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Carolingian Ivory Plaque of Soldiers
Triumph of Virtue over Evil
France, 9th century. Bargello Museum, Florence
Ivory carving of the Triumph of Virtue over Evil, from Ambronay Abbey, by the School of the Palace of Charlemagne, French, 9th century AD, Bargello, Florence, Italy
The upper figure is referenced on p.12, The Age of Charlemagne (Men-at-Arms 150) by D.Nicolle, A.McBride
A 9th-century French ivory plaque. The scale hauberk worn by this warrior has little in common with late Roman armour and may show a genuine type of Carolingian defence. (Bargello, Florence)
Referenced as Plate V in A. Goldschmidt, Die Elfenbeinskulpturen aus der Zeit der Karolingischen und Sächsischen Kaiser, 4 vols. (Berlin 1914-1926)
THE TRIUMPH OF VIRTUE OVER EVIL
Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence, Italy
Charlemagne’s empire contained artisans who were especially adept at ivory carvings.
These, although small, show great detail.
This, the lower half of an ivory carving of the Triumph of Virtue over Evil, is from Ambronay Abbey and was made in the ninth century.
It depicts Virtue as a Carolingian soldier.
He is dressed in the mail byrnie required to be worn by all Carolingian soldiers to protect his torso, upper arms, and groin.
He wears no helmet but carries the required circular and concave shield, with a large, heavy boss and decoration as seen in several other contemporary illustrations.
His weapon is a wooden spear, its long tapering iron spearhead resting on the neck of his captive, Evil.
This ivory is currently housed in the Museo Nazionale del Bargello of Florence, Italy.
Source: p.236, Medieval Weapons: An Illustrated History of Their Impact eds. Kelly DeVries & Robert D. Smith (2007)
See also Carolingian Soldiers in the Apocalypse of St Amand or Cambrai Apocalypse, 9th Century, Bib. Munic., Ms. 386, Cambrai, France
Carolingian Arms and Armor in the Ninth Century by Simon Coupland
Other Carolingian Illustrations of Costume and Soldiers
Other 9th Century Illustrations of Costume and Soldiers