart or javelins which work by winding a cord around them, that unwinds and imparts spin when you throw it, like the weavers beam and the Swiss Arrow. These were popular with rural militia in particular and apparently pretty effective as harassing fire (similar to shooting bows with flight arrows)
    This is the much like the amentum (which the Greeks called the ankyle):



    Used originally on javelins, but would work much the same on a dart.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiero View Post
    This is the much like the amentum (which the Greeks called the ankyle):



    Used originally on javelins, but would work much the same on a dart.
    Yes exactly thanks, I couldn't remember the name

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amentum

    G
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    On the subject of throwing darts/javelins. In terms of pure distance the standard method might not be the most optimal. In 1956 one athlete achieved a distance of 99+ meters, higher than the current olympic record while practicing the newly invented "spanish style" but it was banned before it could be used in the actual Olympics due to safety concerns.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ul6dCL2vOkk

    Some other "freestyle javelin" techniques:

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by rrgg View Post
    On the subject of throwing darts/javelins. In terms of pure distance the standard method might not be the most optimal. In 1956 one athlete achieved a distance of 99+ meters, higher than the current olympic record while practicing the newly invented "spanish style" but it was banned before it could be used in the actual Olympics due to safety concerns.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ul6dCL2vOkk

    Some other "freestyle javelin" techniques:
    I have read that the athlete who developed that style (Miguel de la Quadra Salcedo?) copied it from a goat herder he saw throwing sticks at stray dogs who were harassing his goats...

    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    Oh ok, that is the plumbata. 'Plumbo' for the lead weight that made the thing work so well.





    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plumbata

    You see a nice example of some historical ones here

    It's kind of a neat weapon, and apparently pretty effective at least for 'harassing' missile attacks at a pretty long range. Good for putting pressure on enemy troops and for unnerving horses etc.

    My understanding about the plumbata is the following:

    • It did not ever actually replace the pilum, which continued in use through the fall of the Roman Empire and continued to be found among the Franks long after that as the "Angon"
    • It was used by some Legions IIRC specifically in the Central and Eastern European provinces
    • It's advantage was mainly long range. I think they could also carry more of them (I remember something about sticking them in slots on their shields)
    • I think they rose in prominence as a response to archers such as those of the Huns and the Parthians. The Romans needed a longer-ranged missile weapon to answer long range archery attacks
    • The Romans also did develop specialist archers as troop-types in the Late Imperial period, both mounted (see Equitus Sagitarii) and infantry archers, again mainly in response to their Eastern foes, but it was nice to give the Legions a way to answer attacks too, especially since the Legions had the better endurance (largely due to armor and the scutum shield, but also due to discipline). Archers were often (I think) auxiliary troops.



    Like the Pilum, the Plumbata also lingered a lot longer than most people realize. The Swiss had a very similar weapon (small vaned dart with lead weight built in) still in use at least as late as the 14th Century, when the larger vaned dart started to replace it. Another type of dart which remained popular (but kind of flies under the radar in games and genre culture) is the dart or javelins which work by winding a cord around them, that unwinds and imparts spin when you throw it, like the weavers beam and the Swiss Arrow. These were popular with rural militia in particular and apparently pretty effective as harassing fire (similar to shooting bows with flight arrows)

    EDIT: Oh and another type of vaned dart or javelin is the Kestros, possibly an ancestor of the plumbata

    G
    But during the late Empire they replace most of the classical pilum-throwing units with spearmen and archers, didn't they?
    Last edited by Clistenes; 2017-08-16 at 07:00 PM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Clistenes View Post
    But during the late Empire they replace most of the classical pilum-throwing units with spearmen and archers, didn't they?
    I'm not sure, I'm not an expert on that period by any means, but I believe Procopius mentioned plumbata and pila in his Gothic Wars or one of the Wars books. Which is about mid 6th Century.


    I have a question for the gun people on this forum. The ballistic experts. How much protection would a mantlet of 4" thick wood provide against firearms, assuming pretty tough or hard wood.

