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


This figure comes from a 15th century illustration depicting the Duc de Bourbon's Franco-Genoese expedition to Barbary in 1390. The Genoese contingent for this enterprise comprised 1,000 crossbowmen, 2,000 men-at-arms and 4,000 mariners, this man representing one of the latter category (in fact a galley oarsman). Many of the Genoese crossbowmen to be found in French employ during this era, those at CrÚcy for example, were in fact seamen.

He wears a brown tunic, red trousers, black shoes, and a blue cap with a white lining, which could be tied under the chin. By this date oarsmen generally wore no armour in battle except for a helmet and arming-cap, though some might wear brigandines.
[Based on f.60v, Expedition of the English and the French to Barbary in the 'Harley Froissart', Chronicles by Jean Froissart, Netherlands, c.1470-1472, British Library Harley MS 4379]

Similar headwear is depicted on sailors on f.85r Capture of Audenarde, 'Chroniques' by Jean Froissart, copy from Bruges, Belgium, c.1470-1475AD. BnF MS Franšais 2644
Next: 81. PAPAL INFANTRYMAN c.1375 in Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 1 by Ian Heath