19/10/2022 at 21:27 #179259
Oh that’s easy. Vallejo gunmetal grey, and a black ink wash 🙂
Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.19/10/2022 at 22:21 #179261
Probably more than ninepence, but it would have saved a lot of time if we’d decided on that two months ago!
Now what colour were those prolonges?20/10/2022 at 10:04 #179277
What was the original point? Oh yes! What colour to paint your mail clad figures – anything you like for ninepence I reckon.
Sorry Disagree. They wouldn’t have let mail rust. Mail was expensive, labour was cheap. How they did it we don’t know, but no way they would have let it get eaten away by rust.
I would like to raise the stakes a bit and ask how the hell you would stop a Gambeson from rusting 🙂
Has anyone tried asking Sir Thomas Tom? He is the Wisest Knight in Appledore.20/10/2022 at 11:28 #179279
I reckon you paint a few rusty hauberks, then you could spend the entire game arguing about (sorry: discussing) how you clean them and whether they were self cleaning or treated with wax/oil (what type and how) and whether you should have a camp/base that included a barrel for rolling the hauberks in and what that should look like and who makes one that can be adapted. I may do that and never lose a game again!
Gambeson? Define gambeson. My gambesons don’t have metal in (edit – this is a literary device, I don’t actually have any gambesons, but if I did they would be stuffed with non metallic material). Jacks may do and I have no idea – wax your outer fabric as well as the individual plates as they are sewn in?
Brigandines must have been worse – given they had rivets attached to the fabric rather than sewn pockets.
I don’t think I have ever heard of Sir Thomas Tom before – thanks for the heads up – but now I have, I admire him more than I can say as a role model for knighthood (hiding when he found a challenger – sound approach I reckon) he was obviously wearing plate however and how you maintained that is a whole other discussion – pass the bran.20/10/2022 at 12:42 #179284
Wool naturally contains lanolin. Make your brigandines out of woollen cloth. Sorted.
Got no bran, have a can of worms
Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.20/10/2022 at 14:45 #179288Darkest Star GamesParticipant
Got no bran
Got ya covered, 2.20 at TESCO. Probably won’t clean mail, but will definitely clean pipes. 😀
I confess that I have honestly found this thread both (speculatively) informative and entertaining. Ever since I was a kid and saw the books about “Life In ____ Times” that had the illustrations of what we think daily life was like in a castle, or a Viking settlement, or Roman town with all of the little details and cutaways, I’ve found this sort of thing interesting. I’m sure some really novel solutions to problems we didn’t even know existed have been lost to time.
"I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."20/10/2022 at 16:24 #179291
Being boring again for a moment – British Museum Brigandine fragments suggests quite obvious answers to the brigandine rusting prevention strategy – the iron plates/scales are tinned, the rivets are copper alloy (latten?). The cloth is coarse canvas faced with crimson velvet.
There are Italian brigandines from c1400 surviving – obviously stabilised by conservation techniques now – from the Turkish attacks on the Venetian empire in the Greek islands and they look pretty good considering they were found c400 years later in castle ruins. Chalcis/Negroponte finds20/10/2022 at 16:58 #179293
Those BM plates don’t show much evidence of tinning, they could be russeted 😉
The Italian ones look to have a black oxide finish.
Want another can of worms? 😀
Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.20/10/2022 at 17:14 #179294
Can I tumble them in a drum?20/10/2022 at 17:21 #179295
Yeah, go for it.21/10/2022 at 08:52 #179316
Never thought about how you clean a worm. Takes us to the eternal wonder that is Pete and Dud
Dudley “May I ask what your plans are for the future?”
‘Sir Arthur Streeb Greebling’ “well I’ve written a book – “Helga the Worm Cub”. I’ve got 4000 copies in the conservatory. It’s the story of a kindly old man who finds a wounded worm, and nurses it back to health. It would make a terrific Film. I saw myself as the man, and either Virginia McKenna or Brigitte Bardot as my wife. Bardot in particular looks as if she could have a soft spot for a worm”
Dudley (5 minutes of helpless chortling)21/10/2022 at 11:58 #179329
It is unlikely that we will find a definitive answer contained in documents. We may find something in “finds” like the Vindolanda tablets. The reason I say this is because virtually all surviving documents were written by the rich and famous. The “celebrities” of their day. How often do we find modern celebrities telling us how they clean their costumes?
Most of the audience had been in the army or close to it so they knew how it was done, if only to make sure the slaves cleaned the armour properly.
