In medieval times everyone wore a dress and thight socks. No one wore a skirt or trousers. However many medievalist men wear these very large baggy pants. Why?

If it is just because wearing thights makes a man feel feminine, then how does wearing culottes make one feel any more masculin? Is it the same reason that people rather refer to dresses as “tunics”? In my experience a tunic is either a modern womens wear or a roman soldiery and working class dress with no sleeves and made of one or two pieces of wool.

I admit, that during the many centuries that we now call medieval the clothes and fashion saw evolution and the long socks were started to be sewn into thights near the end of the period. Sometimes these thights had enormous codpieces. And yes. There were those enormous baggy pants too, but unless you are actually depicting a swedish peasant, a portugese sailor or a russian druzhina, why would you dress as one?

A nother weird thing is leather armour. I constantly run into medievalists or even literature that claims leather armour was used during the medieval times, but the only sources I have run into are cuir boulli tournament armour for the grand melee and deerskin layer in a linnen gambeson (a padded jacket).

One could argue that leather was a lot cheaper than any metal armour. Yes, but you really can not compare their durability and weight ratio. To get the leather as durable as the thinnest possible untempered metal you need so thick and heavy piece of leather that it is not worth carrying. The grand melee leather armour was a light sportsequipment because it only had to wihtstand blunt trauma. You see, sharp weapons were forbidden in those fights. Besides, to make leather even nearly as hard as metal you need tons of be’s wax and that was not cheap by any measure. The grand melee armour was bought by the wery richest of people not the poorest. A lot cheaper and much more endurable choise for armour would have been linnen. No it was not so cheap either, that anybody could afford it, for several layers of linnen cost also, but it was the actual choise of the common fighting men. Linnen “gambesons” were worn under  or on top of the most expensive armour also and it was used as such by men who could not afford armour. The several layers of cloth work a bit like kevlar. The cut, the thrust and even the shot of an arrow are considerably slowed down by the fabric layers of fibre.

As leather armour shares and exeeds metal armours weakest sides in weight and prize, it also looses to the linnen protection in one critical part. Just as plate metal leather armour does not breathe. Linnen fabric breathes (at least as long as it is not completely soaked by sweat, because moisture makes the linnen fibres to sweal). On the battlefield plate metal armour is an acceptable trade giving up “airconditioning” and temperature inside the armour for protection. Leather armour causes the same problem with heat, but is nowhere near as protective. Also one must bear in mind, that metal conducts heat (out from within the armour) while leather does not. Even in the most coldest of winters, if you are moving (like in a fight) inside plate mail it gets hot after a while.

Historical sources tell even about scale armour made from horn and animal forks, but I can only find one comment on leather armour. It is from Snorri and the “leather armour” is a reindeer jacket worn by a man called Finn. The jack is enchanted by saami witches to be imprevious to any attack. This is just about as believable story as the tale of prince Murrogh using two swords at the Clontarf battle (did I mention he killed over hundred men).

So, why leather armour? Why baggy pants? Why two swords?

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