Essie Aster (sithkittie) wrote in little_details,
Essie Aster
sithkittie
little_details

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Medieval Armor and Weapons - movement and other things

Story setting - Fantasy world roughly based around medieval Europe, about the 13th or 14th centuries as far as war technology is concerned.

I've used google to do quite a bit of research. My questions started coming from books like Le Morte D'Arthur, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Song of Roland. One site I've looked over, and a video. I've also found several lists with the names of stuff and some pictures, but mostly searching anything about medieval armor leads to replica retailers.


I have a few questions of things that I just can't seem to find. Some things I just can't seem to be able to find what period they're from.

1 - On hand gauntlets, I've seen different types. Sometimes it looks like there are either thick gloves or some sort of mail covering the hands. Others have the segmented plate-armor over the fingers. In either one, I imagine it's pretty hard to grip a sword, or pretty much anything. Has anyone stuck their hand in one to see, or found anything written by someone who has? I'm also confused as to when the segmented gauntlets came about.

Continuing on that a little, the research I've done says those blades weren't very sharp. The stories I've read say otherwise. Are there any articles or pages out there with specific information about the blades and what it would take to break skin or armor with one?

2 - On unlacing helmets. I'm going to take a leap and say the word "unlacing" here is used in an archaic way that doesn't actually mean undoing laces. I've looked up the term and found pretty much what I already knew, that romantic authors used it a lot when one opponent beat another, he unlaced the other's helmet and either cut off his head or slit his throat. Right now I'm just trying to figure out the mechanics of this. You've got one hand on the hilt of a very long sword, you have a guy down in front of you, the sword to his neck, and you pull off his helmet...how? The sword seems like it would be too long, and the helmets don't look like they'd just pop off that easily. I suppose the first question should be, is this just the romantic author's take on the end of a battle, or is this actually possible? And if it is possible, how exactly would it work?

3 - On traveling, I know knights had squires and when they went anywhere the squire would carry the shield and lance. Supposing the squire got killed or for some reason wasn't there, is it even possible for a knight in armor to carry a lance for any distance? What about a spear or the shield?


I'm not only interested in this for my story. I got the inspiration for the story from the research I've been doing, and I'm wondering where to look for accurate information. Are there any books or web pages that are trustworthy? I've seen a lot of retailers and re-enactment stuff, but I don't have enough of a background to know which are accurate and which are just people wearing costumes on the weekend.

That was a lot of questions. I hope they make sense. Thanks in advance for any help. Sorry if I didn't get the tags right.

*edit*
Thanks for all the links and discussion, guys! It's been helpful and thought provoking. I'm sorry I can't comment more (I'm dealing with a sick cat at the moment), but I really do appreciate all the discussion! I've definitely rethought how the knight and the woman are traveling, though I'm still pretty sure it's without the entire entourage. I ran across the "Conquest" History Channel series as well, and just to add to the whole pile of links and information here, that was very neat to watch.

Thanks again!
Tags: 1200-1299, 1300-1399, ~middle ages, ~weapons (misc)
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