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

[Based on William Caoursin's Obsidionis Rhodie Urbis Descriptio. A description of the 1480 siege of the city of Rhodes]

Granadine infantry appear to have been raised largely on a militia basis, 'regulars' where available being supplied mainly by Negro gomeres and Berbers from North Africa. They were variously armed with bow or crossbow, or spear or javelin, a type of javelin called a marasa being a favourite weapon of African troops employed in Granada in the early-14th century. Most Granadine peasants appear to have possessed a crossbow, while the bow was relatively uncommon (see above), though Froissart's account of the expedition to Barbary in 1390 indicates that in North Africa most if not all infantry were probably archers. The sling was also still in use, being recorded by Ibn Hudayl in the 14th century and in an incident as late as 1459, while handguns were in use by the second half of the century, being employed to murderous effect in the Battle of the Axarquia in 1483.

The 2 figures depicted here are from sources dating to 1496 and c. 1420 respectively. Being bow-armed 99 probably represents a North African mercenary. He carries a heart-shaped adarga while 100 has a round shield. Note that both have slightly curved swords. In addition a helmet was often worn by foot-soldiers, frequently with a twist of cloth wrapped round it (100a) or even under a turban (100b), these examples both being from another 15th century altar-piece.

Next: 101. GRANADINE HEAVY CAVALRYMAN c.1400 in Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 1 by Ian Heath