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p-tents-msg - 9/24/08


Period tents and documentation sources.


NOTE: See also the files: pavilions-msg, p-tents-art, p-tent-const-art, tent-fabrics-msg, tent-making-msg, tent-sources-msg, tents-weather-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



From: sbloch at euler.ucsd.edu (Steve Bloch)

Date: 19 Apr 91 00:04:01 GMT


lawbkwn at BUACCA.BITNET (Yaakov HaMizrachi/HJFeld) writes:

>I am looking for info on Middle-Eastern style tents.

>Specifically: How to build same and how much it is likely

>to cost to do so. (Also how long it would take.)

>I'd Ideally like to make something big enough to stand

>up in, but I would also be interested in anything smaller.


On Cariadoc's suggestion a year ago I looked up a wonderful book by

Torvald Faegre entitled "Tents: the Architecture of the Nomads".  It

includes a chapter on Bedouin and related tents, a chapter on Turkish

black-tents, a chapter on North American tipis, one on sub-Saharan

felt and hide tents, one on yurts, and others I've forgotten.  For each

type of tent Faegre gives a variety of pictures, often with scale

plans and elevations, discussion of materials and reasons they are so

chosen, details of fastenings ... a real treasure-trove.

In specific, I'm (still) planning to build a more-or-less Bedouin tent

(actually closer to Moroccan Berber style, since it rains in Morocco,

and besides Morocco's just across the Strait from my home).  The const-

ruction is simplicity itself: a rectangle of fabric held up with poles

at center and edges, guyed to stakes in all directions, with optional

walls (of lighter fabric) hung from the edges of the roof by pins.

Faegre describes a variety of styles, some of which have center poles

over 3 m long.  What I haven't managed yet is finding the right



Stephen Bloch

sbloch at math.ucsd.edu




Date: 20 Apr 91 13:52:20 GMT

Organization: The Internet


Allison Welch:


Write or call Mediaeval Miscellania, 7006 Raleigh Road, Annandale, VA 22003

               (703) 354-7711

and order their booklet "Period Pavilions".  It has all the how-to information

for pavilions, which is probably applicable to tents as well.





From: ddfr at quads.uchicago.edu (david director friedman)

Date: 20 Apr 91 00:41:42 GMT

Organization: University of Chicago

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca


Yaakov asks about Middle Eastern tents. For a detailed description of

the "Black Tent" (bedouin) and its many relatives, see the book

"Tents: The Architecture of the Nomads" by Torvald Faegre, mentioned

by Stephen Bloch in his posting. It has only a little historical

information but a lot on construction. It was the source for the

miniature Berber tent of red wool that I used at Argent (our pavilion

is a bit large for one person, and not easily air portable).


According to Faegre, the berber tent should be made of goat's wool. I

do not have a source, so I used ordinary, cloak weight wool, with

additional lengthwise reinforcing strips of heavy cotton along the

seams. I do not know if they are necessary. The standard tent of this

sort has reinforcing strips crosswise but not lengthwise.


For Middle-Eastern "pavilion" type tents, you might want to look at

the miniatures in the Houghton Shahnamah reproduction available from

the Metropolitan Museum in NY.





From: mcs at unl.edu (michael straatmann)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: sunshades (was: Tent size)

Date: 28 May 1993 19:33:50 GMT

Organization: University of Nebraska--Lincoln       


cozzlab at garnet.berkeley.edu () writes:


>Oh, I think you could have a sunshade of some kind in a period encampment.

>You take a chunk of fabric and put it up on poles to give you some

>extra shade: this is not an out-of-period concept. But in the period

>encampment the sunshade will be fabric, not blue plastic....


>Dorothea of Caer-Myrddin        Dorothy J. Heydt

>Mists/Mists/West                  UC Berkeley

>Argent, a cross forme'e sable          cozzlab at garnet.berkeley.edu


I would be extremely interested in any documentation you might have

for this.  A local Laurel in tents and I have been having this

argument for years.  I can prove that they were used in the Middle

East, but have failed in showing decisive evidence in Europe. I would

_love_ to prove her wrong. ;-)  By the way, most of the Middle Eastern

ones (shown primarily in late period Turkish and Persian minatures)

appear to be rugs and tapestries and not fabric as we would think of.

I would also be interested in seeing any docs. on the attachment of

sunshades to tents.  Although popular in SCA, the middle eastern stuff

shows a decisive maybe, and I have seen no European examples.  





mcs at unlinfo.unl.edu   <--(o o)-<<   mikes at unllib.unl.edu



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: tbarnes at silver.ucs.indiana.edu (thomas wrentmore barnes)

Subject: Re: Period tentage

Organization: Indiana University

Date: Wed, 2 Jun 1993 20:37:36 GMT


In article <1993Jun2.083627.7965 at csusac.csus.edu> batest at athena.ecs.csus.edu (Tim Bates) writes:

> Does anyone have any ideas on how to 'convert' an Army

>GP-small,medium,large into a period looking pavilion.


Burn it down and build a real pavilion on the ashes.


I've seen GP tents and the color and cut is utterly unlike a medieval

style pavilion. Even if you were to repaint it and put dags along the

edge it would still look like a dressed up GP{whatever}.

        To start with, you have to make the walls higher and you'd have

to make the line of the roof more peaked to make it look right.


        This is a shame, since GP tents are virtually indestructable and






Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: ddfr at quads.uchicago.edu (david director friedman)

Subject: Re: period encampments

Organization: University of Chicago

Date: Mon, 5 Dec 1994 05:02:19 GMT


Tangwystyl mentions a mid-sixteenth century Italian book with

drawings of fancy pavilions. Those interested in such things might

want to look at the _Ain I Akbari_, which has pictures of fancy 16th

c. Mogul pavilions.





From: Kelly.Coco at mvs.udel.EDU

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Tents, walls, encampments, etc......

Date: 2 Dec 1994 11:03:07 -0500

Organization: The Internet


   Steiner sends Greetings unto the Rialto!


