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FFOULKES C. Armour & Weapons

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FFOULKES C.
Armour & Weapons
page 58



sliding rivets which were used in its construction came from Germany. That the wearing of armour caused grave inconvenience to some, while to others it seems to have been no hindrance at all, we may gather from the following historical incidents. In 1526 King Louis of Hungary, fleeing from the Battle of Mohacz, was drowned while crossing the Danube because of the weight of his armour. On the other hand we find that Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford, when forced to fly at the Battle of Radcot Bridge, escaped easily by swimming the river to safety in full armour. We should remem-ber that the weight of plate armour was less felt than that of mail, because the former was distributed over the whole body and limbs, while the latter hung from the shoulders and waist alone. King Henry V, in courting Queen Katharine, says :—' If I could win a lady at leapfrog, or by vaulting into my saddle with my armour on my back,' which seems to imply that this feat was at any rate a possibility. Oliver de la Marche describes Galliot de Balthasin in 1446 as leaping clear out of his saddle ' Armé de toute '. We may safely consign Sir Walter Scott's description of -the feasting knights to the realms of poetic licence, for he writes :— They carved at the meal with gloves of steel And drank the red wine through their helmets barred. Now if there were two portions of the knight's equipment which would be put off at the first opportunity, and which could be assumed the most rapidly, they were the helmet and gauntlets. To drink through a visored helmet is a practical impossibility. The word Beavor, which is generally derived from the Italian bevere, to drink, has been considered by Baron de Cosson, with far more probability, to be derived from the Old French bavière (originally = a child's bib, from bave, saliva). The cleaning of armour is frequently alluded to in Inventories. In the Dover Castle Inventory of 1344 is mentioned ' i barrelle pro armaturis rollandis '. Chain-mail was rolled in barrels with sand and vinegar to clean it, just as, inversely, barrels are cleaned in 64 THE WEARING OF ARMOUR CHAP, HI


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