    I know that a modern rifle would probably shoot through that. or anyway I've myself shot holes through and through trees that were probably 10" or so thick, though I don't know how much the type of wood matters.


    I'm reading a military manual from the 15th Century and it recommends 4" thick wood for wheeled mantlets like the ones I've posted images of in earlier incarnations of the thread, such as we see in Bellifortis, the Wolfegg Housebook, von Eyb's kriegsbuch, and the various Swiss chronicles. I'm eager to understand better if this is plausible protection.

    Would it protect against a modern pistol? Carbine? Rifle?

    Would it protect against an Early modern pistol, petronel, arquebus or musket? (I would kind of doubt the latter but I know nothing like John Snow)

    Any info and especially stats and sources would be appreciated.

    G
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    I'm not sure, I'm not an expert on that period by any means, but I believe Procopius mentioned plumbata and pila in his Gothic Wars or one of the Wars books. Which is about mid 6th Century.


    I have a question for the gun people on this forum. The ballistic experts. How much protection would a mantlet of 4" thick wood provide against firearms, assuming pretty tough or hard wood.

    I know that a modern rifle would probably shoot through that. or anyway I've myself shot holes through and through trees that were probably 10" or so thick, though I don't know how much the type of wood matters.


    I'm reading a military manual from the 15th Century and it recommends 4" thick wood for wheeled mantlets like the ones I've posted images of in earlier incarnations of the thread, such as we see in Bellifortis, the Wolfegg Housebook, von Eyb's kriegsbuch, and the various Swiss chronicles. I'm eager to understand better if this is plausible protection.

    Would it protect against a modern pistol? Carbine? Rifle?

    Would it protect against an Early modern pistol, petronel, arquebus or musket? (I would kind of doubt the latter but I know nothing like John Snow)

    Any info and especially stats and sources would be appreciated.
    I don't think modern firearms with ballistically efficient, hard-jacketed ammunition are going to be a good parallel for weapons firing big fat spheres of lead.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    I'm not sure, I'm not an expert on that period by any means, but I believe Procopius mentioned plumbata and pila in his Gothic Wars or one of the Wars books. Which is about mid 6th Century.


    I have a question for the gun people on this forum. The ballistic experts. How much protection would a mantlet of 4" thick wood provide against firearms, assuming pretty tough or hard wood.

    I know that a modern rifle would probably shoot through that. or anyway I've myself shot holes through and through trees that were probably 10" or so thick, though I don't know how much the type of wood matters.


    I'm reading a military manual from the 15th Century and it recommends 4" thick wood for wheeled mantlets like the ones I've posted images of in earlier incarnations of the thread, such as we see in Bellifortis, the Wolfegg Housebook, von Eyb's kriegsbuch, and the various Swiss chronicles. I'm eager to understand better if this is plausible protection.

    Would it protect against a modern pistol? Carbine? Rifle?

    Would it protect against an Early modern pistol, petronel, arquebus or musket? (I would kind of doubt the latter but I know nothing like John Snow)

    Any info and especially stats and sources would be appreciated.

    G
    I can't remember the source, and there area a lot of details missing, but I have a note on my computer (must have been something I was researching for a modern-era game) that 2.5" of plywood will stop most lower-powered pistol rounds. , 5" for medium powered ones, and 8" for high powered ones. A cursory check brings up videos that get similar results.

    If this information is correct, that may be a useful starting point. A 17th century musket has similar energy levels to a modern medium-powered pistol (I'm finding roughly 550 ft-lbs for the musket, 300-400 for 9x19 parabellum, and 480-550 for .45 ACP), but the shape of the ball is going to make it significantly poorer at penetration (and better at wounding). This suggests, to me, that 4" of good wood will stop rounds from most man-portable black powder weapons. The popularity of logs as field fortifications in that era lends credence to this, as most available logs would not be much thicker than 4".

