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Old 17th September 2015, 08:10 PM   #1
LinusLinothorax
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Default African knights - African armour collection thread

Hey guys,

i am deeply intrugued by the idea that Africa was probably the last continent that used knight-ish like warriors in actual combat, with heavy cavalry facing modern machine guns in the late 19th and early 20th century.

What i know is that there are tons of paintings, photographies and archaeological finds out there, but yet no one made a big collection thread where everyone can posts his pictures with heavily armoured african warriors.
For me it doesnt matter of what material the armour is: It can be metal, quilted or just leather. Also the condition aswell as the dating doesnt matter: It can be an ancient fragment, a medieval painting or a recent photo.
The only thing that really counts is that atleast the torso is covered by the armour and that the armour is not entirely ceremonial but was actuall used in combat.

I will start with Sudan:

1) Scalearmour on the Meroitic king Tarekeniwal:
2) Post-Meroitic hidearmour from Qasr Ibrim:
3) Medieval Nubian warrior in quilted armour from Faras:
4) Chainmail fragment from Soba, the capital of the Nubian kingdom of Alodia:
5) A Nubian palace guard, early 20th century (Does anyone knows more about this picture? What kingdom was he part of? Cant be Sennar because the painting is from 1902):
6) Cavalrymen from the Nuba mountains, claid in chainmail armour (Early 20th century):
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Old 17th September 2015, 11:31 PM   #2
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Hello LinusLinothorax and welcome to the forum. Unfortunately I have had to edit your first posting here. Please download your photos directly to the server as per forum rules.

Best,
Robert
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Old 18th September 2015, 01:31 AM   #3
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You can find a lot of armor images from both the Sudan and Khedival Egypt from the mid to late 1800s here.
https://www.pinterest.com/worldanti...dives-of-egypt/

Quote:
Sudanese armor, European (English) in origin domed helmet with a spike finial, long camail terminating in three points, woven of heavy wound (split) links with original hand-quilted lining which protects the wearer’s chest, shoulders and back, hauberk probably 17th century Persian with rows of punched and riveted rings the original leather collar intact, a quality kaskara broadsword, 17th -19th century. Most likely worn by a follower of the Mahdi or his successor Abdullah Ibn-Mohammed during the late 1800s revolt against Khedival Egypt.
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Old 18th September 2015, 02:18 AM   #4
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Linus, welcome to the forum, and thank you for bringing up an indeed intriguing topic!
It is true that many warrior groups in North Africa followed medieval warfare and weaponry remarkably in anachronistically surreal character. The use of mail, and various forms of armour, weapons and cavalry tactics had evolved over centuries in certain Sahelian kingdoms such as Bornu. These styles and weapons were likely brought into being through the Mamluk dynasties in Egypt and Syria, with weaponry and armour being diffused into Sudan then toward Chad and Nigeria. Certainly many of these kinds of items were carried through trade routes from European sources into Africa as well. With the volume of sword blades known to have come in, there must have been other equipment included as well.

By the time of the Mahdist period and the subsequent campaigns ending with Omdurman, there were indeed cavalry for the Egyptian Khedive he called his 'iron men'. Surprisingly, much of the mail worn by these warriors was actually produced in Birmingham, England. In time it was realized that this mail, when hit by bullets became shrapnel itself and maximized wounds.

Still, as far as ceremonially, mail was still very much 'parade oriented', just as in India and many other colonially occupied ethnographic regions.
I believe mail was still produced in Omdurman in times as late as the 1960s and think it was Arkell who wrote on this.
I can recall in one grouping of Sudanese armour, there was at least one helmet which incredibly was using a spoon from a silverware setting as a noseguard or decoration.

For the record though, the wearing of mail was not confined only to Africa in relatively modern times. In Caucasian Georgia, during the early years of WWI, Russian forces were astounded to see armoured horsemen ride into Tiflis, with helmets and mail as if right out of the Crusades. They were Khevsur warriors who were still wearing these armours into the 1930s.

There are many other instances as well of these incredibly out of time instances, and hope to see others brought in.
Great topic!!!
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Old 18th September 2015, 02:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert
Hello LinusLinothorax and welcome to the forum. Unfortunately I have had to edit your first posting here. Please download your photos directly to the server as per forum rules.

