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LATE SAXON FYRDMENAn extract from Armies of the Dark Ages 600-1066
by Ian Heath
[Based on the Bayeux Tapestry] [Based on the Tiberius Psalter, England, c.1050]
[119 is based on Goliath, with the shield pattern of Michael. The pattern on the lower tunic is similar to the tunic of Christ in the Harrowing of Hell and on the sleeves of David.]
118 & 119. LATE SAXON FYRDMEN
118 is from the Bayeux Tapestry. He differs from 114 principally in the substitution of a kite-shield, which was in use in England from c.1000. Most Saxons in the Tapestry have moustache or beard.
Other Fyrdmen shown in the Tapestry have no shields and are armed only with wooden or metal-head clubs (see 123). According to William of Poitiers many were armed with javelins, stones tied to wooden handles, and 'missiles of all sorts.' He also records axes used as missiles, a practice likewise current in Cnut's reign and probably throughout this period. Such weapons were probably similar to franciscas. The Tapestry also shows Danish axes in use by some Fyrdmen.
119 is from a mid-11th century ms. He is obviously a wealthier man, wears a nasal helmet and an embroidered tunic, and is armed with spear, shield and sword suspended from a baldric. Other 11th century mss. continue to show figures like 113 and 114.