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SPANISH MAN-AT-ARMS, 14th CENTURY

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


84.      SPANISH MAN-AT-ARMS, 14th CENTURY

Although a few earlier effigies show plate poleyns, gauntlets and sabatons, it is clear that mail chausses and long-sleeved hauberks (lorigas) with fingered mail gloves at the sleeve ends continued to predominate in Spain until the 1340s, and in the 1350s too, ms. illuminations still often depict men-at-arms wearing only mail and surcoat, though they wear in addition great-helms (yelmos de Zaragoza), sometimes with movable visors. Even this figure, from the Salade los Reyes (Hall of the Kings) in the Alhambra, painted c.1360-1425 (probably late-14th century), still wears a long-sleeved mail hauberk in preference to plate arm-harness.

In fact one of the earliest Spanish representations of the full arm and leg harness and tight jupon is a portrait of c. 1370 of King Henry II Trastamara of Castile, which would indicate that this fashion was introduced into the Iberian peninsula by his French mercenaries. Thereafter there is little difference between Spanish men-at-arms and those of the rest of Western Europe, the majority of Spanish noblemen similarly importing their plate armour from North Italy by the early-15th century.
[Based on Knights in a ceiling painting from a lateral room in the Alhambra, Spain]


Next: 85. SPANISH MAN-AT-ARMS c.1400 in Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 1 by Ian Heath