Best,
Robert

Ah, sorry about that. Now they should be properly attached
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Old 18th September 2015, 02:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Still, as far as ceremonially, mail was still very much 'parade oriented', just as in India and many other colonially occupied ethnographic regions.


Jim, what makes you say this? Riveted mail from Indian, Persia and the Ottoman Empire was some of the strongest mail ever made, and in hand to hand combat it would keep you from being cut to pieces by a sword, mail of any type was never meant to be a defense against firearms.

In Japan, when traditional armor had been stored away unused for generations, mail armor was still worn by samurai right up to the end.

Much of the fighting in the Sudan involved intense hand to hand combat, I am sure that good quality riveted mail was highly valued, even the locally produced Sudanese butted mail was a good defense against a sword.

Some very late Indo-Persian mail was butted instead of being riveted, but there was still plenty of the old riveted mail to go around.
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Old 18th September 2015, 03:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LinusLinothorax
5) A Nubian palace guard, early 20th century (Does anyone knows more about this picture? What kingdom was he part of? Cant be Sennar because the painting is from 1902):


The Nubian Palace Guard by Ludwig Deutsch (Vienna, 1855 - Paris, 1935) is one of a series of similar paintings that are based in 1800s Khedival Egypt, usually Cairo, a popular destination for orientalist artists, Deutsch is said to have visited Cairo several times in the late 1800s. This painting is said to be dated 1892.

Here is another similar painting by Deutsch "Palace Guard".
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Old 18th September 2015, 03:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall

By the time of the Mahdist period and the subsequent campaigns ending with Omdurman, there were indeed cavalry for the Egyptian Khedive he called his 'iron men'. Surprisingly, much of the mail worn by these warriors was actually produced in Birmingham, England. In time it was realized that this mail, when hit by bullets became shrapnel itself and maximized wounds.



It is very hard to pin down exact dates as to when specific armor types were used in Khedival Egypt, there are a few images, but I do not know of any photographs showing Khedive soldiers wearing armor.

At some point in time certain mounted soldiers of the Khedives forces switched to French made, heavy steel helmets and cuirasses, they appear to have been worn between the mid to late 1800s. Since Khedival Egypt was still nominally Ottoman this armor could be called the last Ottoman armor.
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Old 18th September 2015, 03:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LinusLinothorax
6) Cavalrymen from the Nuba mountains, claid in chainmail armour (Early 20th century):

I cleaned up your photo a bit.
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Old 18th September 2015, 03:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
Jim, what makes you say this? Riveted mail from Indian, Persia and the Ottoman Empire was some of the strongest mail ever made, and in hand to hand combat it would keep you from being cut to pieces by a sword, mail of any type was never meant to be a defense against firearms.

In Japan, when traditional armor had been stored away unused for generations, mail armor was still worn by samurai right up to the end.

Much of the fighting in the Sudan involved intense hand to hand combat, I am sure that good quality riveted mail was highly valued, even the locally produced Sudanese butted mail was a good defense against a sword.

Some very late Indo-Persian mail was butted instead of being riveted, but there was still plenty of the old riveted mail to go around.



I was referring more to the Sudanese instance, and even then of course it would defer a degree of impact from swords etc........so what I should have qualified was that while much of the mail was ceremonially oriented, of course there was substantial mail in the contexts you mention which could offer some protection. Of course whenever firearms came into the equation that was pretty much all bets off. Thanks for the correction.
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Old 18th September 2015, 04:41 AM   #11
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Great pics estcrh. This is what i would like to see here in this thread
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Old 18th September 2015, 06:28 AM   #12
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Default 2 mail shirts

I bought these 2 mail shirts described as "PROBABLY OTTOMAN 18TH/19TH CENTURY, LATER ADAPTED FOR USE IN NORTH AFRICA", "....formed of alternating rows of welded and riveted rings of circular-section wire, with a centrally-divided neck-opening, a pair of short sleeves and a short skirt centrally divided at both its front and rear, the upper edge of the neck-opening extended upwards during working life with a strip of mail of of alternating rows of welded and riveted..."
I see they have a leather covered neck area as shown in the photo of the turban wearing horsemen.
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Old 18th September 2015, 10:40 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eftihis
I bought these 2 mail shirts described as "PROBABLY OTTOMAN 18TH/19TH CENTURY, LATER ADAPTED FOR USE IN NORTH AFRICA", "...


