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Gondorian clothing questions

Would a tunic be worn under a surcoat, or by itself, presumably over a shirt and leggings? Also, what is the difference between breeches (or britches) and leggings? I also get legwear confused with hose. RAKSHA

 

 

Re: Gondorian clothing questions

Hey Raksha, Wellll, I think part of the confusion stems from the fact that some of these garments are from different, though overlapping, time periods. Pulling out my costuming resources and sweeping with a very broad brush here: Breeches are short pants that were were commonly gathered just below the knee. Hose are basically tall socks, commonly knit so they had some elasticity. Think along the lines of the old old style of stockings worn by women and held up by garter belts. Though, a lot more bulky as they would likely have been knit from wool before the Crusades, after which silk from the Orient made its way north. Breeches and hose were usually worn together (breeches over the hose) and were common to Viking dress and to the latter 1/2 of the Medieval period. You don't really find reference to leggings... though.. during the latest period of the Middle Ages.. breeches disappeared and men just wore hose. Ealier in the Middle Ages.. men wore trousers. Funny how what goes around comes around. Tunics and surcoats? Hmmmmm. Tunics are the older of the two, from the Viking ages on (probably a heck of a lot earlier, too). They can be either sleeved or sleeveless. So, they can be either basically like a long shirt (with another layer over it) or be made of such stuff as to go over shirts as the final layer. Tunics were more common to the earlier 1/2 of the Middle Ages. Surcoats were initially worn over mail. Later in the middle ages they were worn over shirts or tunics. Their name is a derivative of surcotte, and their origin is based in what is now, as you can guess from the name, France. Most likely brought to what is now England with the Norman invasion, along with cotte, surcotte, and cotte-hardie... Anglicized into coat, surcoat and cotehardie. Which you want to be using would depend upon what era you want your Gondor associated with. Pre-Norman invasion of the Celt and Viking type? Or post-Norman, post-Crusade variety. BTW, to confuse matters even more: If you are going on movie-verse costuming, Ngila Dickson based her Gondorian costumes on pre-Middle Ages Byzantine era clothing. And *that's* a whole other kettle of hosen. Some websites just to confuse you more: (Here's hoping html doesn't break somewhere in transit.) here's one and a second and a third fourth fifth second to last and the last one Silli / Anoriath

 

 

Re: Gondorian clothing questions

"Tunics and surcoats? Hmmmmm. Tunics are the older of the two, from the Viking ages on (probably a heck of a lot earlier, too). They can be either sleeved or sleeveless. So, they can be either basically like a long shirt (with another layer over it) or be made of such stuff as to go over shirts as the final layer. Tunics were more common to the earlier 1/2 of the Middle Ages. Surcoats were initially worn over mail. Later in the middle ages they were worn over shirts or tunics. Their name is a derivative of surcotte, and their origin is based in what is now, as you can guess from the name, France. Most likely brought to what is now England with the Norman invasion, along with cotte, surcotte, and cotte-hardie... Anglicized into coat, surcoat and cotehardie. Which you want to be using would depend upon what era you want your Gondor associated with. Pre-Norman invasion of the Celt and Viking type? Or post-Norman, post-Crusade variety. BTW, to confuse matters even more: If you are going on movie-verse costuming, Ngila Dickson based her Gondorian costumes on pre-Middle Ages Byzantine era clothing. And *that's* a whole other kettle of hosen." Color me confused now. Aragorn wears what looks like leggings (but is called "hose" in THE LOTR WEAPONS AND WARFARE book) and a cranberry-colored shirt in the scene where he sees the lit beacon from Edoras and runs into Meduseld yelling "The beacons are lit!". What are they? I want to stick with the movieverse costuming, except for the plate armor in Gondor, because at least I have visual references. I think I'll skip 'surcoat'. What is a jerkin and how does it compare to a tunic? The WEAPONS AND WARFARE book says Aragorn's travel outfit has a long sleeveless jerkin over the linen shirt, then a leather coat. But it says that Boromir wears a leather robe over his tunic; and this 'robe' looks similar to Aragorn's 'jerkin'. And the movieverse Faramir and his Rangers wear leather things that the WEAPONS AND WARFARE book calls "tunics", but they look like the drawings of "jerkins" in my old dictionary. In the story I'm writing off-site, most of the action takes place in Minas Tirith, peacetime, early 4th age, in the spring. I try not to specify garments too often out of fear of exposing my ignorance, but sometimes it's unavoidable. I did notice, during the movie, that the Gondorian civilians' garb had a Byzantine look to it. Thanx for the links, and the info. RAKSHA

 

 

