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Old 18th September 2020, 08:52 AM   #1
AHorsa
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Default Coat of Arms of Coucy - messengers badge?

Hi there,

although it is not an arm or armour but a coat of arms, I hope someone can help here. I recently got this coat of arms. It measures 7.5 x 6cm and weights 35 g. The shield itselfs seems to be made from bronze or copper with an attached layer of silver or another "white" metal (see also 3rd image). According the paper note on the backside it was found in the river of Seine.

The CoA is the one of the Maison de Coucy: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maison_de_Coucy

It seems that the potentially blue parts are already gone. I canīt tell from what material the red areas are made. The white metal represents the white areas of the blason.

Is it possible that this shield is a messengers badge?
I found some examples here (which of course are larger and from much better quality):
https://www.metmuseum.org/search-results#!/search?q=messenger%20badge

What do you think about its possible age?

Looking forward to your comments!

Best regards
Andreas
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Old 20th September 2020, 06:57 PM   #2
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No ideas?
The shape of the shield indicates 13th century. At this time the Coucies have been one of the most powerful families in france. I wonder if this blazon could really be from that period.
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Old 20th September 2020, 07:11 PM   #3
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Andreas, perhaps best to move this to the Miscellania forum .
Great find, by the way .
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Old 21st September 2020, 09:37 AM   #4
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Thank you Fernando!
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Old 21st September 2020, 11:25 AM   #5
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This appears to be a very old object.
I hope someone can throw some light into this interesting item's history.
Angles to take into account:
It is quite a long way from Coucy to the river Seine; wonder how it got there ... and gor how long it stood in the bottom of the river.
We may assume that, the paper tag on its back must have been placed right after it was found ... by someone fishing ?
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Old 21st September 2020, 08:06 PM   #6
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A DISTANT MIRROR, by Barbara Tuchman, 1978, concerns the de Coucy family.
It's quite detailed; perhaps it can offer some insight.
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Old 22nd September 2020, 08:53 AM   #7
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Thanks for your replies and the book tip!

As the Seine also crosses Paris, I think it is possible that it was found somewhere in this area as Paris was already the capital in medieval ages, although the linear distance is ~100 km. It also seems that the plaque was removed from where ever it was attached forcefully...

I found an interesting similar piece on the internet:

https://www.pinterest.de/pin/365213851005646944/

http://www.la-detection.com/dp/message-2902.htm

Best regards
Andreas
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Old 22nd September 2020, 02:28 PM   #8
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Default A Belt Applique

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Old 22nd September 2020, 05:58 PM   #9
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Perhaps a bit too large for a vervelle.
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Old 22nd September 2020, 07:29 PM   #10
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Or maybe a horse trapping
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Old 23rd September 2020, 10:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AHorsa
Or maybe a horse trapping

What do you mean by that, Andreas ?
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Old 23rd September 2020, 10:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Perhaps a bit too large for a vervelle.

Going back into the period, a vervelle could either be an (heraldic) adornment to attach to a belt or to a horse harness. The ones i have spotted so far are slightly smaller than Adreas example.
I guess many reasons could originate its falling off. If in fact it was an implement adorning any part of a knight's personal ot horse's gear, it could have been ripped out while in combat.
On the other hand, we can't exclude the possibility that, wherever it was riveted, belt, harness, box, armor, uniform, someone took it off ... and temporarily keep it as a trophy.
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Old 23rd September 2020, 12:24 PM   #13
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Are theses letters ... or is it only my imagination ? .


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Old 23rd September 2020, 02:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
What do you mean by that, Andreas ?


Horse trappings means something like a horse harness (but more a textile piece I guess): e.g.: https://www.pinterest.de/pin/464504...ic_v2=1a5oPbRcf
But on the examples Iīve found so far the shields were made from textile / embroided. Which makes more practical sense in my eyes than stitching a metal shield on it as you also mentioned.

Iīve found some examples of very huge horse harness pendants (eg: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/colle.../70010723?img=0 ) but it is still a pendant, not an applique.


What you interpret as letters, Fernando, is just irregularities in the material. Actually I think that this red material is maybe a later replacement to lost enamel and maybe seal lacquer or so


Iīve also postet it in a forum specialized in archaeological medieval findings and there it was stated that it is an authentic piece from 13th century. So it likely could be linked to the period of Enguerrand IV
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enguerrand_IV_de_Coucy
Appart from dating it there was also no clue about what it could have been exactly for
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Old 23rd September 2020, 03:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AHorsa
Horse trappings means something like a horse harness ...