Nice find, they look to be in good condition do you have a weight and length for them, can you post some close up images of the links, that would be the only way to determine who actually made them.
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Old 18th September 2015, 11:40 AM   #14
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Ι dont have the weight handy,i have some hopefully better pghotos, if they are not sufficient, i will make new ones
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Old 18th September 2015, 04:58 PM   #15
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Hm, i have no idea why the order of my images in my first post is suddenly mixed up. After the first picture the order of images should be the other way around.


Anyway, here are other ancient fragments of armour. All of them come from the Sudanic post-Meroitic period again, means the time after the kingdom of Meroe vanished (Around 350-370 AD) and are made of ox-hide (With one exception, which is probably made of crocodile leather). In that time the Nubians became the most dominant people in Sudan and founded own cultures/chiefdoms. The most well known is Nobadia, which stretched roughly from the first to the third Nile-cataract. The mass of found hide-armour fragments (It is assumed that all Nobadian chiefs/kings were burdied in such armours) seems to imply that hide-armour was the dominant armour of that era, allthough Cassius Dio mentions hide-armour already in the third century AD, when it was used by the nomadian Blemmyes living in the desert east of the Nle valley.
Personaly, i assume that these leather armours were the lightest and most archaic form of ancient Sudanese body armour.


1) Hide armour fragment from a royal Nobadian burial in Qustul
2) Nobadian hide armour from Gebel Adda, probably crocodile
3) Nobadian hide armour with lead studs, Qustul (I think)
4) Summary of a found hide armour in Karanog (Which sadly was never
photographed)
5) The supposed Nobadian graffito showing king Silko, very likely wearing
decorated hide armour

Edit: Hm, and again the pictures are depicted the other way around.
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Old 18th September 2015, 05:01 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eftihis
Ι dont have the weight handy,i have some hopefully better pghotos, if they are not sufficient, i will make new ones
If you can get a clear image from the area below the neck that would be good, necks were sometimes added at a later date and the mail is not the same type as the body. A clear image as close as you can get would be needed, mail is deceptively hard to photograph and a clear view of the rivet area is helpful.

The common types of mail in a hauberk with that type of collar would be Indian and Ottoman, but recently European hauberks has been found with the same type of collar, they were exported to the Middle East and India etc. Auction houses are usually not knowledgable enough to know what mail is from what culture. Recently a riveted mail hauberk that came from India was sold by a very knowledgable dealer, it had the same type of collar, when examined it turned out to be a very old European hauberk with a very rare type of mail from around the 1400s.

Indian mail is usually quite identifiable as is Ottoman mail when you know what to look for, European mail as well, there are differences in manufacture that can usually be detected but the images must be good enough to see the details of the individual links.

The inside of the links are important as well, Indian and Ottoman mail have round rivets which were peened on the inside and outside of the link. European mail made after a certain time period used a rivet that was wedge shaped so the rivet looked round in the front of the link but at the back of the link the rivet was rectangle shaped.

I made the example below of clearly photographed mail. On the left is mail from an Indian riveted mail hauberk from around 1700, on the right is mail from an Ottoman mail and plate cuirass (krug) from around 1500. Both types are made from alternating rows of solid links and riveted links. The differences are quite clear, the Indian mail has solid links that are very well shaped with straight sides, the Ottoman mail has solid links that are more flat and they have a hexagon shape. Anyone with knowledge of riveted mail types would have no problem identifying these.

The last image is of newly made reproduction European wedge riveted mail. Notice that it has no solid links, these were eliminated from European riveted mail around the1400s. The front of the link looks round but as you can see, the back side has a rectangular shape, on antique European mail the back side of the links are often so worn they look completely smooth with no sign of the rivet showing.
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Old 18th September 2015, 08:09 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
The Nubian Palace Guard by Ludwig Deutsch (Vienna, 1855 - Paris, 1935) is one of a series of similar paintings that are based in 1800s Khedival Egypt, usually Cairo, a popular destination for orientalist artists, Deutsch is said to have visited Cairo several times in the late 1800s. This painting is said to be dated 1892.

