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ITALIAN PIKEMAN

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


78. ITALIAN PIKEMAN c.1455

This figure is one of Michele Attendolo's men from the same source as the last. He wears typical 15th century costume of tight-fitting hose and tunic, here under a munition half-armour complete with pauldrons, fauld and arm-harness. In the paintings others wear leg-harness in addition, either complete or covering just the front of the leg, and some wear helmets. Yet others are depicted completely unarmoured, resembling figure 104, or else carry large oval shields and differ little from figure 74. Crossbowmen are similarly armoured, as are halberdiers; the source from which figure 103 is taken, for instance, shows Milanese troops dressed and equipped almost identically to this figure, though wearing in addition gauntlets and sallets, sometimes with bevors, and armed with pikes, bills or poleaxes.

Most of the figures in these sources wear multi-coloured costumes, the painting for instance showing red, white, yellow, blue and black hose below the armour; this particular figure has his left leg half black and half white and his right leg red. His hat is black, tan and white round the brim with a white skullpiece decorated with rosettes. See also the next note regarding clothing colours.

His pike is about 15 feet in length with the slender, diamond shaped head that was characteristic from the 15th century right through to the 17th. Other foot-soldiers in these paintings carry bills like that of 128.
[Based on the Rout of Sanromano series, 1432, by Paolo Uccello]



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