Armour Never Wearies Scale and Lamellar Armour in the West, from the Bronze Age to the 19th Century

Armour Never Wearies Scale and Lamellar Armour in the West, from the Bronze Age to the 19th Century

Language: English

Pages: 128

ISBN: 0752488627

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


This is the first volume to bring together all the hitherto scattered evidence—archaeological, literary, and artistic—for the forms and uses of scale and lamellar armors in the region west of the Urals throughout the two thousand years during which these armors were used. Lamellar armor differs from the earlier scale armor in not needing a backing for the individual pieces of leather, iron, or bronze. The interpretation of this meticulous collection of data is informed by the author’s decades-long practical experience as a maker of arms and armor, martial artist, and horseman. It offers systematic definitions and analysis of these often misunderstood forms of armor, along with detailed diagrams and instructions that will be of great use to any who wish to turn their hands to reconstruction. Along the way, this unique synthesis of evidence and interpretation debunks myths that have arisen in recent years.

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the second and third centuries evidently broadened the Romans’ scale armour repertoire. The booty shown on the reliefs on the base of Trajan’s Column includes finely rendered scale shirts providing greater coverage than had been seen on earlier Roman sources, including elbow-length and wrist-length sleeves, and helms with scaled neck guards (ill. 7). Pictorial material confirms the continuity of scale armour in Roman use to the fall of the western provinces.37 In addition to type 5b, the Romans

disarticulated fragments, and so these cannot in themselves be very informative. Even better-preserved examples have sometimes been misinterpreted by non-specialists dealing with the finds. A significant amount of the material in major collections was either excavated in what would now be considered an unacceptably unscientific manner, or else was acquired through the commercial antiquities market. The latter has long been prone to having the provenance details of artefacts embellished, or simply

would significantly reduce the amount of material required and hence the weight, by about one-third, but at the cost of making the row binding much more sparse and the fabric concomitantly less durable. The Assyrian reliefs that are preserved in the British Museum and elsewhere show a great array of armour, much of which appears to be varieties of external small plate fabric. The reliefs are dated from the mid-ninth century to the late seventh century BCE. These artefacts have been discussed

(p. 94) that the biblical characters shown on the exterior of the church are all famous liberators of their respective peoples. It is noteworthy that the military saints shown on the church are all clad in scale armours, appropriately harking back to Roman practice in the periods in which they are supposed to have lived. 149 Mamuka Tsurtsumia’s suggestion that banded lamellar may have been invented in Georgia cannot be entertained. In addition to these draughtsmanship issues, there is the

One thing is quite clear – that leather is used for external small plate armour reconstructions in both re-enactments and films far more often than the evidence justifies. The protective functionality of the armours In combat that does not involve firearms, armour is confronted with four types of challenge: sharp impacts, blunt impacts, cuts and stabs. The following observations are based upon several decades of the author’s involvement in re-enactment and military living history and in

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