Here is another similar painting by Deutsch "Palace Guard".



There are many paintings of the subject......The figure of a palace guard in full costume was a very popular theme for the European public. - See more at: http://ludwigdeutsch.blogspot.com/2...h.m55uWWeN.dpuf

and at https://www.google.com/search?q=Nub...iw=1366&bih=643
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Old 18th September 2015, 08:31 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LinusLinothorax
2) Post-Meroitic hide armour from Qasr Ibrim:


I have never seen this armor before, any idea how old it is?
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Old 18th September 2015, 10:35 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
I have never seen this armor before, any idea how old it is?

Something between 1650 and 1472 years.
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Old 19th September 2015, 05:20 AM   #20
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Some very interesting material being shared and discussed here, and has prompted me to look back into this topic as it has been some time since last involved with it. The notes are from material which prompted my comments earlier, and after reviewing much of it supports most of the observations here in the thread so just wanted to add.

From H.Russell Robinson , "Oriental Armour" (1967):
Re: Sudanese armour during the Mahdiya,

P. 84: "...the better armed emirs wore rounded helmets, with an aventail of riveted mail and a heavy fixed nasal. "
"...over the body they wore a long quilted jibbah either with or without a mail shirt over it".
"...the mail shirts were all made on the same pattern; short sleeves, round neck opening, and long skirt split to the level of the fork at front and back,
all examples of these shirts show very considerable wear and much patching with crude links of wire or split rings of modern European manufacture.
I would suggest these are generally of old Arab make. All of the rings are riveted except in the case of later repairs, and many are so worn with use that they could be broken with the fingers without effort".

P.85:
Re: various materials brought back from the Mahdist campaigns by British forces.
Among the items was one of the helmets for the Khedives bodyguards which was made in Birmingham. This equipment apparently was completed with a mail shirt made of split rings, which when struck by 'Sudanese' bullets the brittle rings shattered and caused appalling wounds. It appears when the Sudanese captured these items they would only keep and use the helmets- preferring their old mail shirts to these 'new' ones so fraught with risk.

Here it is most interesting that although the old mail was severely worn and poorly repaired in many cases, it was still better than this disastrous type which seems to have been produced in England along with the helmets. I would note these English helmets are not like those pictured here in the thread with the arrow nasal and star in disc etc. Those as well as the cuirass are as noted apparently French. The French had been notably present in Khedival Egypt so this is not surprising.

It does seem these type helmets of the 'French' cuirassier type actually predate the c. 1844 date often assigned to them, and are noted in drawings slightly earlier. They are seen in illustrations of Khedival bodyguard cuirassiers in the Crimea in 1854.

Apparently by the 1880s there had been some deviation in degree or perhaps incidental license by an artist, as in the French " Le Drapeau" (July,1882) two members of the Khedives bodyguards are seen wearing mail rather than the cuirass.
Another case in Illustrated London News (1882) there are two Circassian irregulars listed as Khedival bodyguards.

I located the article "Making of Mail at Omdurman" by A.J.Arkell ("Kush" Vol. IV , p83-85, 1956) which was cited by Robinson in noting that apparently in the 1940s, mail was still readily produced in Sudan....however it was noted it was using butted rings only, not the riveted.
Arkell notes that mail from outside Sudan was imported considerably prior to 1885, and that virtually every melik (chief) had from 2 to 3 hundred suits of mail on hand in those times. It was discussed about where this volume of mail was obtained and Sir James Mann thought it had come from Syria or Arabia, however the renowned Lawrence of Arabia had been unable to find evidence to support that claim. Arkell indicates he thinks it came mostly from India.


Returning to Robinson (op.cit. p86) it is noted that in Nigerian regions, two groups are known for their medieval knight character in their warriors, those from Bornu and the Begharmi. In these instances Robinson suggests the mail shirts worn are of considerable quality and appear of Arab make. With that he suggests Mamluk possibility of origin.

It would appear that indeed there has remained in Africa, from the Saharan kingdoms of Nigeria to the Sudan, a considerable tradition of mail armour being worn. While in the times of the campaigns the armour extant had been brought in volume for some time, and had often become worn and field repaired, it does seem to have been viably worn in combat.

