Leaf from a Diptych with the Adoration of the Magi (via The Met)
French, c. 1300-1325
Another of the skulls fused with a maille (chainmail) Coif recovered from the site of the battle of Visby, Gotland, ca. 1361.
I wonder if you could go back in time and meet the guy who was putting that on just to let him know he would never take it off
To be honest, there was probably a good chance he knew he wouldn’t be taking it off.
He was a peasant (probably a freeman, specifically) who had chosen to fight an invading professional army. He and the men he fought with probably knew that they would be outnumbered, outclassed, and (for lack of a better term) outgunned.
When the Danish army got to the city of Visby, on the island of Gotland, the residents were ready. Just 4 days before, the Danes had fought and slaughtered a group of about 1,000 farmers that had massed against them. The men at Visby numbered about 2,000.
When the smoke cleared, the Visby army had taken about 1,700 casualties, a staggering g 85% of their force. The Danes, who had numbered between 2,000 and 2,500, had only taken about 300 casualties, though the actual count is unknown.
So yes, he likely knew that his equipment would mean nothing to these Invaders, and that when he was inevitably struck down, he would be spending the rest of eternity in that coif. He chose to fight anyway.
Stupid damned souls protest in vain and try to deny the colossal and minutely detailed account of sins, foolishnesses and assorted wicked things that they committed in life. Jacobello Alberegno, ‘Triptyque de’l Apocalypse’ ~ ca.1390
* France, 14th century
* Schnütgen Museum
Cologne, November 2017
Aboa Vetus – archaeological area
Turku, March 2018
Bible, Catalonia ca. 1320
Tours, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 8, fol. 258r
‘Ormesby Psalter’, England ca. 1310
Bodleian Library, MS. Douce 366, fol. 147v
Roman de la Rose, Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meung, 1301-1400, France, manuscript in The National Library of Wales
UNKNOWN MASTER, German
Christ and St John the Evangelist
Staatliche Museen, Berlin