David Nicolle
Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era, 1050-1350. Western Europe and the Crusader States.


  1. Northern France
  2. England and Wales
  3. Scotland
  4. Ireland
  5. Southern France
  6. Aragon, Navarre and Catalonia
  7. Leon and Castile
  8. Portugal
  9. The Empire - Germany
  10. The Empire - Bohemia
  11. The Empire - Aries
  12. The Empire - Italy
  13. Southern Italy and Sicily
  14. The Crusader States
  15. The Western Balkans
  16. Hungary
  17. Poland
  18. Scandinavia
  19. The Baltic Peoples


This new work is based upon many years of academic study. It forms a reshaped, reorganised and corrected version of my earlier Arms & Armour of the Crusading Era, 1050-1350, originally published in a limited edition in 1988. The most obvious change has been to divide the subject into two parts by culture or civilisation rather than having all the text in one volume and all the illustrations in another, as in the earlier work. Hopefully this will enable readers interested in only one of the civilisations to purchase just the volume they require.

Where the illustrations themselves are concerned, some have been redrawn because better sources have become available. Most obviously, however, several oversized pictures which characterised the first edition have now been reduced to average dimensions. Similarly, a smaller number of tiny pictures have been enlarged. In both cases this has been possible because I now have access to more sophisticated equipment than was available in Yarmouk University, Jordan, where I worked during the writing of the first edition.

Finally, a section on China and the Far East has been added to the second book. This is for the simple reason that, since writing the first edition, I have become increasingly convinced that many aspects of military technology seen in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and even Western Europe either had their origins in China or were strongly influenced by developments in Chinese arms and armour.


European arms, armour and military technology have been studied for many years in many countries. All too often, however, such studies have focused upon one 'nation', even when that nation did not exist in medieval times, or have assumed too great a degree of uniformity across the whole of western Christendom. The serious study of Byzantine, Islamic, Central Asian, Indian and Far Eastern arms has been; a more recent phenomenon but is already suffering from the same parochialism or oversimplification. Nevertheless, it is becoming increasingly obvious that while there was considerable regional variation within each of the great religiously based civilisations of what Europeans call the Middle Ages, there were also varying degrees of stylistic, technological or fashionable influence spreading from one civilisation to another. This seems to have been particularly true of the period under review, which may seem surprising given the fact that this has been characterised as an era of distinct and separate regions. Such varied influences are perhaps more obvious in the early medieval period (5th to 10th centuries), when Byzantium was the main stylistic leader in Europe, than in the Crusading era (11th to 14th centuries) which is the subject of this book. On the other hand the 11th to 14th centuries saw the emergence of greater regional variation across Europe, and indeed Christendom as a whole. Furthermore, such variation reflected both local developments and the influence of neighbouring regions, particularly when the latter did not themselves fall within the medieval Christian world.

One point which will, I hope, become clear is that no single culture or people had a monopoly of technological innovation or even of leadership in fashion. Of course, some peoples had more influence than others, while others were largely the receivers of influence or remained wedded to archaic forms suited to their own military situations. Yet the very fact that the three great cultural blocs of European Christendom, Islam and Turco-Mongol Central Asia came into such violent and widespread contact during the 'Crusading' centuries makes the history of the arms and armour of this period particularly interesting. In turn the study of military technology can throw a useful light on other aspects of a warlike period. In Western Europe the 13th and 14th centuries saw the first phases in the reintroduction of plate armour for body and limbs. Plate armour and its associated technology had, of course, never dropped out of use where the manufacture of helmets was concerned. This fact alone casts doubt on a widely accepted view that the disappearance of plate body-armour during the late Roman and early medieval periods, and its subsequent reintroduction during the High Middle Ages, reflected a decline and revival in European metallurgical technology.

