Vítám Vás u čtvrtého dílu série o řemeslnících! Tentokrát si představíme medailonek vynikajícího slovenského řemeslníka a šermíře Petera Kocúra, který se k reenactmentu dostal poté, co se zúčastnil archeologických vykopávek jako brigádník. V minulých letech se věnoval rekonstrukci vrcholně středověkého šlechtice, ale v tuto chvíli se zaměřuje na velkomoravské období.
Welcome to the fourth part of the Craftsman series! This time we present a work of an outstanding Slovak craftsman and swordsman Peter Kocúr, who got engaged in reenactment since he participated in archaeological excavations as a temporary worker. In recent years he devoted himself to the reconstruction of the High Medieval nobleman, but at the moment he focuses on the Great Moravian period.
Peter zdůrazňuje, že měl vždy rád historii, a proto se začal zapojovat do archeologických vykopávek jako pomocník. Pak už byla cesta k reenactmentu velmi rychlá. Před deseti a více lety však vybavení nebylo běžně dostupné k prodeji, a tak si začal vyrábět věci sám a tato výroba je pro něj velkou vášní dodnes. Řemeslo ho neživí, ale pokud kdokoli projeví zájem o cokoli z kovu, kůže nebo dřeva, Peter rád nabídne své služby. Jeho výrobky jsou čistě provedené a především praktické. Nejlepším způsobem, jak Petera kontaktovat, je přes jeho Facebookový profil.
Peter emphasizes that he has always liked history, and therefore he began to engage in archaeological excavations as a helper. Then the path to reenactment was very quick. However, the equipment was usually not available for sale ten years or more ago, so he began to make things himself, and this craft is a great passion for him to this day. The craft is not his main income, but if anyone is interested in anything of metal, leather or wood, Peter will gladly offer his services. His products are cleanly finished and very practical. The best way to contact Peter is through his Facebook profile.
Peter je jedním ze dvou československých výrobců kroužkových zbrojí. Jeho poznatky jsou fantastické a oči otevírající. Například zbroj, kterou vyrobil pro sebe má 4,5 kg při tloušťce drátu 1 mm, vnějším průměru 10 mm a celkovém obvodu 130 cm a délce 96 cm. Zbroj je lemována mosaznými kroužky a konzervována včelím voskem.
Peter is one of two Czechoslovak chainmail producers. His results are fantastic and eye-opening. For example, the mail he made for himself weighs 4.5 kg (9.92 lbs) at a wire thickness of 1 mm, an outer ring diameter of 10 mm and a total circumference of 130 cm and a length of 96 cm. The mail has brass rings at the borders and is conserved with beeswax.
Přilba, která Peter vyrobil podle nálezu z Bojné, je jednou z nejvěrnějších replik této přilby. Nutno poznamenat, že Peter občas vyrábí repliky do muzeí.
The helmet, which Peter made according to the find from Bojná, is one of the most faithful replicas of this helmet. It should be noted that Peter sometimes produces replicas for museums.
Stejně unikátní je i způsob, jakým Peter vyrábí štíty a který je založený na dlouhodobém experimentování. Štíty vyrábí ze dvou vrstev prken, které k sobě lepí klihem. Korpus je postupně ztenčovaný a potažený třemi vrstvami ručně tkaného lnu. Takto vyrobený štít má při průměru 86 cm váhu velmi příjemných 3,156 kg a je prakticky nezničitelný tupými zbraněmi.
The way Peter makes shields is equally unique and is based on long-term experimentation. The shields are made of two layers of planks, which are glued together. The wooden corpus is gradually tapered and covered with three layers of hand-woven linen. The shield produced in this way has a very pleasant weight of 3.156 kg (6.957 lbs) at a diameter of 86 cm and it is practically indestructible by blunt weapons.
Meč inspirovaný nálezem z dánského hradu Søborg. Datace 1100-1175, délka 1090 mm, váha 1,24 kg. Peter k mečům vyrábí také prvotřídní pochvy.
Sword inspired by the find from Søborg castle, Denmark, dated to 1100-1175. Length 1090 mm, weight 1,24 kg. Peter also produces first class scabbards for his swords.
Boty z Peterovy dílny.
Shoes from Peter’s workshop.
Studie překládaného damaškového nože s vkládaným ostřím a měděnou dekorací podle slovanských nálezů.
Study of folded pattern-welded knife with inserted blade and copper decoration according to Slavic findings.
