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Armoured abbot 1360

Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:51 pm
This tomb of an armoured abbot (d. 1360) of Ischia (italian island, just off the bay of Naples, but with big Aragonese influences) was seen on recent hols.
Not my period, so that what looked interesting to me might be standard stuff to fourteenth century buffs, but the scalloped collar, pointed (?) shoulder armour and the knee & elbow strap detail (plus what look like puttee-type wrappings behind the knee cops) caught my (untutored) eye, so thought they might be of interest.

Pic quality reduced for the website if anyone wants better pics.


Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 9:17 pm
by jelayemprins
Nice one!
Good to see the 'bandage round the knees' to prevent the chafing of the leg harness. Also the tying on of spaudlers. Tres bon!

Especially useful as I'm currently researching Bishop Henry Depenser 'the fighting bishop' of Norwich whose main claim to fame in these parts is his overthrow of the rebel faction in "our" Peasants Revolt 1381...You did know we had one? :shock:

And a useful thing to discuss at Kenilworth!


Posted: Fri Apr 18, 2008 1:02 pm
by Colin Middleton
You read that as bandaging round the knea. I thought it was a styalised interpretation of lames for the greave.

Posted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 4:44 pm
I'm not sure at all to be honest (as it's not my period) but having taken a more detailed look at the higher quality pics the details (from the top downwards) seem to show:
i) the scalloped and pierced bottom of his surcoat (matching the scalloped & pieced detail on his collar)

ii) the lower edge of his maille (under his surcoat)

iii) the end of something he's wearing on the top of his legs and under his maille. They look like (but aren't I guess) the bottom of a pair of shorts (like Roman breeches). They are probably armour. Whatever they are they are "thicker" than the next layer/strip. I say this this 'cos the next "layer" detail is a definite "depressed" strip - i.e. the craftsman has cut way the stone to represent a change of "depth", and not just scored lines.

iv) the next "higher" layer, which I took to be a "puttee" type bandage detail (but could be lames. Does one wear lames behind a cop?), is raised again, with cut lines to represent the four to five "strips" of whatever it is he is trying to represent (the strap of the cop is raised even higher, so as to show that it lies over the "strips". I'm presuming it covers one of the "strip" junctions).

One thing that intigued me: The strap of the cop presumably runs across the front of the knee behind the actual cop itself, as it can be seen coming out from a slit in the cop, then down another slit behind the edge of the cop and thence round the back of the knee. I'm assuming this strap is one length, as there are no no rivets to show how the strap fixes to the cop (would this make the cop more secure? I don't wear them myself. His elbow cops are held on the same way).

v) the last bit of his leg shows greaves, held on with two straps at the upper calf. There is no change of depth between the top of the greaves and the puttees/lames.

I found the workmanship and detail on this tomb quite impressive. Whoever the craftsman was he was certainly trying to create an image based on real things, not just knocking out some stylised job.
If anyone would like copies of the better quality pics e-mailed directly to them, just PM me.

Posted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 6:21 pm
by gregory23b
"You read that as bandaging round the knea. I thought it was a styalised interpretation of lames for the greave. "

Yes, I have similar reservations, mainly to do with how such a padding would actually hinder articulation of the poleyn/cop, if lames then they are part of the articulation, and why have 'bandages' that appear to be over the bottom end of the cuisse?

The thing to bear in mind with this is that it is a bas relief so depth is realy just relative to a slightly higher level and things will inevitably be much more flattened, most of the depth is false and artifically enhanced basically.

Posted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 7:21 pm
Hmmm.... Yeah, I can see that too much padding behind a cop would certainly cause a problem..

Although I've seen effigies with cops over mail (or with full leg armour) I'd not seen this detail before, so it got me wondering what the artist was trying to show.

Also I've not worn cops or similar m'self, and not seen (for which read "noticed" :oops: ) lames behind a cop, hence (potentially way-out) speculation... Nice effigy though :)

Posted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 11:03 am
by Graham Field

Thanks for the posting, very nice.

Where abouts in Ischia was the effigy?



armour etc

Posted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 3:47 pm
by jelayemprins
Just wanted to share this with you.
First time I wore it at Boston to open their lovely Guildhall over Easter I soon realised that I have a slight discrepancy between the tibia of left and right legs. Not noticed whilst being measured for said harness.

The top of left greave was digging into a piece of protruding bone below left knee and to ease the discomfort a piece of thin blanket wrapped around the knee and upper calf certainly helped.

Nothing like trial & error based on the written word!

"Also a payre hosyn of stamyn sengill and a peyre of shorte bulwerkis of thynne blanket to put aboute his kneys for chawfyge of his ligherness"

Posted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 5:23 pm
by gregory23b
Whilst the idea of a bulwark against chafing is not only sound but recorded*, that does not necessarily tally with the image in question, the issue being how they would work under the cop but apparently over the cuisse as is suggested by you in the effigy.

Even in your pic. Jelly, any padding is beneath the harness, isn't it?

*you have posted that before IIRC

Posted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:04 pm
by Colin Middleton
Also, that document is 100 years later and english, so I'd be careful of drawing too many parallels. I've never heard of bandaging the knea in the 14th C (but it isn't my period), which is what made me question it. I've certainly seen cuisse with lames to a knea cop and lames below onto a demi-greave. Again, these tend to be later and I've not got any books to hand.

It is possible that the 'shorts' may be a late gambonised cuisse (sp?) or even an early brayette (I've heard 'sugestions' of them as early as the 12th C). They may be worn over plate cuisse, much as early 15thC Italian knights wore the sleeves of their mail shirt over the upper cannons of their arm harness.

Thanks for sharing this IDEEDEE, it's a really interesting image.

Posted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 2:32 pm
by gregory23b
Also the date of death and date of effigy/tomb construction can be out by a wide margin, the effigy does not always represent the kit at the time of death.

Posted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:26 pm
Cheers Colin & Gregory: This is really interesting - esp. as it's not my period. Glad the pics have prompted so much interest (I just snapped them 'cos I liked the detail on the effigy).

Graham, I'll mail you the better quality (bigger) pics later tonight. The effigy was in the Castello Aragonese at Ischia Ponte (image nicked from the Net - couldn't be bothered to reduce my pics again)

Posted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 8:44 am
by gregory23b
A very interesting exercise in conjecture, does no harm, it fascinates me how people interpret information, after all as reenactors that should be our stock in trade.

What I would like to see at an event is two opposing or at least different interpretations of something, I don't mean one lot using hessian instead of wool but maybe construction methods, usage, considered comparisons rather than the often absolutist approach we favour - obv that is for a sense of security, no one likes uncertainty so we fill in the gaps.

Posted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 1:03 pm
by Colin Middleton
gregory23b wrote:Also the date of death and date of effigy/tomb construction can be out by a wide margin, the effigy does not always represent the kit at the time of death.
True, though with a Bishop, I'd guess that the effigy is more contemporary than, say a knight who might have to wait a couple of generations until his family could afford to 'do him proud'.

Posted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 3:58 pm
Re. "A very interesting exercise in conjecture" etc. Absolutely agree...

For me, two of the unexpected joys of geting involved in the Reenactment scene have been the way images and texts are brought to life in 3d/five sensual terms, thanks to the interpretation, discussion and experimentation of informed enthusiasts, and reading the actual debates on this and similar fora, some of which have led me to data sources etc. I never knew existed..