Author Topic: Studded Leather Armor & Ring Mail Armor: Historical?  (Read 17429 times)

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Offline Breandan

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Re: Studded Leather Armor & Ring Mail Armor: Historical?
« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2009, 02:22:42 AM »
I could see studded leather jerkins and doublets as a decorative ensemble, but for armour, I agree, really don't see that it would do much in the way of protecting beyond the slight defense the leather would give. Ring jacks, on the other hand, I can definitely see offering some protection to varying degrees based on many factors (thickness of the leather, size and proximity of the rings, etc.), with the set ALS makes being a good example of a set any footman would want if he couldn't afford maille.

As for the original poster, I guess it all boils down to a simple question: how accurate do you need to be, and how much evidence do you need to back you up?
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Offline ALS

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Re: Studded Leather Armor & Ring Mail Armor: Historical?
« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2009, 09:24:02 AM »
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With armors such as studded leather, and ring mail, I can see a very simple cause for lack of evidence. Leather and material rot, where the smaller peices of metal do not. And as said, metal was very valuable, and would be re-used. Also, artistic reprenetations would be near impossible to classify. A Bayeux period depiction of ring mail would most likely look the same as chain, a rough reprentation of rings overlaying on the body. Studded leathers could very easily be confused with brigandine in drawings and embroidery.

There are no written references to " studded leather " or anything like it in any surviving funery inventory, will , muster decree, chronicle or saga where armour is likely to be mentioned whereas there are at least a few passing references to " ringmaille " to be found which is very strong evidence for it not having been used. As far as artistic representation, sit three people down and ask them to draw maille ( 4 in 1 type made from interlinked rings ). The results will  not look the same, move those drawings ahead 300 years and ask people what its supposed to be and see what sorts of interpretations you get. We know that maille is the longest lived type of body armour in existance ( it is believed it was transmitted through Europe by the Celts around 800 BC ) from its beginings around 800BC if not earlier right up to the end of the 19th century in India and Africa. During that 2800 years span the number of different artistic representations is hard to even comprehend, what we do have is a long lasting record of this type of defense and a few sparse mentions of " ringmaille " which may just as well be another term for the same thing ( this is very common in arms and armour as different regions had different names for the same thing, pauldron, spaulder, espaulier all refer to the same thing, plate shoulder defense ), if one is erring on the side of caution, ringmaille as some unknown different type of armour doesn't have alot of proff on its side at this time. As I stated earlier, there is always the chance for some great future find, this kind of thing happens all the time. As far as studded leather looking like brigandine, the problem really comes from the fact that the farther forward we come in history the better the surviving documentation, the 15th century ( when brig came into use ) is rife with surviving records of all sorts and there is not a single mention of the stuff anywhere in the records which again as stated above does not make a strong case for its existance.

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I have known a few SCAdians who swore on the authenticity of ring type armors

There some very knowlegable folks in the SCA and some folks who propigate and perpetuate some huge myths to justify a particular kit, this is especially true of relative newbies who don't bother much with research beyond movies and don't have alot of cash so want to justify thier cheapo rig as historical to get in the ring so it is sometimes wise to take claims of accuracy with a grain of salt unless intimate with the SCAdian claimant and thier source. I've heard some flat out fantasies from newbie stick jockies who can't wait to get in the ring and hit some one, justifying thier mix of loaner gear and ebay cheapo as " accurate ".
« Last Edit: July 04, 2009, 10:27:45 AM by ALS »

Offline Obadiah Jib

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Re: Studded Leather Armor & Ring Mail Armor: Historical?
« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2009, 12:24:19 AM »
I suppose the old thought was that either studs or rings sew to a leather jack would hinder the ability to cut or slash through the armor.  Obviously neither would do anything against a crushing weapon and very little against a weapon that pierces (piercing doing more fatal wounds).  I noticed on Wiki that these armors might have been first described in the Victorian time period.  While they both seem possible to create in the past (maybe in the East) no current hard evidence has been discovered to support these type of armor ever existed in Europe.

I recall watching the British series "Robin of Sherwood" that had Robin wearing a ring mail jack.
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Offline ALS

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Re: Studded Leather Armor & Ring Mail Armor: Historical?
« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2009, 01:11:50 AM »
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I recall watching the British series "Robin of Sherwood" that had Robin wearing a ring mail jack.

The movie industries first and only job is to make an entertaining product, not public eduction which is important to keep in mind when watching any film, they're not documentaires but skits so the most important thing is to keep you watching not educated.

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I suppose the old thought was that either studs or rings sew to a leather jack would hinder the ability to cut or slash through the armor.  Obviously neither would do anything against a crushing weapon and very little against a weapon that pierces (piercing doing more fatal wounds).  I noticed on Wiki that these armors might have been first described in the Victorian time period.  While they both seem possible to create in the past (maybe in the East) no current hard evidence has been discovered to support these type of armor ever existed in Europe.

This is really the crux of your original question, is or isn't, i've done some expirementation with one of the theories put forward the better part of 100 years ago base on assumptions that " ring maille " was a defense different that regular maille, what we came up with is a defense that I consider viable in an early period context as far a type of armour that might have worked, but which is not acknowledged as possible based on current archeological standards, standards which I understand and grasp the reasons they have the restrictions they have. What does this mean especially in a faire context where lets be honest accuracy is not the first and sometimes far from the first concern? Have fun with it, there is a remote chance it might have, no one is going to know if it didn't and a fair number of people are going to ask for a picture with you in it! Enjoy and have fun with it, after all you paid for a ticket isn't the day supposed to go your way?

Offline Obadiah Jib

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Re: Studded Leather Armor & Ring Mail Armor: Historical?
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2009, 07:13:41 PM »
ALS I appreciate your help and knowledge.  You obviously have a passion for history and armor and know much more about this topic than I do.  I had heard, through another source, that these armor types are not period and I am glad that you helped me with your knowledge and research!  Thanks!

Just one further favor.  Can you tone down your sarcasm just a little?  That would make it a nicer conversation and more inviting to others, who like myself, might benefit from your expertise.
First Mate of the Portobello Rose.
I'm not the captain, I just dress better than he does.

Offline ALS

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Re: Studded Leather Armor & Ring Mail Armor: Historical?
« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2009, 01:59:27 PM »
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Just one further favor.  Can you tone down your sarcasm just a little?  That would make it a nicer conversation and more inviting to others, who like myself, might benefit from your expertise.

This is completley lost on me, I was completley serious in every comment made on this thread, would it be possible for you to illustrate what you took to be sarcasm as to the best of my knowledge I said nothing with the intent of being sarcastic. No one has said anything in this thread to warrent a sarcastic response. I'm quite serious as I would very much like to know whats given you that impression. You may of course feel free to PM me if that would be easier as it take this thread pretty far off topic.

 

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