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  1. Hiro Protagonist is offline
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    Posted On:
    10/22/2010 3:24am

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Black knights and white knights...

    Hi,

    Not sure if this is the appropriate place to ask, but I figured you guy might know:

    So, it has been established that mercenary knights painted their armor and weapons black to evade rust.

    Now, was there a specific reason to paint one's armor white?

    There are several white knights in romantic literature, but I always thought the imagery was more a desire of the authors to create scenarios that were esthetically pleasing.



    I think there is the common myth that tournament newbies in medieval France had to wear a white coat, but I have not found any evidence for that, apart from it being picked up in a few Prince Valiant comics. :)

    Thank you very much,

    Rafe
    Last edited by Hiro Protagonist; 10/22/2010 3:32am at .
  2. Permalost is online now
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    Posted On:
    10/22/2010 9:28am

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    If a real thing, I imagine it would reflect more heat and stay cooler, like a propane tank, I'll tell you hwhat.
  3. Hiro Protagonist is offline
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    Posted On:
    10/22/2010 9:50am

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    Yeah, that's basically the reason crusaders had white coats all along.

    Another version I have heard so far is that the lighter the color of your armor the higher your rank; so your subjects could see you better on the field of battle.

    I am still not convinced, though.
  4. Spungdeeper is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/22/2010 10:12am


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    I thought the color of the surcoats depended on their coat of arms or what order they happened to belong to. For instance the Hospitaller's commonly wore black surcoats with a white cross, or red with a white cross. Although some crusaders did wear white with a black cross to remind them of their holy mission.
  5. Rene "Zendokan" Gysenbergs is offline
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    Posted On:
    10/22/2010 10:35am

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pilgrim View Post
    ...Another version I have heard so far is that the lighter the color of your armor the higher your rank; so your subjects could see you better on the field of battle...
    Wouldn't that be the equivalent of painting a bullseye on you?

    Not only your subjects could see you, your enemies would be really looking out for you.
    In Naval battles (with the wooden ships) the officers had to dressdown to a common command uniform as a way of protection.
    Chivalry was invented in the Renaissance, so I really doubt that making yourself a target was considered wise in Mideivel times.
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  6. Hiro Protagonist is offline
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    Posted On:
    10/22/2010 10:49am

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    While I am not a historian, I think there are actual tales of famous leaders intentionally revealing their position on the battlefield to signal their subjects that they were still alive.

    Now, I am obviously not for one or the other; more than anything I wonder if painting your (steel) armor white with the colors available at the time would not accelerate the rusting process.
  7. evilstan is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/22/2010 11:05am


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    can you please point out your sources concerning black and white knights? Outside of literature I have never heard of this concept.
  8. Hiro Protagonist is offline
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    Posted On:
    10/22/2010 11:11am

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    I'm afraid I can't, at least not right now. - I read about the black armor paint as a rust protection in a commore than a comentary about Walter Scott's "Ivanhoe" more than a year ago.

    Now that I have begun to reread the old Hal Foster Prince Valiant strips, I remembered those comments.

    As to medieval leaders marching into battle at the head of their armies, that's really common knowledge, AFAIK.
  9. Styygens is offline
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    Posted On:
    10/22/2010 4:17pm


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    I'm sorry, Pilgrim. I'd like a legit historical source on your Black Knight assertion too.

    Not that I entirely doubt you. I've heard stories about "black knight" armor being some kind of rust treatment (not necessarily paint), but I never ran it down for veracity.

    AFAIK, "white" knights are a literay convention that probably grew out of the Christian (and probably earlier) symbolism of white = purity. I've also never really seen a reference to painting the armor white. I could see an actual precedent with the Crusader, or even specifically Templar, surcoats of white.

    Maybe we should return to first principles on this and firmly establish Black Knights = painting for rust treatment before we tackle the question of "White Knights"? It would cut down on the random speculation.
  10. Hiro Protagonist is offline
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    Posted On:
    10/23/2010 12:37am

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    Fair enough, but that would have to wait - exam week is on. However, I hope I will be able to to provide that info next weekend, once I have sobered out and dropped the killer bunny costume. :)

    The thing is, pitch, which I recall was used as a color, is supposedly flammable even in a dried estate. So, those knights would really have wanted to stay away from open fires...
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