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MANICA Reconstruction
#1
Salvete omnes,

I made a rather pleasant discovery about a week-and-a-half ago, realizing that what I'd considered to be 'left-over' 2.6cm-wide strips of 0.5mm thick sheet brass turned out to be perfect for a MANICA with lames the dimensions of those found at Newstead. Here's what resulted- the only difference is that the Newstead artifact has only a very small number of lames- maybe 13- and that's not nearly enough for me at 1.86m, so mine has a few more :wink:

It's constructed as a direct copy of the Newstead, using the one short intact lame as a pattern for the placement of the rivet and probable liner lacing holes, and the re-assembled uppermost wide lame determining the maximum length.

These turned out to produce a limb defense that's just excellent- it's very flexible, lightweight, and doubtless provides complete protection from cut wounds.

The bottom-to-top arrangement- dictated by the internal leathering rivet holes being on the forward edges of the lames- means blows coming from the front- where they'd almost always come from- would be deflected along the arm and away rather than the edges of the lames catching a blade as would happen were they arranged top-to-bottom.

The narrow dimension of the lames allows great flexibility such that a wearer can bend his elbow well beyone 90-degrees, probably approaching 45-degrees without any trouble, and the wrist can be bent forward to its maximum as well.

The relatively thin lames, which Mike Bishop reports ranged from 0.3 to 0.5mm in his monograph on the Lorica segmentata, are quite light and flexible so there's no danger of the edges ever cutting the lacing for the liner, as well the lames themselves change their curvature slightly as the arm moves, muscles contract, and so on, maintaining a good fit. The laminated form as well as the round shape makes these lames quite capable of preventing any form of cutting that wouldn't already cause significant crush injury as well (i.e., it won't stop an axe). The light weight- this piece weighing only 825g- means it shouldn't adversely affect the sword arm as heavier armor might, to no real significant benefit. Its light weight too means there's no danger of it sliding down and as can be seen in the photographs, it is quite securely held on with just two leather thongs- the one across the palm is to keep the forward end tight to the back of the hand and doesn't really contribute much to keeping the MANICA on the arm. So it would see the complicated leather pauldron and harness setups some replicas have deemed to be needed don't seem to have been strictly necessary on the real thing. I don't even thing there's reason to expect straps and buckles were used since I don't believe any has been recovered in context with manica fragments anyway. There are a pair of rings on one of the two MANICAE from Carlisle pictured in Bishop & Coulston's RME2, and it may be that a thong through them secured the upper portion- they're on the uppermost wide lame- but the large lacing holes of all the others provide more than enough room for additional thongs at any point along the piece. I simply found that just above the elbow and the wrist worked well and nothing more was necessary.

Until I'd tried mine on for the first time I thought MANICAE were interesting, but wasn't ever really a big fan of them- now I think they're SO cool 8)

[Image: PDR_0020b.jpg]

[Image: PDR_0013.jpg]

[Image: PDR_0016a.jpg]
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#2
[Image: PDR_0023a.jpg]
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#3
and where are the pictures of this piece, Matt?
Visne partem mei capere? Comminus agamus! * Me semper rogo, Quid faceret Iulius Caesar? * Confidence is a good thing! Overconfidence is too much of a good thing.
[b]Legio XIIII GMV. (Q. Magivs)RMRS Remember Atuatuca! Vengence will be ours!
Titus Flavius Germanus
Batavian Coh I
Byron Angel
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#4
Nice stuff. I remember talking with Mike B about this and instead of the centre line of the manica being outside of the arm, I depicted it on the inside (on the other side of the elbow, if that makes sense?). The lames that protect the hand actually covered the upper thumb was the thinking. If you stab with the gladius, the thumb (where it joins the wrist) is extremely vulnerable as is the bone running up the lower arm (radius or ulna?). Anyway, I've also seen other versions that also protect the top of the hand and are worn to protect the outside of the elbow. When I wear mine as I describe I can still bend my arm to touch my shoulder with my fingertips which is far more than 45 degrees. This explains it better, if you look at where the hand lames actually sit over the thumb.
http://s75.photobucket.com/albums/i311/ ... _small.jpg

