King Louis XI's 60 layer jacks gambeson (is this true?)

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King Louis XI's 60 layer jacks gambeson (is this true?)

Postby H. L. Black » 10 Jul 2016 16:14

Hi, someone told me, in The Ordinances of King Louis XI of France there's instructions from King Louis for making gambesons: 25-30 layer jacks which also included a layer of stagskin. In addition, King Louis recommended another layer of the same thickness hanging under the front where it was laced up. So the maximum thickness may have been closer to 60 layers over the chest Can someone confirm or deny this for me please?

The guy I talked to speak French and he said he can't find a translated version of the historical text for me to read.

The "hanging under the front" from his text is a bit confusing but my guess is he just means the gambeson becomes 60 layers.
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Re: King Louis XI's 60 layer jacks gambeson (is this true?)

Postby tea » 10 Jul 2016 23:26

This would presumably reference what's known as a 'port-piece': a flap of material which extends under the fastening, to ensure that nothing can slip through.

So no, it wouldn't cause a full 60 layer front. A couple of inches might be about 60, but no more. It's more likely that some layers were skipped near the fastening, though, so the overall thickness stayed around 30 layers throughout.
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Re: King Louis XI's 60 layer jacks gambeson (is this true?)

Postby Dan Howard » 14 Aug 2016 12:55

Thirty layers is the absolute heaviest example we know of. Most have fewer layers than this. Any text that implies a garment made of more than thirty layers is probably being misinterpreted.
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Re: King Louis XI's 60 layer jacks gambeson (is this true?)

Postby MEversbergII » 15 Aug 2016 00:40

How "thick" is a layer, anyways?

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When I was a fighting-man, the kettle-drums they beat,
The people scattered gold-dust before my horses feet;
But now I am a great king, the people hound my track
With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.

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