medieval haversack/backpack?

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GuyDeDinan
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medieval haversack/backpack?

Post by GuyDeDinan »

Anyone got pictures of such a rig IRL rather than illustration?

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gregory23b
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Post by gregory23b »

There is a German one, approx 1460, damned if I can recall the painting, but it is in a big book of German Medieval art.

it looks like those soft rucksacks, complete shoulder straps. It is a rear view of a bloke wearing it.

Can't recall what materials it might be made of.

Found it. was wrong about the back pockets, have seen purses like that though.

http://www.companie-of-st-george.ch/dragon-11.pdf

page 13, top right.

Although it is a Gerry re-draw, it does come from an original source, I certainly saw the painting before this dragon came out.

page 16 sculpture from Swaffham, Norfolk.

but he does list the primary sources, the ruck sack man is from a Michael Pascher painting.
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Post by Ace Rimmer »

is that top right in a post medieval ironic fashion? i.e. top left? :P
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Post by Laffin Jon Terris »

Jorge,

Page 10 of the same Dragon (#11), middle row, right side shows a bunch of men carrying backpacks with a clearly defined pocket on the back.

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Post by gregory23b »

AR, yes of course I meant top left, how odd that you should have to ask ;-)

<rewires brain>


I can't make those out Jon, you mean the marching men?

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Post by Laffin Jon Terris »

gregory23b wrote:
I can't make those out Jon, you mean the marching men?

Spiezer Schilling
Thats the ones, -they look to be carrying pilgrim staffs rather than pole-arms-, at least two have round-bottomed pockets on the back of their backpacks.
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Post by frances »

Are you talking military or civilian?

I have seen sketches in monochrome of two types of civilian back-pack. One illustrating a family carrying their worldly goods in wicker back-packs (like ruck-sacks) and one a family carrying their children/babies in large banana-shaped wicker shoulder slings.

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Post by red razors »

depending on how late you qualify "medieval", there are several 16thC german woodcuts of baggage trains; some include women with backpacks.
http://www.curiousfrau.com/Images/Two_carts.JPG this shows one but the bulk of the pack is hidden behind a tree.
http://www.curiousfrau.com/Images/Women ... detail.JPG
http://www.curiousfrau.com/Images/Muske ... detail.JPG
http://www.curiousfrau.com/Images/LW1_detail1.JPG
http://www.curiousfrau.com/Images/LW4_detail.JPG
seems to be a mix between structured packs and ones that are just stuff wrapped in bedding or whatever.

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Post by frances »

Third one down is carrying a little doggie under her arm. Aww.

Last one looks more like a blanket with the ends tied around the neck with the goods folded inside, I would say.

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Post by behanner »

I actively collect 15th century camp and march images and the only soldiers I have ever seen carrying a haversack like bag are gonners. As a general rule items seem to be carried in carts. I do have two images of soldiers carrying what 18th century American re-enactors call a market wallet. I'm pretty sure both illuminations were produced in the Low Countries but interestingly enough both depict English soldiers. One the Peasant Revolt of 1381, the other the Battle of the Herrings. Both are from around the mid-15th century probably 1450s or 60s.
This is a Market Wallet. http://www.18cnewenglandlife.org/18cnel/wallets.htm

Outside of loot soldiers are occasionally shown with just tied up bundles. If anyone knows how to tie them I'd love to know.

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Post by red razors »

actually, i forgot about this one. it's obvioualy not a primary source but gerry embleton's medieval military clothing has a few backpacks in use in it.

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Post by gregory23b »

"As a general rule items seem to be carried in carts. "

Yet that does not include back baskets or peds, the dragon pics show a variety of carried and wrapped items, not to mention sacks/bags.

I can't believe that every bundle was carried by cart or horse, human portage of goods is common enough, there would be no need nor point in waiting for a cart for an item that is portable.

Given the question was not context specific.
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Post by GuyDeDinan »

gregory23b wrote:Given the question was not context specific.
General question really, something I've not really looked into before. Also pondering a carrying system that isn't my mates car or from Snow and Rock.
Last edited by GuyDeDinan on Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by gregory23b »

"General question really,"

Yes, that is how I saw it.


I can recommend one of Annie the Pedlar's back baskets, excellent and she can make according to type.

Portage of kit is interesting, I have a basket and my seat box, which I run a strap round and use as a temporary carrying handle, I could, at a pinch carry my clothing, my sallet and sword in the basket and my painting stuff or other accessories in the box, not long distances, but maybe to the train ;-)
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Post by behanner »

gregory23b wrote:"General question really,"

Yes, that is how I saw it.
Sorry probably the difference between an American brain and an English one. The word haversack tends to invoke the image of a cloth sack used by US forces from the ACW to WWII. You know what we all seem to have missed is that medieval stuff changes and we've all posted 15th and 16th century stuff.

One note though, most pilgrim bags/haversacks that indicate what they were made from seem to be leather. I've only seen one or two that appear to be fabric.

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behanner wrote:One note though, most pilgrim bags/haversacks that indicate what they were made from seem to be leather. I've only seen one or two that appear to be fabric.
I was quite interested by this statement. I'd just assumed that pilgrim bags (by which I mean the simple flat rectangular bag with a flap front and a shoulder strap) were made of linen. Presumably just because thats what reenactors all seem to carry.

A leather one would be very practical (and I quite fancy one for gunning, as they are more spark proof if I'm carrying a couple of powder flasks or something), and easy enough to make from some vegetan leather. Thought I might make one.

Can anyone point me at sources? I've got loads of pictures but not that make it clear what the material of construction is.
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Re: medieval haversack/backpack?

Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

My script bag is made of leather but I tend to leave it in camp as it is the closeset thing I have to a working LH display (I have a rosary, book of hours, a purse full of replica coins, dice and me specs).
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Post by Karen Larsdatter »

Dave B wrote:Can anyone point me at sources? I've got loads of pictures but not that make it clear what the material of construction is.
Loads of pictures at http://larsdatter.com/pilgrims.htm of course, but notice that all of them seem to be illustrated as black; there's a related bag shown in the Maciejowski Bible apparently in a dyed textile of some sort (see the Levite and his wife, for example).

There's a related shape of net bag used for collecting nuts or eggs in one of the Tacuinum Sanitatis manuscripts, but I think that's unlikely to have been a style used by the pilgrims.

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Post by frances »

I made mine from a left-over piece of wool. It is definitely a pilgrims affair as it has the open shell-shape on the flap. I copied it from a stone carving and made the shape by adding quilting. Wool is good, like leather, as there is not need to turn in edges. A linen lining would make it last longer. But I have used mine for years and years and never did get round to putting the lining inside. The only sign of wear is that it has got rather dirty, but it is a very pale blue (like the first dip into woad; cheap).

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Re: medieval haversack/backpack?

Post by gregory23b »

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Re: medieval haversack/backpack?

Post by Dave B »

This is what I came up with, fairly thick vegetan leather stitched, formed when wet, dried, then softened with olive oil. Just needs sealing with wax now.

Lid flaps seem to vary a fair bit, but I've gone for a big flap, as I wanted the weight to keep the top folded shut, as I'll use it carrying black powder and such.

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Re: medieval haversack/backpack?

Post by Sampson de Strelley »

and a little drink on the side to help ya work ah dave...

it looks really good
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