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An extract from Armies of the Dark Ages 600-1066
by Ian Heath


This figure, based on illustrations in the Bible of Count Vivian (846) and the Gospels of Emperor Lothair (849-851), probably represents a guardsman of the Imperial household. As with figure 49 his Roman appearance may be artistic licence, but the Carolingians took their title of Emperor very seriously indeed and deliberately copied many Roman practices, including - as we have seen - some elements of their dress.

Helmet-crest, tunic, cloak, knee-breeches and shield-face are all red. The sources also show cloaks of salmon-pink and rust (probably the result of discoloration) and light grey-green, as well as crests of feathers as shown in 56a. The lance pennon is red or gold/ochre. Knee laces and tunic hem-band are gold, as is shield decoration and boss. Shield patterns of such figures are shown in 56b-e. The muscled cuirass with pteruges at shoulder and waist would probably have been of leather, though coloration in the originals implies iron.

Interestingly a similar figure appears in the somewhat earlier Utrecht Psalter of c. 825.
[Based on 9th Century Carolingian Soldiers, Charles the Bald in the Vivian Bible, f.423r and Lothar I and soldiers in the Lothar Bible, folio 1v]

Next: 57. 10TH CENTURY CAROLINGIAN CAVALRYMAN in Armies of the Dark Ages 600-1066 by Ian Heath