In later times of course, the traditional use of mail in parade or ceremonial instances seems well known (typically of the butted form), however earlier armour with some antiquity certainly may well have been used in varying instances far into the 20th century.
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Old 19th September 2015, 02:45 PM   #21
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Default Post-Meroitic Period

I was fascinated by the armor shown by LinusLinothorax and reproduced in this thread below. It struck a chord about a race of people in the Sudan who were described in antiquity by the Romans as "headless." This race was said to occupy the area during the Post-Meroitic Period (350–543 CE).

Here is some material from a Polish Museum web site (http://www.muzarp.poznan.pl/en/exhi...od-and-x-group/):

Quote:
The Post-Meroitic Period and X-Group (350 – 543 AD)

The fall of the Empire

Although the last Meroitic monarch known by name was Yesbokheamani (283 – 300 AD), 30 years later the dead rulers were still buried in the Northern cemetery of Meroe. On the other hand, an inscription of an Ethiopian king Aezana, discovered in the city of Axum and dated to c. 350 AD, reports a war with the Noba people and the conquest of Al-Butana. Probably at that time the kingdom of Meroe no longer existed. Whether the hegemony of Meroe collapsed due to an internal crisis, or whether its fall was partly brought about y raiding nomads from the desert, is a question that cannot be decisively answered…

The nomads build tumuli…
The next two centuries, the so-called Post-Meroitic period, is one of the most mysterious and least recognized periods in the history of the Sudan. Monumental architecture and knowledge of writing disappeared altogether, and in the belt between Sennar and the Fourth Cataract there appear earth burial tumuli of the Tanqasi culture, today the only legible remains of the Noba nomad tribes who arrived at this region from the territories of modern Kordofan. An especially large and richly equipped burial ground was discovered in el-Hobagi.

The Blemmyes – a wild headless race
The Meroitic inhabitants of Lower Nubia encountered arrivals using the Nubian language. These included the Nobatae who in 296 were apparently entrusted by Emperor Diocletian with the defense of the southern Egyptian frontier, and the Blemmyes from Eastern Desert, scornfully described by Pliny as "a wild headless race with eyes and ears rising directly from their shoulders." The latter were particularly devoted to the old Egyptian religion and each year would go on a mass pilgrimage to the sanctuary of Isis on the Island of Philae. The specific civilization that emerged from the fusion of these elements is named the X-Group or Ballana culture.

The nameless kings from Ballana and Qustul
It was in Ballana, and also at nearby Qustul, that the cemeteries of huge tumuli with burials of tribal rulers were found. The dead were equipped with immense splendor – the burial gifts included breathtaking crowns that used the symbolism of ancient Egyptian motifs, and highly precious silver vessels imported from territories of the Roman Empire. The political significance of those nameless kings is highly obscure. Probably we shall never know whether the two Nobatian rulers, Silko and Kharamazeye, mentioned in the inscriptions on the temple walls in Kalabsha, had also been buried in one of the Ballana tumulus graves…

So no less an authority than Pliny described the Blemmyes as "a wild headless race with eyes and ears rising directly from their shoulders," and later artists depicted them as very strange indivudals with their mouths and nose arising in their chest (see drawing below).

As far as I know, there have never been found any skeletal remains of such individuals. However, in the 3rd C the Blemmyes were a belligerent group who fought with everyone in the area, including the Romans, and likely wore their body armor in encounters with other groups. The picture shown by Linus Linothorax indicates a type of body armor that extended from "the eyes to the knees of the wearer." You can see that this is an accurate description by the positioning of the arm holes, which are quite low. Now if the Romans only saw these people in their armor, it would indeed appear that their eyes were at the level of their shoulders, and therefore their mouths and noses must be in their chests. The term Blemmyes comes from the Latin blemmyae meaning "headless" (cf. Greek akephaloi). The picture below shows a 15th C artist's idea what such a person looked like and is taken from a woodcut in Schedel's Nuremberg Chronicle (1493).

