Wineskins, historicity of / period canteens or equivalents

topic posted Thu, May 7, 2009 - 4:29 PM by  Hal
The recent comments about what can be sold at faires versus what can be used / worn at faires reminded me of a question:
Are the elaborate wineskins that used to be sold at Agoura documented in any period pictures? Also, were there any period equivalents of canteens that soldiers carried? (I'm working on a Border Reiver Foot Loun character, and am wondering if he would carry water on him while out for a hard day's reiving..)
posted by:
offline Hal

  • Wineskins/Bota Bags have been in use since biblical times and more then likely even before that. Anything to carry water in it a soldier has done through the ages. The ones Rydell and others describe are great and yes, more period but, if you had a bota it should'nt matter.

    Canteens through the ages have been made from just about anything and everything that will hold liquid inside it. And that includes metal, a number of years back one of the greatest looking canteens I've ever seen was a 16thC Turkish one made of metal silver or gold can't recall because the emeralds and rubies were so freaking impressive!! Splendors of the Ottoman Empire was the name of the exhibit and boy howdy what toys they had there.
  • Canteens made of wood also pass muster, being in use up until nearly the 1900s.
    If possible, think more like a cask under a St. Bernard's neck than the late 1800's cowboy version.

    Metal, ceramic, and glass all work too, and besides leather wrapped & strapped, they might also be wrapped in woven straw, like baskets, with handles, or with cords.

    There was little change between the Roman soldier's metal canteen from ca. 1st century B.C. pictured here
    and one from the American Civil War era 19 centuries later.

    And (minus plastic, etc.) wineskins would certainly be period. Recall that in the 1603 King James Version, several of Jesus' NT illustrations mentioned wineskins, an item that didn't require any newly coined words or heavy explanation for the audience of the day to grasp, and remained in use in the Middle East at least into the 20th century, if not to the present day.

    If you have an agrarian society with lots of barnyard animals, you're always going to have a surplus of available leather out of which to make things.

Recent topics in "Ren Faire History Snobs"