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Clistenes View Post
    But during the late Empire they replace most of the classical pilum-throwing units with spearmen and archers, didn't they?
    Maybe they supplanted the pila with plumbata because of the spear? Since carrying a spear (main weapon) along with several javelins won't be as easy when compared to a gladius, especially when you are also carrying a large shield.

    Several other (possible) reasons that I can think of:

    1) Adoption of barbarian practices
    2) Enemy became more mobile, which rendered close range pilum less effective
    3) Deterioration of other ranged elements in the legion (doubtful)
    Last edited by wolflance; 2017-08-16 at 09:48 PM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    I can't remember the source, and there area a lot of details missing, but I have a note on my computer (must have been something I was researching for a modern-era game) that 2.5" of plywood will stop most lower-powered pistol rounds. , 5" for medium powered ones, and 8" for high powered ones. A cursory check brings up videos that get similar results.

    If this information is correct, that may be a useful starting point. A 17th century musket has similar energy levels to a modern medium-powered pistol (I'm finding roughly 550 ft-lbs for the musket, 300-400 for 9x19 parabellum, and 480-550 for .45 ACP), but the shape of the ball is going to make it significantly poorer at penetration (and better at wounding). This suggests, to me, that 4" of good wood will stop rounds from most man-portable black powder weapons. The popularity of logs as field fortifications in that era lends credence to this, as most available logs would not be much thicker than 4".
    I agree.

    Interestingly enough, even with am higher energy, the 45 ACP is worse at penetrating than the 9 mm, since it's slower but more massive. I can imagine a round lead musket ball would be even less efficient at penetrating wood.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Clistenes View Post
    I have read that the athlete who developed that style (Miguel de la Quadra Salcedo?) copied it from a goat herder he saw throwing sticks at stray dogs who were harassing his goats...
    Not sure about the name, but the throwing style is called barra vasca, and you can see here why there were safety concerns. It's a traditional Basque technique, called Palanka in basque.

    It's damn near impossible to find any good information on it on the English internet.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Question again: At what time did sabatons started to (re)appear in Medieval Europe again? I recall last time someone ever used sabatons was during Archaic Greek period...

    Also, there's also something I don't understand about the following passage:

    Then could be seen the iron Charles, helmeted with an iron helmet, his hands clad in iron gauntlets, his iron breast and broad shoulders protected with an iron breast-plate; an iron spear was raised on high in his left hand; his right always rested on his unconquered iron falchion. The thighs, which with most men are uncovered, that they may the more easily ride on horseback, were in his case clad with plates of iron: I need make no special mention of his greaves, for the greaves of all the army were of iron. His shield was all of iron: his charger was iron-colored and iron-hearted. All who went before him, all who marched by his side, all who followed after him and the whole equipment of the army imitated him as closely as possible.
    While I understand that Notker was largely writing to impress and Carolingian soldiers didn't really armed that way, the passage really does make me twirl my head a little.

    Does the concept of "man encased in iron armor" really exist that early in the Middle Ages? Notker's writing sounds like a description of late Medieval knight in full plate, especially since he mentioned "iron breastplate", "thighs clad with plates of iron", as well as "iron sleeves" "iron gauntlets" etc, and this was before any kind of hand/foot armors existed in medieval Europe!
    Last edited by wolflance; 2017-08-17 at 08:58 AM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    You would need the Latin text to check that out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolflance View Post
    Question again: At what time did sabatons started to (re)appear in Medieval Europe again? I recall last time someone ever used sabatons was during Archaic Greek period...

    Also, there's also something I don't understand about the following passage:


    While I understand that Notker was largely writing to impress and Carolingian soldiers didn't really armed that way, the passage really does make me twirl my head a little.

    Does the concept of "man encased in iron armor" really exist that early in the Middle Ages? Notker's writing sounds like a description of late Medieval knight in full plate, especially since he mentioned "iron breastplate", "thighs clad with plates of iron", as well as "iron sleeves" "iron gauntlets" etc, and this was before any kind of hand/foot armors existed in medieval Europe!
    Alot of things apear in medieval texts that did not exist. Some texts have "men" made of iron (iron statues - no living men inside) which are able to move (in effect: robots!). I hardly think they existed... But people sure thought such things would be cool (as today apparently).

