ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
[personal profile] ladyofastolat
Today I have mostly been ranting about the way that trousers (for which read trousers or hose or braies or braccae or leg wrappings or any other leg covering of choice) have been airbrushed out of Yore and Fantasyland. It is well-known that people don't wear socks in Fantasyland, even though they jolly well should. In a recent episode of Game of Thrones, SPOILER, recently returned from an absence of a considerable number of episodes, killed someone, took his boots, and put them on over entirely bare feet. I had to try a few million pairs of boots on before I found some that were comfortable for long walks, and even then, I wear two pairs of socks. I warned SPOILER about blisters. He didn't listen.

But trousers (hose, braies, breeches, whatever) appear to have been excised, too. I've been reading a very silly vaguely Arthurian novel in which a feisty warrior woman goes round wearing a jerkin over entirely bare legs. Now, the internet offers up a dazzling array of images of jerkin, but none of them would be remotely decent when worn over bare legs. I've also been watching Arthur of the Britons, in which the costume department clearly added an accidental few extra noughts to their order of white sheepskins, and, forced to cover up their mistake, have shrouded every single Saxon extra in at least four sheep. Some are positively spherical in their sheepskin cardigans, some of whom wear them over bare, spindly little legs, with bare, spindly little arms and shoulders struggling to emerge from the white globe of sheep.*

These are the two examples that have troubled me today, but it is an ongoing rant, prompted by numerous historic and fantasy films, and by the sight of chilly Roman re-enactors shivering bare-legged in the British cold.

Personally, I never wear shorts on a walk, because walks often involve wading through brambles and bracken and other scratchy things, and I want the protection of a layer of fabric, thank you very much. It would tend to ruin the impact of a surprise ambush if all your bare-leggety warriors were constantly going "ow! ooh!" as they knelt in thistles and squelched in slimy cow pats. Warriors who charge naked into battle, clad only in woad and bravado, are presumably hard enough to cope with the string and prickles of outrageous flora, but why would those who've bothered to clothe their top half forget to bother with clothing anything under the waist?


In Arthur of the Briton, they also make their saddle cloths out of Bagpuss.


Date: 2016-07-10 12:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am deeply disturbed by this photographic evidence of crimes against Bagpuss. I may have to go and watch something nice and cheerful until I feel happy again.

Date: 2016-07-10 08:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've spent AGES trying to find the photographic evidence of previous Crimes Against Bagpuss that I KNOW I took, but I can't find it. It involves a Bagpuss hot water bottle, whch gets warmed by putting it in the microwave. The sight of Bagpuss going round and round in the microwave was disturbing enough. But when he came out, he smelled so strongly of lavender that it made me feel ill, so he had to be stuffed into a plastic bag for my protection. He resides there still, reeking, imprisoned, and almost forgotten.

Date: 2016-07-24 12:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Noooooo! Let Bagpuss go free! There must be people out there not so badly affected by strong lavender scent who would love to give him a home a microwave ...hmm... maybe they would just hug him and not microwave him?

Date: 2016-07-10 01:42 pm (UTC)
ext_189645: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Can't help noticing that this photo does, however, contain A Trouser...?

I love AotB Saxons. They are so easy to identify, and also, if they fall over, I'm pretty sure they would simply bounce back to their feet with the sheer quantity of Floof they are wearing.

Date: 2016-07-10 08:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ah, but this was a named character, and not a Saxon, so he's allowed trousers. The Brian in the cast, though, although allowed trousers, isn't allowed sleeves. We've spent most of the day playing Britannia, and I notice that although the Saxons are free of sheepskin, they are entirely trouserless.

I feel that the AotB Saxons would probably have conquered the whole of Britain had their advance not been slowed by the enormous weight of their sheepskin bootees.

Date: 2016-07-11 07:00 am (UTC)
ext_189645: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
I think that probably it's less that Brian is not allowed sleeves (can you imagine telling him...?) so much as that AotB post-Roman Britain no longer boasts the kind of heroic sleeve-smith who could artifice sleeves to contain such vast and muscular arms.

