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An extract from Armies of the Dark Ages 600-1066
by Ian Heath


This man's costume is based on the 7th century Ashburnham Pentateuch ms. It consists of close-fitting wool or linen breeches and tunic, boots, short cloak, and tall felt hat, possibly only worn by freemen and royal slaves. Traditional Gothic dress had died out in the late-6th century and influences in clothing were principally Byzantine. In this source tunics are mainly white, red or a buff colour and breeches mainly red or dark blue.

He is armed in accordance with the army laws of Wamba (673) and Erwig (681), by which most men were expected to appear for service with spear, shield, sword and scrama or bow and arrows. Some had to wear in addition mail or scale zabae or loricae. Yet others had to be slingers with whatever equipment their masters had given them (armies being comprised largely of conscripted slaves by this date). Isidore of Seville's Etymologicon of c.615 gives a general list of Visigothic arms which includes all of those so far mentioned plus semispathae, franciscas (which the Visigoths called cateia or teutona) adopted from the Franks, cavalry lances, and crested helmets.
[Based on the Ashburnham Pentateuch, 6th or 7th Century]

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