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Show here your Sarmatian warrior impression
#16
[quote]Hi Alan,
[quote="Alanus" post=286294]I made the statement about splint greaves based on my theory that various pieces of armor were carried directly from one time period to the next in a continuum, not "reinvented."
But seriously, apart from the Scythians I still have to find a use of splint greaves later and further west during Roman times. Although I do not have an exhaustive knowledge of the use of armour (by no means!) I think personally that splint greaves may have been introduced in the West by the Avars, or perhaps even later.[/quote]

Hi Robert,

If splint greaves were used by Scythians, then again found in 3rd century Kunzing, Germany, and again used by Avars, we find Sarmatians sandwiched between these cultures. I don't think they lived in a void and knew what splint greaves were and had no taboos in wearing them. As mentioned, other Romanesque kits included them, like this one:
[attachment=523]splintgreaves003.JPG[/attachment]
This photo comes directly from a RAT thread, and most likely this chap is known to someone tuned in.

Here is perhaps the instigator, pictued below:
[attachment=524]splintgreaves001.JPG[/attachment]

The illustration comes from The Late Roman Cavarlyman by Simon MacDowall. The artist is Christa Hook, daughter of old friends of mine, Francis and Richard Hook. (We all lived in East Boothbay just before Christa was born, and I was one of their male models.)

Perhaps splint greaves were reintroduced by the Avars, then again by the Poles, but they were and are so ubiquitous that they hung around for interim centuries, catching Vegetius' attention, and maybe at least one bold Sarmatian or Alan who wanted to protect his shins instead of gonads. Everybody has a quirk.:wink:


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Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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#17
Quote:This photo comes directly from a RAT thread, and most likely this chap is known to someone tuned in.

Well, it seems that is John Conyard, who is also taking part in this rather interesting topic.
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A.K.A. Jurjen Draaisma
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ALA I BATAVORUM
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#18
Quote:
Alanus post=286344 Wrote:This photo comes directly from a RAT thread, and most likely this chap is known to someone tuned in.

Well, it seems that is John Conyard, who is also taking part in this rather interesting topic.

I kinda figured he was John, but I was trying to be ambiguous... not wanting to offend anyone. (He was online at the time!) However, I don't think I'm way off-base for wearing splint greaves, especially now that I too old to worry about protecting my gonads for future procreation.:lol:
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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#19
Robert Wrote...
Quote:Actually we Late Romans tend not to use splint greaves because that can't be dated to anywhere before the 7th century.. I would surely welcome your references to splint greaves in Late Roman times, Britain or elsewhere!

Not quite certain of the dating from memory, but here are the Scythian splint greaves mentioned by Alan in the Asmolean Museum (Oxford)

Pic...
[Image: scythianarmshin-1.jpg]
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#20
Hi Alan,
Quote:Perhaps splint greaves were reintroduced by the Avars, then again by the Poles, but they were and are so ubiquitous that they hung around for interim centuries, catching Vegetius' attention, and maybe at least one bold Sarmatian or Alan who wanted to protect his shins instead of gonads. Everybody has a quirk.:wink:
We might get confused here. The chap in your pictures is John Conyard (of course), who also posted in this link, but I'm not sure whether we are getting our signals crossed.

Indeed, most LR re-enactors use greaves from Künzing, but I am not aware of any splinted greaves from Künzing.

Vegetius indeed mentions greaves, but he does not mention splinted greaves.

Therefore, I am not aware of splint greaves between Scythians and early medieval times.
_________________________________
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#21
Hello, Peroni and Robert

Yes, those are the Scythian greaves I mentioned. Mine are similar, made of tapered metal pieces attached to a leather wrap-around. The pair that John wears in the photo has non-tapered splints.

Greaves made from wooden splints have been found in the Altai and Yenesei regions. These too could easily have a connection to later generations: Scythian to Sarmatian, Saka to Massagetae/Alan. They are products of plate armor technology, only the plates being longer.

When we look at the continuity of arms and armor, there is usually a direct relationship through the centuries. The Roxolani spangenhelm on Trajan's column survives through refinement as the Norman helmet. The Han-styled sword goes through its own transcendance, to Alanic, "Migration Era," and eventually becomes the cruxiform bastard sword of the middle ages. Development in continuous. Not spotty "re-invention."

