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Subarmalis or gambeson?
#46
Are you telling meg that before late antiquity soldiers were rarely hit in the body? Also I just cannot think of a reason, why you would get hit in the body more in the medieval times.
Kis György Márk (by western standards, György Márk Kis)

Legio Leonum Valentiniani

www.legioleonum.hu
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#47
Quote:That's certainly possible.

It is! You could wear mail over ordinary clothing - or even bare skin, if you were so inclined - and it would provide a certain degree of protection against glancing blows and so on. But - as you've demonstrated, Dan - mail was a very effective armour against most weapons and in use for over a thousand years. It would make sense (although 'sense' is not evidence!) to ensure that your armour was as effective as possible, and a layer of something thickish worn beneath it would certainly add to its effectiveness.

How much practical padding would be afforded by wearing several tunics on top of each other? There's the note in Suetonius that Augustus wore 'no fewer than four' tunics in winter, over a woolen 'chest protector'. Might a length of wool wrapped around the torso, with several layers of wool or linen tunic over the top, provide adequate protection without the need for a separate padded garment worn beneath mail?
Nathan Ross
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#48
Quote:Might a length of wool wrapped around the torso, with several layers of wool or linen tunic over the top, provide adequate protection without the need for a separate padded garment worn beneath mail?
I know people who fight with SCA rattan sticks and others who fight with blunt steel swords, who reckon that their mail works perfectly fine worn over a single woollen tunic. None of them have suffered "broken collarbones and ribs" and no "fractured sternums" either. Mail absorbs a lot more impact than people seem to think. This suggests that there is no need for a dedicated padded undergarment, such as a subarmalis. Some people wore them though - in Europe they were called pourpoints and aketons. IIRC the earliest mention of them is in the 12th century. But to claim that mail isn't effective without them is unfounded. I suppose it depends on what threats you are expecting to face. Perhaps the types of weapons or style of fighting changed in the 12th century leading to an increased need for padding underneath.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#49
Quote:Are you telling meg that before late antiquity soldiers were rarely hit in the body? Also I just cannot think of a reason, why you would get hit in the body more in the medieval times.

Soldiers were rarely hit in the body period. Even in the Dark-Age Chesterfield battlefield find all the wounds were to the extremeties or head, with none to the torso and only 1 to the thighs.

Also, I was implying that since the Spatha has more reach, you can get over and around someone's big shield with it to cut them in the body.
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#50
Skeletal analysis performed on the bodies at the Wisby battlefield showed dozens of wounds on arms, legs and skulls, but not a single injury to the torso. One dude had both of his legs amputated below the knees with a single cut. Troops either wore mail haubergeons or coats of plates.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#51
If only we had similar battlefield archaeology/analysis from the ancient world....alas. Confusedad:

Dan, forgive me, but the structural flexibility in mail would lead me to believe that bones would be dreadfully exposed to blunt force trauma. I'm not saying that I don't believe you, as I have no direct experience at all with any experimental archaeology, but do you really believe your colleagues are using full force with one another?

However, logically speaking, I've always thought that the subarmalis, unless deemed absolutely necessary in order to ensure survival, would be very unpopular with combatants in the Mediterranean during the campaigning season. I mean, can you imagine having two layers of textile, one of which possibly padded, underneath your armor as you fight underneath the Mediterranean sun? If it was unnecessary, as you're saying, I wouldn't be surprised if it was rarely used by your average trooper.
Alexander
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#52
SCA fighters definitely don't pull their blows. Even in live steel events where this is supposed to be done, it doesn't always happen. But in "real" combat, fighters aren't swinging away at each other's body armour anyway. You can tell that by looking at the location of injuries on the skeletons found on various battlefields.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#53
We know in past people worn some protection under chainmail: maybe leather, an extra linen or wool tunic. We know about the existence of thoracomacus and some kind of quilted garment. In fact I've worn an extra wool tunic under chainmail untill now, so I think I will make a felt tunic with 3 or 5 mm. After reading your posts I think it's the most reliable solution.
Sergio

Historian.

Regnum Barbaricum

Barcino, Tarraconensis, Hispania.
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#54
Could probably mention the supposed 'leather shirt' (also called a 'jacket') found at Vindonissa, together with several other leather bits and pieces sometimes interpretated as 'shoulder patches' for a similar garment.

I've never seen pictures of these things, just seen them referred to in e.g D'Amato, so I don't know whether the identification is still accepted (or whether they've been transformed into 'horse fittings', which seems the inevitable fate of Roman leather remains!)...

But if anyone were looking for evidential support for a possible leather or rawhide subarmalis, this might be the best available.
Nathan Ross
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#55
Didn't D'Amato claim it was a leather segmentata or something?
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#56
That was something else! As far as I recall, he just called the leather shirt a shirt...

The Vindonissa finds don't seem to have been widely discussed - there are only a few scattered references... (this one calls it a 'jacket' and suggests it had sleeves, while this claims it had a 'thong' on it...)
Nathan Ross
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#57
Any images of it?
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#58
There is apparently a photo on p.137 of D'Amato's Arms and Armour of the Imperial Roman Soldier, but I don't have a copy of that book. If anyone does, perhaps they could oblige...
Nathan Ross
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#59
I don't have pictures at hand from Gansser (Das Leder und seine Verarbeitung im römischen Legionslager Vindonissa. Gesellschaft Pro Vindonissa, 1942), but I went through it some years ago in the library. If I find the time I'll go and look at it once more in the next weeks. There are a number of fragments out of which Gansser reconstructed (or wanted to reconstruct) a leather jacket, front opening apparently, which is unusual for garments of that time in itself. Though the pieces could well be from garments, I wasn't convinced they all came from one and the same. After all they came from a dumpsite IIRC.
The same is true for other pieces of leather that are reported as pieces of garments (e.g. the pieces reported in Louise Miller, John Schofield, Michael Rhodes. The Roman Quay at St. Magnus House, London: Excavations at New Fresh Wharf, Lower Thames Street, London, 1974-78, cited above by you, Nathan). They may well be, but from what little survives, it is hard to say much more than garments (tunics?) made from leather existed. I haven't come across any so far that was complete enough to show what such a "shirt" really looked like unfortunately.
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#60
If one turns up anywhere, it will likely be Egypt or the middle eastern Roman provinces like Judea. Leather survives in some of those hot conditions.

Who knows, something might turn up at Lejjun. They've only excavated a tiny fraction of the fortress.
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