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Again, I ask what evidence we have for the assertion that a yellow banner signified peace while a red banner signified war? I know of nothing to back this up. Can anybody provide a citation, or is it an unsupported assertion?

Regarding the paper I mentioned before about Byzantine banners, for those with access to it, it is called Standards and Insignia of Byzantium, by Andrea Babuin. It appeared in Byzantion Tome LXXI (2001). There are 98 illustrations of Byzantine insignia and banners, dating from 20 BC all the way to the 15th century AD. (BTW, no mention in this paper of any colour distinctions in banners for peace and war).

Peter Raftos, do you have access to Byzantion, or would you like me to photocopy the paper and send it to you? (If so, send me your snail mail address off-list. Note: there are 30 pages doublesided.)

Theodosius, I've temporarily put a better pic of Basil II in his gilded armour at http://www.angelfire.com/empire/egfroth/Basil_II.JPG . It won't be up for long, so get it while you can. If it is lamellar, it's an unusual type. You can see more about it in ‘Kremasmata, kabadion, klibanion: some aspects of middle Byzantine military equipment reconsidered’ by Dr Tim Dawson. Though his diagram shows two vertical laces and one horizontal, in the original picture they all just look like dots to me.
Hi Steven,

Thank you for posting the photo and the article. Before I couldn't tell how the plates were oriented (I guessed they were downward but now see otherwise). Also, I see now why you interpreted the shoulder "pteruges" as armor plates (as you have for your impression.)

As for the article, yes, Travis L. Clarke sent me the same link weeks ago. A very enlightening read. For such a relatively late period I'm surprised that we moderns are still relying on guesswork as to authentic methods of construction. I take it no lacing patterns have survived with any plates.

Thank you, again, Steven. Have you already posted photos of your impression on RAT ? If so, it's gone under my rader. Is your impression that of a cataphract ?

~Theo

Quote:Theodosius, I've temporarily put a better pic of Basil II in his gilded armour at http://www.angelfire.com/empire/egfroth/Basil_II.JPG . It won't be up for long, so get it while you can. If it is lamellar, it's an unusual type. You can see more about it in ‘Kremasmata, kabadion, klibanion: some aspects of middle Byzantine military equipment reconsidered’ by Dr Tim Dawson. Though his diagram shows two vertical laces and one horizontal, in the original picture they all just look like dots to me.
Yes, I suppose you could say that. I'm in a group that portrays the Varangian Guards. I contend that any Varangian who didn't have his own armour when he joined, would have been supplied from the Imperial arsenal. So I'm wearing a late 11th century AD lamellar klivanion, and I have a Roman "kite" shield and a helmet based on the Skylitzes Chronicle of Madrid.

In fact, this is likely to have been better than a rank and file Varangian would have worn - it's more like what an officer would have had, or even one of the Roman liaison officers.

I thought I'd put my impression up some time ago, but I couldn't find it when I searched. I'll have to get some more photos taken and remedy the situation.

In the meantime, you can see the kind of thing I do here
Quote:Yes, I suppose you could say that. I'm in a group that portrays the Varangian Guards.

Ah, that explains your interest in the period. I've ran across Yahoo groups who also focus on the Varangians - comprised mostly of Englishmen. Besides these, no other Yahoo groups focus on Byzantine reenactment. Maybe I should start one :wink:

Quote:I contend that any Varangian who didn't have his own armour when he joined, would have been supplied from the Imperial arsenal.

Sounds plausible. And the Varangians being the Emperor's bodyguard would surely have been equipted with the finest armor of the day.

Quote:So I'm wearing a late 11th century AD lamellar klivanion, and I have a Roman "kite" shield and a helmet based on the Skylitzes Chronicle of Madrid.

Yes, your armor looks superb. Is your helmet of spangenhelm design ?

Quote:I'll have to get some more photos taken and remedy the situation.

I'll look for them on the appropriate thread. Even with only half your kit visible on your avatar I'm impressed with the workmanship that's gone into the armor's construction. Smile

Quote:In the meantime, you can see the kind of thing I do here

Thank you, Steven. Smile //www.angelfire.com/empire/egfroth/TimArmour.jpg:159extrj]This fellow's[/url]kit looks similar to yours. I like how mail is combined with lamellar.

For my own VI century impression I am thinking of buying Deepeeka's brass lamellar platesto construct a cuirass based on the Ravenna Christ mosaic. Deepeeka's plates could perhaps be a close enough match, IMO. As for helmet I intend to commission someone to make a VI century spangenhelm based on actual survivals like this one. Right now I already have a set of pteruges as well as a concave shield with a Chi-Ro emblem. Hopefully everything will be ready by Christmas.


~Theo
Actually, Australia is a hotbed of Varangian re-enactment, with quite a heavy focus on Byzantium in some of our branches. And we do have several yahoo discussion lists - but the emphasis is Varangian first, Byzantine second. And a lot of the discussions have very little to do with anything but local issues.

Buy if you like you can chase them up. The discussion list (for our national organisation) is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/newvarangianguard/ . You can also look at our website at http://www.nvg.org.au/

Which Yahoo list do you know of with English Varangians? Sure it's not one of the above?