    Some of the descriptions of the different parts of armour might be affected by our vocabulary, rather than the text: so as Vinyadan say: You would need the Latin text to check that out. But it is worse than that, a 9th century Latin might not really be easy to translate when it comes to details, if we do not know what they are talking about... A word refers to something a person knows or can imagine, but as we want to know what the person knows/imagines we get into a circular conundrum of what the words mean.
    Last edited by Tobtor; 2017-08-17 at 01:18 PM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    I have a question for the gun people on this forum. The ballistic experts. How much protection would a mantlet of 4" thick wood provide against firearms, assuming pretty tough or hard wood.

    I know that a modern rifle would probably shoot through that. or anyway I've myself shot holes through and through trees that were probably 10" or so thick, though I don't know how much the type of wood matters.


    I'm reading a military manual from the 15th Century and it recommends 4" thick wood for wheeled mantlets like the ones I've posted images of in earlier incarnations of the thread, such as we see in Bellifortis, the Wolfegg Housebook, von Eyb's kriegsbuch, and the various Swiss chronicles. I'm eager to understand better if this is plausible protection.

    Would it protect against a modern pistol? Carbine? Rifle?

    Would it protect against an Early modern pistol, petronel, arquebus or musket? (I would kind of doubt the latter but I know nothing like John Snow)

    Any info and especially stats and sources would be appreciated.

    G
    It depends quite a bit on the wood, but a 4 inch mantlet would probably protect against most rounds at a distance.

    The Graz tests article which has been posted here before includes penetration results from various weapons against spruce at 30 and 100 meters.

    https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.ph...ew/17669/22312


    Lewis' Small Arms and Ammunition in the US Service includes the results of some experiments against white oak starting on page 93. The flintlock musket using a service load was able to penetrate 1 inch and 100 yards, .55 inch at 200 yards, and zero at 300 though a shallow dent was made.

    https://repository.si.edu/handle/10088/22919

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Re: wood and bullets, you have to consider the age of the forests, in addition to the type of tree. Modern lumber tends to be weaker than what the Swiss probably would have been using, because it mostly comes from farmed trees harvested young. The difference isn't necessarily enormous, but it can be noticeable.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by wolflance View Post
    Question again: At what time did sabatons started to (re)appear in Medieval Europe again? I recall last time someone ever used sabatons was during Archaic Greek period...
    1999, that's when the crazy Swedes formed the band.

    Okay, serious answer.

    First off, what do we consider sabatons? If the answer is plate kinda-sorta boots, then we need to go to about 1300 at the earliest, with them being in common use somewhere around 1350-1380.

    Thing is, the foot was hardly unprotected before then, mail hose went all the way down, earliest depiction I can think of is from 1150.

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    As for the reason, I'd say it's because of how shields for the infantry were shaped - they were quite long and protected your feet enough as it was, so you had no need for them unless you were cavalry, and even then, kite shields did offer some protection at least. I'd say it is no accident they appear in the period of time when we see kite shields being shortened into heater shields.

    Quote Originally Posted by wolflance View Post
    While I understand that Notker was largely writing to impress and Carolingian soldiers didn't really armed that way, the passage really does make me twirl my head a little.

    Does the concept of "man encased in iron armor" really exist that early in the Middle Ages? Notker's writing sounds like a description of late Medieval knight in full plate, especially since he mentioned "iron breastplate", "thighs clad with plates of iron", as well as "iron sleeves" "iron gauntlets" etc, and this was before any kind of hand/foot armors existed in medieval Europe!
    +1 to "we need latin text", historians are notoriously bad at translating equipment-related terminology. There was this one time I happened on leather armor in 1350 manuscript, and with the help of some people from this thread, found out the latin phrase was "lorica cucullata", which means hooded armor, and the phrase therefore probably meant vanilla mail without coat of plates or helmet (probably with crevelliere). Again, this was translated as leather armor.
    That which does not kill you made a tactical error.