   A couple of points from my FWIW file;


   Having started out my medieval experience with a (ugh!) dome tent, I

   quickly found a way to make it less of a visual eyesore (in my own

   eyes that is!) Easiest and cheapest would be to erect a bedsheet "A"

   frame tent *over* the dome tent. None can see it, the sheets don't

   need to be water proofed and there is little additional burden to haul.

   Eventually I got a large heavy duty painters canvas drop cloth, water-

   proofed it and hung it on a line A-frame stlye. I *still* use it and

   the various molds and mildews that have come to reside in it have given

   it a nice look. I do use a plastic tarp underneath, but none can see it.

   If you're broke, and who has'nt been, become a *good* scrounge, Most of

   what you will need can be found cheaply, or free!


   The chronicles of Joinville, that of St Louis, I believe in Ch. 10 has

   a wondrous description of the Sultans encampment. It is very much worth

   the few minutes it take to read for those unfamiliar with the work.

   The camp is described as being surrounded in walls of blue fabric, the

   same material as the pavillions are made of as well. Towers are described

   as made of poles and again covered in blue so that from the outside of

   the camp all one sees is a jumble of blue shapes. The good sultan even

   had a pavillion in the Med itself for bathing and a covered walkway, you

   guessed it, in blue, leading down to it. In many ways this is what we do

   at Pennsic albeit with more varied and personnal designs.Aside from the

   obvious privacy obtained, our *anachronisms* are out of sight, everything

   *looks* more medieval and the atmosphere is enhanced. Walls. Gotta lov'em!




                      (Who always dreams of a more period camp)



From: ddfr at midway.uchicago.edu (1/8/95)

To: Mark Harris


Mail*LinkĘ SMTP               RE>Pavilion/tent poles


The main thing I would change is the system for hanging the walls. What I

describe works, but I have no evidence that it is period. One of our local

couples made a pavillion based on a design by a Calontir Countess who has

done a lot of work with pavillions. The shoulder is a rope sewed roughly

where my dowels are, and the walls button on. I don't think I can give a

precise description, not having been involved in making it, but I think it

is probably a better design.



David Friedman

ddfr at midway.uchicago.edu



From: cav at bnr.ca (Rick Cavasin)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: A *NEW* Tent Thing

Date: 9 Dec 1994 17:12:03 GMT

Organization: Bell-Northern Research Ltd.


In article <941206155228.24c0110e at vax2.utulsa.edu>, IMC at vax2.utulsa.edu (I. Marc Carlson) writes:

|> I was asked a few days ago whether I knew of any documentation for

|> the "Classic Viking A-Frame" tent.  When, after torture, I confessed

|> my ignorance, I swore to pass the question on to this collection of

|> informational Pack Rats :)


|> Any hints?


|> A simple scholar,


|>     Diarmuit Ui Dhuinn

|>     University of Northkeep

|>     Northkeepshire, Ansteorra

|>     (I. Marc Carlson/IMC at vax2.utulsa.edu)



After several unsuccessful attempts to remember, I finally brought in

what little I have.  This is from 'Guide to the Viking Ship Museum':


  Tents and 'camp beds' seem to have been normal accessories when travelling

  by ship. Probably most of the crew slept out in the open when the ship was

  in port, but it seems likely that the more prominent persons on board were

  provided with beds adn with a tent to protect them from wind and weather.

  Frames for two tents and for a house-shaped booth were found in the Oseberg

  ship, as well as beds.  The Gokstad ship had one tent and six beds, one

  ornately carved, the others plain.  The reconstruction sketch shows one of

  the frames from the Oseberg find.  Only the animals' heads were visible

  when the sailcloth had been stretched over the frame. The tents and beds

  from the Oseberg find are so damaged that they cannot be displayed; copies

  of 3 beds stand on the gallery above the entrance door. The verge boards

  from the Gokstad tent hang over the small boats, and at the bottom of the

  '4th wing'.


The text seems to imply that these tent frames are in addition to the

wood/bark covered burial chambers that were erected on the ships (they are

discussed in another section of the guide).


Not exactly an extensive reference, but at least it points to a primary



Cheers, Rick C.



From: WISH at uriacc.uri.EDU (Peter Rose)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: tents

Date: 13 Mar 1995 16:15:52 -0500

Organization: The Internet


>Some time ago someone posted the instructions to construct a bedouin tent

>(also called pushtun, pathan, or  "leather butterflies"). I failed to save

>these instructions, of course, and now would like to have them. The

>instructions I recall created a tent large enough to sleep 20 or so people

>and was extremely large.


>We'd like to be able to construct such a tent but in somewhat smaller size!


It wasn't me, but:


Depends on what kind of Arab..  I've got pictures of Kurdish, Moorish,

Berber, Bedoin, and Baluchi(**) "tents".  (the Kurdish and Baluchi seem to have

reed or wicker sidewalls)  All of them seem to be made of a rectangular roof,

held up by varying systems of supports, and stays,  and then separate side

walls, and sometimes interior dividers.  All of them have to be made from

the black belly-hairs of goats.  :-)   If you'll send me your snail-mail

address, I'll mail you my notes, but for now:


The Bedoin tent has 3(*) pair of poles, the center pair being a bit taller,

The top end is forked, and stuck through loops attached to the overhead

canopy. The canopy extends beyond the poles to the left and right, and stays

extend from the ends, so that the canopy has extended eaves.

Stays also extend to the front and back, but these seem to be attached to

the poles, and go more steeply to the ground.

A separate wall-bit is pinned to the underside of the canopy, so that

both sides and the back are closed off, and a bit (a yard or two?) extends

beyond the canopy to the front, these 'wings' are attached to the guys

from the poles..  An interior wall separates the male area from the

female area, the female area is usually larger.

It isn't in the picture, but from other sources, there may be a third

wall/panel for the front, which is flipped up on top of the canopy

when not in use.

The outer walls are weighted down with rubble.



      +--=P=======P=======P=--+    <--Something like that

      |  !                 !  |

      |  !                 !  |

      |  !                 !  |


         !                 !

         !                 !



(*)  More or fewer pairs of poles, depending on how big the tent is.