Regarding the Varangians being issued armour, see http://www.geocities.com/egfrothos/Adoption.html

The helmet I wear is shown here.

Here's me wearing it in Rome, just near the Forum.
[Image: Rome_wedding.JPG]

At the risk of name-dropping, this is Dr Raffaele d'Amato's wedding- he asked me to be in his honour guard. And the best man was Prof. Taxiarchis Kolias.

The kit has been on hold for a while. I've had other things on my plate (like attending the Battle of Hastings re-enactment). Evemtually I want to get the whole lot together, including armoured skirt and padded greaves.

The fellow in the photo is Dr Tim Dawson, something of a recognised authority on Byzantine armour and costume. He originated the design I used for my klivanion.

If you're doing a 6th century impression, that helmet is very good.

Do you have a copy of the Ravenna Christ mosaic with a more detailed rendition of the lamellar cuirass? It's very hard to see the form of the plates. The Deepeeka ones seem very short compared with those I'm aware of from this period.

I've collected quite a few copies of contemporary representations of 6th century Roman armour, if you're interested in seeing them. (I also took photos of 6th century lamellar plates in the museum of the Crypta Balbi in Rome - unfortunately they didn't come out all that well).
Quote:Australia is a hotbed of Varangian re-enactment, with quite a heavy focus on Byzantium in some of our branches

That makes a lot of sense. I've heard that Viking reenactment is the most popular genre both there and in NZ. So, I'm sure there must be a lot of overlap with Varangian groups.

Quote:Which Yahoo list do you know of with English Varangians? Sure it's not one of the above?

You're right, those are the groups I've seen. I was speculating that Varangian groups are comprised mostly of men of English decent as opposed to mere nationality. Of course the genre is probably popular in the Scandinavian countries as well.

Quote:The helmet I wear is shown here.

So, it appears to be a more simple type of spangenhelm. Very interesting design. I wonder if the knob serves any purpose (e.g. the attachment of a horse hair tail).

Quote:At the risk of name-dropping, this is Dr Raffaele d'Amato's wedding- he asked me to be in his honour guard. And the best man was Prof. Taxiarchis Kolias.

Getting wed in style Big Grin You look regal.

Quote:The kit has been on hold for a while. I've had other things on my plate (like attending the Battle of Hastings re-enactment). Evemtually I want to get the whole lot together, including armoured skirt and padded greaves.

Armoured skirt, hmm...I can't recall seeing an example of one. Also, would a two-handed battle-axe be incongrous with your kit since you carry a kite shield ?

Quote:Do you have a copy of the Ravenna Christ mosaic with a more detailed rendition of the lamellar cuirass? It's very hard to see the form of the plates. The Deepeeka ones seem very short compared with those I'm aware of from this period.

Unfortunately, that photo is the best close-up I could find online. But I'm going to visit a library soon and look for a better photo in one of their large picture books. According to Dan Peterson the Deepeeka plates measure about 4 inches (10 cm) in length. So, I would have 4 or 5 rows of plates since I'm not tall. Two rows are visible on the Christ mosaic but he must have at least three and just maybe even four, IMO.

Quote:I've collected quite a few copies of contemporary representations of 6th century Roman armour, if you're interested in seeing them. (I also took photos of 6th century lamellar plates in the museum of the Crypta Balbi in Rome - unfortunately they didn't come out all that well).

Wow, I'd be most interested in seeing whatever you have from the period Big Grin !:

~Theo
Quote:So, it appears to be a more simple type of spangenhelm.

Not really. The complex curves actually make it quite a bit more difficult to make. The frame of a spangenhelm gives you much more certainty of the shapes you need. Just fill in the gaps . . . Wink

Quote:I wonder if the knob serves any purpose (e.g. the attachment of a horse hair tail).
It's possible, but I doubt it. The knob seems to be a decoration in its own right. Horsehair tails seem to have gone out of fashion by the 12th century.

Quote:Armoured skirt, hmm...I can't recall seeing an example of one.

[Image: SteatiteGeorge.jpg]

This is probably the clearest representation, and the one I plan to copy. It's an 11th century steatite ikon of St George in the Vatopedi monastery, Greece

Quote: Also, would a two-handed battle-axe be incongrous with your kit since you carry a kite shield ?

Not really. You just sling it over your back, like the guy on the far right in the lowest panel here. Also, see the guys with both axes and shields here.

Quote:According to Dan Peterson the Deepeeka plates measure about 4 inches (10 cm) in length. So, I would have 4 or 5 rows of plates since I'm not tall. Two rows are visible on the Christ mosaic but he must have at least three and just maybe even four, IMO.

I'd say so. early Byzantine period (ie 5th-6th century AD) representations of lamellar show the plates quite long compared with their width - and with curved edges. Four inches would probably be ok - perhaps they're just a bit wide, instead. A bit hard to get a sense of scale from Deepeeka's pictures.


Quote:I'd be most interested in seeing whatever you have from the period .

