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Old 07-05-2006, 05:19 PM   #31
DanHoward
 
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Default Re: Armoury of Antiquity: Questions regarding archaic arms and armor

Sounds like we have a viking re-enactor who is a bit upset at being told he shouldn't be wearing lamellar. It was my belief that a re-enactor should be portraying the "typical" not the exception.

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Originally Posted by jason taylor
As I understand lameller is a type of scale armor.
The difference between scale and lamellar is the backing. Scale consists of overlapping plates attached to a cloth or leather foundation. The direction of the overlap is irrelevant, the shape of the scales is irrelevant. Lamellar consists of small plates laced or wired together such that there is no need for a backing. There is some overlap such as scale armour in which the scales are laced to each other as well as the backing. Generally this is called "locking scale" but if the structure remains intact without the need for a foundation then it could technically be called lamellar. Using this definition, the earliest occurrence of lamellar is during the Warring States period in China. Everything used before this time has turned out to be scale.

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It is lighter and meant primarily to deflect arrows and was therefore popular among Eastern and Central Asian Warriors who lived in country where the bow was more used.
Often lamellar was heavier than scale. Generally this was because thicker plates were used and there was more overlap between them. Though there is too much variation to make a general claim about weight. Lamellar has a few advantages over scale. It is less likely to shed scales in battle. More overlap provides better resistance against thrusting attacks (including arrows). IMO lamellar is an advanced form of scale. I don't really mind if scholars eliminate the term "scale armour" entirely and subsume it into the category of lamellar. It might be called something like "backed lamellar" or "reinforced lamellar".

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Metal scale armor was more used in the Meditteranean. Apparently it was not as hot as regular mail.
What is your definition of "regular mail"? How do you account for the fact that the Romans made far greater use of mail than they ever did of scale or lamellar?

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There would have been no reason that could not have been used by Vikings though, as a number of Vikings travelled into the Med. For that matter "Rus" vikings probably used Central Asian style lameller at times.
There is no evidence to suggest that even a single Scandinavian wore this armour during the so called "Viking period" outside of the Byzantine Empire. If we get into supposition you may as well equip a group of vikings in samurai armour based on the premise that they might have traded with Japan at some time. The only lamellar find so far uncovered during the viking period was at Birka and it has been clearly demonstrated not to have been of Scandinavian construction and was not worn by a Scandinavian. The only documentary evidence is the mention of a "spangabrnja" in one of the sagas. This could have been anything from scale to lamellar to an early coat of plates. And the sagas were written down a century or two after the viking period. Yes the Varangian Guard were issued lamellar if they couldn't afford a decent coat of mail. There is nothing to suggest that they were allowed to keep their state-owned equipment after they finished service and I can't think of a reason why they would want to. Their native mail byrnies offered superior protection and comfort. The main advantage of lamellar is that it is cheaper and faster to construct.

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By the way chain-mail is a recent word. The word mail simply means net-armor, because the rings fitting into each other looked like a net.
Yep. The word is derived through the Italian "maglia" from the Latin "macula" meaning the mesh of a net. The confusion arises from the Victorian tendency to use the word "mail" to describe all metal armour. Because of that, they needed a term to distinguish true mail from other types of armour (e.g. "scale mail", "plate mail", etc) hence the word "chain mail." It is covered in more detail here. http://www.knightsofveritas.org/mate...ndringmail.pdf

Last edited by DanHoward; 07-05-2006 at 10:42 PM.
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Old 07-05-2006, 09:41 PM   #32
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Default Re: Armoury of Antiquity: Questions regarding archaic arms and armor

On a side note, I decided to figure out some things, like a horse's burden.

I came up with this: ST 12, 175lb rider, wearing 61lbs of armor(mail coif, torso, arms and legs, with a pot helm, and boots), 10lbs of weapons(Lance, broadsword, large knife), an 8lb shield, and 42lbs of military saddle and bit and bridle. That's 296 lbs, or 8 lbs over the meduim encumberance of a cavalry horse(ST 22). If you reduce the weight of the mail armor by 20%, that frees 10lbs. If the Cavalry horse is ST 23, it's also enough to allow meduim encumberance.

That strikes me as about right. Also, a ST22 horse, charging(move 9) allows for 1d+3 lance damage, or about the same as a ST 13 man using a kontos. That also seems fine. If the horse has ST 23, then it does a mode powerful 2d+3 charging. The lower average damage(the ST22 horse, assumign a 20% reduction in armor weight) would average 6-7 damage against mail, for 2-6 damage over-all, assuming penetration. That's enough for a major wound on most troops. However, heavier cavalry(Kataphractoi) would be unimpressed by the damage to their torso, and scarcely notice the damage to their arms(it being 1-3 points).