Then there is the question of mere 'fashion' - namely that some changes in arms, armour and other items of military equipment may have resulted from the whims of taste or the demands of fashion rather than a process of supposed technological progress. Nor is fashion a slight or unimportant thing. During the Middle Ages, as today, personal appearance reflected various sociological, political and religious factors. Where military fashion was concerned these pressures were even more obvious. They reflected a rise or fall in the prestige and power of empires or individuals, perceived but not necessarily real military superiorities, actual or desired associations and alliances as well as their negation, plus a whole series of lesser factors. All this affected not only an individual warrior's sense of identity but that of his entire culture. Thus the study of arms and armour can shed light on much more than one facet of the history of technology. It is, as Professor R.P. Lindner described it, 'a wide sea whose currents are largely uncharted; the history of taste, emotional fancy and cultural preference'.1

Unfortunately these same currents also swayed the arts. This has been widely recognised where pictorial representations are concerned. Indeed, some scholars are inclined to dismiss medieval art as too unreliable to be taken seriously as a source of information for the history of material culture. I strongly disagree, though any student of this subject must remain aware of those fashions, conventions and archaisms with which medieval art is riddled. Some arts were particularly subject to these cultural pressures and remain exceptionally difficult to interpret. For instance, pictorial arts within, or stemming from, the Byzantine tradition are notorious in this respect. What has, however, been less widely appreciated is the fact that most medieval literary sources, other than technical manuals and inventory lists, also suffer from similar distortions. In fact all aspects of pre-Renaissance civilisation lay under comparable cultural pressures, including fashions in costume, arms, armour, military organisation and tactics. So, of course, did the Renaissance and early modern worlds. Here, however, the pressures were of a different kind, stemming from a different set of cultural preferences and emotional fancies which, as far as parts of Italy were concerned, could already be seen in the first half of the 14th century.

Author's Note

The main purpose of this book is to present information in as readily accessible a manner as possible. Such information falls into three main categories: the illustrations themselves; the dictionary of terms; and the bibliography.

The illustrations consist of archaeological, pictorial or other representational evidence. These are combined so as to assist comparison, and are grouped into the main geographical and cultural zones of medieval western Europe. But the order in which these are presented remains an unsatisfactory compromise. There is little reason why northern France should come first, except that it was seen as the 'fountainhead of chivalry' at the time, while England comes next for the simple reason that it was a cultural colony of France. Similarly, the division of the Balkans into two regions, Western and Eastern, is somewhat arbitrary. Essentially this part of south-western Europe was a region of cultural competition between Latin-Catholic western Christendom, and Byzantine-Orthodox eastern Christendom. Nevertheless, my division of the area into Western and Eastern geographical units remains rather unsatisfactory, particularly as this also divides the Balkans between the first and second books.

Within each region the material is generally presented in chronological order. Brief introductory sections describe the region's historical, military and technological circumstances in a very general manner. The following text then endeavours both to describe the archaeological or pictorial evidence and to put it into context. While there is some cross-referencing between items, the reader is recommended to rely on the comprehensive general index for this purpose.

The second main category consists of terminology. This is an enormous but very unevenly studied subject. Some languages, such as Middle English and Old French, have received considerable attention for many years. Others, such as Occitan, remain relatively neglected. Of course, the precise meanings of much medieval technical terminology remains unclear or even unknown. This book hopes merely to suggest some solutions and to present a great many problems. It cannot claim to be an even-handed survey but is intended to juxtapose as many relevant terms as possible in the hope that specialised scholars may note certain interesting linguistic connections, as well as become more aware of both the problems and the potential of comparative terminology.

The third main section is bibliographical. No bibliography on this enormous subject can claim to be comprehensive, but this work is designed to make available as wide a survey of relevant titles as possible, bearing in mind the fact that it deals with the military history and technology of a great many areas. These all too often remain the preserves of specialists who may be unaware of similar situations, events or developments in neighbouring lands. The grouping of titles under 'Arms, armour and art' or 'Military, cultural and social background' is somewhat arbitrary, as there is inevitably a great deal of overlap between these two headings. The reader is, therefore, strongly advised to consult both lists.


