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xenophon on horsemanship- the armour
#1
I just found this and am wondering how accurate the translation is....It sounds good. Apologies if it has been discussed/ posted in similar form previously. I searched but did not find more than a passing reference.
regards,
Richard
http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/x/xenophon/x5ho/

"As to the helmet, the best kind, in our opinion, is one of the Boeotian pattern,160 on the principle again, that it covers all the parts exposed above the breastplate without hindering vision. Another point: the corselet should be so constructed that it does not prevent its wearer sitting down or stooping. About the abdomen and the genitals and parts surrounding161flaps should be attached in texture and in thickness sufficient to protect162that region.
Again, as an injury to the left hand may disable the horseman, we would recommend the newly-invented piece of armour called the gauntlet, which protects the shoulder, arm, and elbow, with the hand engaged in holding the reins, being so constructed as to extend and contract; in addition to which it covers the gap left by the corselet under the armpit. The case is different with the right hand, which the horseman must needs raise to discharge a javelin or strike a blow. Here, accordingly, any part of the corselet which would hinder action out to be removed; in place of which the corselet ought to have some extra flaps163 at the joints, which as the outstretched arm is raised unfold, and as the arm descends close tight again. The arm itself,164 it seems to us, will better be protected by a piece like a greave stretched over it than bound up with the corselet. Again, the part exposed when the right hand is raised should be covered close to the corselet either with calfskin or with metal; or else there will be a want of protection just at the most vital point."
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#2
As far as I know the translation is correct. Which is it exactly you're questioning?
Annelies Koolen

Hippike - Horses And History
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#3
His name was:

XENOPHON.

M.VIB.M.
Bushido wa watashi no shuukyou de gozaru.

Katte Kabuto no O wo shimeyo!

H.J.Vrielink.
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#4
My translation by Morris H Morgan (1893) follows this very closely.
Moi Watson

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Merlot in one hand, Cigar in the other; body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!
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#5
'Gauntlet' seems an odd translation for what sounds like segmented arm armour, something like a Roman manica. Could 'with the hand engaged in holding the reins' actually be something like 'and the wrist/forearm of the hand holding the reins'?
Nathan Ross
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#6
Quote:'Gauntlet' seems an odd translation for what sounds like segmented arm armour, something like a Roman manica. Could 'with the hand engaged in holding the reins' actually be something like 'and the wrist/forearm of the hand holding the reins'?

Morgan merely uses the term "the arm" (his italics) but the subsequent foot note says this:

"Examples(but not of Greek origin) of this flexible piece of armour have been found at Olympis and at Pergamon. It was made of strips of metal, lapping over each other like the fingers of a medieval gauntlet".

One hopes it is safe to assume he was referring to manica but as yet I have not looked up the references for the finds.
Moi Watson

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Merlot in one hand, Cigar in the other; body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!
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#7
The word in question could be used to mean "hand" or "wrist" or "arm". The context doesn't help so we'd need to look for extant pieces of armour dating to the right time period that might fit one of the above interpretations.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#8
Thanks everyone. Yes I was really questioning "gauntlet". Yes I also envisaged a manica
but the "covers the gap under the arm pit" is fascinating. I have not heard of a manica at Olympus or in a specifically Greek context before. I also think that here is evidence, or at least "recommended" evidence for a vambrace in the early(?) Hellenistic period (could be called that-no??)
regards
richard
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#9
Xenophon was probably recommending a "manica" and armour combination he had seen used in Persia.
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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#10
the origianl greek texts talks about "cheirida, plural: cheiridae".
It literally translates as arm protection.

It could have been manica style (after all he had seen it in the Asiatic horsemen) but considering his last estate was very close to Olympia what stops us to think that he meant the archai armor arm protection which was exivited there at his time.

He suggests the thing which meant it was not used or was extremely rare.

Kind regards
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#11
1"58 Again, the neck, as being a vital part,159 ought to have, as we maintain, a covering, appended to the corselet and close-fitting. This will serve as an ornament, and if made as it ought to be, will conceal the rider’s face — if so he chooses — up to the nose."

This bit reminded me right a way of a scaled greek mantle I had a picture of years ago but do not think I have seen again. It also prompted me to think of Skythian armour decor.
I did a google last night and found this image fair (thinking of the armpit protection).
It is by Merlkir and was posted on the Taleworlds forum in 2010

[attachment=5094]PersianCavalryArmor.jpg[/attachment]

regards
Richard- who agrees that it is probably Persian inspired but would love to see a greek manica appear from a backroom in a museum.


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#12
Xenophon migh of course have seen this thing but in Greek the flaps over the shoulder are called "epomidae" not "cheiridae".

Kind regards
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#13
What an interesting question, now that I have actually looked it up in the Greek text.

It says 'cheira' (which is the accusativus singularis of h cheir, meaning 'hand'). So the word used by Xenophon is definitely not cheirida. Cheirida is the Greek translation of the Latin word 'manica', but Xenophon himself does not use that word.

The Greek text also speaks of the cheir which would 'sunkamptetai' which means 'folds up' (Loeb translation), meaning that it would be flexible at least. Preferably by segments of metal.

Xenophon writes that ‘the cheir would protect the shoulder and upperarm (as this is what omos means), the arm, the elbow and that which hold the reins’. It would also cover the 'space left by the thorax under the maschale'. A thorax usually would not protect the upperarm and the region below and next to the armpit. Which region is described by ‘upo ti maschali’. maschale could either mean 'shoulder' or 'armpit'.

So I would say that the cheir covered the upperarm and shoulder; it therefore would press the arm more or less against the body. Which would be ok for the left hand which would hold the reins and would have to be steady to do that in order not to frighten or disturb the horse. As the reins should always be handled very gently and careful in order not to make the horse go in unwanted moves or change its course or pull its head up by a harshly used hand and such.

It is a different case with the right hand/arm.

Here Xenophon recommends that the part of the thorax which would hinder the uplifting of the arm in order to throw a javeling or strike a blow, should be removed. It should be replaced with detachable flaps which could be opened or closed depending on the movement of the arm.

Apparently the thorax even prohibited the cavalryman of throwing his javelins properly.

A few lines below that, he speaks of 'the part that is left exposed by the thorax when the right arm is raised'. He does not use the word 'machale' here, but I would say he means 'armpit' here.

So I would conclude that the left shoulder would be covered with a flexible cheir which the rider could probably not lift. The right shoulder would be covered by an adjustment of the thorax with detachable flaps which could open or close according to the movement of the arm. The armpit of the right shoulder would have to be protected by calf-skin or metal close to the thorax, because in the event of raising this arm, the rider would be vulnerable here.
The left armpit would not be exposed this way, so it would not need extra protection, it would be protected enough by the cheir that would fold up by segments, but which would not allow for the left arm to be raised.

I hope this will answer your question.
Annelies Koolen

Hippike - Horses And History
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#14
Quote:the origianl greek texts talks about "cheirida, plural: cheiridae". It literally translates as arm protection.
Hmm, Dindorf's 1870 Teubner text has χείρ (accusative, χεῖρα), which literally means "hand". The word never suggests anything further up the arm (which would be brach- type words, from βραχίων), although the piece of armour that Xenophon is describing clearly covers the entire arm. I suppose Xenophon's use of this precise word is the reason for the suggested translation as "gauntlet" (= "glove"), rather than "vambrace/vantbrace" (= "armour for the lower arm") or "brassard" (= "armour for the upper arm").
posted by Duncan B Campbell
https://ninth-legion.blogspot.com/
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