Well, we could start with the following:

[Image: LOMBARD_ARMOUR_DETAIL3.JPG]
A c. 6th century Byzantine or Lombard silver plate in Castelvecchio Museum in Verona.




And here's a detail from a gilded bronze plate from the brow of the helmet of 6th century Lombard king Agilulf. The detail is not good, but if you look carefully, you can see the outline of lamellar plates on the torsos of the soldiers, and of course their plumed spangenhelms.

[Image: AgilulfDetail.jpg]

Their lamellar plates seem to be curved, as well. However, the ones I photographed in the Crypta Balbi museum were rectangular.

If you wanted to have curved edges on your plates, somebody makes plates copied from those found at Birka (or was it Wisby?) which would fit the bill.

BTW, if you're interested in 6th century spangenhelms, I have links to lots of sites with photos - though yours seems very much typical of the best of them.
Quote:This is probably the clearest representation, and the one I plan to copy. It's an 11th century steatite ikon of St George in the Vatopedi monastery, Greece

Ahh...I should have guessed. I suppose they're similar in construction to your upper-arm plates. I wonder if the skirt qualifies as lamellar - I can't see why not.

Quote:Not really. You just sling it over your back, like the guy on the far right in the lowest panel here. Also, see the guys with both axes and shields here.

I see. But that prompts the question : when was the shield used if not in hand to hand combat ? Perhaps during an initial exchange of missles from opposing archers at the beginning of a battle ?

Quote:If you wanted to have curved edges on your plates, somebody makes plates copied from those found at Birka (or was it Wisby?) which would fit the bill.

Yes ! I've been seesawing over using Visby style platesor Deepeeka's plates. The Visby plates' D-shape is similar to the ones seen on this Palmyran relief but the Palmyran ones look much shorter, IMO. (Of course they date to either the 1st or 2nd century AD). So, are the Visby plates plausible in your estimation or were you thinking of another type ?

Both Deepeeka and Visby styles are about the same length.

Quote:BTW, if you're interested in 6th century spangenhelms, I have links to lots of sites with photos - though yours seems very much typical of the best of them.

I think I have enough photos to know what I'd like for a spangenhelm, but thank you just the same. And thank you, Steven, for your last article. I haven't finished it yet but I'm spellbound by it. Smile
Quote:At the risk of name-dropping, this is Dr Raffaele d'Amato's wedding- he asked me to be in his honour guard. And the best man was Prof. Taxiarchis Kolias.

You're right, that IS name-dropping! Big Grin
Were the bride & groom also in period attire?
Quote:You're right, that IS name-dropping! Big Grin



I know. Completely shameless. I'm known among the mediaeval crowd as a hopeless show pony and media slut.

Quote:Were the bride & groom also in period attire?
No, the bride was absolutely stunning in a wonderful white gown (sigh). Raffaele wore a spiffy dark suit.]

Quote:BTW does the Ceasar has a name, or you just represent anyone depending the situation? like Botaniates, Komnenos, Paleologus etc.?

I based the outfit on several contemporary pictures of Botaniates, as his is the period I prefer to portray (and his clothes are SO cool!), but no, we leave the identity of the Emperor open - perhaps Egfrothos the First?
The naval base that Nikiforos Fokas constructed ti shelte his fleet while reconquering Crete in 961 was wfound in April 2007 along with the leftover of what might be a Byzantine ships hull.
Kind regards
That's really interesting. Where on Crete is the harbour? Do they have any more information about the ship?
Here's some more 6th century armour. First, two from a silver plate c. 550 AD showing Venus in the Tent of Anchises. Both figures are wearing what looks very like mail if you look at it closely, with pteruges at the shoulders. The helmet in the second one is interesting, too. Both have a sort of harness over the armour which first appears in Sassanid Persian representations, and is seen in Byzantine representations of armoured men for centuries afterwards. Its function is still a mystery - it's been whimsically titled the Varangian bra, though (apart from some Osprey illustrations) there's absolutely no reason to connect it with the Varangians.

[Image: VENUSANCHISESDETAIL1.JPG]

[Image: VENUSANCHISESDETAIL2.JPG]

and another silver plate from about the same time, showing David fighting Philistines. I've read scholarly opinion that the helmets, at least, are fanciful, based upon clasical models. But the armour itself seems very similar to the Venus and Anchises guys.

[Image: DavidPlate1.jpg]
Here is a detail from Venus and Anchises, showing the texture of the mail.
[Image: VenusAnchisesDetail3.jpg]

And two details of the lorikia from the David plate.

[Image: DAVIDLORIKION2.JPG]
[Image: DAVIDLORIKION3.JPG]
Quote:Its function is still a mystery - it's been whimsically titled the Varangian bra, though (apart from some Osprey illustrations) there's absolutely no reason to connect it with the Varangians.

That's funny :lol: I remember reading about this in Graham Sumner's "RMC (3)" and I believe these harnesses were only worn by infantry if I remember correctly.

Egfroth, do you believe the plates in the Verona silver platebare a strong enough resemblance to these plates from Wisby or only a passing one?

[Image: osehnc10201.JPG]

~Theo
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