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Thread: Anglo Saxon depiction of a dagged mail shirt

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    Default Anglo Saxon depiction of a dagged mail shirt

    There have been doubts about whether the dagged mail shirt portrays actual Anglo-Saxon wear or is copied from earlier, perhaps continental, manuscripts.

    I thought it would be useful to see how much the artist might be depending on copying from an earlier illustration by comparing it with the illustration of the same scene in another Anglo-Saxon Prudentius' Psychomacia manuscripts made around the same time.

    By seeing where the text on the image lubricat incertos dubia sub imagine comes in the latin text, using the list of illustrations in the Catalogue of Illustrated Prudentius Manuscripts and by eliminating as possibilities illustrations of scenes that are available for British Library, MS Cotton Cleopatra C VIII, I have identified the scene with the Anglo-Saxon in dagged mail byrnie as "Good-Works fights Avarice". The crouching figures at the right match "Good-Works distributes Avarice's treasure to the poor and crippled".
    Then I found it as Fig 33. in A RECORD OF EUROPEAN ARMOUR AND ARMS THROUGH SEVEN CENTURIES by Sir Guy Francis Laking, Part 3: Lances, Spears, Axes, Horse Bits and Stirrups, which gives its folio number as 24.

    The matching illustration of Good-Works fights Avarice in Prudentius' Psychomachia MS Corpus Christi College, Ms. 23:

    The axe wielder has a double-headed axe. Her shield is an unusual pelta that occurs in a few continental manuscripts (e.g. Chastity and Lust in Prudentius' Psychomachia MS Bibliotheque royale, 10066-77, Brussels, 10th century). Her opponent has a circular shield with boss, spear and scabbarded sword. She wears a long flowing robe over another.

    A similar pelta is in a scene of Avarice & Good-Works in Auctor incertus, Tractatus de vitiis et virtutibus, author uncertain, treatise on the vices and the virtues, BnF Ms. Latin 8318, 9th century. Good-Works is in scale armour with a curved dagged edge with short hanging strips alternating in length. She also has epauls with a swirl and perhaps short sleeves of armour with a different patterning. Similar patterns are found on sleeves and tunics in other folios of Auctor incertus, Tractatus de vitiis et virtutibus

    The artist of the 1st picture may have had similar sources to the artist of the other Anglo-Saxon manuscript, but although the composition is similar he has chosen to portray different details.

    11th century Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers
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    Last edited by druzhina; 12-19-2017 at 07:21.


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