HELP! I need answers on early medieval Irish warriors!!!

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HELP! I need answers on early medieval Irish warriors!!!

Postby Cuchulainn505 on Sat Apr 16, 2011 8:45 pm

Hello, I need answers on a particular topic which has been driving me crazy as of late. I keep coming across reconstructions of Irish Warriors of the late dark age/early medieval period, basically to the era of the wars between the Gaedhil with the Gaill. These illustrated reconstructions seem to be accurate all except for one detail in which I cannot find any information or source wether it be sculpture, high crosses, ill. manuscripts, books of the period, descriptions, etc. etc. to back this up. Basically they portray the Irish warriors wearing the usual expected attire and equipment except they all seem to show what I can only describe as an apron, I suppose. They are shown usually decorated with some kind of pattern, either broad stripes or checkered squares. Many are shown decorated with some kind of metal, either brass nails/studs or some kind of ornamentation. Now the main sources I have found portraying them are all from the same artist Angus McBride. Now I know McBride is not the end-all be-all source of accuracy when it comes to his historical reconstructions but usually he is right on, besides he paints only what the author tells him to paint, usually using archeological evidence as inspiration/sources. Now sometimes I can see a fluke pass by someones notice, but I have seen it more than 3 times, in separate works. I doubt a professional such as he would mess up or make something totally up like that. I also have seen it now in other sources besides McBride, other artists, in those reconstruction miniatures, and I even happened to be looking at the character designs for the new Brian Boru movie "Freedom Within the Heart" and all of the Irish warriors are wearing them. I will post the Angus McBride paintings so you can see what I am talking about. If anybody can explain what they are, why they were worn, if they were even worn at all, but most of all what EVIDENCE is there for them??? In my long search I had thought I found the source on the Shine of St. Manchán but on closer inspection they dont seem to be exactly what I was looking for, though the lower garments do warrant further inspection. If anybody could help me out I would be so grateful, it has been driving me crazy! I appreciate any and all help. Thanks,
-Dennis Flynn

Here are the McBride photos:
MCBRIDESMALL.jpg
MCBRIDESMALL.jpg (79.64 KiB) Viewed 4211 times

MCBRIDESMALL.jpg
MCBRIDESMALL.jpg (79.64 KiB) Viewed 4211 times
Attachments
MCBRIDETINY2.jpg
MCBRIDETINY2.jpg (77.85 KiB) Viewed 4280 times
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Re: HELP! I need answers on early medieval Irish warriors!!!

Postby finnobreanan on Sun Apr 17, 2011 2:30 pm

What you are seeing is the bottom of their shirts, called a Leine. If you search the boards for "Leine", you will find several discussions on this garment.
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Re: HELP! I need answers on early medieval Irish warriors!!!

Postby Cuchulainn505 on Sun Apr 17, 2011 4:58 pm

really? I thought a Liene was more like a tunic, usually solid in colour like saffron or black, not checkered. Why do they wear it over their tunics?
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Re: HELP! I need answers on early medieval Irish warriors!!!

Postby finnobreanan on Sun Apr 17, 2011 9:15 pm

Cuchulainn505 wrote:really? I thought a Liene was more like a tunic, usually solid in colour like saffron or black, not checkered. Why do they wear it over their tunics?


Sorry, I misread your original post and did not see the checked thing hanging from the waist. I have do idea what McBride is illustrating there and do not recall any historical reference to it. I have also not seen this in any contemporary illustrations.

Did these illustrations come from an Osprey book? Usually there are descriptions for the plates that explain what is being worn. I have not seen this book before.
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Re: HELP! I need answers on early medieval Irish warriors!!!

Postby Cuchulainn505 on Mon Apr 18, 2011 5:40 pm

No, not an Osprey, otherwise I would be huning down the sources. The book the two pics above come from is "Ancient Celts" by Tim Newark. I don't know how accurate of an author he is but I am trying to look into getting ahold of the book and seeing if there is any kind of listing in the back for the illustrated plates throughout the book. If not maybe I could somehow get in touch with the author who must have instructed McBride on what to portray, and ask him. The closest thing to the checkered loin cloth/apron I have seen is on the Shrine of St. Manchan, that is the only evidence I am aware of at this point and I cannot make a conclusion on what exactly is being worn by the figures depicted on the shrine. It appears that they are wearing a piece of clothing which I can only describe as like an apron or skirt, possibly a kilt (I really REALLY want to refrain from that comparison for obvious reasons), and some appear to have that piece of cloth about a foot wide, its in the center of the figures bottom half, running down from the waist to the just below the knees and has some design to it. Though as far as I can tell it may be connected to the rest of the garment that looks like an apron. Since I cannot be fully certain as to what they are wearing, I cannot use it as proof or evidence. It is an interesting piece no doubt but also confusing. The thing about the garment McBride depicts in the 5 separate paintings is that it is consistent in each depiction. It is always the same length, width, with the same design motif and what looks like ornamental pieces or brass studs attached on it. The other places I have seen them depicted that are not of the late McBrides hand all show it the same, consistenly each time, so they all must be working from the same thing. As you can see this is a topic that is reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllly bugging me and driving me mad. Below is an image of the Shrine of St. Manchan, see for yourself and see if you can figure out what it is they are shown wearing. Again, if ANYBODY has any information regarding this topic or evidence, images, descriptive accounts, etc. etc., etc. I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks,
-Dennis J. Flynn III

IRISHMEDIEVAL3.jpg
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Re: HELP! I need answers on early medieval Irish warriors!!!

Postby Cuchulainn505 on Mon Apr 18, 2011 5:42 pm

And here is the other picture with a close up of the details...

IRISH MEDIEVAL WAY 3333333333.jpg
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Re: HELP! I need answers on early medieval Irish warriors!!!

Postby finnobreanan on Mon Apr 18, 2011 6:48 pm

IMHO, This is simplely a fold in the front of the Leine. The way it lays could be misinterpreted as a separate piece. The design on the front is the same as the rest of the garment. I think the author, or McBride has misinterpreted the figures, if this is what they were basing the illustration on. I can't see what useful purpose or function such an "apron" like accessory could possibly serve.
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Re: HELP! I need answers on early medieval Irish warriors!!!

Postby Seathrun on Tue Apr 19, 2011 2:22 am

I agree with Finn, Its a fold or a belt.
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Re: HELP! I need answers on early medieval Irish warriors!!!

Postby oleg on Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:29 am

Just an idea for the first picture - it could be something like a field for a board game with gaming pieces hanging from it. :D
The idea is crazy, and not based on any artifacts. Depicting mythological heroes is like that.
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Re: HELP! I need answers on early medieval Irish warriors!!!

Postby Cuchulainn505 on Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:04 am

I am not sure if McBride did use that as his source, so I can't be sure. I cam across the shrine while searching for possible sources. The only use I can come up with for such a garment would be to protect ones manhood, it looks like it is made from a heavy pelt or leather, with the studs for reinforcement maybe? I also think I read somewhere in the description of Cuchulainn that he wore something like that, a piece of black cloth backed by a leather piece. I can't remember where though. BTW the new movie about Brian Boru is using that garment in their costume designs....they mustve seen McBrides work or whatever the real source of it is. On the other hand movies are notoriously inaccurate (i.e. Braveheart, The Eagle, Gladiator, etc.). Still I am not giving up until I go through every available early medieval source in Irish history
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