Arms and Armour of the
Crusading Era, 1050-1350
By David Nicolle
20 Enamelled tomb of Geoffrey of Anjou, County of Maine,mid-12th century
(Museé du Mans, France)
The Count of Anjou is here shown wearing either a painted helmet without a nasal or an embroidered cap. His large kite-shaped shield still has a small boss and a visible reinforcing bar but is of the new flat-topped type. His slender sword tapers but is still shown with a slightly rounded tip.
21 Lost tomb, probably of Count William of Flanders, from Church of St Bertin, St Omer, Flanders, c. l130-75
(from 19th-century drawing, after Nowe)
The disappearance of this tomb must rank with the destruction of some of London's Temple Church effigies as a serious loss for the study of medieval arms and armour. It appears to have portrayed a warrior with a tall, round and rather Germanic helmet having a fixed face-mask. This latter did not, however, cover all the face. Instead it consisted of a nasal with cheek-pieces on either side to frame the eyes. Otherwise the man was equipped in standard fashion with a long-sleeved mail hauberk, mail chausses, a long and surely inaccurately slender sword and a large, flat-topped kite-shaped shield.
22 Manuscript marginal illustration, northern France, late 12th century
(Bib. Munic, Ms. 210, f.4v, Avranches, France)
The similarity between this tiny gilded drawing and the other complete illustration of warriors with large shields and peculiarly shaped maces (f. 18) is remarkable. They may come from the same source, and may indicate judicial 'trial by combat'.
23A-T Eighteenth-century drawings of lost early to mid-12th century stained glass windows illustrating the First Crusade, from St Denis, Paris
(ex-Monuments de la Monarchie Françoise, Paris, 1729)
A-C - 'Capture of Iznik (Nicea)'; D-F - 'Capture of Antakya (Antioch)'; G-H - 'Capture of Jerusalem'; I-J - 'Defeat of Egyptians at Asqalon'; K-M - 'Turks defeated outside Iznik (Nicea)'; N-P -'Battle of Dorylaeum'; Q-R 'Egyptians flee into Asqalon'; S-T -'Defeat of Turks outside Antakya (Antioch)'. These 18th-century drawings of lost 12th-century windows must be treated with great caution. Yet some features can be picked out with some degree of confidence. The Crusaders (A, B, E, F, G, H, I, K, N and T) havesymmetrical conical helmets without nasals, long-sleeved mail hauberks and kite-shaped shields. Their weapons are spears and swords. The Muslims are more varied and the artists seem to have attempted to distinguish between various ethnic groups. The Turks of Anatolia (A and C) are similar to the Crusaders except that they are given round helmets, one of which might correctly have a form of neck extension (A). Elsewhere they are shown with the same equipment (M) except that one of them wears a lamellar cuirass (L). Lamellar and mail are again given to the Anatolian Turks at Dorylaeum (O and P) and to other Turks at Antioch (S), although in this latter battle a scale hauberk is also indicated. The Arab-Egyptian troops in Jerusalem and Asqalon (G, H, J, P, Qand R) differ from the Turks in various details. Mail or scale as well as lamellar armours are portrayed, as is an unarmoured man with a small round shield and an apparently shaven head (H). A man whose sword has a tassel or thong from its pommel rides barefooted and perhaps without stirrups (J). In a final scene the Egyptians who flee into Asqalon include a man with what could be a quilted armour (Q) and another with a mail or scale shirt that appears to end at his waist or to go inside a kilt or skirt (R). Almost all these features are seen in Islamic arms and armour of this period. Although few are accurately portrayed in the windows, their presence in pictures of the First Crusade made within relatively few years of the event may indicate either that the artist saw sketches made by clerics who accompanied the Crusade or that the artist heard verbal descriptions from men who took part. One way or another accurate information about Islamic arms and armour had yet to degenerate into the conventionalised 'Moorish' or 'Saracen' forms seen later.
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