(**) What's a Baluchi?



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: ddfr at quads.uchicago.edu (david director friedman)

Subject: Re: Looking for instructions for Arab/nomad tent

Keywords: pushtun, pathan, "leather butterflies", bedouin tent

Organization: The University of Chicago

Date: Sun, 12 Mar 1995 17:05:31 GMT


Siobhan asks about bedouin tents. I do not know about the particular

posting she mentions, but I would recommend a book called _Tents:

Architecture of the Nomads_. I have forgotten the author's name, but

it had a lot of detailed information on related designs ranging

roughly from Morocco to central Asia.





From: chadwick at fndcd.fnal.gov (Keith Chadwick)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Looking for instructions for Arab/nomad tent

Date: 13 Mar 1995 05:24:09 GMT

Organization: Fermilab Computing Division


In article <D5C7H8.9oo at midway.uchicago.edu>, ddfr at quads.uchicago.edu (david director friedman) writes:


> Siobhan asks about bedouin tents. I do not know about the particular

> posting she mentions, but I would recommend a book called _Tents:

> Architecture of the Nomads_. I have forgotten the author's name, but

> it had a lot of detailed information on related designs ranging

> roughly from Morocco to central Asia.


> David/Cariadoc


Here is the relevant information on this book:


        Tents: Architecture of the Nomands

               by Torvald Faegre


        Published by Anchor Books, Anchor Press/Doubleday

                   Garden City, New York  1979


        ISBN: 0-385-11656-X


        Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 77-25588


                              -Keith Chadwick

                              Austin Chadwyck of Normandy



From: mcs at unlinfo.unl.edu (M Straatmann)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: tents and walls

Date: 31 Mar 1995 22:07:00 GMT

Organization: University of Nebraska--Lincoln       


M Straatmann (mcs at unlinfo.unl.edu) wrote:


: As Azelin mentioned, the Turkish and Persian encampments are often

: potrayed with cloth walls around them.

: There are also some German ones from various woodcuts of seiges which

: seem to illustrate cloth walls as well.

: References upon request.


OK, found my German reference.  


The German Single Leaf Woodcut 1500-1550

Volume II

Revised and Edited by Walter L. Strauss

Hacker Art Books, Inc.  1974

ISBN 0-87817-125-8


p. 646 by Lucas Cranach, the Younger




For the Turkish and Persian one, just about any book on

Turkish/Persian miniatures should have a couple, tho' not ubiquitious

(the walls, that is) they are certainly common.


Mikhail Nikolaevich, Calontir

mcs at unlinfo.unl.edu



From: hrjones at uclink.berkeley.edu (Heather Rose Jones)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: tents and walls

Date: 4 Apr 1995 05:18:57 GMT

Organization: University of California, Berkeley


Another data point on the subject comes from a 16th century Italian

sketchbook (published as "Il Libro del Sarto" that includes over a dozen

drawings of various tent designs including elaborate encampments that use

mock "walls". They don't appear to be fabric but are obviously some sort

of thin, flimsy substance supported at intervals by posts set into the

ground. The "walls" generally stretch between tents set at the corners of

the enclosure, sometimes with a larger "main" tent in the center of the



Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn



From: wildgoose at gateway.ecn.com (Keith Cunningham)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re:Celtic Tent Info

Date: 7 Jun 1995 16:34:09 -0700

Organization: West Coast Computer Products


Again here we go.

Two types of tents would be period and accurate.

1] The Roman style wall tent is period and used from the 1st Century BC

thru to the American Civil war.  The are large airy cheap and correct for

Scotland.  The concept that the people would have slept on the ground

while moving from point a to point b is a foolish. Herdsmen would have

had cover while taking the herds to better pasture.

2] The costal area shows evidence of fishing camps [extant drawings] that

would have been populated with fishermen sleeping in Viking style

triangle tents.  These tents would have been much like the Gostad bog

find tents.


Keith Cunningham

Cain MacRob MhicMiron Connyhaim of Connyhaim


From: celtic at sover.net (Stuart Joseph)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re:Celtic Tent Info

Date: 12 Jun 1995 15:17:40 GMT

Organization: Celtic Cultures


In article <3r5d1h$dc8 at gateway.ecn.com>, wildgoose at gateway.ecn.com says...


>Again here we go.

>Two types of tents wouldbe period and accurate.

>1] The Roman style wall tent is period and used from the 1st Century BC

>thru to the American Civil war.  

Where did you find the documentation for this point? I am trying to be authentic

while merchanting and would like to know more.

  The concept that the people would have slept on the ground

>while moving from point a to point b is a foolish. Herdsmen would have

>had cover while taking the herds to better pasture.

Highlanders did sleep in the open. There are accounts of how they would wet their

plaids, wrap thenselves in them, and go to sleep sheltered by a rock or a gorse

bush, and this was in the winter time!

However, this is something i would not wish to emulate, even though I have a

pre- Braveheart/Rob Roy Highland Scots persona, so I am looking for a period tent.

Stuidhart Martainn Mac Dhomhnaill

Celtic Cultures



From: hrjones at uclink.berkeley.edu (Heather Rose Jones)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Celtic Tent Info

Date: 16 Jun 1995 18:37:41 GMT

Organization: University of California, Berkeley


Madoc (NASH_JOHN/HPBRIT_C6 at hpcpbla.bri.hp.com) wrote:


:      We have been trying to find evidence of Welsh tents but

:   have so far drawn a blank. Believe me, we have had far more than

:   a cursory search.

:      It would appear that the Welsh teulu were semi-transient,

:   moving there cattle from lowland to highland depending on the

:   season, and we assume that they had proper housing in each location.

:      The King and his household would lead an almost nomadic

:   lifestyle, travelling from place to place. The duties of the

:   peasants included the building and maintenance of several halls

:   for the kings visits.

:         Even on campaign, the chances were that the brenin's warband

:  could rely on these halls up to a point.


:      So, there you go. No tents in Wales during our period ( 900-1066)

:   Except the ones used by Viking traders I expect.