Re: Gondorian clothing questions

Color me confused now. Aragorn wears what looks like leggings (but is called "hose" in THE LOTR WEAPONS AND WARFARE book) and a cranberry-colored shirt in the scene where he sees the lit beacon from Edoras and runs into Meduseld yelling "The beacons are lit!". What are they? Yes, and you have good company in that confusion. Interviews with Ngila Dickson indicate that Strider was wearing leather trousers. But, opinions tend to differ. The Yahoo LOTR costume group batted that issue back and forth for a good while, especially when the WnW book came out. Alley Cat Scratch LOTR costumes- Strider I don't know what the general consensus was after all was said and done, or even if there was one. You could probably say either, unless the thought of describing Aragorn in long hose invokes uncomfortable images of men in tights (i.e., John Cleese as Robin Hood). I want to stick with the movieverse costuming, except for the plate armor in Gondor, because at least I have visual references. I think I'll skip 'surcoat'. Yeah... and, I have to say.. gorgeous visual references. All of Ngila's costumes have such a wonderful tactile property: all those natural fibers with texture and visual depth. I really wish I could head up to Boston this Oct and see the costumes and props for myself. It would be pure torture not to be able to *touch* them though, so it's probably for the best. What is a jerkin and how does it compare to a tunic? The WEAPONS AND WARFARE book says Aragorn's travel outfit has a long sleeveless jerkin over the linen shirt, then a leather coat. But it says that Boromir wears a leather robe over his tunic; and this 'robe' looks similar to Aragorn's 'jerkin'. A jerkin is usually hip length. But, the mileage may vary on that definition. A lot of these historical costume terms are either pretty loosely defined or you'll find very specific but contradictory definitions. I'm a little cautious to take what WnW says to heart. Their research on LOTR canon was pretty loose. It seems a combination of movie-verse, book-verse, and something else. I'm not sure how good their research on historical costuming was. And the movieverse Faramir and his Rangers wear leather things that the WEAPONS AND WARFARE book calls "tunics", but they look like the drawings of "jerkins" in my old dictionary. Faramir wears a leather "gambeson" (two sided, hip-length, split down the side rather than the front). I suspect that word origin is French as well. Alley Cat Scratch LOTR costumes- Faramir The Rangers wear a range of garments in various combinations. See below: Alley Cat Scratch LOTR costumes- Rangers I agree the top garment looks like a jerkin… though jerkins often don't have sleeves or mantles. Dunno. They were often referred to as "vests' in the LOTR costume group so that's what I ended up labeling them. When I write fanfic, however, I usually refer to them as tunics, as "vest" evokes a completely different image to a modern audience. Sorry, not terribly helpful on that point. I did notice, during the movie, that the Gondorian civilians' garb had a Byzantine look to it. YES! And fit quite well into the Venician (sp?) looking city, don't you think? Silli / Anoriath

 

 

Re: Gondorian clothing questions

Thanx again; these links are great. Though I wish they'd go into more detail about the terms for the individual components of Denethor and Faramir's outfits. I'll stick with the yahoo site's terminology if I can. I should really sit down and try to construct a basic vocabulary list of each character (in the story I'm co-writing)'s outfit, but I suspect that would take forever and make my head spin. I wish Tolkien had done so! He was specific on cloak colors and gowns and jewelry, but not on many other things. The costuming in LOTR was, I thought, terrific. I just love that scene with poor worried Aragorn sitting outside of Meduseld, then running into the hall in his shirt and trousers when the beacons are lit - a beggar-king still, not yet a Returned King. The outfits of Eomer, Theoden, Eowyn and the Rohirrim are gorgeous... And it always strikes me that Faramir's ranger cloak (probably the rest of the ranger cloaks too) is ragged, and his ranger outfit very worn, while Boromir always was dressed to perfection, though his garb was travel-stained, it was not ragged at all. Denethor didn't care what his secondborn wore, and Faramir didn't want to dress any finer than the rest of his rangers apart from a few insignia of rank like the white tree emblazon.... I just hope that the weather in NZ while all the movies were filmed was cool. I hate to think of the actors playing the humans suffocating in three or more layers of clothing and mail in 90-degree heat.... RAKSHA

 

 

Re: Gondorian clothing questions

I just hope that the weather in NZ while all the movies were filmed was cool. I hate to think of the actors playing the humans suffocating in three or more layers of clothing and mail in 90-degree heat.... It's actually easier to do than you might think, really. I've gone hiking with four layers (one of which was black vinyl, the rest of which was just black) on a hot day with the sun blazing full. As long as you stay well-hydrated and take a break every now and then, it's not so bad. It's not the most fun I've ever had, but it was doable. Back on topic, though... I agree that it's something of a shame that Tolkien didn't spend more time describing what everyone was wearing. Maybe if he had we would have been spared the sight of Ralph Bakshii's version of Boromir looking for all the world like some kind of gay Viking escapee from a Village People music video. But with the movies out now, most people have a pretty consistant idea of what the characters look like and what they might have worn. I'll admit to being in something of the same boat when it comes to archaic clothing terminology; I only have a slight inkling, despite claiming costuming as a hobby. So far I've been able to get by on my inferences and a little extra description pertaining to where the character wears the item of clothing. For instance, rather than saying "he wore a gambeson" I might say "he wore a gambeson over his linen shirt." The reader can then infer the location on the body and something of what it would look like. Tolkien's strength obviously wasn't in the area of textiles and there's nothing wrong with that. He wrote what he knew and that was what made his world come alive. As for the rest, one doesn't need to learn every detail about a topic to wing it. Looking forward to more of "Home to Heal." ^_^ Bado na sídh. Berz.

 

 

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