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Thread: A question about byzantine armor

  1. #21

    Default Re: A question about byzantine armor

    I hate to repeat myself, but you either didn't read the above posted or were keen to disregard it. We're talking about multiple records of purchases, that mention the acquisition of thousands of pieces of armor. They pose a fraction of the arms trade in Serbia, because they are evidence of trade between only one buyer (King/Emperor) and one seller (the city of Dubrovnik as the middle man) in a relatively short time period.

    On the other hand, what is the evidence for lamellar armor in the 14th century? Frescoes? Not only are they unrealistic, but you will find similar portrayals of armor in Orthodox art anywhere up to the 17th century.

    To answer OP's question. I have no idea what the Byzantines used, not my area of interest. Sorry and sorry.
    Last edited by Rad; September 16, 2017 at 05:56 AM.
    I recommend a pugio rather than a spear, because in close quarters combat, a dagger will serve you better than a spear.

    Rad, 2016.

  2. #22

    Default Re: A question about byzantine armor

    Quote Originally Posted by Rad View Post
    I hate to repeat myself, but you either didn't read the above posted or were keen to disregard it. We're talking about multiple records of purchases, that mention the acquisition of thousands of pieces of armor. They pose a fraction of the arms trade in Serbia, because they are evidence of trade between only one buyer (King/Emperor Dusan) and one seller (the city of Dubrovnik as the middle man) in a relatively short time period.

    On the other hand, what is the evidence for lamellar armor in the 14th century? Frescoes? Not only are they unrealistic, but you will find similar portrayals of armor in Orthodox art anywhere up to the 17th century.

    To answer OP's question. I have no idea what the Byzantines used, not my area of interest. Sorry and sorry.
    Then u have a point.
    I cant belive that science cant answear this question!

  3. #23

    Default Re: A question about byzantine armor

    Quote Originally Posted by thekingsmen View Post
    Then u have a point.
    I cant belive that science cant answear this question!
    Archaeology in Serbia... is in a mess. It isn't properly funded, which is somewhat understandable, under the current economical circumstances.
    Last edited by Rad; September 16, 2017 at 05:55 AM.
    I recommend a pugio rather than a spear, because in close quarters combat, a dagger will serve you better than a spear.

    Rad, 2016.

  4. #24

    Default Re: A question about byzantine armor

    Quote Originally Posted by Rad View Post
    Do not use Orthodox art as a source for learning about/reconstructing contemporary armor in Orthodox countries.

    Byzantine and byzantine influenced art has a pre-established standard for depicting combatants. Armor is HEAVILY stylised and apart from the occasional exception (for example bascinet, maille collar), it does not represent the armor being worn in the time of the creation of the artwork.

    I understand this, but I wonder, why are the swords not stylized?

    I am going through medieval Roman reliefs and imagery and from what I see, the sword development is really up to date, from the original type X going through the centuries as western swords were developing.

  5. #25

    Default Re: A question about byzantine armor

    Not only are swords quite realistic, but other weapons too. Maces, axes, bows etc. There's even a crossbow shown in Decani.
    Shields seem to be contemporary as well, with some heaters and pavises showing here and there.
    Maille is relatively rarely shown, but when it is, it is depicted quite nicely. Also, pieces of mail - there's a mail standard shown in Ravanica.
    Bascinets and kettle helmets start appearing in art in the 14th century (Kettle helmets might have appeared earlier, will have to check).
    Articles of medieval clothing like braies and hosen are shown.

    Like I said, some elements in Church art are contemporary to the time of its creation. For reasons unknown to me, the torso protection is usually the main subject of the artists' wrath lol.

    I'm against the notion that lamellar was used in 14th/15th century Serbia because of the lack of evidence for it.
    Last edited by Rad; September 16, 2017 at 06:22 PM.
    I recommend a pugio rather than a spear, because in close quarters combat, a dagger will serve you better than a spear.

    Rad, 2016.

  6. #26

    Default Re: A question about byzantine armor

    Do we know for sure if the bizantine used them?
    What else should bizantine use?
    If they still used it why wouldnt serbs?

  7. #27

    Default Re: A question about byzantine armor

    Quote Originally Posted by thekingsmen View Post
    Do we know for sure if the bizantine used them?
    What else should bizantine use?
    If they still used it why wouldnt serbs?
    14/15th century Greece is not my area of interest. I have no idea.
    I have no idea.
    Serbia was becoming wealthier all the time, even when the Turks started messing around. With established trade links to the West that enabled the import of armor considered to be best in the world at the time, I see no reason for the continued use of lamellar, even if the Byzantines continued to use it. Bosnia also seems to have moved to the use of imported western armor. One big example is the Maglaj fortress hoard.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Last edited by Rad; September 17, 2017 at 08:32 AM.
    I recommend a pugio rather than a spear, because in close quarters combat, a dagger will serve you better than a spear.