You can find literary _references_ to tents in medieval Wales. (Not in

pre-1066 Wales, I'll admit -- but then you can't find primary literary

evidence for much of _anything_ in pre-1066 Wales because the manuscripts

just don't exist.)


The most convenient source for this is the entries in the "Geiriadur

Prifysgol Cymru" for the words "pabell", "pall", and "lluest". The first

is a borrowing of the same root as "pavillion", the second is also taken

from Latin from "palla" (mantle, cloak) possibly suggesting the

make-shift origin of some examples, while the last shows its

origin in the most likely derivation from "llu" (army, host of men) +

"gwest" (lodging, hospitality, shelter).


13th c. (a poem in the Book of Aneirin) - rac PEBYLL madawc "in front of

Madog's tent"


14th c. (Brut y Tywysogion, a Welsh chronicle) - y kyuodes ... Maredud ac

Ywein ... yn anssynhwyrus oc eu PEBYLL heb gyweiraw eu bydin "Maredudd

and Owein arose insensibly(?) from their tents without readying their army"


c.1200 (the Chirk Codex of the Welsh laws) - ebrenyn adely opob

myleyntref dyn amarch abuyall ygueneuthur LLUESTEU "the king is entitled

to have from each villein-town a man with a horse and an axe to make



13th c. (the History of Gruffudd ap Cynan) - LLUESTEU y dywededigyon

vrenhined "tents/shelters of the aforementined kings"


14th c. (a poem from the Red Book of Hergest) - LLUEST gadwallawn arydon

"tent/shelter of Cadwallon <unknown>"


c. 1300 (various poems form the Hedregadredd ms.) - y BEBYLL y byll y

ball coch (to pavillions, to ??, to a red tent); Eil ywr llall or pall

pell (second is the other from the far tent)


14th c. (the tale of Branwen) - Nyt ymywn ty ydoydynt namyn ymywn PALLEU

(they were not within a house, but within tents); achyweiraw y PEBYLLAU

ar PALLEU awnaethant udunt ar ureint kyweirdeb yneuad (and they prepared

the pavillions and the tents for them in the manner of preparing the hall)


There are also the derived verbs "lluestu" (to lodge temporarily in the

open or in tents, to camp, esp. of troops) and "pebyllio" (to pitch a

tent, encamp).


1160 (a poem) - Pei byw llary lleissiawn / Ni LUESTAI wyned ym mherfed

edeirniawn "While Llary Lleission lives, Gwynedd shall not camp in the

middle of Edeirnion"


12th c. (poem) - Rhag pyrth Penfro yn PEBYLLIAW (tenting before the gates

of Penfro)


13th c. (History of Gruffudd ap Cynan) - en e cantref hvnnv y

LLUESTASSANT wythnos "in that cantref they camped for a week"; urth henne

e LLUESTWS ac y PEBYLLYUS ... em Mur Castell "because of that, he camped

and tented ... in Mur Castell"


13th c. (Llyfr Colan - one of the law tracts) - E brennyn a dyly o pob

tayauctref ban el y lluyd gur a buyall y LLUESTU ydau. "The king is

entitled to have from each villein-town, when he would go to battle, a

man with an axe to make camp for him"


I have deliberately omitted examples that are either translated or

largely derived from religious or other non-Welsh sources, on the

assumption that the tents could have been in the original. So what does

this tell us? Well, the medieval Welsh were familiar with tents and used

them, largely in the context of war, but also on peaceable occasions when

more room was needed. Tent poles were most likely cut on site (thus, the

man with the axe) and the fabric in some cases bore enough resemblence to

a cloak (either in form or function) to take its name from that item. Not

a _great_ deal of help, but it's something.


OK, OK, I'll expand it into an article. Are you happy now?


Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn

(who should have been at work over an hour ago, but this got really





Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Viking tents

Date: 7 Jul 1995 17:16:41 -0400

Organization: The Internet


Wilhelm wrote:


>Now the problem with viking tents is that they have a lot of space that

>is not very usable due to lack of headroom near the walls.  This is not

>a new problem and there is a solution already on the books.  When people

>expected to spend some time in a place trading or attending a thing, they

>would build low walls of stone or turves and then set up the A-frame tent

>on top of the walls. (excavation or excavation+walls also used), it doesnt

>take much to greatly increase the usable space. It was this type of housing

>I wanted to approximate.


Do you actually have any sources for this?  I am aware that drawings of

booths (I wish the net could take Old Norse characters) often show what looks

like one of the tents from the ship burials on top of the walls, but it

obviously is not such a tent since the threshold plate would get in the way,

and I believe the excavated walls are smaller than any of the existing

frames.  To the best of my knowledge no one knows what went on top.  Would be

interested if there was an archaeological or saga reference.


Just as a point of information, one of the original tents was 17' 2 2/3" x

14' 7 3/4" and 11' 4 3/4" high to the bottom of the ridge pole.  


Meistari Gerekr fjarsjandi Rognvaldsson, OP, OL, etc.

Mun Stiklastadi

gerekr at aol.com



From dpeters at panix.comFri Apr 26 12:56:52 1996

Date: 12 Apr 1996 21:00:55 -0400

From: "D. Peters" <dpeters at panix.com>

To: sca at mc.lcs.mit.edu

Subject: Etymology of "pavillion" (longer than I'd planned...)


Bryan J. Maloney <bjm10 at cornell.edu> wrote:


>A lot of people are using the term "pavilion" in a way I'm not familiar

>with.  The tents they describe I've seen marketed and referred to as

>"marquees".  I had thought that a "pavilion" was a round tent.


I've had pavillions on the brain recently, because my spouse and I are

starting work on a larger pavillion for Pennsic :-0


Here goes....


My Old French dictionary says that the word "pavillion" derives from the

Latin "papilionem" (butterfly--!--originally, but "tent" in later

Latin).  In Old French, "pavilion" could mean (I'm translating as I go

along here, bear with me):


(1) butterfly;

(2) "conical" tent (I'm assuming that  this refers to the well-known tent

with circular base);

(3) arbor or bower;

(4) breast of partridge;

(5) a mother's breast (no, really...);

(6) some sort of small change (OED sez a French gold coin struck by

Philip VI of Valois in 1329, the obverse of which represented the king

seated under a canopy or pavilion).