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    Thanks for the answers guys.

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Greywolf View Post
    1999, that's when the crazy Swedes formed the band.
    Okay, serious answer.

    First off, what do we consider sabatons? If the answer is plate kinda-sorta boots, then we need to go to about 1300 at the earliest, with them being in common use somewhere around 1350-1380.

    Thing is, the foot was hardly unprotected before then, mail hose went all the way down, earliest depiction I can think of is from 1150.

    As for the reason, I'd say it's because of how shields for the infantry were shaped - they were quite long and protected your feet enough as it was, so you had no need for them unless you were cavalry, and even then, kite shields did offer some protection at least. I'd say it is no accident they appear in the period of time when we see kite shields being shortened into heater shields.
    Yes, I was asking about kinda-sorta plated boots. For chainmail foot armor, I recall there's evidence (and reconstruction) that suggest that Vendel splinted greaves include them.

    What about scale sabaton?

    +1 to "we need latin text"
    Unfortunately I can't find the Latin text, and I can't read latin either (sad puppy face).
    Last edited by wolflance; 2017-08-18 at 10:03 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolflance View Post
    Unfortunately I can't find the Latin text, and I can't read latin either (sad puppy face).
    There's a number of people on the board that can read Latin and even medieval Latin to a degree, so if you can find the text, we can do the rest.

    Unfortunately, my knowledge of Latin extends to an understanding of 'Romanes eunt domus'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    There's a number of people on the board that can read Latin and even medieval Latin to a degree, so if you can find the text, we can do the rest.

    Unfortunately, my knowledge of Latin extends to an understanding of 'Romanes eunt domus'.
    I actually found what appear to be the Latin text of Deeds of Charlemagne

    http://www.dmgh.de/de/fs1/object/dis...3A00&zoom=0.75

    Unfortunately, having no knowledge on Latin, I have no idea which page is about the passage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolflance View Post
    I actually found what appear to be the Latin text of Deeds of Charlemagne

    http://www.dmgh.de/de/fs1/object/dis...3A00&zoom=0.75

    Unfortunately, having no knowledge on Latin, I have no idea which page is about the passage.
    Quote Originally Posted by wolflance View Post
    I actually found what appear to be the Latin text of Deeds of Charlemagne

    http://www.dmgh.de/de/fs1/object/dis...3A00&zoom=0.75

    Unfortunately, having no knowledge on Latin, I have no idea which page is about the passage.
    http://www.dmgh.de/de/fs1/object/dis...869_00783.html
    from #40, tunc visus est...

    My translation:

    Charles himself then seemed made of iron, surmounted by an iron helmet (galea), decked with iron armlets*, his iron breast and broad shoulders protected by an iron cuirass**, having filled his left hand with an iron spear held high; for his right hand was always stretched to the unconquered steel sword***; the exteriors of the tights/hips, which others use to leave bare to climb with better ease, in his case were encompassed by iron leaves****. What should I say about the greaves? Which the whole army also used to always wear of iron. Nothing is to be seen in the shield, but iron. His horse also shone back with iron, both in his temperament and in his colour.

    * sleeves: manicis armillatus. Armillatus means "decked with something surrounding the limb", and, while it's often used for bracelets, it can also be used for different body parts, like the neck. "manicis" means "with manicae", which literally are sleeves that were so long as to cover the hands too. Because of this, the word could also mean gloves. In Roman times, when used referring to a soldier, it was arm protection (an armlet). So it could also be an armlet. At first I thought that it was the long sleeves of a mail, but then the description seems to talk about the single separate parts of the panoply one by one, so I guess armlets.