    Rad, 2016.

  8. #28

    Default Re: A question about byzantine armor

    Thank you for your answers guys! About the byzantines, I guess we wont have good answers as long as more archeological discoveries aren't made. There are some indirect clues that I've been trying to make sense of, but I still can't see the bigger picture.
    There is some evidence that at the first half of the 14th century, the byzantines were using some kind of armor over their mails (see this discussion at reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/translator/...m_ibn_battuta/ ). Unfortunally, the fragment by Ibn Battuta is not clear enough to define what kind of armor would that be.
    There is also the will of the Skouterios Theodore Sarantenos that implies mail (lorikion/lorikon) as the mail armor worn by a rich cavalrymen of the same period, but again the terms are not clear (he also had a kazakan/kazagand, which supposedly also had a mail layer).
    The instructions of Theodore Palaiologos, which suggest for the same period a combination of mail and an unspecified cuiriee (maybe a leather armor, maybe an early cuirass, it's not clear).
    Another indirect source in the painting "Saint George and the Princess", by Pisanello, which was supposedly inspired, in some details, by contemporary byzantine dress, and which depicts the saint in an archaic looking cuirass.
    There is also the mention of the 300 burgundian soldiers sent to Emperor Constantine in 1445, which probably would bring modern plate armor with them.
    The final indirect clue is, in my view, the fact the the Stradioti in venetian service are mentioned as having at most mail armor and a helmet, with only a few wearing a "panziere" (maybe plate belly armor).
    What can we make of all these indirect clues? The more I look into them, the more confused I get.

    EDIT: Apparently the only two pieces of armor in greek museums labelled as byzantine ones are mail suits. There is also the fact the the Ottomans usually kept the looted armor pieces of their conquests in the Istambul armouries or worn them in further campaigns, and from what I know, they didn't change from their mail/plated mail armors after their conquest of greece, nor are there lamellar armor pieces in the Topkapi collections (some of the captured european plate armor pieces might have been worn by the greeks during the 15th century i guess, though I don't think there are many ways to test this possibility.)
    Last edited by D.Sebastian; March 05, 2018 at 11:57 AM.

  9. #29
    paleologos's Avatar You need burrito love!!
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    Default Re: A question about byzantine armor

    Quote Originally Posted by D.Sebastian View Post
    Thank you for your answers guys! About the byzantines, I guess we wont have good answers as long as more archeological discoveries aren't made. There are some indirect clues that I've been trying to make sense of, but I still can't see the bigger picture.
    There is some evidence that at the first half of the 14th century, the byzantines were using some kind of armor over their mails (see this discussion at reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/translator/...m_ibn_battuta/ ). Unfortunally, the fragment by Ibn Battuta is not clear enough to define what kind of armor would that be.
    There is also the will of the Skouterios Theodore Sarantenos that implies mail (lorikion/lorikon) as the mail armor worn by a rich cavalrymen of the same period, but again the terms are not clear (he also had a kazakan/kazagand, which supposedly also had a mail layer).
    The instructions of Theodore Palaiologos, which suggest for the same period a combination of mail and an unspecified cuiriee (maybe a leather armor, maybe an early cuirass, it's not clear).
    Another indirect source in the painting "Saint George and the Princess", by Pisanello, which was supposedly inspired, in some details, by contemporary byzantine dress, and which depicts the saint in an archaic looking cuirass.
    There is also the mention of the 300 burgundian soldiers sent to Emperor Constantine in 1445, which probably would bring modern plate armor with them.
    The final indirect clue is, in my view, the fact the the Stradioti in venetian service are mentioned as having at most mail armor and a helmet, with only a few wearing a "panziere" (maybe plate belly armor).
    What can we make of all these indirect clues? The more I look into them, the more confused I get.

    EDIT: Apparently the only two pieces of armor in greek museums labelled as byzantine ones are mail suits. There is also the fact the the Ottomans usually kept the looted armor pieces of their conquests in the Istambul armouries or worn them in further campaigns, and from what I know, they didn't change from their mail/plated mail armors after their conquest of greece, nor are there lamellar armor pieces in the Topkapi collections (some of the captured european plate armor pieces might have been worn by the greeks during the 15th century i guess, though I don't think there are many ways to test this possibility.)
    Take a look at the images below:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Στρατιώτες_09.jpg 
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    First soldier from the left is sporting a kazaka.
    If you observe near the collar you will notice that the artist tried to paint mail on the inside.
    So basically it was a sleeveless jacket with chain mail sewn in the inside.
    It has been argued that the name implies an origin from the Kazaks.