My thanks are due to a great number of people who helped and encouraged me during the long preparation of this book, both in its first and second editions. Some directed me to sources, made information available, helped in travel and field research or with translations. Any errors in the latter, as in other aspects of the book, remain entirely my own. Nevertheless, I feel bound to offer my particular thanks to the following individuals and libraries: Dr Abdelhadi Tazi (University of Mohammed V, Rabat), Dr M.I. Al Hindi (Damascus), Dr N. Atasoy (Istanbul University), Dr A.S. Atiya (University of Utah), Mr D.S. Begley (Chief Herald, Dublin), Dr J.H. Beeler (Greenboro), Mr Borosy Andras (Budapest), Dr P.E. Chevedden (Salem State College), Dr A.B. de Hoffmeyer (Jarandilla), Dr L. Der Manuelian (Tufts University, Medford), Mrs Ludmila Eltsov (St Petersburg), Dr G. Fehervari (London), Dr M. Gorelik (Moscow), Mrs V. Gyenes (School of Slavonic Studies, London University), Dr A. Halpin (Dublin), Mr H. Harke (Hameln), Mrs Dalu Jones (London), Dr T. Kolias (lonnina University), Dr Y. Lev (Bar-Han University), Prof R. Lindner (University of Michigan), Prof A. Nadolski (Lodz), Dr J.A. Nelson (University of Alabama), Dr H. Nickel (New York), Mrs C.A. Nicolle (always at my side), Mr M.P. Nicolle (London), Mr A.V.B. Norman (London), Mr R.A. Olsen (Kobenhavn), Mr P-R. Royer (Paris), Prof E. Rynne (University College, Galway), Dr M. Scalini (Florence), Prof. G. Scanlon (American University, Cairo), Mr J.K. Schwarzer II (North Carolina), Dr V. Simoniti (Ljubljana University), Dr J. Smith (University of California, Berkeley), DrJ.F. Verbruggen (Vilvoorde), Mrs H.M. Zijistra Zweens (Paterswolde), Yarmouk University Library (Irbid), Nottingham University Library, and Finchley Central Library (Barnet, London).

Finally I want to offer special thanks to Mr Lionel Leventhal, not only for encouraging me to prepare this second edition but also for 'clearing the way' so that it became practical for me to do so.

Chapter 14

The Latin East

This section includes the Crusader States iri Syria and Palestine, Cyprus following its conquest by Richard I of England, and the Latin 'Empire' of Constantinople plus its successor principalities in Greece. The history of the Crusader States in Syria, Palestine and the Lebanon began with the arrival of the First Crusade in the Middle East in 1098, and ended with the fall of Acre land the remaining Crusader-held coastal cities to the Mamluks in 1291, although the Templars remained in possession of the offshore island of Arwad until 1303. The Crusader 'Empire of Romania', based upon Constantinople (Istanbul), lasted only from 1204 to 1261, But Crusader principalities in southern Greece survived into the fifteenth cerntury. The Kingdom of Cyprus was annexed by Venice in 1489.

The small, vulnerable character of all Crusader States, with the possible exception of Cyprus, clearly had an effect on their military development.1 However, it would be wrong to think that only the leading knights among the First and later Crusaders were well equipped.2 Nevertheless, a shortage of horses was clearly a problem in the early years3 and may have remained a source of weakness later. A shortage of manpower, though serious, seems to have been exaggerated by earlier generations of historians, who misunderstood the figures for Crusader military personnel and grossly overestimated the numerical strength of their Islamic foes. On the other hand the numerical problem was exacerbated following the establishment of Crusader States in Greece in 1204, when large numbers of men saw a more promising future in this new 'Romania'.4

