Gambeson and aketon desgin

HackneyedScribe

Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
6,536
Wasn't "linothorax" an ancient term? I'm not sure how we can determine how linothorax was interchangeable with gambeson if we only have Medieval sources describing gambeson so far, but no contemporary sources to describe linothorax.

Anyway from the following depiction the linothorax would at least have bendy parts, but all in all would probably be closer to hard 'plywood' type armor rather than flexible armor:


So far I haven't witnessed evidence of linothorax being the flexible type. But if there is I would be glad to see it.
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,902
Australia
What makes you think the armour in that illustration was made of linen? Most of the evidence we have for non-metallic Greek armour during that time is leather, not linen. We've covered this many times before. Here is my first ever post on Historum
The Linothorax thread

Linothorax wasn't an ancient term. It only appears in the Iliad as an adjective (i.e. "armoured in linen") not as a noun. Other Greek texts use terms such as thorakes linoi ("linen armour") and they are describing foreign armour, not Greek armour.

None of the terms we use today are valid when analysing ancient texts. They are only useful to modern scholars to create arbitrary armor typologies. We can use them in any way we see fit. The only thing that matters is that everyone agrees to the same terminology or it loses all value.
 
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HackneyedScribe

Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
6,536
I don't know where I made the claim that the armour in said illustration was made of linen, I just called it a linothorax because that's how the majority of modern people terms it as. Anyway your link is pretty useful, but if linothorax(modern usage, spolas for ancient term) was made of leather that makes it quite different from gambesons. Reading from your link, I assume you grouped linothorax with gambeson because you were using the ancient term which has a different meaning.
 
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Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,902
Australia
I would personally use the term "linothorax" to describe a Greek version of the padded jack. My definition of "gambeson" doesn't remotely resemble anything we see in Greek illustrations.
 
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Matthew Amt

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
2,988
MD, USA
I don't know where I made the claim that the armour in said illustration was made of linen, I just called it a linothorax because that's how the majority of modern people terms it as. Anyway your link is pretty useful, but if linothorax(modern usage, spolas for ancient term) was made of leather that makes it quite different from gambesons. Reading from your link, I assume you grouped linothorax with gambeson because you were using the ancient term which has a different meaning.
I just call linen armor of the ancient Greek era "linen armor". Skips all the hair splitting, and really it's the best translation of the Greek terms. One possible complication is that we have no *proof* that linen armor of that time was made with quilted layers--the only descriptions imply TWINED linen, i.e. woven of thicker cords in one to three layers.

The illustrations showing that well-known "tube and yoke" cuirass can't be proven to be linen, hide, or anything else. They only got labeled as "linothorax" mainly because of assumptions by modern writers, assumptions that are now known to be flawed. "Spolas" refers strictly to armor of hide or leather of some sort, and the new theory is that most tube-and-yoke cuirasses shown on Greeks are the spolas, not linen. So our pictoral evidence shows clearly what armor looked like but not what it was made of, whereas our documentary evidence tells what it was made of but does not really show what it looked like (though it strongly suggests the tube and yoke style).

Note that I DO believe that quilted linen was used by the Bronze Age Mycenaeans! There are some good frescoes that show lines of quilting, and a couple archeological finds of layered linen. It just doesn't seem to have carried over to general use in Greece in the Iron Age. We can only surmise that it came back into vogue a little later (Alexander or later), but there's a lot of speculation involved...

Matthew
 
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Jul 2019
5
West Springfield, USA
Is there any difference in design between gambesons/aketons from regular clothing of the same thickness? For example, would thick winter clothing provide the same amount of protection as that of a gambeson? If not, what was the additional design for gambesons/aketons that allows it to have more protection than a winter coat?
Is there any difference in design between gambesons/aketons from regular clothing of the same thickness? For example, would thick winter clothing provide the same amount of protection as that of a gambeson? If not, what was the additional design for gambesons/aketons that allows it to have more protection than a winter coat?
Here are a few nuances. First of all I haven't ever heard about "winter coat". Also there were few variations of fabric, thar was used for making gambesons. Gambeson was made of velvet or silk fabric for a knights, linen or cotton - for peasants. Those types were quite thin. But also there were difference between thickness, and so a warming, of one-layered or, for example, three-layered gambeson, which was made of blending cotton and wool.
You can read more about gambesons here or in this article
 

Todd Feinman

Ad Honorem
Oct 2013
6,550
Planet Nine, Oregon
Wasn't "linothorax" an ancient term? I'm not sure how we can determine how linothorax was interchangeable with gambeson if we only have Medieval sources describing gambeson so far, but no contemporary sources to describe linothorax.

Anyway from the following depiction the linothorax would at least have bendy parts, but all in all would probably be closer to hard 'plywood' type armor rather than flexible armor:


So far I haven't witnessed evidence of linothorax being the flexible type. But if there is I would be glad to see it.
Here is a twined version I am working on:

YWMJgkY.jpg
It will be one of these, from an Etruscan urn:



And a Tube & Yoke Leather Spolas I'm working on:


IMG_0443 (1)_kindlephoto-236546871.jpg

based on this depiction:
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,902
Australia
You can read more about gambesons here or in this article
No, don't read those. Only more confusion will ensue. The first link says that a gambeson was standalone armour and the second says that it was underpadding.

Gambeson was made of velvet or silk fabric for a knights, linen or cotton - for peasants.
Peasants never wore textile armour or any other kind of armour until the 16th-17th century when munitions plate was available. Munitions plate was the cheapest armour, not textiles. It was only worn by those who couldn't afford anything better.

Only the outer layer consisted of velvet/silk/damask, etc. The inner layers were the same for all variants. Guild regulations and other texts say that that "veteran" linen (old, used cloth) or new cotton should be used as filler layers.
 
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