The Situation of the Cavalry man on the near side
The Cavalry man making point to the right
The Bayonet Exercise
The Romans, either alarmed by the progress of Hannibal, or becoming aware of the value of such allies as the Spaniards, now sent larger armies to their assistance, headed by their ablest generals.
Doubtless on the coasts of Scandinavia and North Germany, the chief
home of these composite crossbows after the time of the Crusades, whalebone
was easily obtainable, whilst in other parts of the Continent, the pieces which
formed the heart of the bow, were made from the straightened horn of an
This ancient form of crossbow with a composite bow, survived in an
improved form in Scandinavia and in the north of Europe, as a weapon
of sport and war, till about 1460, or for nearly a hundred years after the
far superior crossbow with a thick steel bow and a windlass had been in use in
France, Spain and Italy. Some of these later weapons were made so strong
in the fifteenth century, that after the invention of the powerful cranequin
for bending steel bows, this apparatus was also employed for bending the
Here is the quintain in the form of a Saracen, from Pluvinel.
The quintain in its original state was not confined to the exercise of young warriors on horseback: it was an object of practice for them on foot, in order to acquire strength and skill in assaulting an enemy with their swords, spears, and battle-axes. I met with a manuscript in the Royal Library, written early in the fourteenth century, entitled "Les Etablissmentz des Chevalerie," wherein the author, who appears to have been a man scientifically skilled in the military tactics of his time, strongly recommends a constant and attentive attack of the pel (from the Latin palus), for so he calls the post-quintain. The pel, he tells us, ought to be six feet in height above the ground, and so firmly fixed therein as not to be moved by the strokes that were laid upon it. The practitioner was then to assail the pel, armed with sword and shield in the same manner as he would an adversary, aiming his blows as if at the head, the face, the arms, the legs, the thighs, and the sides; taking care at all times to keep himself so completely covered with his shield, as not to give any advantage supposing he had a real enemy to cope with.
This drawing represents two men, equipped in martial habits, and each of them armed with a sword and a shield, engaged in a combat; the performance is enlivened by the sound of a horn; the musician acts in a double capacity, and is, together with a female assistant, dancing round them to the cadence of the music; and probably the actions of the combatants were also regulated by the same measure.
This engraving, from a MS. in the Bodleian Library, represents a girl, as the length of the hair seems to indicate, habited like a boy, and kneeling on a large broad board, supported horizontally by two men; before her are three swords, the points inclined to each other, and placed in a triangular form; she is pointing to them with her right hand, and holds in her left a small instrument somewhat resembling a trowel, but I neither know its name nor its use.
From Cotton MS., Nero, C. iv. French art. Date, about 1125. The figure is one of a group representing the Massacre of the Innocents : a subject, with those of the Conflict of David and Goliath, the Soldiers at the Holy Sepulchre, and the Martyrdom of Thomas a Becket, very fertile in illustrations of ancient military equipment.
Group from Cottonian MS., Claudius, B. iv., folio 24: Aelfric's Anglo-Saxon Paraphrase of the Pentateuch, &c. Date about 1000. The crowned figure in the centre appears to be armed in a coat of chain-mail
Fig. 7. Norwegian Sword. The pommel and cross-piece are of iron.
Figs. 8 to 11. From Livonian graves : the originals are in the British Museum. Fig. 10 is single-edged : its pommel and the chape of the scabbard are of bronze. Fig. 11 has its pommel and guard ornamented with silver
Fig. 1. Found in the Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Fairford. It measures upwards of 2 ft. 11 inches, and is one of the finest examples extant.
Fig. 2. In the Hon. Mr. Neville's collection : found in the Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Wilbraham, Cambridgeshire. Length of blade, 2 ft. 7 in. It retains the bronze mountings of the sheath, which have been gilt.
Fig. 3. Same collection and find • a specimen re-markable for the cross-piece at the hilt.
Fig. 4 Ancient-. Irish Sword of the same period : length, 30 inches. From Mr. Wakeman's paper in vol. iii. of Colleetanea Antigua.
Fig. 5. Danish sword with engraved runes : in the Copenhagen Museum.
Fig. 6. Danish : from the Annaler for Nordisk Oldkyndighed. Remarkable for the form of its cross-piece
In the Additional MS. 11,695, in the British Museum, a work of the eleventh century, there are several representations of warriors thus fully armed, very rude and coarse in drawing, but valuable for the clearness with which they represent the military equipment of the time. At folio 194 there is a large figure of a warrior in a mail shirt, a conical helmet,[Pg 316] strengthened with iron ribs converging to the apex, the front rib extending downwards, into what is called a nasal, i.e., a piece of iron extending downwards over the nose, so as to protect the face from a sword-cut across the upper part of it.
The illustration is from the valuable MS. Life and Acts of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. The present is part of a fight before Calais, in which Philip Duke of Burgundy was concerned on one side, and Humphrey Duke of Gloucester, Richard Earl of Warwick, and Humphrey Earl of Stafford on the other.
In the monumental effigy of Sir Robert Shurland, who was made a knight-banneret in 1300, we seem to have a curious and probably unique effigy of a knight in the gameson. We give a woodcut of it, reduced from Stothard’s engraving. The smaller figure of the man placed at the feet of the effigy is in the same costume, and affords us an additional example.
Of the quilted armours we know very little. In the illuminations is often seen armour covered over with lines arranged in a lozenge pattern, which perhaps represents garments stuffed and sewn in this commonest of all patterns of quilting; but it has been suggested that it may represent lozenged-shaped scales, of horn or metal, fastened upon the face of the garments. In the wood-cut here given from the MS. Caligula A. vii., we have one of the clearest and best extant illustrations of this quilted armour.
The other great invention of this period was that of armorial bearings, properly so called. Devices painted upon the shield were common in classical times. They are found ordinarily on the shields in the Bayeux tapestry, and were habitually used by the Norman knights. In the Bayeux tapestry they seem to be fanciful or merely decorative; later they were symbolical or significant. But it was only towards the close of the twelfth century that each knight assumed a fixed device, which was exclusively appropriated to him, by which he was known, and which became hereditary in his family.
The engravings of Hans Burgmaier, in the Triumphs of Maximilian and the Weise Könige contain numerous authorities very valuable for the clearness and artistic skill with which the armour is depicted. We have given an illustration which represents a combat of two knights, on foot. The armour is partly covered by a surcoat; in the left-hand figure it will be seen that it is fluted. The shields will be noticed as illustrating one of the shapes then in use.
Brewster's and Standish's Swords
Warrior of Java
Costume of the Franks in the Eighth Century