And, truth be known, my kit is fairly ambiguous. Other than the early sword, most of this stuff could have been worn in the 3rd or even 5th century. Armor never dies. It just gets recycled.

I teach a 2-week archery class to children and teens. Through most of it, I wear a tunic and steppe boots. On the last day of class, I wear full armor. The kids remember it. They go home and maybe google up more info. In any case, they leave that last class knowning something about the steppe warrior. There is nothing in the American education system that even approaches info on early Asian cultures. Maybe I'm not "thoroughly" correct in this kit, but it serves a useful and enlightening purpose.
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
Reply
#22
Good morning,

Alan I do find “steppe culture” a fascinating subject. I don’t think you can ride horses and shoot bows without being drawn into the world of the steppe. But I dislike the notion that one cultural type informs all others, since “techno-borrowings” are generally a two way process.

There are many aspects of your interpretation that could be challenged, and the same is true for all of us. Putting together a collection of items based on archaeological finds, iconography and period writing is really supposition. And most impressions are made worse by the addition of pouches to carry mobile phones, eating knives, bigger knives etc. . Generally belts are decorated like Christmas trees. Your mail shirt is a good safe start.Smile

Getting back to greaves my starting point is once again, if Robert will forgive me, that no greaves have been found from the fourth century, although Vegetius advocates them. (Epit. I.20) Therefore we must try and make an informed choice of type.

Generally late Roman re-enactors base their greaves on mid 3rd century infantry greaves based on a find from Kunzig. Roman military equipment could have a long life span, but 150 years does seem a little long. Late Romans seem to be attracted by many sexy 3rd century items, like broad baldrics and pugios. :roll:

I normally wear a Deurne helmet deposited in the early 4th century, so mid 3rd century cavalry sports greaves seem reasonable choice. I am defining cavalry greaves as those which cover the ankle and knee.


[attachment=529]mrp09140.jpg[/attachment]


For a training session last spring I “went Hunnic” based around the Concesti helmet deposited in a Hunnic grave of the early 5th century. I chose splint greaves and arm guards from my equipment room, partly because I could, and partly because they are a reasonable supposition, especially for a warrior from the steppe. The use of splint armour can be traced without too much difficulty from the Scythians to the use of gun powder. It never was abandoned.


[attachment=530]CIMG7517.JPG[/attachment]


The exact date of the Strategikon attributed to Maurice is a matter for debate, but the late 6th century is a fair bet. Generally it concentrates on cavalry, although book 12 on the infantry seems to date from an earlier work. The last chapter of book 12 specifically contains many Justinianic references to Gothic shoes, Herulian swords, Morrish javelins, and Scythian, Slav, Antes and Persian enemies. This would take us back to the 530’s, before Robert’s Avars and closer to the Concesti helmet than any greaves from Kunzig. Indeed the Strategikon mentions iron and even wooden greaves.(Strat. 12.B.4) both probably of splint construction. Indeed such an early dating can be re-enforced by Procopius (Persian Wars I i 8ff) describing Roman cavalry following steppe tradition including wearing greaves up to the knee.

Even though we can use this written evidence to demonstrate that splint greaves can be perceived to be the “safer bet” for late Romans portraying the period around AD 400, we lack archaeological evidence for their use. Although greaves from Kunzig are less likely in terms of dating, we have archaeological evidence. I have not even considered the use of segmented limb armour, for which we do have archaeological and iconographic evidence.


[attachment=531]IMG_9781.jpg[/attachment]


In terms of splint armour in the UK the earliest clue may be the plaques on the 6th century helmet at Sutton Hoo, but although the helmet may have been made in the UK the decorative elements are probably from Sweden.

An alternative approach, and one I am in favour of, is not to wear any greaves at all.
Nobody can doubt the contributions of steppe peoples to the Roman military. The contus, horse archery, some shield designs, the draco and many others. The Sarmatian style fittings on the Berkasovo 1 and Budapest helmets stand out for me, indeed I would like to use the latter in 2012.


But I do fear re-enactors copying my kit, anybody else’s kit, Osprey pictures etc. to develop an impression. Always use primary sources. Often in the sand school we will get dressed up as all sorts of stuff, often Hunnic, but it is hardly for public viewing!