Over the years, a number of attempts have been made to explain what people thought they saw in ancient times when they described this headless race. Some have said that their heads were hidden between their shoulders by hoisting those up to an extravagant height. I think we have a simpler and more compelling explanation in the form of the armor they used. From the shape shown in the accompanying picture, it can be seen that the eyes of individuals wearing such armor would have appeared at the level of their shoulders (i.e. the upper level of the armor over their shoulders which was suspended above their actual shoulders to protect the neck and face).

This explanation for the race of Blemmyes does not appear anywhere in the historical literature that I have searched, and appears to be a new observation.

Ian.
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Old 19th September 2015, 04:53 PM   #22
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These mounted warriors from Kanem Bornu have always fascinated me. The Kingdom of Kanem Bornu is one of the few times in history two separate kingdoms (Kanem and Bornu) put aside their differences to unite for a cause, in this case desert raiders harassing both kingdoms. These mounted warriors essentially saved the two kingdoms from extinction.

These are some photos and drawings of such mounted warriors. The color photo shows how they are celebrated today.
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Old 20th September 2015, 06:38 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Some very interesting material being shared and discussed here, and has prompted me to look back into this topic as it has been some time since last involved with it. The notes are from material which prompted my comments earlier, and after reviewing much of it supports most of the observations here in the thread so just wanted to add.

From H.Russell Robinson , "Oriental Armour" (1967):
Re: Sudanese armour during the Mahdiya,

P. 84: "...the better armed emirs wore rounded helmets, with an aventail of riveted mail and a heavy fixed nasal. "
"...over the body they wore a long quilted jibbah either with or without a mail shirt over it".
"...the mail shirts were all made on the same pattern; short sleeves, round neck opening, and long skirt split to the level of the fork at front and back,
all examples of these shirts show very considerable wear and much patching with crude links of wire or split rings of modern European manufacture.
I would suggest these are generally of old Arab make. All of the rings are riveted except in the case of later repairs, and many are so worn with use that they could be broken with the fingers without effort".

P.85:
Re: various materials brought back from the Mahdist campaigns by British forces.
Among the items was one of the helmets for the Khedives bodyguards which was made in Birmingham. This equipment apparently was completed with a mail shirt made of split rings, which when struck by 'Sudanese' bullets the brittle rings shattered and caused appalling wounds. It appears when the Sudanese captured these items they would only keep and use the helmets- preferring their old mail shirts to these 'new' ones so fraught with risk.

Jim, do to the limitations of this forum I will break up my reply.

On the use of mail armor, Robinsons book is good but he obviously did not know much about riveted mail. Almost all known examples of mail from the Middle East and Indian are made from alternating row of solid links and riveted links, with a few exceptions European riveted mail was the only mail with all riveted links.

The Sudanese did not manufacture riveted mail from what I have read, or they made it in very small amounts, what they made was butted mail. While riveted mail was stronger, the butted Sudanese mail absolutely was used during the fighting in that period and was quite capable of stopping a sword. I am surprised Robinson does not mention this as there are known examples that were captured during the fighting in Sudan during the late 1800s. Of course having the internet and computers makes researching so much easier and accurate than in Robinsons day.

The khedive mail was made from split link key chains, these were first made in England by machines around 1824 so they could not be older than that. Because these were actually key chains supposedly they had a high temper so they would not lose their shape, this explains reports of the links shattering when hit by a bullet. They were used at least until 1883 as there are accounts from the doomed William Hicks expedition of 100 cuirasssiers (horseman in chain mail). Up until the time that the Sudanese captured large amounts of high powered firearms the Egyptians did not have to really worry about being shot by the Sudanese, things changed after that.

Khedive Ismail's Army, John P. Dunn, 2005.
Quote:
zirkhagi(iron men):Armed with sabres and pistols, these men wore chain-mail armour and metal helmets with nose-guards. While neither was proof against firearms, both offered considerable protection from cut and thrust weapons, like those used by the vast majority of Egypts African enemies. They were an elite formation, and often used both to bolster morale amoung regulars, and impress locals such as when a section was sent for duty in Harar during th early 1880s


From George stone referring to the use of armor by the Sudanese.
Quote:
In the Sudan armor was used until the battle of Omdurman (1889) proved it to be useless when opposed to modern firearms.



I am posting some images, one is of Sudanese butted mail hauberk from the British Museum and its description. Also a cloth shirt with butted mail sleeves used by the Sudanese and an example of a Khedive hauberk made with split link key chain mail.

