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Forum LockedTeutonic Knights and their armor

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HeorgltheMad View Drop Down
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    Posted: 02-Nov-2006 at 00:05
     In studying the armor and period clothing of the Teutonic Knights of the 10th through 13th centuries, I have come across some rather difficult material to digest. I am a medieval reenactor, as well as an amateur historian. Therefore, I have to obtain the most authentic and period "correctness" of my equipment to portray a given period in the correct manner.
      Thus said, my search has led me to believe that in the early Crusade period 1100-1170, the order of the Teutonic knights, as well as the other notable orders wore primarily suits of maille. This included hauberk with adjustable mitten extensions, chausses, coif, and perhaps a Norman style helmet with an aventail. Later on, it seems they kept most of the equipment although they shortened the hauberk a bit, added elbow and knee cops and changed the helmet to that of a "bucket" helmet or "sugarloaf" style. It is very important that I find some answers for this so entertain yourselves pondering my findings. These are my questions arising from the research.:
1) Was the coif at any point in the history of the Teutonic order of knights attached to the hauberk or was it more of a draped mantle and separate from the hauberk itself? If it was connected at a point, when? Was it more of a hook or did it afford more protection and was it tailored "fitted"? Thirdly, did it incorporate a ventail that tied up near the temple and was this ventail attached from the side of the coif or pulled up like a bib from the bottom?
2) When did the Teutonic knights change the style of helmet from a Norman or Wenceslas helm to the bucket style? How effective was this in fighting on foot as opposed to on horseback?
3) Did the early Teutonic knights use kite shields or plain standard shields with an emblem on them? When did the primary defensive article of a shield change to using a 'heater' shield?
4) What sort of footwear did they use commonly? Was it a matter of preference per the man or did the common styles change? In the early period, did the chainmaille chausses entirely cover the foot or was it attached to a sole of leather?
5) Are there any 'accurate' depictions of such constructions? please provide either links or photos.
Happy posting!!!
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Eondt View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Eondt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Nov-2006 at 08:54

Wow, a lot of difficult questions! Iíll try and comment on some of them.

 
First of I must note that I assume that the armour worn by all Western European knights over the period in question to be relatively the same with only minor differences between say a Teutonic and a Templar knight. From the Bayous tapestry, we note that Kite shields and nasal (Norman) helms were the favoured shield and helm in the 11th century with what appears to be an attached coif. The first known image I have of heater-shields being used is an effigy of William Marshal, Duke of Pembroke, Circa 1219. 13th Century brasses and effigies shows a detached coif and also shows the sugarloaf/bucket helm: http://www.fioredeiliberi.org/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.ShowItem&g2_itemId=10022

 

The change from kite to heater, nasal to sugarloaf and attached to detached coifs must have occurred somewhere in the 12th century.

 

Its interesting to note that most of the images show coif only without any helm, so you could be accurate by just wearing the coif with padding underneath (although I agree that the added helm would look cooler).

 

I am unable to determine from these images whether the mail wraps around the whole foot, but Iíd imagine that they would be tied down to his shoe/boot using arming points the same as later mail patches of the 15th century.

 

The flat-topped bucket helm worked fine on horseback as direct strikes from above would be rare given your height advantage, however this quickly changed to the conical sugar-loaf helm as people realized you werenít always on a horse.

 

Iím sure thereís more info in books like that of Ffaulks (The armourer and his craft), but I donít have that with me (at work).

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Joinville Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Nov-2006 at 09:31
The Teutonic Order was founded in 1190, in the Holy Land. It seems to have taken some years for it to establish itself as an efficient military order. The favouritism shown to it, and its Master Hermann von Salza, by the Hohenstaufen Emperor Frederick II seems to have helped consolidate it. And as fighting force in the Baltic they didn't really get going before Hermann Balk led them across the Weichsel in 1231.
 