Back on topic, the people who did the cleaning were most likely the soldiers, army or personal slaves. The slaves are highly unlikely to have kept diaries that survived though a very, very few may have scribbled graffiti. Soldiers are likely to have complained to each other, some may have written home but I suspect that “barrack room lore” probably passed from the veterans to the recruits was the way that the information passed.
So few documents have survived the destruction caused by age, war, weather, religion, accident, casual/unthinking use as kindling or whatever that we lack the vast majority of written sources. The very fact that so many nations and races used mail armour means that there must have been methods of keeping it clean, de-rusting it etc. I have read of various abrasives (sand, crushed tiles, pebbles, gravel etc), greases, fats, oils being used in combinations and rolled in barrels, sacks tied to wheels, rubbed by hand; also that the rings when worn abraded each other to an extent as did wearing a linen tunic under and over the mail.
I doubt you will find a literary source.
Having said that I am sure that now someone will find a document by Googlus or Wikipedianos giving all sorts of information on the most obscure intricacies of cleaning armour.21/10/2022 at 12:43 #179333
Agree with all you said about the likelihood of finding a Roman source.
What I had hoped for was a possible note in a military manual, note to a command successor, or elite description of how plebs work was done. They don’t appear to exist, but one lives in hope.
I’ve read the same descriptions in modern re-enactment blogs, manuals, and discussions you have. Lovely speculation, and may well be right, but I’ll go back to where I started; that’s indicative of how it may have been done but not evidence of how it was done.
These descriptions in 99% of cases (pretty sure it’s 100% but I’m a cautious type) however state categorically that this was how it was done. There is no evidence for most of these claims.
Evidence appears to be:
14th century – barrels.
Possibly being ‘rolled’, ‘turned’
No abrasive listed – speculated by 19th century antiquarians, possibly looking at their contemporary metal workers, not medieval evidence.
Bran – listed for polishing harness (unclear whether for mail or plate and no reference in the source to barrels or rolling)
Sack whirling – Vinesauf apparently (I haven’t checked the original) says as I indicated above that Richard the Lionheart’s troops whirled their hauberks for the purpose of preventing them being stained with rust – no mention in the latin quoted of sacks note. The claim from Meyrick quoted next to this quote which has been concatenated by readers I think says that contemporary (1821) eastern warriors shook their mail with bran and sand – but is this hearsay? It’s certainly not a medieval source. And it is nothing to do with the Vinesauf quote about whirling your hauberk around.
I think we have to consign the assertions of gamers, re-enactors and Total War players on how medieval mail was cleaned to the realm of (possibly informed) speculation. It won’t stop anyone on the net saying this was definitely how it was done but I can’t find any evidence for it being true…so far.
Love the Pete and Dud sketch – shan’t be tumbling my worm(s?) in sand now I think of it.21/10/2022 at 14:08 #179335
As far as I am aware there are no known Roman training manuals that have survived. There are a few higher level “manuals” (eg Vegetius “De Re Militari”). The fact we have not found any (yet) does not mean that there are none. Rest assured that, by whatever means, the armour was cleaned and kept as rust free as the conditions (and Centurions and Optios) permitted.
The Roman techniques may have been copied from the Gauls. After all they learned a lot about metal working from them including much of their armour fabrication. Not that that helps much.21/10/2022 at 15:43 #179339
I had hoped that Maurice’s Strategikon might have had something about it in the baggage train bit but apparently not.
Vegetius talks of how to train troops and make camps so you could have hoped he might have mentioned mail dry cleaning. He doesn’t. But then we call his works ‘manuals’ but they aren’t really – he was a sort of Roman antiquarian, collecting stories of military life rather than a soldier or administrator running the army.
I know we are sadly lacking in Roman military manual survivals (makes you wonder how so many people write so confidently about it online!) but given the certainty some re-enactors and ‘authorities’ state how things like mail cleaning was done, I had hoped I had simply missed something (still a distinct possibility – Roman stuff is definitely outside any area of ‘expertise’ of mine) but so far no joy.
If you want another tin of wriggly things opening – is there any evidence for cadence marching in legions?
Quora (and quite a few others) say Vegetius says so, some even seeming to ascribe the ‘sin dex’ or ‘dex sin’ depending on your fancy, reenactor cadence call to him .
The ‘Sin dex’ is made up. The rest may or not be true depending how you translate the Latin – does ambulare mean ‘march’ as ‘in step’? He definitely says troops should ‘ambulare’ together because a ‘divided and disorganised army always bears the greatest danger from enemies’. They should therefore ‘do 20 miles in five hours in summer at the military pace’ but I can’t see where he says this should be in step.