The OED says that a pavilion is a tent; "chiefly applied to one of a

large or stately kind, rising to a peak above."


{N.B. neither the Old French dictionary or the OED gives any evidence or

"marquis" being used to refer to a tent.}


So, does "pavilion" only refer to a round tent? The French word seems to

(or at least the dictionary's editors think so); the English definition

could include square, rectangular, or oval tents if they rise to a peak

at the top.


Perhaps the question that we (and Mr. Maloney) should be asking is not,

"is the word 'pavilion' being used correctly," but "are the medieval

tents currently on the market faithful reproductions of period tents?"

The vast majority of the tents that the spouse and I have seen

illustrated in medieval sources are circular, with the occasional oval.

Other than a foreshortened oval tent depicted in _King Rene's Book of Love_

which I suspect may be the basis for one company's "Bell Wedge", I haven't

seen any period depictions of tents that closely resemble what the major

tent-makers are selling.


A point of interest:  to the best of my knowledge, no pavilion-style

tents from our period have survived, but there are four

seventeenth-century military tents....in Austria :-(  We got to see the

best-preserved one in an exhibit of sixteenth and seventeenth-century

Austro-German armor at the Musee de la Civilisation in Quebec.

Unfortunately the guard was not very cooperative; some folks from

Myrkfaelinn got to see the same exhibit at the Musee de la Civilisation

in Hull, and the guards let them poke about with flashlights and look at

seams, etc.



(Didja know that "Pavillioner" was a medieval English surname?)



From hrjones at uclink.berkeley.eduFri Apr 26 12:59:03 1996

Date: 14 Apr 1996 03:59:13 GMT

From: Heather Rose Jones <hrjones at uclink.berkeley.edu>

To: sca at mc.lcs.mit.edu

Subject: Etymology of "pavillion" (longer than I'd planned...)


The OED lists the earliest known use of "marquee" in this sense in 1690,

and defines the word as "A large tent, as an officer's field-tent, or one

used at a public entertainment, exhibition, or the like."


This makes it somewhat unlikely that the word would have been used in

period to define a style of tent contrasting with that defined by

"pavillion". I would suspect that the use of the two words for particular

styles of structure is simply a modern convenience.


Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn



From: "sunshinegirl" <sunshinegirl at steward-net.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Info on banners needed

Date: 20 Apr 98 02:21:50 GMT


On 13 Apr 1998, Gyelle wrote:

>Not all of my books are unpacked and I can't find any illustrations in

>the ones I have out that show a French Bell pavillion.  I'm trying to

>decide what color to make it and my Lord and I are debating the color vs

>"they were all white with colored decoration" issue. Can anyone out

>there help us resolve this issue?  I want to get the fabric ordered in

>time to make it for May Crown.


The book _The Renaissance, European painting 1400-1600 has a few pictures

of pavilions in it.


Albrecht Altdorfer  Battle of Issus  1529

        pavilions are in the far background.  Most seem off white, but some are

light blue, yellow, and some seem to have different color tops and walls.


Piero Della Francesca  Dream of Constantine 1455

        This tent is painted in with a light pinkish maroon on top, and a pinkish yellow (without being orange) for the walls.  The yellow ( I would guess

from the hightlights and shadows) seems to be an unseen light source.


If anyone wants documentation for mosquito netting,

Simone Martine  The Apotheosis of Virgil  1340

shows a man pulling back a transparent white curtain .


In the book _Illuminated Manuscripts_ by Giulia Bologna,  page 155 shows a

page from Jean de Bueil, Le jouvencel, c. 1530.  There are several blue

pavilions, one with gold trim, a yellow pavillion, and two red ones. In

the far background are some light grey ones.


Almost all of the above pavilions are round with the pointed tops.  At

least one of the pavilions in the first picture cited seemed to be oblong.


Melandra of the Woods



Subject: Leather Air Mattresses in Period. Tent Books Info.

Date: Thu, 11 Mar 99 21:34:21 MST

From: rmhowe <magnusm at ncsu.edu>

To: medieval-leather at egroups.com


Since I mentioned this yesterday, Steven asked me for more

information as to what is in it. It's an interesting Idea so

I thought I'd share it with a few folks.


Ciba Review 1968/3 Tents  (only 48 pages)

Published By CIBA Ltd, Basle, Switzerland.

Magazine distributed to textile schools and companies. ILL it folks,

don't try to buy one.


2. Tents and Camping - Article based on text by Dr. H.-C. Wulff,

    Kassell, and R. Schwob, Bern. (meaning cities in Switz. I guess.)

12. Nomad tents.

26. Tent Shrines and Palaces

35. Modern Utility Tents - H. Schramm, Paris.

40 United Kingdom: New CIBA Phenol Resin Plant; space; Modern Trends

42. Water-repellent and rotproof finishes for natural cellulose

    tent fabrics.

43. New CIBA White Scale for evaluating the whiteness of optically

    brightened fabrics.

47 Selected Terasil Dyes for texturized polyester.

48. New CIBA products.


A lot of this is modern production information interspersed with

history bits.


<snip of period air mattress evidence - see beds-msg file>


Says first tent fabrics were of linen impregnated with linseed oil.

I wouldn't smoke in that if I were you. Highly oxidised.


Other tent types covered are

Nomadic. Bedouin. Yurts. Teepees and Wigwams. Lapp tents. Tibetan.

Israelite Tabernacle Tents. Persian depictions of period Yurts.

Genghis Khan's tent. Oriental luxury tents. Palatial Tents of Europe

(3 1/2 pages, two pictures) shows Richard II's tent and the French Royal

Tent from Chroniques de Froissart in color, following page shows the:


26. Pennants bearing the owner's coat of arms fluttered from the tips

of ostentatious Renaissance tents. This sheet-metal "flag" and iron-

frame top-piece once crowned the tent belonging to the Vintners Guild

in Basle. It bears the guild's crest and the date, 1661. By courtesy of

the History Museum, Basle.

