Today I write about shining armor and the virtues it embodies. This has been a part of my journey since my baptism earlier this year. This yearning to be in the light during the darkest of times.
This past week I was visiting Nashville, TN. I spent most of my week catching up with bitcoiners worldwide and participating in a panel about the building we are doing here in Austin. I met some fantastic people and learned an enormous amount of information on how to build the future we all believe in as bitcoiners. During my stay near Bitcoin Park, I sneaked away to the Frist Art Museum for some inspiration to take back with me. What I found there was the Knights in Amor exhibition.
Knights in Armor showcases stunning examples of European arms and armor from the renowned collection of the Museo Stibbert in Florence, Italy. More than one hundred rare objects—including full suits of armor, mounted equestrian figures, helmets, swords, and other weaponry—tell the tale of the European knight from the Middle Ages and Renaissance through to the medieval revival of the nineteenth century. The exhibition explains the historical and functional contexts of arms and armor of this period while also highlighting the undeniable beauty and artistic appeal of these works.
The Elements of Armor
There is so much myth and legend behind medieval armor. A knight with his armor captivates people of all ages. From afar, the shining knight appears earnest and chivalrous with a fixating mystic. But what is it about armor that attracts us to it? Does it come down to iron as the base element? What is the difference between metal and steel?
Steel – is an alloy made up of iron with typically a few tenths of a percent of carbon to improve its strength and fracture resistance compared to other forms of iron. Many other elements may be present or added. Stainless steels that are corrosion- and oxidation-resistant typically need an additional 11% chromium. Because of its high tensile strength and low cost, steel is used in buildings, infrastructure, tools, ships, trains, cars, machines, electrical appliances, weapons, and rockets. Iron is the base metal of steel. Depending on the temperature, it can take two crystalline forms (allotropic forms): body-centred cubic and face-centred cubic. The interaction of the allotropes of iron with the alloying elements, primarily carbon, gives steel and cast iron their range of unique properties.
Metal – is a chemical element made up of various opaque, fusible, ductile and lustrous substances, with some of the most commonly used metals being titanium, copper and nickel.
Most of the armor seen here was from the mid-16th century. The pieces were cut to precision, and the attention to sheerness was extraordinary. The armor was tailored to the wearer. The assembly of one entire body suit is about twelve to fourteen steel components (at that time, a squire served as a knight's apprentice and assisted with dressing.)
Knights required weapons and special cladding to cover their bodies and horses. Often beautifully made, arms and armor became a major art form during the Renaissance. This exhibition explores examples created in western Europe for the battlefield and ceremonial occasions such as jousts, tournaments, and parades between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries.
The armor displayed in this gallery taught me about the various elements concerning form over function. While there are many variations of helmets, gorgets, breastplates, and gauntlets, medieval designers created no two the same.
By far, the lasting impact of this visit came from the quotes etched into the steel on one breastplate from the 15th century. It exemplified the refinement of virtues related to armor "OMNIA VINCIT AM. ET NOS CEDA,"(love conquers all. and we surrender.) When the front of the breastplate is closed, another quoted gem is hidden by this inscription, "VN BEL MORIR TVTA LA VITA ONORA"(A beautiful death makes for an honorable life.) It left me ominously hopeful.
cut my hand this weekend
a hemmed square of thin fabric, soaks up blood rather well
took a day to bleed
i need you so much closer