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Illustrations of Sassanid Persian Clibanarii
#31
Tsurtsumia in his review of Grotowski's 'Arms and Armour of the Warrior Saints . . .' (Brill 2010), argues in favour of the 'tanurig'/oven hypothesis. He states that in Georgian, both a heavily-equipped rider and horse, and an oven, use the same root word 'torn-i' is armour; 'torn-e' is an oven. The same word denotes both oven and armoured rider. Thus he supports the idea that clibanarius has derived from the Greek word for oven.
Francis Hagan

The Barcarii
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#32
Quote:I would love to see real evidence of a cuirass being worn over mail this early rather than some dodgy interpretation of an ambiguous illustration.

Dan, have a look at that link I put on this thread as both Ammianus and Julian state a cuirasse was worn over the mail armour. And you could not get better witnesses to both Late Roman Catafractarii and Clibanarii and their Sassanid counterparts as they fought against the Sassanids and saw both living and dead riders.
Adrian Coombs-Hoar
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#33
Quote:Dan, have a look at that link I put on this thread as both Ammianus and Julian state a cuirasse was worn over the mail armour.
Adrian, it's a long thread. Can you be more specific?
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
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#34
Quote:Tsurtsumia in his review of Grotowski's 'Arms and Armour of the Warrior Saints . . .' (Brill 2010), argues in favour of the 'tanurig'/oven hypothesis. He states that in Georgian, both a heavily-equipped rider and horse, and an oven, use the same root word 'torn-i' is armour; 'torn-e' is an oven. The same word denotes both oven and armoured rider. Thus he supports the idea that clibanarius has derived from the Greek word for oven.
Clibanus is also a Latin word for a vessel or oven used for baking bread (I seem to remember some discussion in this forum about the form of this vessel but I may be mistaken). However, if 'tanurig/oven' is a genuine co-relation in Persian, do we have a theory as to how a similar co-relation could have been made in Latin? Is it a simple coincidence (the 'great minds think alike' hypothesis) or is it postulated that someone with a knowledge of Persian and Latin (or Greek, for that matter) made the linguistic connection?

I have another idea about the etymology, if the 'oven-man' theory has any mileage in it. It goes like this. Clibanus is an oven; clivanus is a cuirass. Clivanus may derive from clibanus because it is hot to wear, indeed like an oven (remember also that 'b' and 'v' seem to be interchangeable in late Latin). Clibanarius derives from clivanus and means, literally, 'cuirassier'. Thus, although there is some connection between the warrior and the oven, it is not a direct one. That's the theory. What do you think?
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
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#35
Quote:Clibanus is also a Latin word for a vessel or oven used for baking bread (I seem to remember some discussion in this forum about the form of this vessel but I may be mistaken)

In this post I've given links to a picture of the clibanus portable cooking-cover.


Quote:That's the theory. What do you think?

As I mentioned in the post linked above, I think the connection is far simpler. Both clibanus (and perhaps the torn word that Francis mentioned) and catafractus relate to something being covered over or enclosed. Originally catafractarius was used for a cavalryman covered in armour. Clibanus indicates something completely enclosed, and so the word clibanarius was adopted to indicate a heavier form of catafractarius. The connection with cooking covers is purely coincidental.

Meanwhile - what did the Persians themselves call these heavy armoured cavalrymen? If we knew that then perhaps we could get the thread back on the rails! :-)
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#36
A military nomenclature parallel can be seen in the word 'tank'. Tank was coined by the British as a simple piece of disinformation when referring to their secret armoured, tracked fighting vehicle during its development in WWI. However, it is also obvious that the term was chosen because it was descriptive, the battlefield tank was just a self-motile metal box. Interestingly, the term entered general use and when the French and Germans built their own versions the term 'tank' was applied by the British to those also.
Martin

Fac me cocleario vomere!
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#37
Here are a few clips from that thread Michael-

'And there marched on either side twin lines of infantrymen with shields and crests gleaming with glittering rays, clad in shining mail; and scattered among them were the full-armoured cavalry (whom they called clibanarii), all masked, furnished with protecting breastplates and girt with iron belts, so that you might have supposed them statues polished by the hand of Praxiteles, not men. Thin circles of iron plates, fitted to the curves of their bodies, completely covered their limbs; so that whichever way they had to move their members, their garment fitted, so skilfully were the joinings made.’
Amm XVI 10, 8

