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Making a leather covered quilted linen cuirass
#1
I have been walking around with the idea for some months now, collecting information. There are some nice articles on the topic in several issues of Ancient Warfare Magazine and a lot of information in the book 'Arms And Armour Of The Imperial Soldier' of Graham Sumner and Raffaele d'Amato.
After reading about the biophysics of weapon impact, especially in relation to linen armour, there is no reason to doubt the protective nature of such an armour, soft (quilted) or hard (linothorax). The leather covering appears to be thin and flexible, but wil also ad to the protectiveness of the armour and keep the linen dry.
On the part of evidence, there are some pieces of leather found, related to armour, but most is in the form of art and is sometimes debatable, but comes in quantity.
The quilted linen cuirass however (in fact a thick subarmalis)is mostly covered by the leather and rendered invisible on artwork I have seen. So all I have to go on are a few examples not covered by leather (see Ancient Warfare Vol 4, issue 1)
Before I begin to reconstruct this kind of armour based on artwork evidence, I need a lot more of it and I am kind of stuck there.
I am counting on obtaining information trough this forum, so, ideas, information, links, etc. are very welcome.
Quintilianus/Jurgen Schultz

Member of Legio XI Claudia Pia Fidelis

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#2
Welcome to the club of those of us seeking hard evidence of ancient subarmalis! :mrgreen:
I am sure others have better sources than myself, but so far, all I have seen is in the way of reliefs and carvings.
I wish you well in your search, and i hope you will share your findings!
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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#3
I'm a little confused. Are you planning to make a Greek style linothorax and use it as a Roman subarmalis to wear underneath lorica hamata/segmentata/squamata? Or are you going to wear the subarmalis by itself as armor?

Christian Koepfer has a nice page on evidence for the subarmalis here. But the page seems to be temporarily down at the moment.

~Theo
Jaime
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#4
Be sure, I wil make a thread on the build of this cuirass and share al info I come across. Big Grin
Quintilianus/Jurgen Schultz

Member of Legio XI Claudia Pia Fidelis

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#5
I want to make a quilted linen cuirass covered with a leather kind of jerkin. Not the linothorax. :wink:
It is indeed some kind of subarmalis, but thicker, more layers of linen.
Quintilianus/Jurgen Schultz

Member of Legio XI Claudia Pia Fidelis

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#6
i'm thinking to make one too info is welcome.
AgrimensorLVCIVS FLAVIVS SINISTER
aka Jos Cremers
member of CORBVLO
ESTE NIX PAX CRISTE NIX
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#7
It's a different period, but I have made an experimental garment -- back plate and breast plate -- to go with my Sutton Hoo shoulder clasps. There were a lot of textiles originally in the grave, including linen, so it is reasonably justified. Mine is made with 10 layers of linen and a lining of wool. It is stitched; the closer the stitching the more resilient, but also stiffer, it becomes.

If you want any other details -- just ask.

Paul
Paul Mortimer
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#8
Kult of Athena sells linen submaralis for $65. They also have a leather one for more.
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#9
What you should be thinking about doing is a subarmilis and a "Libyan hide". The sources make it plain that they are different. The uncertainty is whether the Libyan hide was worn over the subarmilis but under the lorica when bad weather was expected, or could be thrown over as needed as a true surcoat protecting the armour as well as the subarmilis. To me, practicality says the latter, but perhaps that is just because I presently live in Yorkshire where if you do not like the weather you only have to wait five minutes!

People do persist in making subarmiles / thoracomakhoi / gambesons with leather facings, but I cannot understand why. It is more difficult and more expensive and pointless, because if your leather is light enough to be quilted it contributes nothing to the protectiveness or durability of the garment. I say this on the basis of having made and used such garments since the mid-1980s.

There are two definite pictures of subarmiles / thoracomakhoi. Besides the well-known one in the Archaeological Museum in Constantinople, there is a much less know one in Newcastle. Sorry - the picture could be better.
[attachment=2157]Newcastle_thoracomachus_2a.jpg[/attachment]

Timotheos


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Social History and Material Culture of the Enduring Roman Empire.

http://www.levantia.com.au
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#10
Quote:It's a different period, but I have made an experimental garment -- back plate and breast plate -- to go with my Sutton Hoo shoulder clasps. There were a lot of textiles originally in the grave, including linen, so it is reasonably justified. Mine is made with 10 layers of linen and a lining of wool. It is stitched; the closer the stitching the more resilient, but also stiffer, it becomes.

If you want any other details -- just ask.

Paul

If you have photos and a reference of the grave find, I would be much obliged. Big Grin
How thick is the finished reconstruction you made?
Quintilianus/Jurgen Schultz

Member of Legio XI Claudia Pia Fidelis

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#11
Here is a picture --- the clasps went on a two piece garment and the linen plates are an experiment. We don't really know what the clasps went on. It provides a great deal of protection and is about 8mms thick.

Paul


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Paul Mortimer
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#12
Here is a picture --- the clasps went on a two piece garment and the linen plates are an experiment. We don't really know what the clasps went on. It provides a great deal of protection and is about 8mms thick.

Paul
[attachment=2160]A9a1600x1200.JPG[/attachment]


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Paul Mortimer
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#13
Correction, here's the link I meant to post earlier:

http://web.me.com/christian.koepfer/AER/...malis.html
Jaime
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#14
Quote:Here is a picture --- the clasps went on a two piece garment and the linen plates are an experiment. We don't really know what the clasps went on. It provides a great deal of protection and is about 8mms thick.
Beautiful kit, but we do know that the clasps didn't go on anything that was 8mm thick. Noël Adams' report for the British Museum reckons that 1.5mm would be about the maximum. He goes further and specifically states that the shoulder clasps could not possibly have been attached to anything that was thick enough to provide any sort of protection in battle. The clasps certainly could have been attached to the shoulders of a garment that was worn over mail armour, but that garment would have been decorative, not protective.

"Rethinking the Sutton Hoo Shoulder Clasps and Armour" Intelligible Beauty: recent research on Byzantine jewellery. Edited by Chris Entwistle and Noël Adams, British Museum Research Publication 178. p. 99
http://www.britishmuseum.org/pdf/9%20Adams-opt-sec.pdf
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#15
Hi Dan,
Thank you for bringing up that paper. If you read it carefully Dan - you will see that Noel acknowledges my help -- Noel and I did the experiments together. After our work we determined fairly conclusively that whatever the clasps went on - it was unlikely to have been leather and was almost certainly textile. Noel is a lady, by the way.

8mms is the thickness of the linen over most of the garment, except where the shoulder clasps connect. There it is less than half that (alternate layers of linen were cut away) - and it still provides very adequate fixing.


Paul
Paul Mortimer
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