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Yes I acknowleded the two earlier excellent conversations - I read them carefully- and the first post by Peter Rafkos especially seemed to nail most of the key issues. However many aspects are unresolved, such as the exact nature of the spear head and also AFAIK there has never been an attempt to examine the period images to identify candidate menavlion, or images that seem to show use of thick short spears that might meet the sapling description, some of which I offer above for your consideration. Also, some people a year or two suggested they might try to recreate said device, and I was curious if there are any experiments to report.
-Rick
p.s. the tiger picture is clearly a gladatorial event, since the men are wearing gladatorial uniforms, so the spear may not have the crossbar not quite by accident - the others seem to be hunting.

Quote:Been covered previously;

http://www.romanarmy.com/rat/viewtopic. ... c340b9475f

starting 7 posts up from bottom of page.
Quote:Thought I would post a few pics of our group, Timothy Dawson's Palace Company at Rufford park Medieval event earlier this year.
Nice pictures!! You may be in need of a new avatar? :wink:
Quote:
kuura:3qiv7zy5 Wrote:Thought I would post a few pics of our group, Timothy Dawson's Palace Company at Rufford park Medieval event earlier this year.
Nice pictures!! You may be in need of a new avatar? :wink:


Naah, you will never purge the 'barbarian' out of me Big Grin

Even my 'Byzantine' impression is Bulgarian/Vlach.
There is a nice archeological find that I am using as a guide when I get my menaulion made up and which would come close to fitting the description perfectly. This is the large spear head (described as a boar spear) on the 11th century Serce Limani shipwreck . The blade alone is about 28cm which is getting close to our dimensions. It was found in a wooden scabbard.

See:
[url:30od464a]http://ina.tamu.edu/images/Serce%20Limani/tools/GW-2262.jpg[/url]
The dimensions in general are: length of overall head 0.37 (metres); length of blade 0.278; length of socket 0.092.
Orliva - laudes to you.

We know that the menavlatoi were close-combat infantry and that one of their main functions was dealing with enemy heavy cavalry. Normal spears, kontaria, were more than adequate to fend off cavalry. However, when there was a cavalry breakthrough a different type of weapon was called for.

From historical precident we know a number of weapons which were used for this purpose. Aurelian's auxiliaries used metal headed clubs (maces by any other name) to deal with Palmyran cataphracts. In the late Middle Ages/Renasissance the Swiss and Landsknechts used pikes to fend off cavalry but they used troops armed with bills, halberds and two-handed swords to kill heavily armoured men-at-arms when they came to close quarters after the momentum of their charge had been halted.

All these weapons have a heavy head and a cutting or crushing ability. As you say an axe-head on a pole would surely have attracted some direct description therefore a heavy, broad spearhead with an ability to cut as well as thrust seems to me to be the most likely form for the menavlion to take.
Cool! thank for showing this. I think its would fit the bill.
Plausible for hunting too, though, I would expect a boar spear (stopping power vs. unarmored target) to be a bit wider on average, so this one seems more like a military weapon.
I am reminded also of the expression 'hewing spear' in viking context... I don't think anyone knows precisely what form that took, either.
I was considering commissioning one of the 'christmas tree' heads from an armorer friend, but did not fully realize how big it was until I sketched it out full scale on paper, to hand to him... 15 inches by 2.8 inches is a walloping big "spear head".
-Rick
Quote:There is a nice archeological find that I am using as a guide when I get my menaulion made up and which would come close to fitting the description perfectly. This is the large spear head (described as a boar spear) on the 11th century Serce Limani shipwreck . The blade alone is about 28cm which is getting close to our dimensions. It was found in a wooden scabbard.
[/quote]
Thanks! speaking of maces, I am curious about the item in this fellow's belt. Is it a long mace? a basket-hilt sword?

http://www.kismeta.com/diGrasse/Costume ... llKitS.jpg

(I love the picture for clear layout of kit. I'm looking for a high-rez color version of it, if anyone has encountered such a thing.)

Quote:Orliva - laudes to you.

.....Aurelian's auxiliaries used metal headed clubs (maces by any other name) to deal with Palmyran cataphracts. .
Quote:Thanks! speaking of maces, I am curious about the item in this fellow's belt. Is it a long mace? a basket-hilt sword?

http://www.kismeta.com/diGrasse/Costume ... llKitS.jpg

(I love the picture for clear layout of kit. I'm looking for a high-rez color version of it, if anyone has encountered such a thing.)

Urselius:2av3t8fy Wrote:Orliva - laudes to you.

