Warriors in 561AD and how Hollywood see them.
Recently, Stoke-on-Trent Museum of Potteries has closed Temporarily the rooms dedicated to the Staffordshire Hoard. Said rooms are going to be upgraded. Hopefully the ghastly red wall-paint will be forgotten. Hint : red when your major exhibits are small intricate gold pieces makes the sighting difficult. It literally kills it! (Personal rant space closing)
I hope the curators will get enough fund and private contributions to get new rooms able to enfance the beauty and art of what must be indeed called Dark Ages Male Bling. Male warrior naturally. Which leads me to today’s blog entry.
Warriors: how they looked as reconstructed by historians and archaeologists versus Hollywood and sudden dashes into the realm of fancy by originally sound minded artists.
When you enter the museum, you are met by a 7-foot statue of a Mercian warrior. Who wears on the top of his helmet something looking curiously like Piglet!
I have no doubt that Barbarian (not as Barbaric but as Barbaroi: foreigners, others, people from a different culture as in not Greco-Roman) warriors were just as keen as to decorate their ‘uniforms’ which did not exist with as much gold, gilt and silver as they could afford adding horse tail or wild boar (not the tusks apparently and this is an interesting question which should be raised: what happened to the tusks?) hair. They must still have refrained from wearing a stuffed young wild boar on their head! If only for the rather reasonnable wish to avoid being more singled out on the battlefied. The association of a spear with arrows but no long sword is a bit odd; none the less you get the gist of the honourable and probably headachy gentlemen: one does not mess with Mercian warriors.
I say headachy because warriors would wear helmets to battle: right? And the heavier the helmet the shorter the battle will have to be as our skull is not exactly made to carry heavy objecs fot a certain length of time if you want to keep being mobile, agile and promptly swift as on a 6thC battlefield.
Which is why I prefer the simpler terracotta approach of what a training field warrior might have looked like. And this is where i erupt. Warfare was taken just as seriously in the 7thC as it is taken in 2013. A warrior king wore chain-mails, tried to protect his face/nose/cheeks with metal parts and would knot them! He may wish to have his battledress sartorial taste lauded. He would still avoid wearing stuffed creatures on his head (Medieval knights may have worn bizarre contraptions over their heads but at jousting just for a few minutes). And more importantly HE WOULD HAVE WORN HIS HELMET!
Because I am sort of tired of watching Aragorn/Thorin (Tolkien fantasy based on Dark Ages Britain Oswald) and the new series Vikings showing successful warriors going to battle without decent protection. In real life, they would not have been successful. They would have been dead suicidees.
Somehow I suspect Hengest and Horsa did not show their locks when they faced Vortgiren. Male bling does not imply idiocy.