(Shows a large flat topped metal cone with many rivets around it


and a metal band midway up with four rings extending from it loosely

on smaller rings attached to the band. At the bottom is a closely

spaced bunch of rivets appearing to hold the top of the tent cloth

which can be seen in bits below the edge. Extending from the top

of the flat cone is a metal spear shaft, widely tapered at the base,

which becomes a diamond pointed blade at the end. From this, just

under the blade are two metal straps, encircling the shaft, and

riveted horizontally to the metal "standard", the sides of the standard

appear to have metal stiffeners, or a fold on each side, which is also

rivetted. No lack of rivets on this thing. The device is a handled

bucket with riveted bands and the date 1661. Height undeterminable.

Picture is B&W, so I can't tell you the colors.)






          |||           ||

          |||           ||

          |||           ||

          |||           ||




          ||   All metal. Many rivets.


       /      \





Also discussed are Henry VIII's tents at the Field of the Cloth of

Gold and the 400 tents of Francis I.


Then it goes to Tent Banners and Standards and cites:

Beneton de Perrin's "Dissertation sur les tentes ou Pavillons de Guerre"

a rare volume printed in 1743.


The rest involves a bit on Tents in Antartica and the Tropics.


> > Ciba (Wulff+): '68 3 TENTS..Bedouin..Yurts..tepees..Tibetan; 1968 5b

> > CIBA REVIEWS 1937-1974.


Personally, I have Hatton and find him to be very good, after there

comes the Shelter I, and Shelter II books, by Shelter Associates.

Then comes Tents - Architecture of the Nomads by Torvald Faegre.


Tent Books:


Hatton, E.M.: The Tent Book: A Celebration of Tents from Prehistory

to the Future with Buyers Guide for Campers ; Boston: Houghton,

Miflin, 1979, HB or PB.


Nordstrom, Ester Blenda.: Tent Folk of Far North. ; London. Jenkins.

1930. 255 pp.With 15 illustrations. Includes chapters on The Lapps,

Lake Torne Trask, Reindeer Roundups, Herd Watcher's Summer Tents,

Migration amongst many others.


Master Magnus Malleus, OL, Atlantia, Great Dark Horde Brother.

MKA R.M. Howe, Raleigh, NC, USA



Date: Fri, 11 Jun 1999 02:46:40 -0400

From: Melanie Wilson <MelanieWilson at compuserve.com>

To: "INTERNET:sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu" <sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu>

Subject: Dome Tents-Benders


>I also have a pair of pictures of some period "dome" tents.


What period ? only 1500-1550 ?


>They didn't

>have the flexible fiberglass rods, but apparently saplings worked well



Saplings do work well, the tents are called benders, I have been on many a

camp where benders have been used, not period conected, just with

travellers etc who live full time in benders. Which are canvas covered. I

like that style of tent, and would be interested to heard where you have

seen it in historic contexts





Date: Sat, 12 Jun 1999 14:18:37 -0400

From: rmhowe <magnusm at ncsu.edu>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Dome Tents-Benders


One of the pictures of Bender Tents I have found, I think there is



It's in Joan Evan's Flowering of the Middle Ages p. 213 which shows

six of them in a minature depicting the Bishop of Notre Dame blessing

the people with the booths and shops of the merchants all around.

This is in color, all tents are white, the framework is depicted.





Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 15:16:21 -0400

From: rmhowe <magnusm at ncsu.edu>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Period tents and pavilion making help


Since everyone seems to be chatting up tents:


Hatton, E.M.: The Tent Book: A Celebration of Tents from Prehistory to

the Future with Buyers Guide for Campers ; Boston: Houghton, Miflin,

1979 is a very good place to start. It has to be one of THE best books.


Faegre, Torvald: Tents: Architecture of the Nomads is another.

Especially for Bedouin Tents and Yurts.


Shelter I and Shelter II by Shelter Associates are also excellent books

to look in. Shelter I may still be in print. The last time I checked

with the following about Shelter II I was told that it wasn't, but

Shelter I is being advertised:


If anyone has an extra copy of Shelter II let me know.


The rest are probably out of print. I suggest you ILL.














































Subject: Tents of the 16th century

Date: Fri, 27 Aug 1999 09:07:18 +1000, EST

From: "Stephen Wyley" <stephenw-hrt at nmit.vic.edu.au>

Organization: NMIT

To: living-history at gospel.iinet.net.au


I have now completed the uploading of the web pages dealing with the

tents of the 16th century.




Let me know if the links don't work. And of course I would like to thank

those whom contributed to this section, especially; Trish Lambert, Bill

McConnell, Wayne and Glenda Robinson, John Southall and John La



Of course this work is incomplete as you will note by the list in "Part

17 Under Investigation". Any contributions will be gratefully

accepted and acknowledged.


Thanks to the contribution and nagging of Lewis Scheuch-Evans I will

endeavour to put an 18th century index before too long. Again I will

have to rely on those whom specialize in the period to help.


Stephen Francis Wyley

Technical Officer

(Plant Tissue Culture and Soil Science)

Horticulture Department, NMIT



Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2000 14:08:33 -0500

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Book on Mongol Foods, Islamic Medicine (long)


At 2:51 AM -0500 3/28/00, CBlackwill at aol.com wrote:

>Seriously, though... How about a name/pattern for a bedouin nomad tent?


There is a book called "Tents: Architecture of the Nomads." The

author has a Scandinavian sounding name. It shows (modern) bedouin

tents in some detail.


David Friedman

Professor of Law

Santa Clara University



Subject: [MedievalEncampments] Medieval tent in Basel

Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2000 17:20:26 +0200

From: "Barclay, Peter C. MAJ" <barclayp at eucom.mil>

To: "'MedievalEncampments at egroups.com'"<MedievalEncampments at egroups.com>

CC: "'Dafydd'" <kuijt at umiacs.umd.edu>


For those who are not interested in the stake layout for a pavilino and

therefore did not go to my website, I have another reason to go...

