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SPANISH MAN-AT-ARMS c.1400

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



[Based on The Battle of El Puig on the Alterpiece of St George, Valencia, Spain, c.1400]
85.      SPANISH MAN-AT-ARMS c.1400

In broad terms the equipment worn here is the same as that of figure 37, but there are nevertheless one or two details that mark this man as a Spaniard, notably the short mail sleeves and the helmet. The latter is of a type called a cabacete or capacete, halfway between a sallet and a chapel-de-fer and very popular in Spain among soldiers of all classes. It was usually worn in conjunction with a deep bevor called a barbote which sometimes covered the whole face, in which case it had eye-slits.

His surcoat is like that of figure 58 but unbelted. His lance is lighter than those used in France and England and could either be couched or wielded overarm, sometimes held in both hands. Where shields were carried they either took the rectangular form of that carried by 84 or were still of the almost parallel-sided, round-bottomed type often appropriately called 'Spanish'; see figure 59 in Armies of Feudal Europe. Descriptions of Castilian cavalry at the Battle of Olmedo in 1445 tally closely with the appearance of this figure. They are reported to have worn surcoats of this type ('short capes') made of silver- and gold-embroidered silk or velvet, and their armour is said to have been decorated. In addition helmet crests were reputedly worn, though probably lambrequins and plumes such as those of 85a are intended.



Next: 86 & 87. BRETHREN OF THE SPANISH MILITARY ORDERS in Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 1 by Ian Heath