Crusader tactics and military organisation have been studied in some detail5, though greater attention has been given to the initial conquest and the first expansionist century than to the second, defensive phase. Two interesting features of these later years were, however, the vital role of Military Orders such as the Templars and Hospitallers6 and that of the town-based military 'confraternities'.7 Generally speaking, the Crusaders had little to teach the warriors of the eastern Mediterranean region. On the contrary, they adopted much that was to be seen in Byzantium, though possibly through a parallel response to similar military situations rather than by learning directly from the experience of a long-established regional rival. The Crusaders also adopted ideas and items of equipment from their Islamic foes, though these could again be parallel responses rather than conscious copying. The most noticeable examples of this phenomenon were light cavalry8 using light spears with reed or bamboo hafts,9 extensive use of mounted infantry for high-speed raiding, and perhaps the vital role given to infantry archers.10 The last were needed to combat enemy horse-archers, and as such possibly mirrored Fatimid-Arab or Armenian practice! Even the more sophisticated later cavalry formations associated with die Crusaders' famous couched lance 'shock' tactics are, through their close co-operation with disciplined infantry, remarkably similar to Byzantine and Fatimid-Arab systems. On the other hand they had nothing in common with Turkish practice.11

Pieces of military equipment having Middle Eastern origins included the jazerant, a lined or padded mail hauberk, and the counterweight trebuchet. Other possible candidates for Islamic, Byzantine or Central Asian origins are the scale-lined or laminated coat-of-plates, thic bascinet helmet which protected the back and sides of the head, movable visors on a helmet, and separate gauntlets, though these last two items are more problematical. The Armenians may have been a vital channel for the spread of slich advanced military technology. Their role as occasional allies and as a sotirce of mercenaries for the Crusader States in Syria is clear and far more important than that of any other eastern Christian group.12

Perhaps the most interesting military development seen in the Crusader States was the emergence of the turcopoles. These were not a homogeneous group, as they included both cavalry and infantry, archers and non-archers, though the majority appear to have been light horsemen, the archers among them using bows in a Byzantine or Mamluk style but certainly not in the harassing style of the Central Asian Turks.13 It is also worth noting that turcopoles appeared in Crusader Cyprus, Balkan or Greek 'Romania', and perhaps even in Normandy after the return of the Crusading King, Richard I of England.


715 Coin of Baldwin II, Count of Edessa, 1100-18
(Bib. Nat., Cabinet des Medailles, Paris, France)

The coins of the Latin East often used a mixture of earlier indigenous designs plus new Western European forms. This may be reflected in the military equipment crudely illustrated on many such coins. Those of the County of Edessa are very varied and in some respects more useful than those of the other states, which was probably a result of lingering Armenian and Artuqid Turkish influence. On this coin Count Baldwin has a very European form of helmet with a forward-angled crown. A distinction is, however, drawn between the body of his armour and the sleeves. This could be just an accident of design, but is equally likely to indicate the mail sleeves of a hauberk and the lamellar of a sleeveless cuirass in typical Middle Eastern style.

716 Coin of Baldwin II, Count of Edessa, 1110-18
(Bib. Nat., Cabinet des Medaillcs, Paris, France)

On a second coin, Count Baldwin wears a short-sleeved garment, the body of which has no particular emphasis on horizontal or vertical patterns and may thus be assumed to represent a mail hauberk. His shield is surprisingly small for the early 12th century and probably reflects Byzantine-Armenian influence. The tall object on his head finds no parallels in the armour of the period and is probably a hat.

717 Coin of Raymond of Poitiers, Prince of Antioch, 1136-49
(Bib. Nat., Cabinet des Medailles, Paris, France)

The coins of Antioch normally used a simple helmeted head, the helmet having a nasal and a cross painted on the side. Here the wearer is also shown wearing a mail hauberk which ends at his shoulders. The helmet itself is a round, low-domed type.

718 Coin of Baldwin II, Count of Edessa, 1100-18
(Bib. Nat., Cabinet des Medailles, Paris, France)

Here, Count Baldwin has some kind of hauberk or cuirass, perhaps sleeveless, with what appears to be a broad tapering sword in his hand. On his head he might have a brimmed war-hat, a type of helmet later common in Armenian, Crusader and some Byzantine art.