Looks great though.
TARBICvS/Jim Bowers
A A A DESEDO DESEDO!
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#5
That's right- I do now remember reading of that idea Jim although now having worn the thing, I can't say I really agree; the thumb doesn't seem to me to be really in much danger as the guard protects it, and the exposed portion of the arm doesn't seem excessively exposed really- in fact it's less so when bent than if the guard covers the front because then the bent elbow projects rather further. The main reason I saw the forward end as being for the back of the hand as opposed to over the thumb is that the shortest lame from Newstead is exactly the right length to cover my hand while holding a sword, and the taper fits the lines of the arm as I've worn it quite naturally.

Either way I suppose, it's a very simple matter of bending the thing a little differently for however one cares to wear it- another great feature of the thinner lames :wink:
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#6
Quote:ither way I suppose, it's a very simple matter of bending the thing a little differently for however one cares to wear it- another great feature of the thinner lames :wink:
That's true enough. I just thought I'd offer up an alternative way to wear it :wink:
TARBICvS/Jim Bowers
A A A DESEDO DESEDO!
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#7
Actually it does make more sense that way- blows from a right-handed opponent would tend to strike the front and inside of the sword arm, therefore it makes rather less sense to have that be the open bit...

Although just trying it covering most of the front and the elbow being at the open portion doesn't preclude the forwardmost section covering the back of the hand- over the thumb is not really that comfortable...
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#8
Matt,

Very interesting- and ties in very much with my experience as well. I agree the strap is not necessary to hold the manica up. Like Tarbicus, I wear mine on the inside of the arm, and am convinced off its use as deflective armour- feels like an exoskeleton.

Pics attached of an alternative lacing method. I also think that the holes in the top lame may be for lacing the manica to a subarmalis or lorica?

(My manica made, btw, by the very talented Andrew Walpole).

http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/browne.pa ... 3921984754

http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/browne.pa ... 3608992370

Cheers

Caballo
[Image: wip2_r1_c1-1-1.jpg] [Image: Comitatuslogo3.jpg]


aka Paul B, moderator
http://www.romanarmy.net/auxilia.htm
Moderation in all things
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#9
Very nice- I thought about lacing it fully like that but couldn't face all that tightening LOL

Yours has no lining at all then? I found it makes a HUGE difference in how easy it is to move since nothing pinches :wink:
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#10
Quote:over the thumb is not really that comfortable...
Felt padding - the stuff of the gods.
TARBICvS/Jim Bowers
A A A DESEDO DESEDO!
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#11
No lining- yet!!! Jim, from your experience of felt, would it restrict movement too much in a manica?

Cheers

Caballo
[Image: wip2_r1_c1-1-1.jpg] [Image: Comitatuslogo3.jpg]


aka Paul B, moderator
http://www.romanarmy.net/auxilia.htm
Moderation in all things
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#12
LOL No doubt. I meant more that the entire right side of my hand is exposed and bangs into the edges, and is just considerably less-comfortable than across the back of the hand. Interestingly I really do feel a lot more exposed with the underside open than the inner-underside...
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#13
Quote:No lining- yet!!! Jim, from your experience of felt, would it restrict movement too much in a manica?
Paul, I think you'd only need it over the thumb area, but I don't see why it would over the whole arm if you use proper felt that isn't compressed too much.
TARBICvS/Jim Bowers
A A A DESEDO DESEDO!
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#14
How do you get the articulation right? I have been wracking my brain in making mine. I can't seem to get them to articulate properly. Perhaps my lames are to big? How do you get each lame align to the other lames as well as align properly with the gap? Thanks for the pics!!
Jason Bressie

Aedinius Sextus Maximus
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#15
Here's the alternate wear position:

[Image: PDR_0024.jpg]

[Image: PDR_0025.jpg]
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