Date: 2016-07-11 11:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
But even in heyday of the glory that was Rome, did such mighty sleeve-smiths exist? Did the Romans develop the toga to hide the embarassing fact that they really hadn't mastered sleeves for mighty Briani? When was such a skill finally mastered in the Island of Britain, I wonder? At what point in history were Brians finally able to wear sleeves?

Date: 2016-07-11 11:49 am (UTC)
ext_189645: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Trying to remember now if he wore sleeves in 'I Claudius'...

Date: 2016-07-10 05:10 pm (UTC)
ext_24338: (This is an icon)
From: [identity profile]
Clearly no research was done, it's easy to find out what people back then actually wore. There are many archeological facts available online, after all!! In fact, did you know that Roman soldiers wore socks with their sandals? And here was me thinking that that was a more recent thing!

Date: 2016-07-10 08:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Romans had Opinions on trousers, but they weren't stupid enough to stand on guard duty in Scotland while wearing bear legs. *notices typo. laughs. Leaves it in because the image amuses.* Underwear in general seems to have been far more prevalent in Yore than popular perception assumes.

Date: 2016-07-10 09:31 pm (UTC)
ext_24338: (Laughing Zebra)
From: [identity profile]
Bear legs?! Now that's an image that amuses me too!! :D

Date: 2016-07-11 01:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This amused me greatly. A longer tunic (at least knee length, but not dragging on the ground) makes a lot of sense with a pair of socks and shoes. It's easy for personal hygiene (dropping pants to go to the bathroom in the cold weather is quite chilly - even with undergarmentry, there is some protection from the wind). Long is okay for wealthy nobles might be okay to show off (hand spun and woven fabric is valuable, so allowing it to get dirty or torn is like burning money). Short tunics and bare legs? No way - especially when riding a horse! Pants were one of the ways barbarians were distinguished from Romans. They rode horses a lot, as well as living in more northerly regions.

The image of floofy Saxons made me laugh.

Coincidentally, friends and I were discussing a related issue just today. One trained as a lawyer, and got completely turned off a TV show because of a blatant error related to copyright law. The archivist nearly lost it over another show that talked about zero relative humidity in the Vatican library (which would have turned every document to dust).
Edited Date: 2016-07-11 01:49 am (UTC)

Date: 2016-07-11 11:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The Romans had Opinions on trousers, but the Vindolanda tablets show that people on Hadrian's Wall, at least, wore socks. Not that you'd believe that socks existed from the costume of most Roman re-enactors.

Having struggled with going to the toilet while wearing a shift and a floor-length medieval-style dress on a VERY wet day, I can say from experience that this, too, is very chilly. Having six inches of sodden hem brushing against your bare bottom on a freezing cold day is not at all nice!

I always get particularly bothered with breaches of Data Protection rules in movies - e.g. when a character walks into some institution and, merely by asking, is given the full contact details of one of their customers.

Date: 2016-07-11 10:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh no! Poor Bagpuss!!

I can't help feeling costumers who leave their characters half naked have never lived in the country. We have a mowed 2-acre field and I won't even walk round that without trousers and socks and good thick trainers for fear of ticks. Those poor ancients must have been constantly wan and weary from loss of blood to ticks.

Date: 2016-07-11 11:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Presumably the ticks were unable to penetrate the thick layers of artfully arranged dirt that covered the skin of all peasants in Yore?

Date: 2016-07-11 04:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You may be right ...

Date: 2016-07-24 01:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Someone on my flist, though I can't remember who, has an icon made from a screencap of Bakshi Boromir with the text "Gondor has no trousers. Gondor needs no trousers!" :-D

I'm rather surprised by the Roman re-enactors; in general I thought they tended to research fairly thoroughly, and I have been seen plenty of pictures and models in museums that show soldiers in Roman Britain wearing braccae with their tunics. (This sort of thing: And as you/others mention, there is the evidence from Vindolanda of socks (and pants.) I'm vaguely wondering if reenactment events are more likely to occur in summer, when there might be a (foolish?) presumption of warmer weather so they didn't bother to make braccae?


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