Leaf Mail?

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Re: Leaf Mail?

Postby brendan on Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:00 am

Swifty,
thanks for you correction of my incorrect identification of a primary source :oops:
So, no mention of Maille of any type!
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Re: Leaf Mail?

Postby Swifty on Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:48 pm

Yeah Brendan no mail at all in this instance at least. But it is understandable that Froude uses mail in his description considering the many references of galloglas wearing this type of armour. It appears to me that the intention of Shane O'Neill was to advertise his willfulness via his direct contravention of Henry VIII's laws of 1537 forbidding the various components of contemporary 16thC Gaelic attire. It would seem reasonable to conclude that he could achieve this aim more coherently by having his galloglas wear their civilian threads through London rather than have that most distinctive style of dress and hairstyle obscured by military equipment such as the cotún, mail-shirt, mail-standard and helmet. The bearing of 'battle-axes' was quite sufficient to show what role these men played in Irish Gaelic society. Doubtless the arms and armour of these galloglas were carried and maintained by one of the two kern who formed the remaining components of the sparth [i.e. the unit not the weapon] as was the custom.

Scott Cross quite correctly points out that Berleth has changed 'bare-headed' to 'shaved heads' and conveniently omitted 'with flowing curls'. In addition the 'short tunics' are clearly ionars and the 'rough cloaks' doubtless the mantles fringed with unspun wool which we are all familiar with - not wolf-skins, the latter which are mentioned by both Berleth and Froude. It is a centuries old game of Chinese Whispers if you ask me!

Kevin - I will get pix up for you but unless a miracle happens it will not be over the next few weeks - I am up to my eye-balls at the minute with other unrelated stuff. Apologies for any delays. On the shield of Aodh O Conor I have nothing to add to that thread at this time - but it is interesting as always to observe discussion on such historical insights. I hope to be able to make a bigger contribution to this board and others by April of this year.
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Re: Leaf Mail?

Postby Billy on Thu Jan 20, 2011 1:53 pm

Good thread so far...

I noticed in Froude's book, linked above, that he gave some vague reference as the source, the Irish Mss. in the Rolls House. I kind of came to a dead end, so posted what I had so far.However did you manage to identify the primary source as William Camden? Or were you familiar with Camden before you saw Froude's bit?

BTW Froude was fairly anti-Irish as well, so changing details to make the Gaelic warriors seem more exotic would not be beyond the bounds of possibility. Wolf skins, for example, make a man seem more savage, no?

Primary source or bust. And even at that, they take careful consideration.
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Re: Leaf Mail?

Postby Billy on Thu Jan 20, 2011 1:58 pm

Billy MagFhloinn
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Re: Leaf Mail?

Postby Swifty on Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:24 pm

Hi Billy - nice link - Camden is an interesting study himself.

Yes that's it exactly - I was familiar with William Camden's description and that is what rang a bell with me when I was looking over this thread. I agree that it was most certainly in the interests of early Victorian Britain to portray the Gaelic-Irish as savages in the tradition of the Punch cartoons which were to ensue shortly after the publication of Froude's work. This anti-Irish sentiment was rife in 19thC England and I am quite certain that Froude - like many of his contemporaries - would likely have been a product of this environment which sponsored its own brand of a superiority complex. Savage foreign warriors clad in wolf-skins and without even the decency to wear a hat in public no doubt contributes to this point of view! And yes, finally, I also agree that primary source material should also be taken on board with only the greatest care and consideration.
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