My bad, Andreas; i was confusing the term with "horse traps"...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trap_(carriage)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AHorsa
... But on the examples Iīve found so far the shields were made from textile / embroided. Which makes more practical sense in my eyes than stitching a metal shield on it as you also mentioned...

I would not know whether some harnesses had leather straps in their composition; just like belts... be them adorned with badges or pendants. But don't take my approaches to the subject as solid .

Quote:
Originally Posted by AHorsa
also postet it in a forum specialized in archaeological medieval findings and there it was stated that it is an authentic piece from 13th century...

Oh yes; i would not doubt that this is a so early object .


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Old 23rd September 2020, 09:04 PM   #16
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Thanks for your comment Fernando and happy to hear that you also have no doubts on its age. A very nice example of an astonishing preserved medieval belt you show!

I just searched the net for medieval depictions of knights, noblemen, horses etc. but couldnīt find something fitting. But what Iīve found again is this depiction of a messenger, althogh it is German and 15th century. For me this is still a possible usage of this shield. Will keep on searching
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Old 24th September 2020, 03:32 AM   #17
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Could this have been attached to the breast piece of a horse harness where the three straps meet? It would seem about the proper size for this.
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Old 24th September 2020, 06:14 AM   #18
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Would be possible I think but hard to proof.
Actually, I don't think it was fixed with rivets somewhere. There is no space for the rivet heads so that they would cause damage to the rim. From the example shown by Fernando and other similar pieces, it seems that appliques have been fixed to leather by rivets. That makes me assume that it was fixed (likely on a textile round) using a thread or so
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Old 24th September 2020, 09:53 AM   #19
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Excelent find Andreas, that picture of a messenger .
I had (if i should) doubts about what kind of attire they wore, whether hard (armour) or soft clothes. In this case as shown, your badge would not be in the adequate material, but instead a textile one.
On the other hand, i would not agree that your example was fixed to wherever place by tying it with thread; besides being too soft to hold metal edges, the hole in the lower (V) corner would not be in the convenient position for thread binding.
I would bet on it to be riveted (nailed) to a hard material; leather, wood (a chest), metal ... whatever.
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Old 24th September 2020, 11:44 AM   #20
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Thanks for your thoughts, Fernando. I do totally understand your points but it seems that there have been such plates for messengers. Please see these pieces from the MET:

https://www.metmuseum.org/search-results#!/search?q=messenger%20badge

As far as I understand, those have been worn on clothes.

I will check if I can find traces from rivets / nails on mine on the weekend
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Old 24th September 2020, 04:32 PM   #21
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These MET people sure know an infinitely lot more about it than me; meaning i know nothing.
It is just that i find strange to hang a metalic shield on a thin fabric livery. Could they wear some thicker material ... even made of leather ?


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Old 24th September 2020, 07:15 PM   #22
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When I think of thin woven fabrics I am totally with you - a metal shield wonīt last long there. But me I know nothing too And I have no idea what the clothes was like in that time.
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Old 25th September 2020, 11:23 AM   #23
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For as thick as woven fabric may be, it doesn't stay steady (uninclined) with a 35 grams metal plaque. Maybe the (MET) expression that the badges were "worn on their clothing" is a simplistic way put it. We know that messengers wore tunics, but also capes (cloaks), obviously heavier. Also belt bags, as per second painting in #21); these would (could) be made in a harder material (leather), more consistent with a badge application.
And just for perusal, i have read that, in some cases, lances (spears) also made part of their symbolic attire.


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Old 26th September 2020, 08:44 AM   #24
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Hi Fernando,

thanks for your remarks and the images! I think it will be hard to say if it belonged to a messenger and if so, where it was worn (except that it wasnīt worn on "light" clothing) unless we find a certainly defined / identified comparandum.

One observation I want to add for the pieceīs history:
Looking at the six holes, it seems that three of them has a bulge (not sure if this is the right phrase) from beeing drilled less professional than those three on the edges which also has those outbursts. This makes me assume that the piece was once took off forcefully, than three new wholes where drilled and it was attached again.
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Old 27th September 2020, 09:08 AM   #25
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Default Guessing ...

Ye, some holes would have been made with rudimentary (medieval) drills and the others perforated with a spike... by a less skilled author, so to say.
But what have been the use for the second episode; stick it back in the same place or give it a new home, having nothing to do withs its primary purpose ?
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