.....Aurelian's auxiliaries used metal headed clubs (maces by any other name) to deal with Palmyran cataphracts. .

I would be willing to bet a large amount of money on it being a long-handled, flange-headed mace. I've seen something like it, a cog-like mace head that is, in bronze/brass labelled as "Middle-Eastern" and "Late Medieval."
Apparently a standard model.
Here is another of the same, from late 10th C. Great Poland, and is now at the Poznan museam of Archeology. unfortunatly the exact length of this one was not offered in the text, but it also seems to be near .37 meters.

http://www.kismeta.com/diGrasse/Byz/PolishSpearsX.jpg
-Rick
Quote:There is a nice archeological find that I am using as a guide when I get my menaulion made up and which would come close to fitting the description perfectly. This is the large spear head (described as a boar spear) on the 11th century Serce Limani shipwreck . The blade alone is about 28cm which is getting close to our dimensions. It was found in a wooden scabbard.

See:
[url:32mi3rz2]http://ina.tamu.edu/images/Serce%20Limani/tools/GW-2262.jpg[/url]
The dimensions in general are: length of overall head 0.37 (metres); length of blade 0.278; length of socket 0.092.
The "wings" on the spear-head would prevent over penetration of a thrust, but it has also been mooted that they would allow a certain amount of fencing-like activity. Enemy spears could be caught or deflected using the wings, also shield-rims could be hooked and pulled to the side. A spear head of that size and length of blade could certainly be used to cut as well as thrust.
May I poll the forum please, is the harness properly equipped with a buckle or tie or is it made to size and just slid on over the gear?

My working theory is that it is intended to be worn snug (that is, that it is intended to secure the armor by snugly holding it to the chest) and so would be tightened after it was put on, but how the tightening is done is not clear to me yet.

As with my mevalion questions, I am asking these specific questions now because I am in the process of designing now to reproduce the kit - I expect mistakes and failed efforts but naturally want to minimize that with research. Truths or opinions solicited. -Rick

Quote:With regards to Orlirva's question about the 'Varangian bra', I have to agree with the other posters that it was a means to secure a perhaps ill-fitting cuirass. Such a harness was not only restricted to military use, as the same kind of strapping is found in civilian dress. Take a look at the diptych I posted some time ago in this thread. The baby's swaddling clothes are secured by such a harness.

Cheers
Hi all, new to posting so please bear with me.

In reference to the "Byzantine Bra" I have done quite a lot of practical research over the years on this one and have come to the personal conclusion that it is more useful as a tied cloth contraption than a leather strap device.

Visual evidence such as the ivory casket from the British Museum which seems to clearly show folds and a cloth like taper. Many other depictions seem to be devoid of even rudimentary detail though even allowing for lack of scale in period art if leather straps are indicated they would be unusually large.

I have found no real benefit from a leather arrangement over either maille or lamellar combined with the very real disadvantage that if too tight it tends to constrict breathing - never good as fatigue is the constant enemy of the armoured man. If too loose it tends to slip around, particularly on maille.

- if tied from two pieces of cloth, a chest band and a "braces" element it works well to prevent ones chest band from working it's way down to the waist with movement (particularly on maille).

The main uses I have found for the chest band is unit and rank identification based on colour coding, plus the arrangement tends to help prevent slouching of the upper body which also can cause fatigue when wearing armour.

I have seen no conclusive aid in carrying the weight of the armour as put forward by some, though it does help to keep ones armour "neat". I do not believe it had any primary role to keep ill fitting armour together as lamellar contruction is easily tailored (and repaired) in the field let alone the long hours of "soldier's work" one is subject to in any army.

Ingvar Carnifex
Patrick Urquhart
Welcome to the list, Patrick! Good to see your face here.

As you're probably aware, you're among friends here. I look forward to some stimulating discussions.

I have to say, Tim Dawson reckons the whole 'bra' thing is a furphy anyway, and the portrayals it's based on are unreliable. Me, I just don't know.
Well come Patric.
Thanks for feed back.

I am "nursing" the theory that the "bra" was probably a badge of rank as it appears on military saints who are usually depicted as officers.
Colour or decorations would show different ranks.

May I have your thoughts on this please, gentlemen?

Kind regards
The Pektorarion (breast sash) is a different beast from the "Bra" and is clearly and often portrayed as a cloth sash, knotted at the front. I am quite convinced this is an identification device and most likely to do with rank.

I am inclined to agree that the "Bra" is a furphy.

For fun I have included a (quite old) picture of my first Byzantine kit - unfortunately for once I am not wearing my Pektorarion!
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