    ** OK, I'm posting this in case someone ever looks for platonic shoulders or homeros platonicos: Plato's name meant "broad" because he had very broad shoulders. Option B was understanding it as a derivative of a word meaning marble, like "marble shoulders", but it isn't likely. "Iron breast" is likely a play on the fact that breast also meant temperament. The cuirass is a general term for torso protection. Thorax means torso, but can also mean any clothing worn on it, and cuirass too; here is in the form without h, and is also feminine instead of the usual masculine, which can happen and is registered in dictionaries. Anyway, it doesn't have to be a breastplate.

    *** Steel: calibem. The word also means "things made of steel", among which swords (there is an example in which someone holding "steel" means that he has an unsheathed sword in his hand).

    **** This is actually said by the philologist who made the critical edition: bratteolis:laminis. Bracteolae were very thin leaves of gold in classical Latin, laminis can be larger. Now, how large were these metal leaves or plates? And what were they supposed to be? I honestly don't know. Maybe they were some sort of iron pteruges, maybe they were scales. I find the note interesting, because, if it was a hindrance, then it's possible that the mails worn on the torso had some sort of slit to allow for movement, or was too short to protect the legs, and so he wore (or Balbulus made up) a kind of protection worn on the external side of the tights, separate from the torso armour.

    Fun fact about the greaves: according to the dictionary, the Romans used to wear one on the right leg only, while the Samnites used to wear one on the left leg only.

    Anyway, I guess the translator wasn't too interested into medieval weaponry of different periods In general, the translation is sort-of-right, in that he picked meanings which the words can have, but the words also have other meanings that are better suited to this case. But it isn't an easy pace. The only thing I don't get is why he translated visus sum as "I am seen" instead of "I seem, appear".

    It would be useful if someone else also gave a translation, so as to have more than one mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    My translation:

    Charles himself then seemed made of iron, surmounted by an iron helmet (galea), decked with iron armlets*, his iron breast and broad shoulders protected by an iron cuirass**, having filled his left hand with an iron spear held high; for his right hand was always stretched to the unconquered steel sword***; the exteriors of the tights/hips, which others use to leave bare to climb with better ease, in his case were encompassed by iron leaves****. What should I say about the greaves? Which the whole army also used to always wear of iron. Nothing is to be seen in the shield, but iron. His horse also shone back with iron, both in his temperament and in his colour.
    Wow, thanks for the translation! You are awesome!

    Your translation actually makes a lot more sense to me now. I can more easily picture Charlemagne as an extremely well-armored, if somewhat fanciful, warrior of the 9th century, instead of the previous full-plate knight in my head.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    armlets
    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    iron leaves
    It appears to me that Nokter was trying to emulate the attire of an armored Roman general? The "manicae" and "iron leaves" give off the vibes of the Roman armguard (manica) and Pteruges, respectively.

    Add a muscled cuirass and you get someone that's nearly indistinguishable from a Roman general.

    Does the "armlet" imply short length? I recall some Byzantine armors have short armlets that protect only the upper arm.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    Fun fact about the greaves: according to the dictionary, the Romans used to wear one on the right leg only, while the Samnites used to wear one on the left leg only.
    Many tell me that Roman use right greave because they already had a big shield to protect their left, although I can't really understand the logic behind it.

    Most people lean their body sideways during combat (especially formation fighting), presenting their left side to enemy while hide their right side away from them. Right leg should be the most well-hidden body part in most cases, so it really doesn't need that extra protection.

    Samnites choice makes much more sense to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolflance View Post
    Many tell me that Roman use right greave because they already had a big shield to protect their left, although I can't really understand the logic behind it.

    Most people lean their body sideways during combat (especially formation fighting), presenting their left side to enemy while hide their right side away from them. Right leg should be the most well-hidden body part in most cases, so it really doesn't need that extra protection.

    Samnites choice makes much more sense to me.
    Except that legionaries typically fought with a gladius which is a comparatively short sword (blade length of 50-60cm). When you're pressed up against the enemy in close formation, you would stand side on as you need the extra stability and footing for what is essentially a pushing competition with extra stabbing, and the short range of the weapon is an advantage (easy to move about and not get tangled up with the person next to you).