As for their equipment, I think one has to assume they wore the same kind of armour as any period knight would have, with their specific insignia added for recognition.
So for reenactment purposes I think one could assume that individual variations would be acceptable, as long as it's consistent with some period style.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Krum Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Nov-2006 at 15:27
    
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Roberts Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Nov-2006 at 15:44
First of all Teutonic Order was founded around 1190ties. So researching these knights for 12th century is kinda useless. I could provide you with information from 13th century as these knights were most known for their activities in Baltic where I live.
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HeorgltheMad View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HeorgltheMad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Nov-2006 at 22:27
YES, axeman,
 
I would appreciate your help very much as I am interested in their conquest in that region. Any help you can give me in regards to actual archeological finds, armor construction (maille), and general historical significance would be helpful! I thank you.
 
David
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HeorgltheMad View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HeorgltheMad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Nov-2006 at 23:22

Great Response!!,

I would agree with most of what you said initially except for the part about not being different between Templar and Teutonic knight. Not that they were different but I have a theory that the way one wore armor was a matter largely of preference to the warrior.
 
Originally posted by Eondt Eondt wrote:

I am unable to determine from these images whether the mail wraps around the whole foot, but Iíd imagine that they would be tied down to his shoe/boot using arming points the same as later mail patches of the 15th century
In regards to arming points for chain maille, i havent seen it although it would be possible to include ties around the bottom of the foot , yet this would still make it difficult to walk. (Leather only on bottom makes for a VERY rough walk). Those are some fantastic images you sent and thank you.  this is not an actual historical image but it offers some insight.
 
I will look for more literature on this as time develops. I agree with the point about the knight's helm not needing to be curved until he began fighting on the ground as a flat top bucket would render him vulnerable to overhead attacks. This was also the reason for norman's caps to be slanted. Keep posting! great info people...
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Menumorut Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Nov-2006 at 14:41

The Teutonic Knights lived 12 years in B‚rsa Land (Burzenland), the small depression North of Brasov city, between 1213 and 1225. They were the founders of urban and feudal life in this area.

Their center was at Marienburg, called Feldioara in Romanian




Another building which is mainly their work is the fortress in S‚mpetru/Petersberg:


Teutons build other fortresses in Codlea/Zeiden (the so called Black Fortress, today an unsignifiant ruine on a hill, not to be confused with the peasant fortress in the town which was built by Saxon colonists), Brassovia hill near Brasov city (also unsignifiant ruin today), Tabla Butii (a mountainous pass, see the numerous photos at the link) and others.
    

Edited by Menumorut - 06-Nov-2006 at 14:42

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dalsung Hwarang Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Nov-2006 at 20:00
Difficult Questions...
(I don't have time to research as of now so I'll come back later)
As far as I know, the armor of the templars varied; much depending on the time period. To quickly answer couple questions: The early crusaders tended to use a more Norman type helmet, consisting of a more "rounder top" and a typical noseguard. By the late 13th century a cylindrical helm with flat tops became popular. These so called "great helms" had a grated-ventail which provided a greater supply of air for the user. Usually this was done by opening the ventaglia which were constructed with two moving hinges at the sides. As for the shields... The kite shields were replaced by smaller heater shields when the kngihts' armor gradually imrpoved. The kite shield which provided excellent protection for the whole body was no longer needed... As plated armor was being invented, shields shrunk to a smaller size; thus ending up as the traditional heater shiled. For your question about teh hauberks: Templar armor evolved over the centuries and as I mentioned before, had great varieties. The earlier mail suits were one pieced; starting from the coif and ending at the knees. Mail not only became a form of protection but also as a form of fashion among the knights. Sorry but this is all I have time for...
Happy Posting!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hyarmendacil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Nov-2006 at 09:45
The change from kite to heater shield was a gradual one. First, when mounted men-at-arms began to adopt the heaume enclosing the whole head, they cut off the curved top of the shield because they no longer needed protection for the lower half of the head. Afterwards, as they began adding solid protection in the form of forearm and shin plates, the point of the shield shortened little by little  until by the late 13th century or so it had definitely settled into the familiar heater shape. Of course, this change did not proceed at exactly the same rate everywhere, and depended heavily on the individual tastes of the wearer.

The clause about individualization also applies to armor in general. No matter what generalization you try to make, there will be an individual example coming up to contradict it. So as long as you're not doing things totally wrong you can ascribe some peculiarities in your reconstruction to individual quirks and preferences.
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