[attachment=532]CIMG7712.JPG[/attachment]


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John Conyard

York

A member of Comitatus Late Roman
Reconstruction Group

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#23
Back to you, John

I have been plagued by a poor internet connection. It's still snowing here!Confusedhock:
Thanks for an enlightening and authoritative reply.

Quote:I chose splint greaves and arm guards from my equipment room, partly because I could, and partly because they are a reasonable supposition, especially for a warrior from the steppe. The use of splint armour can be traced without too much difficulty from the Scythians to the use of gun powder. It never was abandoned.


I think, that under the same supposition, I went with the early Ashmoelian greaves. Basically, I'm trying to put a 1st century kit together. Yes, 150 years is stretching it, but perhaps not a century. In that vein, I was wearing a sword developed in the last century BC. The greaves, of course, would be earlier. But as you say, splint armor was never abandoned. My theory was simple-- the Sarmatians/Alans enter the historical continuum exactly between the earlier Scythians and the later Huns, and so I went with tapered Scythian splints as opposed to straight Hunnic splints. As you say, maybe the best choice is not to wear them at all.

Quote:But I do fear re-enactors copying my kit, anybody else’s kit, Osprey pictures etc. to develop an impression. Always use primary sources.

I apologize for plastering your picture on this thread, but when I saw the greaves in my photo archives I screamed, "Ah! Splints!" Only after the excitement died, did I realize, "Oh, sh***! That's John!" The Ospray picture was simply to enforce my argument, and hopefully the Ospray cops won't arrest me. I actually use archaeological (such as the Ashmolian greaves) sources, as well as historical pictographs and belt illustrations.

The equipment belt is as close as I can get it with what is currently available. It's narrow with a small buckle, and only an akinakes, which is dead-on archaeologically correct, and the early Wusun sword hangs from it. The sword is "50/50 up in the air." Half of the experts and archaeologists have placed this style of sword in the last two centuries BC and first century AD. The other half call for a later date. It was designed from the illustrations on the Orlat battle plaque, and if the renderings of the bows are amazingly accurate (as they appear to be), then the swords are just as accurately depicted. Other than these two items and an anchor-point for my quiver, the belt is void of gee-gaws.

And last, I'm simply trying to put an early Alanic/Sarmatian kit together because (evidently) no-one else has done it. Or if they have, they are keeping it a secret. RAT seems to have its share of Germanic and Celtic kits. And, silly me, I just thought that the Sarmatians contributed as much to the Roman military as did other cultures on the Imperial borders. I'm not advocating Sarmatians as some kind of "end all" culture. I'm just trying to introduce a group that has been heavily overlooked on RAT.

This "Show Your Sarmatian Impression" thread has initiated a number of views and responses. It's getting looked at. And that was one of my goals, contentious as they may have been.Smile
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
Reply
#24
In D'Amato's Arms & Armour of the Imperial Roman soldier there is an illustration of a Sarmatian auxiliary where his face is painted red and black, and he has red tattoos - I know there is textual references to Sarmatian facial tattooing, but what about the red face paint? Is that based on any sound evidence?
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#25
Hi John,
Once more you seem to read my question as a lack of reference to greaves during the Roman period, because once more you refer to the Künzing greaves and Vegetius advocating them. I did not ask a question about greaves in general, for of course I know that they were used.
Can I (once more) get back to the question, where we find a reference to SPLINT greaves during Roman times? There were no splint greaves (I think) found at Künzing, nor does Vegetius refer to splint greaves in Epit. I.20.

Quote:The use of splint armour can be traced without too much difficulty from the Scythians to the use of gun powder. It never was abandoned.
Although that might be the case, but can we show that they were used by troops in the Roman army, either regular, auxilia or federate troops? It was (and still is) my position that we have no reference for such a use. Although I can imagine that they were never abandoned, the re-occurrance of them in the West (which is where 'my' Avars come in) cannot be shown at an earlier date.
_________________________________
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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#26
Quote:In D'Amato's Arms & Armour of the Imperial Roman soldier there is an illustration of a Sarmatian auxiliary where his face is painted red and black, and he has red tattoos - I know there is textual references to Sarmatian facial tattooing, but what about the red face paint? Is that based on any sound evidence?

Hello Christian,

My specific knowledge of the Sarmatian I, and II phases is limited. This is the western group extending from the Scythian culture. I concentrate on Phase III Sarmatians, the eastern culture that finally arrived in the west. This is the Saka/Massagetae/Alanic culture that contains individuals with both Europoid and Asiatic facial features.