    However before that stage, the two sides will start off outside of weapons range and move in to trade blows - here you would need the extra range granted by standing face on, particularly to make up for the short length of the gladius. Additionally if you stepped in to lunge, your right leg would be exposed, thus the additional protection.
    Generally after a few minutes of close-in shoving-match fighting, the two sides will tend to back off to get a breather and work up the courage to have another go - it's not like in Hollywood where battles are depicted as non-stop close in fighting, although siege assaults are a prime exception.

    As can be seen, the Roman style of fighting was designed for close in combat, so savvy opponents didn't give them that opportunity where possible.
    Last edited by Brother Oni; 2017-08-20 at 01:42 AM.

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    I was just reading Warren Ellis's graphic novel 'CRECY' about the battle of Crecy and after the battle the point-of-view character/narrator, a longbowman in the English army comments :
    " We finished the idea of horses in war for over two hundred years "

    This seems a very strange statement to me and I wondered if there was anything to back it up ?

    ( As the character is, as he says, a provincial common soldier he's referring to war in Europe only)
    Last edited by comicshorse; 2017-08-20 at 06:23 AM.
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    It is possible that the author was trying to portray a Roman-looking Emperor. We have very few reliable illustrations of Frankish equipment from this period (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/C...ib_Bibl.fol.23 https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/C...Codex_PER_F_17 ), and those which go for idealization tend to show Roman-like equipment, possibly under Byzantine influence ( https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/C...uve_-_BNF_Lat1 ).

    There's also the fact that certain Roman art pieces like Trajan's Column were well known, and some have identified their influence on Medieval art (some e.g. see the Bayeux Tapestry as a reelaboration of the Column).

    The Latin word for armlet doesn't say anything about length. Manicae could even be handcuffs, or sleeves covering the whole of the arm. The term is also used in the testament of Everardus, one of Charlemagne's dukes, likely also describing an armourpiece ( Bruniam unam, helmum unum, Manicam unam. ) So we can suppose that Charles wasn't the only one using those in battle, and that they really did exist, at least for the elite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by comicshorse View Post
    I was just reading Warren Ellis's graphic novel 'CRECY' about the battle of Crecy and after the battle the point-of-view character/narrator, a longbowman in the English army comments :
    " We finished the idea of horses in war for over two hundred years "

    This seems a very strange statement to me and I wondered if there was anything to back it up ?

    ( As the character is, as he says, a provincial common soldier he's referring to war in Europe only)
    They could be referring to the idea of the mounted charge, though it's a bit anachronistic. It's true that most cavalry in Europe went through a period where the caracole was popular--the cavalry would not charge; instead, they were arranged in a loose, deep formation, and would fire pistols before rotating to the back of the formation to reload. The caracole began to see widespread use in the early-mid 1500s and was beginning to be replaced by 1600 or before, although it still did exist afterward. Even then, there were armies who still used shock cavalry (mostly eastern Europe--the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth never really broke from shock cavalry, as far as I know), and some western European armies that ordered cavalry to fire their pistols then charge. That shift in tactics is likely due more to the rise of gunpowder weapons rather than anything to do with the battle of Crecy or the effectiveness of the bow against knights. It'd take almost six hundred years before the horse in battle was totally "finished"; in the First World War both sides had reserve cavalry divisions in place to exploit a breakthrough up until the latter stages of the war.

    Even then, in some of the more recent conflicts in the Middle East, the US Army has used horses for transportation (if not for combat) since they're able to navigate the rough, mountainous terrain better than some vehicles. So the horse arguably still makes itself useful in warfare even today.

    EDIT: as a specific counterexample, the battle of Grunwald in 1410 that marked the beginning of the end for the Teutonic Order between the TO and Polish-Lithuanian forces saw heavy shock cavalry in use by both sides, less than a hundred years after Crecy.
    Last edited by rs2excelsior; 2017-08-20 at 11:12 AM.
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