    The other two soldiers are wearing lorikia (lorikion in singular from lorica hamata).



    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Στρατιώτες_03.jpg 
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    The lamellar vest in the soldier at the front is the klivanion.
    That's the closest thing to a breastplate the Byzantines used.
    Notice the splinted armor pieces for the fore arms (cheiropsela - chiropselon in singular) and legs (podopsela - podopselon in singular).


    The heaviest of the Byzantine cavalry, the Kataphraktoi of the 11th-12th century and later, were armored like in the image below:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Click image for larger version. 

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    On top of all that they wore an extra layer of padding, called the epilorikion and ende up looking like this:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    I hope this answers it.

  10. #30
    Hrobatos's Avatar Tribunus
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    Default Re: A question about byzantine armor

    It kind of doesnt xD

    Its been a matter of debate for years here whether lammelar armor was used in 12-15 centuries or not.

    Basicly some people say that lammelar was not used anymore and frescoes which do show it merely copy older frescoes and do not show actual situation.

    According to them actual armors were just as same as in Western Europe, mail and coat of plates and so on.

    Other group thinks that some lammelar armor was still to some extent used.

    It has been pretty much endless debate so far. We as Tsardoms team have decidee to include lammelar armors and some people didnt liked that really.


    What poster above wishes to say as I understood it is that it is not always clear what writers meant when they used those terms. They did not have had such universal meaning.

    A good example is a list of mid XV. century armory content of one city in Dalmatia.
    Its written in mix of Venetian and Dalmatian dialects ands its sometimes quite hard ti tell what those pieces exactly are. We can make assumptions of course but some element of uncertainity remains.
    Last edited by Hrobatos; March 05, 2018 at 03:36 PM.

  11. #31
    paleologos's Avatar You need burrito love!!
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    Default Re: A question about byzantine armor

    Quote Originally Posted by Hrobatos View Post
    ...
    Basicly some people say that lammelar was not used anymore and frescoes which do show it merely copy older frescoes and do not show actual situation.
    ...
    I know the argument but there are not just frescoes.
    There are also manuscripts.
    I do admit that frescoes of military saints depict them anachronistically but they may just as well be depicting the ceremonial attire of military officers.
    And there is at least one fresco -or icon perhaps - that depicts the scene of the arrest of Jesus Christ by the soldiers of Herod - I think.
    The interesting part is that the artists made the soldiers in the liking of the much despised -among the populace of Constandinople- Varangian Guard.
    Artists would paint what they would see IRL of their time.

    I suppose it is the right of anyone to hold their own guesswork in higher regard than the works of professor Dawson, just as it is the right of modders to make a mod that pleases them the most.

  12. #32
    Wallachian's Avatar Praefectus
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    Default Re: A question about byzantine armor

    Quote Originally Posted by paleologos View Post
    I suppose it is the right of anyone to hold their own guesswork in higher regard than the works of professor Dawson, just as it is the right of modders to make a mod that pleases them the most.
    EXACTLY! A lot of the modern illustrators are history professors, researchers and specialists in the field. I trust them more than anything including primary resources simply because a historian distills all of those primary sources, corroborates them with other sources and reaches an educated opinion.

  13. #33

    Default Re: A question about byzantine armor

    Just to be clear, I am commenting about armor in Serbia during the 14th and 15th centuries. If your post was related to Byzantine armor, please ignore this. I am not at all familiar with what kind of armor was used in the Byzantine Empire during the Middle Ages, it's not my area of interest.

    Quote Originally Posted by paleologos View Post
    I know the argument but there are not just frescoes.
    There are also manuscripts.
    Sure there are. In Serbian Orthodox art, they are also bound by the same canon rules as frescoes. Manuscripts are not somehow free to do as they please, especially if you take into consideration that almost all, if not all of the surviving Serbian manuscripts are ecclesiastical in nature - psalters, gospels etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by paleologos View Post
    Artists would paint what they would see IRL of their time.
    In Western Europe, yes, with some exceptions. Serbian Orthodox art if different. In Serbian Orthodox art, we are not so lucky. Most of the time, depictions of contemporary armor are the exception, rather than the norm.
    Last edited by Rad; March 07, 2018 at 10:49 AM.
    I recommend a pugio rather than a spear, because in close quarters combat, a dagger will serve you better than a spear.

    Rad, 2016.

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