Quote:
This is a horseman's long-sleeved chainmail tunic. It has a long skirt with a slit front and back to allow the wearer to sit on a horse. The scoop neck joins to a vertical slit on the front so it can be pulled over the head. The chainmail consists of butt-joined rings and there is no sign of any organic lining. The mail is in good condition with no dents visible. Chainmail and other armour was maintained so it could be in continuous use for long periods, particularly during the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries.

This chainmail tunic was first worn in around the time the Turkish rulers of Egypt conquered Sudan. It was later reused by the Mahdists, followers of Muhammad Ahmad, who overthrew the Turco-Egyptian administration in 1885 and remained in power until 1898.
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Old 20th September 2015, 01:45 PM   #24
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Did "African Knights" wear chain mail gloves? I saw a pair of what looked like chain mail mittens go up for auction awhile ago. The seller said they were from Africa but didn't offer much more information. They looked pretty old. I know I saved a few picture of them, I'll try to dig them up.
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Old 20th September 2015, 01:59 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by blue lander
Did "African Knights" wear chain mail gloves? I saw a pair of what looked like chain mail mittens go up for auction awhile ago. The seller said they were from Africa but didn't offer much more information. They looked pretty old. I know I saved a few picture of them, I'll try to dig them up.

The Khedival forces wore mail gloves or gauntlets, I have seen a picture of British soldiers in India wearing them as well. These were purchased from the same source as the split link, key chain hauberks in England. England supplied mail for countries that continued to have a need for mail in this latter time period. The gloves were supposed to have had more mail on one hand than the other. I think that was due to one hand being the sword hand and the other for a horses reins.

I have a sketch of a Khedive soldier wearing these gloves and a quote which mentions their use by Khedival forces as well, another quote mentions their use in India.
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Old 20th September 2015, 06:27 PM   #26
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Estcrh, thank you so much for this wonderfully detailed and well explained response to my entries regarding excerpts from some of the well known published material concerning the Sudanese mail armour.

You clearly have remarkable knowledge and experience in these topics on the armour, and it is great to have this kind of insight into this rather esoteric topic. As can be seen by some of the material I entered, much of the generally held conceptions concerning these North African armours are quite misperceived and insufficiently represented.

I very much like that while you have noted these deficiencies with the Robinson material you avoided diminishing the author by your respectful reference to the advantages todays researchers have. Also, in rebuttal to my entries you have avoided making things 'personal' and have focused on soundly supporting your perspective and corrected the material noted.

What is of key importance here is that with the corpus of material and discussion here on this topic (again I thank Linus for opening this thread) that you guys have assembled, you have created a very informative archived block of material . This is an excellent status quo for those who will be studying these armours in the future here, and I know I have certainly learned a great deal on them.

Thank you both again, very nicely done!

All very best regards,
Jim
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Old 21st September 2015, 04:43 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by CharlesS
These mounted warriors from Kanem Bornu have always fascinated me. The Kingdom of Kanem Bornu is one of the few times in history two separate kingdoms (Kanem and Bornu) put aside their differences to unite for a cause, in this case desert raiders harassing both kingdoms. These mounted warriors essentially saved the two kingdoms from extinction.

These are some photos and drawings of such mounted warriors. The color photo shows how they are celebrated today.

Your photo and this one of Sudanese cloth armor for horse and man are quite similar, as mentioned in the caption of your photo. I have to wonder of one of the museums which own these items has made a mistake in identification.

Quote:
Quilted Sudanese armour (Jibbah), made from several pieces of brightly coloured cloth sewn together. They are stuffed with kapok, the wool-like strands that surround the seeds of the silk cotton tree, creating a heavy garment. In full battle the warhorse would also have worn mail or pieces of leather across the flanks, and headpiece of metal and cloth. These colourful horses were often used by the bodyguards for leaders. Probably used during the Battle of Omdurman, 1898. British Museum.
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Old 21st September 2015, 08:17 PM   #28
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This is an excellent thread adding weight and depth to Forum Library~ I add the following unusual armour for reference;

Scale coat
Indian, Rajasthan, early 19th century

This coat has been covered with the scales of the pangolin or scaly anteater (Manis crassicaudata). The scales have been decorated in gold, and the larger have been used where more protection is required. This is the only known example of this type of armour. It originally had a helmet, also made of pangolin scales, with three plumes.

