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PAPAL INFANTRYMAN c.1375

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



81.      PAPAL INFANTRYMAN c.1375

Undoubtedly representing one of the sergeants mentioned in a number of sources as being attached to the papal household, this figure is armed with a spear, sword, dagger, bascinet and pavise, the latter being red with a latten rim and a white cross and crossed keys. In the original a dozen or so such men are shown around the pope and guarding prisoners. They wear red tunics, though the colour of their other clothes varies; this particular figure wears green hose and black shoes, belt and scabbards, the latter with iron fittings. Two officer figures are better equipped, one in a green aketon and visored bascinet, the other in a long-sleeved mail hauberk under a jupon, with chapel-de-fer, iron epaulières, iron gauntlets and complete leather leg-harness with mail sabatons and mail-fringed iron poleyns.

For identification purposes troops in papal employ wore clave signati, i.e. badges in the form of a key or crossed keys, apparently on the left breast or shoulder as with English livery badges. These are first recorded being worn early in the 13th century.

81a depicts a later shield (time of Eugenius IV, 1431-47) with a variant of the papal insignia, in this instance a single pair of crossed keys with above them the white and gold papal tiara.



Next: 82. ITALIAN MUSICIAN in Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 1 by Ian Heath
See Soldiers with Pavises, in 'Historia destructionis Troiae' by Guido de Columnis, Manuscript, Venice, Italy, c.1370. Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 78, Cologny, Switzerland.
Pavises in 'Victory of the Sienese Troops at Val di Chiana in 1363' by Lippo Vanni, also known as The Battle of Sinalunga. Padova, Basilica of Saint Antonio (Cappella di San Giacomo).