Maybe if they rolled their mail in barrels while they ambulared they could kill two birds with one stone?21/10/2022 at 16:41 #179341
Again we rely on interpretation of other sources for cadenced marching. We know that the roman soldiers sang songs on the march though we do not have the actual tunes. Military cadence is carrying out a rhythmic activity in time to singing or chanting. It is not always done on the march. Marching in step may, and often is, done in time to marching songs, chanting and drums, music or whistles marking the beat.
There is a nice piece on Roman Marching tunes here http://www.romanarmy.net/marchingtunes.shtml
Since the Urbane, the ribald marching song of the soldiers at Julius Caesar’s Triumph, follows a rhythm strikingly similar to 20th Century marching songs it is very likely that the soldiers marched in time to the rhythm. It is almost instinctive and makes marching easier. It is a small step (pun) from there to have the Optios and Centurions chanting and the men following suit in much the same way as the American army did (does?). And this is easier in step, “Sin, Dex, Sin, Dex, We will do our Pila Drill, etc.”
Count: ONE, two, three, four – FIVE, six, seven, eight – NINE, ten, eleven, twelve – ONE, two, three; and you have it. https://youtu.be/X5xsYU4fCOw
Conjecture but I know how marching songs and marching in step eat up the miles.21/10/2022 at 23:12 #179370Mike HeaddenParticipant
I don’t know but I’ve been told,
That our eagle’s made of gold!
(Made of gold?)
So I’m told!
I don’t know, I’ve heard it said
That the Tenth’s is made of lead!
(Made of lead?)
So it’s said!
Sound off ….
There are 100 types of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who can work from incomplete data31/07/2023 at 11:28 #189051
While meandering through some sources (medieval not Roman) I came across this:
MATRICULA SOCIETATIS FABRORUM CIVITATIS BONONIAE
late 14th century – I presume he isn’t churning butter to grease the mail.
Still not Roman.31/07/2023 at 11:48 #189052
late 14th century – I presume he isn’t churning butter to grease the mail.
A rough translation of the text ‘while Carolus and Borenus apply a mix of salt water and slaked lime to the hauberk, Tom Bolus draws the Raffle Numbers’31/07/2023 at 12:31 #189056
MATRICULA SOCIETATIS FABRORUM CIVITATIS BONONIAE
Register of Societies of Artisans? of Bonio?
Still not Roman.
Still not mail either 🙂01/08/2023 at 13:06 #189069OotKustParticipant
I was only going to reply with what I wrote last year….
Pig or animal grease… it creates a layer on metal, doesnt smell after a few days, unless you’re in the desert,, they may smell you coming if your 10,000 strong however… Submit, I do.
BTW, the age and type of steels matter little, carbon and water havent changed either….01/08/2023 at 14:19 #189079
Not sure why it isn’t mail.
The piece on the chest being haggled over (possibly) and the bit being worked on, both look a bit maily/scaly to my eyes and the illustration is on a page of a register of Bolognan manufacturers/engineers/makers of weapons/armour.
What the guy with the barrel is looking so happy about is anyone’s guess (maybe Max is right and he knows the winning number) but it looks a bit like an early Indesit mail cleaner/dryer to me.
I am as you know a sceptic about the process and the automatic assumption this is what Romans did, but this is a contemporary picture of someone spinning a barrel (with a flap for putting something in and out) in a medieval workshop/retailers. Must suggest something (horizontal integration of grease treating of armour?) related at least I would have thought.
And another thing…
Something I have found references to in my barrel search is a thriving second hand trade in armour and armaments. I’ve wondered about all those weapons that don’t turn up on what medieval battle sites we have identified, as have minds more focused than mine and everyone presumes they were stripped from the dead but what then? Stored in armouries to provide tourist attractions for Mittel Europa and London Towers? Or stuck on the wall in a house in Staffordshire? Or possibly flogged to an entrepreneurial middle level armourer who straightened the weapons out, sharpened them, cleaned the armour and mail, deloused the hauberk and sold them on ‘as new squire honest’ to… well an aspiring squire?. It looks like the latter was a thriving trade.
Yes that new Lochner stuff looks very flash but you can’t beat a tried and tested Milanese suit can you? A classic sir, just ignore the bullet hole, those things will never catch on will they?01/08/2023 at 14:26 #189080
I propose it ain’t mail because those things hanging up ain’t mail. They’re cotton hauberks.