Peter je aktivním šermířem, který často a intenzivně trénuje. Pro sebe i své kolegy vyrábí dřevěné tréninkové zbraně.
Peter is an active swordsman who often and intensively trains. He produces wooden training weapons for himself and his colleagues.
Toto byl pouze stručný výčet. Petera můžete kontaktovat i ohledně opasků, brašen, spon, tkacích stavů, dětských hraček, štítových puklic, lampiček a podobně. Pokud Vás Peterovy výrobky zaujaly, jsem si jist, že velmi rád zodpoví Vaše dotazy. Lze jej zkontaktovat přes jeho osobní Facebook.
This was just a brief overview. You can also contact Peter about belts, pouches, buckles and pins, weaving looms, children’s toys, shield bosses, lamps and so on. If you are interested in Peter’s products, I am sure that he will be happy to answer your questions. He can be contacted via his personal Facebook account.
Pevně věřím, že jste si čtení tohoto článku užili. Pokud máte poznámku nebo dotaz, neváhejte mi napsat nebo se ozvat níže v komentářích. Pokud se Vám líbí obsah těchto stránek a chtěli byste podpořit jejich další fungování, podpořte, prosím, náš projekt na Patreonunebo Paypalu.
I hope you liked reading this article. If you have any question or remark, please contact me or leave a comment below. If you want to learn more and support my work, please, fund my project on Patreon or Paypal.
The reconstruction of the Birka warrior. Taken from Hjardar – Vike 2011: 347.
The question of lamellar armour is popular among both experts and reenactors.I myself have dealt with this issue several times and I have collected the literature. My research led me to virtually unknown finds from Snäckgärde, which lies near Visby on Gotland. These finds did not survive, but are described by priest Nils Johan Ekdahl (1799–1870), which is called “the first scientific Gotlandic archaeologist.”
The reason why finds from Snäckgärde are unknown is that they were discovered almost 200 years ago and were lost. The literature about them is hardly accessible and mostly unknown for scholars of non-Swedish origin. All I managed to find is this: in the year 1826, four graves with skeletons were examined in the site called Snäckgärde (Visby, Land Nord, SHM 484), and the most interesting of these four graves are those with number 2 and 4 (Carlson 1988: 245; Thunmark-Nylén 2006: 318):
Grave no. 2: grave with skeleton oriented in the south-north direction, spherical mound lined with stones.The funeral equipment consisted of an iron axe, a ring located at the waist, two opaque beads in the neck area and “some pieces of armour on the chest” (något fanns kvar and pansaret på bröstet).
Grave no. 4: grave with skeleton in east-west direction, spherical mound, 0.9 meter high, with sunken top. Inside the mound, there was a coffin of limestone, with dimensions of 3 m × 3 m (?). A ringed-pin was found the right shoulder of the dead. At waist level, a ring from the belt was discovered. Another parts of the equipment were an axe and “several scales of armour” (några pansarfjäll), found at the chest.
Judging by the funerary remains, it can be assumed that two men were laid in these mounds with their armours.Of course, we can not say for sure what kind of armours they were, but they seem to be lamellar armour, especially because of analogies and the mention of scales (Thunmark-Nylén 2006: 318). Dating is problematic.Lena Thunmark-Nylén mantioned both armours in her publications about Viking Age Gotland. Pins and belt fragments also points to the Viking Age. However, what is the most important are axes – according to Ekhdal´s drawings, the axe from the grave no. 2 is a broad axe, while the axe from the grave no. 4 had the handle decorated with brass. A broad axe could be dated from the end of the 10th or from early 11th century, and the brass coated handle is a feature of some axes from the early 11th century (Thames, Langeid and another sites on Gotland, see my article “Two-handed axes“). It seems logical to suppose that both graves were constructed in the same century, although there are some minor differences in the construction and the orientation of graves.
The hall of Birka with finds of chainmail rings and lamellae. Taken from Ehlton 2003: 16, Fig. 18. Made by Kjell Persson.