The latter group came from the earlier Andronovo and Altai cultures. In the Altai, males have been found heavily tattooed-- parts of the face, sometimes the entire arms and lower legs. However, the tattooing dye appears to be charcoal pricked into the skin with a needle. Therefore, it's black, not red. It sounds like the D'Amato book took a little bit of artistic license. :grin:

Interestingly, one king or high chieftain who had Asiatic features was buried with a full prosthetic beard, evidently because his physiology couldn't grow one. Facial hair, and probably tattoos, were evidently a sign of manliness. In the cross-influences between early Chinese-Saka contact, two early Emperors in the Zhou Dynasty where known for their excessive hairiness, indicating they may have been of Europoid/Saka extraction. I have heard and read that tattoos were worn by western Sarmatians and the Huns, but my personal studies are too limited to verify such statements.:roll:

As for red paint. I thought that was done by Native Americans.Wink
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
Reply
#27
Hi Alan,

I haven't looked at the Osprey book on late Roman cavalry for a while, but remember liking the text but feeling the illustrations of late Roman cavalry were all rather early 6th century. But on reflection since the book largely dealt with the cavalry of the Justinian period, the illustrations were good and book title perhaps a little unclear.

I think we can asume splint armour was around in the early 6th century based on the probably earlier date for parts of Maurice. This is pre Avar, and I hope Robert can forgive meConfusedmile:

I do enjoy re-creating steppe and Sarmation equipment. In terms of recreating a 1st century auxillary I suspect that after a few months ethnic styles of clothing and footwear would have worn out and be replaced with Roman styles of clothing.Over the years Sarmation defensive armour would also fade away to be replaced by standard Roman issue helmets etc. But tattoos would remain, perhaps with other less obvious signs of ethnicity.

This is an interesting thread. Let us keep it going.
John Conyard

York

A member of Comitatus Late Roman
Reconstruction Group

<a class="postlink" href="http://www.comitatus.net">http://www.comitatus.net
<a class="postlink" href="http://www.historicalinterpretations.net">http://www.historicalinterpretations.net
<a class="postlink" href="http://lateantiquearchaeology.wordpress.com">http://lateantiquearchaeology.wordpress.com
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#28
Quote:Hi Alan,

I do enjoy re-creating steppe and Sarmation equipment. In terms of recreating a 1st century auxillary I suspect that after a few months ethnic styles of clothing and footwear would have worn out and be replaced with Roman styles of clothing.Over the years Sarmation defensive armour would also fade away to be replaced by standard Roman issue helmets etc. But tattoos would remain, perhaps with other less obvious signs of ethnicity.

This is an interesting thread. Let us keep it going.

Hello John,

I went back and looked at the Osprey book on Late Roman Cavalry too. It's better than some of their other titles. Christa Hook did an excellent job. Her father was also an illustrator of historical matter. Francis Hook (who I don't think was her mother, but Richard's 1st wife) used me as a model for Peter the Fisherman. About the only time I portrayed someone pius.:lol:

Yes, a good point on the Romanization of auxilliaries. Within a year they probably looked just like a Roman in their dress. This accounts for all those funery steles of men with barbarian names appearing totally Roman. I guess my kit represents a guy who just came off the steppes.:wink:

Let's continue the thread if we can get input from other RATers. Sorry for the delay in answering. My internet wifi is bad at the moment and I can only access during a "window" during part of the day.
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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#29
This is my first post on this great Forum, so thanks for having me over.
I have something to add to the Sarmatian topic, I believe. Sarmatian and Scythian cultures have common roots, and my outfit reprsents to some extend, both. This is a simplified version of scythian warrior / archer. My belt has been altered since the picture was taken. I'm missing a shield, a lamellar armour, couple of tatoos and a horse of course, but it is a good start, I think. My Hubby is a Wandal Warrior - so we can be in many places at the same time Smile

[attachment=1153]archer3.jpg[/attachment]

[attachment=1154]archer4.jpg[/attachment]

[attachment=1155]archers2.jpg[/attachment]


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#30
Hello Artames,

Good for you! That's a nice Scythian bow you've got there; a typical Scythian hat, too.
Do I see a steppe war-axe tucked in your belt? Just like an Amazon on a Greek vase.

My very best,
Alanus
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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