‘Your cavalry was almost unlimited in numbers and they all sat their horses like statues, while their limbs were fitted with armour that followed closely the outline of the human form. It covers the arms from writs to elbow and thence to the shoulder, while a coat of mail protects the shoulders, back and breast. The head and face are covered by a metal mask which makes its wearer look like a glittering statue, for not even the thighs and legs and the very ends of the feet lack this armour. It is attached to the cuirass by fine chain-armour like a web, so that no part of the body is visible and uncovered, for this woven covering protects the hands as well, and is so flexible that the wearers can bend even their fingers.’
Julian ‘Panegyric In Honour of Constantius’ pg97

'For when he reached the open country and the plains of Paeonia, and it seemed advantageous to fight it out there, then and not before the Emperor drew up his cavalry separately on both wings.
Of these troops some carry lances and are protected by cuirasses and helmets of wrought iron mail. They wear greaves that fit the legs closely, and knee-caps, and on their thighs the same sort of iron covering. they ride their horses like statues, and need no shield.'
Julian 'The Heroic Deeds of Constantius' pg153

'So many soldiers filled the open plain that he who saw them arrayed would not fault their confidence. What a spectacle that is said to have been, how dreadful to behold, how terrible, horses and men alike enclosed in a covering of iron! In the army they are called clibanarii: the men are covered (with mail) in the upper part, a corselet which extends down to the horses' chests and hangs to their forelegs protects them from the injury of a wound without impeding their gait (Clibanariis in exercitu nomen est: superne hominibus tectis, equorum pectoribus demissa loric et crurum tenus pendens sine impedimento gressus a noxa uulneris uindicabat).'
Nazarius 'Panegyricus Nazarii Constantino Augusto'
Adrian Coombs-Hoar
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#38
Well, I'm back in. :whistle:
The overly-technical differentiation between cataphractus and clibinarius, perhaps etymological, perhaps not, seemed to be an never-ending dispute. Now, at least two responders have offered a possible alternative explanation-- both terms may have simply meant an "oven-man."

Here's a short story about an oven-man. On May 4th, 2014, members of Legio III Cyrenaica readied themselves for the annual May Day parade at Kennebunk, Maine. I was aided into my armor 2 hours prior to the parade's start. Once lined up, we were held-up for another hour. At that point-- after wearing chainmail under a suit of lamellar and scale for 3 hours-- I was suffering from the onset of heat-stroke. It was like being in an oven! Sound familiar?

I was familiar with heat-stroke, having twice fallen ill to it in the tropics. The march began, only 1 mile to walk; and by the time the march was over, I was ready to collapse. This was on a cool spring day, and I can understand how the term cataphractus or clibinarius could describe a man as being in an oven. ;-)
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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#39
Quote:Here are a few clips from that thread Michael
Yes, I was aware of those. However, I don't think that they speak of the cuirass being worn over mail, which was Dan's point, as I understand it.
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
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#40
Quote:In this post I've given links to a picture of the clibanus portable cooking-cover . . . As I mentioned in the post linked above, I think the connection is far simpler. Both clibanus (and perhaps the torn word that Francis mentioned) and catafractus relate to something being covered over or enclosed. Originally catafractarius was used for a cavalryman covered in armour. Clibanus indicates something completely enclosed, and so the word clibanarius was adopted to indicate a heavier form of catafractarius. The connection with cooking covers is purely coincidental.
I thought there had been something. As I have said, I have never liked the 'oven-man' theory and I only put forward my idea to see of there was a way of reconciling two conflicting etymological arguments. Your suggestion is much more satisfactory.


Quote:Here are a few clips from that thread Michael
Yes, I was aware of those. However, I don't think that they speak of the cuirass being worn over mail, which was Dan's point, as I understand it.
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
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#41
Quote:'And there marched on either side twin lines of infantrymen with shields and crests gleaming with glittering rays, clad in shining mail; and scattered among them were the full-armoured cavalry (whom they called clibanarii), all masked, furnished with protecting breastplates and girt with iron belts, so that you might have supposed them statues polished by the hand of Praxiteles, not men. Thin circles of iron plates, fitted to the curves of their bodies, completely covered their limbs; so that whichever way they had to move their members, their garment fitted, so skilfully were the joinings made.’
Amm XVI 10, 8
Infantry wearing mail and cavalry wearing plate.