719 Coin of Baldwin I, Count of Edessa, 1098-1100
(Bib. Nat., Cabinet des Medailles, Paris, France)

The earlier coins of Crusader Edessa, including those minted for Baldwin I, are harder to interpret. This example clearly shows a man with a sword, a kite-shaped shield and a conical helmet. Why a pattern is put on his skirt but not on his chest is, however, unexplained.

720 Coin of Richard, Lord of Marash, Principality of Antioch, early 12th century
(Bib. Nat., Cabinet des Medailles, Paris, France)

Minted for one of the great northern vassals of the Principality of Antioch, this coin reflects the same Armenian and Byzantine influences as are seen in the coins of Edessa. The figure wears a conical helmet, carries a sword, and holds a relatively small kite-shaped shield. The sharply angled upper corners of this shield make is unlike early 12th-century Western Europearn shields and could indicate that later European forms with flat tops Were at least partially a result of Byzantine or other eastern influences.

721 Seal of Geoffrey de Bouillon, Advocatus Santi Sepulchri, Palestine, 1099-1100
(after Prawer, Histoire du Royaume Latin de Jerusalem)

Seals, which are bigger than coins, can show considerably more detailed military costume. Here Geoffrey wears a conical helmet with an interesting extension to protect his neck. He is armed with a spear and a presumably kite-shaped shield.

722 Seal of a Count of Tripoli, Syria-Lebanon, 12th century
(after Schlumberger, Sigillographie de l'Orient Latin)

The peculiarly angled, seemingly broken, spear and banner shown on this shield was probably an artistic device to fill a limited space. The horseman wears a tall helmet and carries a normal kite-shaped shield.

723 Seal of a Viscount of Nablus, Palestine, 12th century
(after Schlumberger, Sigillographie de I'Orient Latin)

The most interesting feature here is the large round helmet worn by the horseman.

724 Seal of a Prince of Galilee, Palestine, 12th century
(after Schlumberger, Sigillographie de I'Orient Latin)

Much closer to the standard forms of Western Europe, this horseman wears a tall conical helmet, probably with a nasal, and carries a spear and a large kite-shaped shield.

725 Seal of the Templars, Syria-Palestine, 12th century
(after Schlumberger, Sigillographie de I'Orient Latin)

An early example of the Templars' 'poverty' symbol of two men riding a single horse. The warrior-monks carry spears, wear conical helmets with apparent rims, and are wrapped in cloaks.

726 Seal of a Lord of Marash, Principality of Antioch, 12th century
(Bib. Nat., Cabinet des Medailles, Paris, France)

Once again the designs from northern Syria show greater individuality and variety than those of Crusader areas further south. Here a bareheaded man with a spear may wear an armour that covers only his chest. The most obvious source for such an armour would be the limited chest and abdomen covering lamellar cuirasses of Byzantium, Cilician Armenia and the neighbouring Islamic states.

727 Carved relief, Palestine, 12th century
(Museum of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, East Jerusalem, Palestine)

A bow of obvious recurved composite construction with angled ears is clearly shown on this very damaged carving. Such bows were in common use all around the Mediterranean and were not a specifically Middle Eastern weapon.

728A-C Carved capitals from Nazareth, Palestine, late 12th century
(Historical Museum, Nazareth, Israel)

The slightly later carved capitals from Nazareth are considered to be in southern French style, yet they include some 'demons' who use non-French military equipment. One shield (A) has an angled front and an indented top which to some extent recalls the later Spanish adarga. A similar but more straightforward shield (C) is used by a demon who also thrusts with a broad-bladed spear. Another demon shoots a recurved composite bow (B) using the Western finger-draw rather than the Middle Eastern or Turco-Iranian thumb-draw.