To make mail you need heat, and hammers, and mighty thews, and for all I know prayers to Vulcan
No sign of any of that in the picture. Although, as always, the prayers would be an ecumenical question.01/08/2023 at 15:00 #189081
The pink and green objects – Brigandines? Jacks? Possibly Gambesons – not hauberks.
Linen/cotton mix – fustian, later applied to wool as well – possible.
Quilted – possibly – something with plates in by the look of em.
I’d initially assumed the grey things hanging on the pole were coifs but there doesn’t appear to be any representation of a hood – so mail aventails? Whatever they are they look like mail to me.01/08/2023 at 18:44 #189088
You are of course correct. I cannot multi-task.
I feel a bit of a hauberk.01/08/2023 at 18:59 #189089
You are however correct there is no sign of serious metalworking – this must be the front of house – no sweaty smithing of any sort going on in sight of the customers. Bit odd all round – or not – never ran a fourteenth century armourers.01/08/2023 at 20:13 #189094PatriceParticipant
I don’t know historical sources for this… What we did for years when I was a professional re-enactor was to shake our mailshirts by hand for a few minutes, it cleaned them quite well from the rust.
Um, yes, they were made from modern steel wire rolled on a wooden rod and cut to make rings (and not riveted) but it gave quite a good impression.
https://www.anargader.net/01/08/2023 at 20:49 #189096
Which seems more likely than a legion carrying around barrels and/or sacks to roll/shake the damn’d things in. But I don’t know and neither does anyone else apparently cos nobody bothered to write down instructions to legionaries, mail for the cleaning thereof. (Or if they did legionaries scratched them out and wrote smutty letters on them instead).
[Professional re-enactor? Wait a minute – you mean people paid you to dress up as a knight/legionary/varlet etc?]03/08/2023 at 19:24 #189172PatriceParticipant
[Professional re-enactor? Wait a minute – you mean people paid you to dress up as a knight/legionary/varlet etc?]
Well it was not only to dress up, but also to act and take part in shows and organise public displays and events and manage small re-enactment groups; under “intermittent du spectacle“ French status for actors etc. (which allows for unemployment and retirement insurances as for any other workers).
But I wouldn’t want to highjack the thread. 😉
https://www.anargader.net/03/08/2023 at 21:21 #189173OotKustParticipant
You are however correct there is no sign of serious metalworking – this must be the front of house – no sweaty smithing of any sort going on in sight of the customers. Bit odd all round – or not –
I agree, they were industrialised enough to have been way back-office- obviously resources, firewood and running water- you dont carry these like Napoleonic mobile forges… and all the ‘extra’ clothing, well of course it had to be tidied, resown etc and cleaned when the main mail was ditto.
Seems perfectly logical- Armani dont hesitate to buy New Zealand Merino wool for their cops uniforms. Makes any bloody wool products twice as pricey here…. globalisation- yech!
PS- Nobody has mentioned solid metal knights gear- after a bit of rain they too would be cranky and seizing- enter the dripping and salt rub to reduce the squeaks and binds that would quickly occur!03/08/2023 at 22:35 #189176
You are however correct there is no sign of serious metalworking – this must be the front of house – no sweaty smithing of any sort going on in sight of the customers. Bit odd all round – or not – never ran a fourteenth century armourers.
Not odd at all if you think about it.
Making metal armour requires a totally different skill set than making fabric armour, so why would manufacture of the two take place on the same premises?
Combination of skills in a single place was an alien concept to the pre-industrial world. Hence the title of the Register, and the existence of guilds.04/08/2023 at 00:50 #189180
I’m not sure we know enough about armourers guilds to be sure exactly how they worked as ‘closed shops’ within skill groupings.
The Armourers Guild was established in London in 1322 but they didn’t get a Royal Charter until 1453 so the records in the early period are scarce/non-existent. There appear to have been lots of craft guilds all working together, whether in one workshop or not is unclear, to produce armour products. How much was organised as a production process by a wholesaler or retailer is again not clear.
If you want to get a full idea of what we don’t know, there is a very interesting thesis, available online here by Brad Kirkland (which I don’t think has ever been published in book form – which is a shame as I’d buy it but I suspect that might be the extent of the sales). This will give you a great background on the English armourers and few mentions of European practices.
It will also tell you what a kisser did (if you didn’t already know).
@Patrice – hijack away, after all this is supposedly about cleaning Roman mail, but I’d much rather talk about medieval guilds and being paid to organise re-enactors/living history performers (seems an impossible task given those I know).
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