Quote:‘Your cavalry was almost unlimited in numbers and they all sat their horses like statues, while their limbs were fitted with armour that followed closely the outline of the human form. It covers the arms from writs to elbow and thence to the shoulder, while a coat of mail protects the shoulders, back and breast. The head and face are covered by a metal mask which makes its wearer look like a glittering statue, for not even the thighs and legs and the very ends of the feet lack this armour. It is attached to the cuirass by fine chain-armour like a web, so that no part of the body is visible and uncovered, for this woven covering protects the hands as well, and is so flexible that the wearers can bend even their fingers.’
Julian ‘Panegyric In Honour of Constantius’ pg97
This seems to say that plate was used to cover parts of the body that are not covered by mail and that mail was used to attach pieces of plate together. I can't see how this suggests that two layers of armour were worn.

Quote:'For when he reached the open country and the plains of Paeonia, and it seemed advantageous to fight it out there, then and not before the Emperor drew up his cavalry separately on both wings.
Of these troops some carry lances and are protected by cuirasses and helmets of wrought iron mail. They wear greaves that fit the legs closely, and knee-caps, and on their thighs the same sort of iron covering. they ride their horses like statues, and need no shield.'
Julian 'The Heroic Deeds of Constantius' pg153
No mention of plate over mail.

Quote:'So many soldiers filled the open plain that he who saw them arrayed would not fault their confidence. What a spectacle that is said to have been, how dreadful to behold, how terrible, horses and men alike enclosed in a covering of iron! In the army they are called clibanarii: the men are covered (with mail) in the upper part, a corselet which extends down to the horses' chests and hangs to their forelegs protects them from the injury of a wound without impeding their gait (Clibanariis in exercitu nomen est: superne hominibus tectis, equorum pectoribus demissa loric et crurum tenus pendens sine impedimento gressus a noxa uulneris uindicabat).'
Nazarius 'Panegyricus Nazarii Constantino Augusto'
No mention of plate over mail here either.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#42
Quote:Here's a short story about an oven-man. On May 4th, 2014, members of Legio III Cyrenaica readied themselves for the annual May Day parade at Kennebunk, Maine. I was aided into my armor 2 hours prior to the parade's start. Once lined up, we were held-up for another hour. At that point-- after wearing chainmail under a suit of lamellar and scale for 3 hours-- I was suffering from the onset of heat-stroke. It was like being in an oven! Sound familiar?
I can wear this stuff all day in the middle of an Australian summer so long as my head is ventillated and I stay hydrated. It is possible that your helmet was causing the problem and not your armour. If I wear an enclosed helmet then I have trouble with overheating even in winter so it can't be the climate. I have experimented with wearing an enclosed helmet and regular clothing and still have trouble with overheating if I wear it for too long so it can't be the armour.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#43
Quote:I can wear this stuff all day in the middle of an Australian summer so long as my head is ventillated and I stay hydrated. It is possible that your helmet was causing the problem and not your armour. If I wear an enclosed helmet then I have trouble with overheating even in winter so it can't be the climate. I have experimented with wearing an enclosed helmet and regular clothing and still have trouble with overheating if I wear it for too long so it can't be the armour.
So, on this basis our so-called 'oven-men' could cope pretty well as long as they donned their helmets only for the time that they were in actual combat. This is interesting in relation to Aurelian's tactics at Immae, when the Roman cavalry gave the Palmyrene cataphracts the run-around until they collapsed from heat exhaustion.
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
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#44
Quote:So, on this basis our so-called 'oven-men' could cope pretty well as long as they donned their helmets only for the time that they were in actual combat. This is interesting in relation to Aurelian's tactics at Immae, when the Roman cavalry gave the Palmyrene cataphracts the run-around until they collapsed from heat exhaustion.
Wouldn't it be more likely that the horses that were collapsing from exhaustion and not the riders?

Another data point is the Battle of Towton where the prolonged melee caused knights to collapse from heat exhaustion even though they were fighting in a snowstorm. Commentators reckon that it was caused by their armour but I'm thinking that it was their enclosed helmets.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#45
Quote:Wouldn't it be more likely that the horses that were collapsing from exhaustion and not the riders?
Both to some extent, according to Zosimus, 1.50.3-4:

'[He] ordered the Roman horse not to engage the fresh Palmyrene cavalry immediately, but to take their charge and pretend to flee until they saw that both their pursuers and their horses were abandoning the chase, exhausted by the heat and the weight of their armour. This is exactly what happened. The emperor’s cavalry obeyed his order, and when they saw the enemy giving up, with the horses wearied and the riders hardly able to move, they checked their horses, wheeled and charged, trampling them as they fell from their mounts.'
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
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