Friday, June 16, 2017

ADP: Geographical Area

Choosing a Geographical Area

(Part of the ADP: Armour Decision Points series)

Geography includes political borders such as Empires, Kingdoms, Provinces and Baronies. It can be or it can be collections "The European Lowlands", "The Iberian Peninsula", "The Italian City States". It can be a city such as Paris or Prague. Broader areas allow the use of more references, narrowing down a geography too far can leave you with almost now remaining objects and more speculation.

Geographical area for armour is easiest to pin down when it is linked to specific objects that exist from that time period, it drifts to complexity when it is an impression from multiple objects and secondary items, and is harder still when it comes from feelings and stories. 

Time period needs to be chosen before geographical area in general terms, because of the massive difference between a bronze age spearman and a renaissance gunner. This article is written from the perspective that time period has been chosen first. That is not compulsory, but one of the perspectives had to be chosen. 
A Tudor Archer or Solider impression is made easier by all the study done on the Mary Rose

Easy mode would be to choose something like Gottland soldier of 1360; or English seaman of 1545. The Wisby finds  means that we have actual surviving armour taken from the ground, with known providence, from known men, who fought in Gottland. The recovery of the English warship The Mary Rose from the bottom of the sea reveals a massive amount about those men and their equipment and lifestyle.

Choosing a general area causes issues once you have researched enough to know the questions you will need to ask yourself. French from around 1460, which was my initial persona, offers more challenges. France was not a driver of armour production at the time, so I have to choose a German or Italian influence to my armour. The French armour maker's marks from the period are not currently tracked, so did I go with a unknown local or did I fully import. Modern France does not equal the 1460 Kingdom of France - was I in that area, or in the different areas? My persona happened to French as the name was from the Parisian Rolls of 1421, so that helped me zero in and answer that question. Are there extant works of art from that period? Are they realistic or biblical analogies?  Once your general area and time has been chosen, this can simply be the starting point for a research project.
The Battle of Gottland is well known because of the exceptional quality of the armour pulled from the ground.

Hard mode comes from a general piece of information. "My Grandad was Scottish, I want to be Scottish." is such a general statement that a lot of research is coming your way, and likely a lot of myth busting. If you are a lowland noble, you are importing armour from the same German and Italian armour merchants as the rest of Europe, and likely look indistinguishable from a French or English, or German noble. If you are thinking you want to be an impressive highland noble, you have some enlightening reading to be done. 

 Think about your research skills when you choose your geography. Picking an area based on specific existing objects or artworks, from areas with plenty of examples makes things easier, straying from this makes the journey harder.

Once you have chosen your geography, it will help drive your further choices, and clearly guides a lot of armour decisions.

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