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ITALIAN MAN-AT-ARMS c.1397

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




76.      ITALIAN MAN-AT-ARMS c.1397

There are only two 14th century Italian tombstones depicting mounted men-at-arms, figure 75 being one and this figure, Tiberto IV Brandolini, being the other. There is nothing remarkable about his harness except for the strap attaching his helmet to the backplate worn beneath his jupon, such straps occurring in a considerable number of late-14th and early-15th century pictures. What is remarkable, however, is the horse-armour, probably comprising a mixture of leather and metal. The chanfron, crinet and bossoirs (or glancing-knobs) are all undoubtedly metal, while the scales might be either metal or leather, mounted on a leather or thick fabric foundation. A recently uncovered fresco and sinopia of 1447-55 in Mantua depicts horses in virtually identical armour, the folds and creases of which tend to confirm that such armour was indeed of leather. The condottiere Alberico da Barbiano has been accredited by some modern authorities with the more widespread introduction of such leather horse-armour in Italy.

For fuller details of horse-armour see figures 140-142.

[Based on the Tombstone of Tiberto IV Brandolini at Bagnacavallo, Italy, c.1397]



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