Last weekend, I went to Basel, Switzerland to chase down a rumor about

A medieval tent in a museum there.  I FOUND IT!!!!  

I got the opportunity to caress and fondle the pavilion.  I tried hard to

keep all the drool on my sleeve.  I took lots of photos, and  the museum

staff became curious about why I was so interested in the tent.  The staff

called the curator to talk to me about the tent, because no one else had

even hardly given it much of a second glance.  According to the curator, the

rope "hooks" are original, but the ropes, center pole and internal structure

are not.


Several things about this pavilion:


1.     It is NOT a hub and spoke design.  It is supported by a single pole

and intended to be held out by ropes.  The ropes are the crow's foot

fashion, with each rope going to three different grommets on the tent. In

the museum it has an internal structure which they use for displays inside

the pavilion and convenience of not having to have the ropes spread

out in the museum.


2.     The walls are attached (stitched) to the roof


3.     The colored lines are stitched on.  On the roof, the blue canvas is

stitched over every seam.  On the wall pieces, because the seams are farther

apart, there is an extra color line attached midway between the seams


4.     On each seam, the colored line was stitched into the seam.  This is

clear on the inside of the tent where you can clearly see blue stitching on

one side of the seam, but not on the other side (meaning left side and

right side, NOT inside and out).  


5.     The fancy finial is removable from the "cap".  They had several

other finials hanging on the wall.


6.     The roof cap was made of leather, studded and had a metal band with

attachment points for 3 "high-wind ropes".  


7.     The tent was intended to be staked down (in this case at each color

line).  There were several places that were repaired at some point.


I really had a good time.  This weekend I am off to England to chase down a

tent that I have seen in a photo from The Royal Armouries Museum at Leeds.

You will have to wait until after the 4th of July for info and photos

About that tent, however.   (Sorry, I'm travelling)

Anyway, for those new to the list, go to   http://

www.greydragon.org/pavilions <http://www.greydragon.org/pavilions>;

The link is there.



Master Rhys Terafan Greydragon           barclayp at eucom.mil

Seneschal, Incipient Shire of Blauwasser



Subject: RE: [MedievalEncampments] More info on the  Medieval tent in Base l

Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 16:59:09 +0200

From: "Barclay, Peter C. MAJ" <barclayp at eucom.mil>

To: "'MedievalEncampments at egroups.com'" <MedievalEncampments at egroups.com>


Greetings from Master Terafan,


        I was NOT smart enough to obtain dimensions when I was there, but if

I remember correctly, it has about a 6 or 7 ft radius.  


I know how many other folks want very specific details.  I do too.  I

thought I had done a good job, but I guess I have to go back...

(sigh) the tragedies of living in Europe... ;-)


The museum has VERY LITTLE DOCUMENTATION for the tent.  According to the

museum, the tent was made in the first half of the seventeenth century,

(before 1655 for sure because records from 1655 indicate it being in

existence for several years), but they are not sure of the exact year of

creation.   The tent belonged to one of the guilds of Basel, which is called

The Golden Star. It seems that all the guilds used them for different

purposes: events, in the war (to take care of wounded soldiers), etc.. The

museum got the tent in 1889 directly from the Guild.   (The museum staff's

poor command of English and my even worse ability in German made it

difficult to get more specific and technical details).  


I am not a good judge of fabric weights, but the weave of the material

(canvas ??) was looser than the canvas I have used for my pavilino and most

of the modern canvas I see.   Some of the weave can be seen in the picture

of the crow's foot knot, and the shots of the inside of the seams.  


The walls appeared to be attached by turning the top edge of the wall out

and down, and then stitching it to the inside of the "flap". A couple of

the photos show the edge of the wall fabric sticking down out of the seam

(between the wall and the flap).


It would be nice to be able to do a "water test" of it, to see how much

those natural fibers swell when they get wet, and how waterproof it makes

the pavilion.  However, I don't think the museum will agree. (Darn the

bad luck!)




Master Rhys Terafan Greydragon           barclayp at eucom.mil

Brewer and probably other things I can't think of...

Seneschal, Incipient Shire of Blauwasser


>From: Nessa Giddings [mailto:nessaofthelox at yahoo.com]

--- "Barclay, Peter C. MAJ" <barclayp at eucom.mil> wrote:  

> Last weekend, I went to Basel, Switzerland to chase

> down a rumor about a medieval tent in a museum there.  I FOUND IT!!!!  


Sorry for asking but: What was it made of? What kind

of documentation is there for it? When was it in use?

What are the measurements? It is very beautiful, thank

you for doing this and sharing it with all of us!

Though I bet we all wish we could have been there as

well. It is thrilling to see a real tent from in

period. It is amazing! Thank you! Thank you! Thank

you! Damn, does this mean I have to make a new tent? ;)





Subject: [MedievalEncampments] [Fwd: Tent canvas info--spoked wheel pole design]

Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 06:08:29 -0700

From: Tanya Guptill <tguptill at teleport.com>

To: *Medieval Encampments <MedievalEncampments at egroups.com>


Please excuse me for duplicating this post, if you are also a rec.org.sca

newsgroup reader.  There is currently a discussion online regarding the pavilion

design, and I am taking the liberty of forwarding my own responses.  I had

debated forewarding the additional posts, as they are informative, but in

interests of brevity, I would ask that you check the newsgroup for additional

info and to get the most balanced overview of the discussion.


Mira wrote:

> The spoked wheel design that Master Dafydd has crafted, often called a

> 'pavilion' due to an early typo, is indeed an exceptionally beautiful tent.

> I had the good fortune to meet Master Dafydd and see his tent this past

> Pennsic, and I was impressed on both its appearance and design.


> However, if you are doing research toward a tent that is period for your

> persona, you may want to take a couple items into account, for whatever they

> are worth, when considering this design.  There are several  good pieces of

> information in the article listed, and two details in it which have new

> information added to them.