In Scandinavia, only one analogy of lamellar armour (or rather fragments) has been known so far, from Birka (see for example Thordeman 1939: 268; Stjerna 2001; Stjerna 2004; Hedenstierna-Jonson 2006: 55, 58; Hjardar – Vike 2011: 193–195; Dawson 2013 and others). Lamellae were scattered around the so called Garrison (Garnison) and they number 720 pieces (the biggest piece consisted of 12 pieces).267 lamellae could be analyzed and classified into 8 types, which probably served to protect different parts of the body. It is estimated that the armour from Birka protected the chest, back, shoulders, belly and legs down to knees (Stjerna 2004: 31). The armour was dated to the first part of 10th century (Stjerna 2004: 31). Scholars agree on it´s nomadic origin from Near or Middle East and it´s closest paralel comes from Balyk-Sook (for example Dawson 2002;Gorelik 2002: 145; Stjerna 2004: 31). Stjerna (2007: 247) thinks that armour and other excelent objects were not designed for war and were rather symbolic („The reason for having these weapons was certainly other than military or practical“). Dawson (2013) stands partially in opposition and claims that the armour was wrongly interepreted, because only three types from eight could be lamellae and the number of real lamellae is not enough for a half of chest armour. His conclusion is that lamellae from Birka are only pieces of recycled scrap. In the light of armours from Snäckgärde, which are not included in Dawson´s book, I consider this statement to be hasty.
The reconstruction of the Birka armour on the basis of Balyk-Sook armour. Taken from Hjardar – Vike 2011: 195.
People often think that there are many finds from the area of Old Russia.In fact, there are only a few finds from the period of 9th-11th century and they can be interpreted as eastern import, just like the example from Birka (personal conversation with Sergei Kainov; see Kirpichnikov 1971: 14-20). From this early period, finds come for example from Gnezdovo and Novgorod. The Russian material dated between 11th-13th is much more abundant, including about 270 finds (see Medvedev 1959;Kirpichnikov 1971: 14-20). However, it is important to note that until the second half of the 13th century, the number chainmail fragments is four times higher than fragments of lamellar armour, pointing out that the chainmail was the predominant type of armour in the territory of Old Russia (Kirpichnikov 1971: 15). With high probability, Old Russian lamellar armour from the Viking Age came from Byzantium, where they were dominant thanks to their simpler design and lower cost already in the 10th century (Bugarski 2005: 171).
A Note for Reenactors
The lamellar armour has become very popular among reenactors. At some festivals and events, lamellar armours count more than 50% of armours.The main arguments for usage are:
Low production price
While these arguments are understandable, it has to be stressed that lamellar armour is in no way suitable for Viking Age reenactment. The argument that this type of armour was used by Rus can be counteracted by the fact that even in the time of the greatest expansion of lamellar armours in Russia, the number of chainmail armours was four times higher. What is more, lamellar armours were imported. If we keep the basic idea that the reenactment should be based on the reconstruction of typical objects, then it must be clear that the lamellar armour is only suitable for Nomad and Byzantine reenactment. The same applies to leather lamellar armour.
An example of well reconstructed lamellar armour. Viktor Kralin.
On the other hand, the finds from Birka and Snäckgärde suggest that this type of armour could occur in the eastern part of Scandinavia. Before any conclusion, we have to take into consideration that Birka and Gotland were territories of strong influences of Eastern Europe and Byzantium. This is also the reason for accumulation of artifacts of Eastern provenance, otherwise not known from Scandinavia.In a way, it would be strange if we had not these finds, especially from the period when they were popular in Byzantium. However, this does not mean that the lamellar armours were common in this area. Lamellar armour stands isolated from Norse warrior tradition and armours of this type sometimes occured in Baltic region until the 14th century (Thordeman 1939: 268–269). Chainmail armour can be identified as the predominant form of armour in Viking Age Scandinavia, like in Old Russia. This statement can be verified by the fact that the chainmail rings were found in Birka itself (Ehlton 2003).Regarding the production of lamellar armour in the Scandinavian and Russian territory, there is no evidence to support that this was happening and such a production is highly improbable.
If lamellar armour should be tolerated in Viking reenactment, then
the reenactor has to reenact Baltic area or Rus area.
it has to be used in limited number (1 lamellar armour per group or 1 lamellar armour per 4 chainmail armours).
only metal lamellar armours are allowed, not leather ones or visibly lasered ones.
it has to correspond to finds from Birka (or Gnezdovo or Novgorod), not Visby.
it can not be combined with Scandinavian components like buckles.
The armour has to look like the original and has to be supplemented by appropriate gear, like Russian helmets. If we are in a debate between two positions “Yes to lamellar armours” or “No to lamellar armours“, ignoring the possibility “Yes to lamellar armours (without taking aforementioned arguments in account)“, I choose the option “No to lamellar armours”. And what is your opinion?
I hope you liked reading this article. If you have any question or remark, please contact me or leave a comment below. If you want to learn more and support my work, please, fund my project on Patreonor Paypal.