Saturday, May 03, 2008

Jesseraunts

Also spelled jessera(u)nd, jesseraunce, jestraunt, gessera(u)nt, gesorant, ges(s)eran, gesseren, gessero(u)n, gestrant, gestran, gestrone, chesserant. In Old French jazerenc, jazerant, jas(s)erant, jazeran.

Very possibly the jesseraunt derived from the Arab kazaghand, which the 12th century memoirs of Usamah ibn-Munqidh describes as mail (in his case a short mail shirt over a long one) covered and lined with fabric. Fifteenth century references to jesseraunts repeatedly describe them as made of mail, but imply that they differ in some way from the ordinary haubergeon. The Howard Household Books record a “gestron keuvred with blake velvet” and “a gestron of my Lordes, keuvered with damask”. King RenĂ©'s Tournament Book describes mounted valets armed in jazerants, and the accompanying illustrations of these men are also consistent with fabric covered haubergeons. They are generally covered with a trellis pattern of lines which may represent a pattern of stitching uniting the fabric and mail.

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