If the Emperor Komenos was wearing a lammelar breastlat(I'd call it a Lorica Segmentata for DR and weight), and double mail(which I would assume could cover Emperor's weave), we're looking at DR 10, enough to block the average damage of a 2d+3 lance, and reduce the maximuim damage to 10. 2-4 pts of impaling damage can be see nas bruising, perhaps a bit of puncture, after-all, in a week, he would be feeling the soreness. And I imagine catching a lance to the chest would make you sore. So our Emperor might have been pretty damn lucky. He made out well at Durrachion, so I think we may have been lucky. :)

Also, for the Cataphracts chasing down fleeing infantry: if we assume a basic speed of 5.25 or 5.5, we have an unencumbered move of 5 for a human. If we further assume ST 11(he's a soldier, after-all), then we have a basic lift of 24. If our average man in this case wears a pot helm, cloth gambeson(arms, torso and groin), leather leggings and boots, that's 18lbs. A spear(or axe) and large knife adds 5lbs to that. Our soldier is barely under his basic lift in encumberance, and has a 5/6 move. If we were to give out soldier leather torso and arm protection, we would see him lightly encumbered, and given a 4/5 movement. This is insufficient to the speed of the cataphracts, though nor much more so.

I've pretty much just desribed the average infantryman, from Arab, to Byzantine, to Christian europe. Such a man would more likely than not carry a shield of some variety. But in flight, the shield and many of his weapons would be thrown away.
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Old 07-05-2006, 10:39 PM   #33
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Default Re: Armoury of Antiquity: Questions regarding archaic arms and armor

To briefly ignore the rules in GURPS and insert some real world common sense:

Anyone who thinks infantry can outrun cavalry has obviously not spent much time around horses.

Yes, it is true that near onlympic class athletes can over long distances match mounted horses for terrain covered. Typically you have to be talking 20 to 800 miles for the human to win the race.

Over anything up to a few miles, the human has absolutely no hope at all. An olympic class human can do a "4 minute mile" - a racehorse will cover two miles in around 3 minutes 20 seconds, carrying 55 to 60 kg (120 to 130 pounds). Over any sort of useful "combat / tactical" distance, the horse is twice as fast as the human.

What makes this comparison even worse or the infantry is that I'm comparing olympic record humans with racehorses. The gap between your average soldier and a modern olympic athlete is substantially larger than the gap between a standard cavalry horse and a champion racehorse.
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Old 07-05-2006, 10:50 PM   #34
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Default Re: Armoury of Antiquity: Questions regarding archaic arms and armor

what you're leaving out is that in the case of Kataphractoi, there's about 300-400lbs of gear on the horse, compared to the 30 or so for an infantryman.
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Old 07-05-2006, 11:05 PM   #35
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Default Re: Armoury of Antiquity: Questions regarding archaic arms and armor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Verjigorm
what you're leaving out is that in the case of Kataphractoi, there's about 300-400lbs of gear on the horse, compared to the 30 or so for an infantryman.
The scale horse trappers found at Dura Europos are unlikely to weigh more than 60-70 lbs. Human scale armour of the time weighed maybe 40-50 lbs at most. Add 20 lbs for shield and weapons. Anyone care to hazard a guess as to how much the saddle, blanket, and other tackle weighed?
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Old 07-05-2006, 11:13 PM   #36
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Default Re: Armoury of Antiquity: Questions regarding archaic arms and armor

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Originally Posted by DanHoward
Anyone care to hazard a guess as to how much the saddle, blanket, and other tackle weighed?
ISTR a light modern riding saddle runs at 10 pounds. For a military saddle with a wooden tree (the frame) I'd guess at least twice that, and probably triple. The blanket, bridle, etc. would probably come to about 10 pounds, so all up 40+ pounds (more likely higher). That is guesswork, though.
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Old 07-05-2006, 11:47 PM   #37
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Default Re: Armoury of Antiquity: Questions regarding archaic arms and armor

Well, I was using the non practical GURPS weights. Still, by the last two posts, a horse is carrying about 320lbs(160 for the armor of the horse, saddles stuff, the kataphractoi's armor, and his weapons, and 160 for a Kataphractoi, which given the weapons used is a small guy. I prefer 175 as a mean weight for a rider). This is considerably more than the weight a modern race horse carries.

Am I wrong here?
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Old 07-06-2006, 12:09 AM   #38
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Default Re: Armoury of Antiquity: Questions regarding archaic arms and armor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Verjigorm
Am I wrong here?
I recall Warhorse Encumberance vs. Gear Weight Broken and other threads on the subject.
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Old 07-06-2006, 07:10 AM   #39
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Default Re: Armoury of Antiquity: Questions regarding archaic arms and armor

Yeah, but that guy wanted to do completely ludacris things, like wear his armor over-land, and carry all his gear, and be a 220lb guy, and wear the heaviest armor he could. Wheras I'm more going for an average man, an average horse, and period armor and gear.

So far, it looks like, though GURPS weight rules are a bit off, a mail armoured knight, with full gear, can maintain a 4/9 movement speed. Heavy troops like Cataphractoi cannot push much faster than 3/6. I'm fine with this.
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Old 07-06-2006, 08:01 AM   #40
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Default Re: Armoury of Antiquity: Questions regarding archaic arms and armor

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Originally Posted by DanHoward
Sounds like we have a viking re-enactor who is a bit upset at being told he shouldn't be wearing lamellar. It was my belief that a re-enactor should be portraying the "typical" not the exception.]
I considered once to built a Viking/northmen in Reenactment who was an ex member of the varangian guard therefore he`d taken his lamellar with home when he retired.
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