The scale coat was presented to the King George III in 1820 by Francis Rawdon, 1st Marquis of Hastinges (1754-1826), who was the East India Company's Governor General in Bengal, 1812-22.

As is noted this is from a source in India thus I wondered if African armour had similar items ...sure enough my last two pictures are Egyptian crocodile armour from the Nile. (the other being a Pitt Rivers ~ small jacket piece)

From one http://www.britishmuseum.org/explor..._of_armour.aspx exhibit I Quote''

Crocodile-skin suit of armour
Roman, 3rd century AD
From near Manfalut, Egypt

'In ancient Egypt the crocodile was seen as sacred and divine, and worshipped as a god, so this suit might have been worn by priests of the crocodile sect who by wearing such a garment would take on the spirit of the deity. In many parts of Africa the crocodile is seen as a fearsome and invincible creature and so I think that by wearing crocodile armour and a headpiece like this, a warrior might be transformed in some magical way and take on the attributes of the animal.' Fowokan George Kelly, of Jamaican origin

When the province of Egypt became part of the Roman Empire, it put Romans into direct contact with Egyptian culture and religion. In Egypt Roman garrisons were closely integrated into civic and religious life and participated in local cults. Around Manfalout, on the banks of the Nile in central Egypt, Roman soldiers were particularly attracted to the crocodile cult centred on the sacred grottoes of the region.

This imposing armour is made from the skin of a crocodile. It comprises a helmet and cuirass (body armour) and would have been used in military-style ceremonies of the regional crocodile cult. The skin has been radio-carbon dated to the third century AD. It was presented to the British Museum in 1846 by a Mrs Andrews, who was among a group of European travellers to Manfalut who found grottoes containing the mummified remains of humans and animals, including many crocodiles.

Although the cold, dry environment of the grotto preserved the suit well, the cuirass in particular was flattened and brittle. It has been painstakingly remoulded by the British Museum's Department of Conservation".Unquote.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 21st September 2015, 08:20 PM   #29
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I just ran into this fantastic photo, it shows a mounted Sudanese warrior wearing a heavy mail hauberk and carrying a rather nice kaskara. This alone is rare but one website claims this is actually a photo of the Madhi, if true this would be the only photo of him that I am aware of. I put a portrait of the Madhi next to this photo to compare, any opinions?

Quote:
نشرت دار الوثائق البريطانية، لأول مرة الصورة الحقيقية للإمام محمد أحمد المهدي قائد الثورة المهدية في السودان وهو يرتدي الزي العسكري للثوار الأنصار، جدير بالذكر أن الثورة المهدية انطلقت في السودان بزعامة محمد احمد المهدي الذي ولد في عام 1843م في جزيرة لبب بمنطقة دنقلا شمالي السودان، وقامت الثورة المهدية كرد فعل غاضب على الحكم البريطاني المصري المعروف بفترة حكم الإنجليز الأولي في السودان.

Published Dar British documents, for the first time the true picture of Imam Muhammad Ahmad commander of the Mahdist War in Sudan, wearing a military uniform rebel supporters, worth mentioning that the Mahdist War started in Sudan, led by Muhammad Ahmad, who was born in 1843 in the door to the island region of Dongola in northern Sudan, The Mahdist War angry reaction on the Egyptian British rule known as the initial period of the British rule in Sudan.
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Old 21st September 2015, 09:07 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
I just ran into this fantastic photo, it shows a mounted Sudanese warrior wearing a heavy mail hauberk and carrying a rather nice kaskara. This alone is rare but one website claims this is actually a photo of the Madhi, if true this would be the only photo of him that I am aware of. I put a portrait of the Madhi next to this photo to compare, any opinions?



I have seen the photo at the right of the mounted warrior with a great example of kaskara in a number of publications, but I have never seen it suggested to be the Mahdi. It seems most of the time it was simply a general image of unspecified warrior. It is a fascinating suggestion to possibly be the Mahdi himself, and there is a free association similarity that is compelling but speculative.
Regardless, the image is an excellent one showing the sword and armour.
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