> --The tent company in England was contacted, and its owner questioned by

> Edward Boreham regarding this popular design.  Edward wrote, on the Medieval

> Encampments list: "To all members of the list, I spoke to the owner of the

> "Past Tents" company this past weekend, and he said that he had

> not seen a period example. (Contrary to the rumour on this list) He did

> however tell me that his reason for deciding on a spoked design was based upon logical

> conjecture from a period source. He had seen a period picture in which one

> man was moving the pole and canvas, and right behind him for no readily

> apparent

> reason was a man pushing a cart wheel. Unfortunately like most of us he could

> not remember the location of the source, but his conjecture was that an army

> would

> have many wagons, and therefor many wheels and could cut trees for poles and

> thus would only have to carry the canvas. Those of you who have ever tried to

> carry

> your pavillions any distance will surely agree that pavillions will only be

> used in conjunction with wagons! If any of you know the picture referred to

> ,please let the list

> know as I for one would like to see it and reach my own conclusions."


> --The other piece of information is the purported existence of a similar

> spoked-wheel tent in the museum in Bern, Switzerland, and so far our

> searching has not turned up this extant tent, though I've searched for the

> info by contacting museums directly.  That entrepid explorer, Master Terafan,

> however, has webbed his photos and analysis of an extant tent in Basel,

> Switzerland at  http://www.greydragon.org/pavilions/basel.html . The

> tentophiles that I know nearly went into convulsions of ecstasy over the new

> info (weird, aren't we?), because it answers a lot of questions we've had.


> I do not provide this information to necessarily dissuade you from making a

> pavilino tent, as for many of you it will meet your needs and wants.  I

> merely want to be sure that the information available to you on the 'Net is

> as accurate as possible, and that your tent project might meet your own

> personal standards, whatever they may be.


> Mira



Subject: [MedievalEncampments] [Fwd: Tent canvas info--spoked wheel pole design]

Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 06:10:16 -0700

From: Tanya Guptill <tguptill at teleport.com>

To: *Medieval Encampments <MedievalEncampments at egroups.com>


Clare de Crecy wrote:

The source of the picture is _Henry VII's Army_ by Paul Cornish.

Osprey Men at Arms Series 191, 1987, ISBN 0 85045 798 X


Page 17-19 show a " series of engravings made from contemporary

[mid-16th c] murals at Cowdray House in Sussex (since destroyed)". On

page 18 is an engraving of Henry VIII's camp partly destroyed by a

storm that occured July 25, 1544. In it you see several partly

collapsed tents, both round and rectangular, with flaccid walls and

taunt roofs. The engravings are now owned by the National Army Museum

in London.


This is the picture that Daffyd cites in his article. He saw it at my



Several years ago I had the fortune to meet Janet Arnold, and asked

her about the source of some illustrations in _ Patterns of Fashion

3_. I was curious whether the Milanese tailor's album, c.1555-80, had

ever been published. She said it had, and contained patterns for

banners and tents as well as men's and women's clothing.  I never got

around to writing her for the publication information. I have made a

coat from the drawing pictured in PoF3 and found the pattern to be

well proportioned. If anyone is interested in pursuing the tailor's

album, the original is Biblioteca Querini-Stampalia, Venice, and JA

said the fascimile  was published in Italy. If anyone finds out

anythng I'd love to hear about it.


Regards,  Tracy Justus/ Clare de Crecy



From: Nils K Hammer <nh0g+ at andrew.cmu.edu>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Tents--Good news-

Date: Fri,  3 Nov 2000 20:15:33 -0500

Organization: Csd Education - Phd, Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, PA


There was another John the Artificer apprentice trip to Europe.

While we were there we saw a possibly actually period tent.

I haven't my notes with me at the moment, but it was a roughly

10' x 15' oval. I thought I was clever using toggle door closings

on my tent, but thiers are possibly even more clever than mine, since

the toggles have no holes drilled in them, and are simply folded into

the loop on one side and buttoned into the loop on the other.





Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 00:11:03 -0600

From: Charlene Charette <see.sig at for.address>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Siege of Florence, 1558


> Does anyone have a scanned copy of the painting "Siege of Florence",

> (1558?)  by Giorgio Vasari?


> There are partial images on the internet but not a complete one.


> I'm very interested in the tent styles.


Is this complete?









From: Catalina Ana de Salamanca <catalina at ravenkeep.org>

Date: July 15, 2008 11:45:23 PM CDT

To: Barony of Bryn Gwlad <bryn-gwlad at lists.ansteorra.org>, moggiekat at gmail.com

Subject: [Bryn-gwlad] Bedouin tent links









http://www.flickr.com/photos/17424601 at N00/281088669/


Several folks have asked me about traditional Bedouin tent construction. While I can't vouch for the period accuracy of any of the above links, they will show you many modern tents. I've also included an account from a historical traveler, as well as some older pictures. I suspect (having very little to base this on) that the tents haven't changed all that much from our time period. With all the YMMV stuff out of the way, does anyone have a few black goats I can borrow that need a haircut?





From: Barbara Gilbert <kezia at pbgilbert.net>

Date: July 17, 2008 1:53:18 PM CDT

To: Barony of Bryn Gwlad <bryn-gwlad at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Bryn-gwlad] Bedouin tent links


The 14X14 pavilion I carry is a period bedouin tent. It has many features that make it practical and durable. There are no grommets or holes of any kind in the material so there is no ripping. Everything is tied down with straps, tabs or cords. The poles are tied to the top and the center pole has a pillow between it and the top. The back is a foot or so shorter than the rest of the tent. You should place the back of the tent toward the wind so it flows over the top. As the poles are tied they don't fall. The pillow on the center pole cushions the fabric from the pole and gives flexibility when the wind blows. I have seen my bedouin tent stand at Steppes Warlord when most of the other pavilions did not.


The women are responsible for putting up and taking down the tents. I have put up this tent many many times by myself over the last 9 or so years. One article I read even had instructions on how to put it up. It's so easy you wouldn't believe it.


Many of you have seen the tent/pavilion just did not know what it was. I'll have to see if I can find my paper work. The tent will be at Queens, if you are curious come by.


Kiabarta Kezia


<the end>

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