> O.K., Glenn, now you've got me interested. Were the pikes primarily a
> hand-held weapon, like a halberd, or primarily a fixed battlefield
> obstruction, as seen in _Henry V_, on the Normandy beachhead (in a 20th
> century form), and as referred to in your post? My guess is that this might
> change depending on what period you're talking about.
Exactly so. If my understanding is correct (no surety there) they were
primarily hand-held weapons. When people got heavily into fortifications,
they'd use rows of stakes that performed much the same function.
> This whole "how much does a suit of armor weigh" question has always intrigued
> me. Does anybody have any good sources to recommend? I'm wondering if,
> perhaps, the answer is that no one wore a "full suit" of armor, as defined by
> those historians who think you need a crane to put a knight on a horse.
The best source (as far as I'm concerned, anyway) for armor weights would be
your local (hopefully) chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA).
Should you ask, they'll likely PUT you in a suit of armor, so you can march
around, feel the weight (and even get beat upon with large sticks :). If you
want a less involved answer, well, A chainmail shirt might weigh between 25-35
pounds, plate was somewhat less, leather considerably less. Materials and
construction techniques varied so widely (depending on period and location).
A "full suit" of SCA-legal armor (in many ways superior to period stuff), helm
and all might weigh in at 50-60 pounds (this includes weapon & shield). It's
not at all bad, considering it's spread all over your body. Think about going
skiing...would you rather carry all your skiing gear, or is it easier to wear
As far as those "you need a bloody crane" historians, well, those armors
existed too, but never on the battlefield. They were used for tourneys and
jousting contests (14th-15th centuries?). They were so heavy that, indeed, you
used a crane to get on the horse, your helm was so constructed so that you
could only see straight ahead, and you and your armor might indeed weigh in
at 500 pounds. Those folks didn't want to get hurt, and it was just a contest,
I really don't have any information on shillelagh-legality, though I suspect
that if you walk around with what amounts to a large club, the police might
want to talk with you to determine your intentions. I know of people who walk
around on this coast with golf clubs while they take their morning air, so it's
probably not illegal here per se.
> Joe Murphy
> Circulation Services
> CUA Mullen Library
> (202) 319-5060
This insightful commentary was brought to you by Glenn F. Gorsuch. Treasure it.
Address? Oh yeah. It's: [log in to unmask] Like I'd lie :)
I stand behind everything I just said. Way behind, if possible. Miles, even.
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