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An extract from Armies of the Middle Ages, volume 1
by Ian Heath

[Based on The Battle of El Puig on the Alterpiece of St George, Valencia, Spain, c.1400]

Christian-style heavy cavalry such as that described and illustrated in Armies of Feudal Europe (figure 75) were only a passing trend among the Moslems of Spain. Ibn al-Khatib says in the early-14th century that such armour had been 'previously' worn but that in his own day heavy cavalry wore 'smaller (i.e., shorter) corselets, light helmets, long slender lances and leather shields'. By c.1350 such characteristically Arab-style light arms had generally replaced the previous copying of Christian armour. Clearly, however, armour continued to be worn by some Granadines, chiefly the noble families and their guards; even some gomeres were armoured. Judging from contemporary anecdotes the armour was usually clearly visible, and was therefore worn over their flowing robes, not under them.

The cavalryman portrayed here is from the same altar-piece painting as 97. His light armour (the term 'heavy' cavalry being relative) comprises a gilt bascinet with mail aventail, leather poleyns, and a plate corselet and fauld covered in black fabric over a brown leather arming doublet, with under it a pink tunic, red hose and red boots. (Interestingly a Moslem king in this same source wears no armour at all; neither do the kings portrayed in the Hall of the Kings in the Alhambra.) George Gush, in his Renaissance Armies, has a late-15th century Granadine horseman who wears complete mail armour (chausses, long-sleeved hauberk and hood) under a turban, cloak, short-sleeved thigh-length surcoat, and knee-length decorated boots. Unfortunately the provenance of this interesting figure is not given.

Next: 102. SWISS PIKEMAN, 14th CENTURY in Armies of the Middle Ages, volume 1 by Ian Heath