729A-C Ivory cover of Queen Melisende's Psalter, Palestine, early 12th century
(British Museum, London, England)

A - Goliath; B - Pride slain by Humility; C - Fortitude slaying Avarice. An interesting variety of arms and armour is shown on this ivory book cover, and it might be possible to guess why particular styles are given to particular figures. Both Goliath (A) and Pride (B) seem to wear armour in Byzantine style, perhaps reflecting a current coolness in Crusader-Byzantine relations. These two armours are probably very stylised, even archaised, and seem to consist of mail illumination at Acre (in the Kingdom of Jerusalem) that would subsequently produce many distinctive manuscripts. It is largely Byzantine in style and has some similarity to local Middle Eastern manuscripts plus a small amount of Western European Romanesque influence. The mixture of extraordinary weapons seen in the 'Garden of Gethsemane' (A-H) reflects Byzantine, Armenian and Syriac styles. Seen here are a knife or dagger (A), round-headed and spiked maces (B and E) which were as yet rarely seen in the West, spears (D and F), and a long-bladed axe with a hammer at the back (G). Two very unusual infantry weapons are also illustrated. One appears to be a kind of pointed war-hammer (Q), the other a war-flail (H), a weapon which would not become widely popular until the 14th and 15th centuries. It is worth noting the presence of such an infantry weapon, which was most effective against the legs of horses, Crusader Palestine being, of course, an area where the foe consisted primarily of horsemen. The sleeping guards (I) outside the Holy Sepulchre are almost entirely Byzantine in style, partly realistic and partly archaised. The two archers (J and K) use early forms of composite bows with angled grips. Both the bows and one man's quiver (K) on a strap over his shoulder have echoes in Mediterranean Europe rather than in the Middle East.

733A-E Syriac Gospel, Principality of Antioch (?), late 12th century
(University Library, Ms. 01.02, C lambridge, England)

A - Guard of Cyrus, f.199r; B-D -Judas Maccabeus and his army, f.208v; E - Joshua, f.63v. This manuscript, which might have been made within one of the northern Crusader states, shows an interesting mixture of military styles. Joshua's body-armour and legs (E) are depicted in conventional Byzantine style and probably have little relevance to contemporary fashion. His sword is of a broad, non-tapering, round-tipped style which, though seen in Byzantine and Mediterranean European art, is more characteristic of the Arab Middle East. The scabbard is similarly Byzantine or eastern Mediterranean. The one-piece helmet is, however, almost entirely European, with its conical shape and slightly forward-angled crown. A second helmet (A) may be of the same style but could also fit the local Middle Eastern pattern. The same might be said of the axe (B), spear (C), and a second sword (D).

734A-I Armour fragments from Qurayn (Montfort) Castle, Kingdom of Jerusalem, c.1270
(Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, United States)

Various fragments of arms and armour have been found in ruined Crusader castles. Those from Montfort are among the most interesting. One small fragment has many small holes pierced in it and this is sometimes identified as part of a great helm (A). It could, however, just as well be part of a filter bucket or some other domestic device. Three pieces of metal (B-D) are almost certainly scales from a coat-of-plates, an early form of jack, or a scale cuirass. In many respects they have more in common with Eastern European or Russian armour than with surviving Western European fragments. If this is the case, then the logical intermediary stage or location would be Byzantium. The largest fragment is approximately 8 cm long. Other finds from Qurayn include the head of a javelin, or more likely of a bolt shot by a large frame-mounted crossbow (E), which is approximately 12cm long, plus four other smaller crossbow heads. Two are of the tang type which are not in the normal European tradition (G and I), while others are even more unusual, apparently being designed to slip directly over the ends of an arrow or bolt (F and H). Here it is worth mentioning that most of the late 12th century crossbow bolts recently found in the Middle East seem designed to take such sleeve-like heads as these.

735 Enamelled sword pommel, Syria or Palestine, 13th century
(Metropolitan Museum of Art, no.29.153.685, New York, United States)

This pommel is made and decorated in basically Middle Eastern style with the obvious exception of a heraldic shield at its centre. It was probably made by a Syrian craftsman, inside or outside the Crusader States, for a European customer.

736A-E Weapons from 'Athlith (Pilgrim's) Castle, Kingdom of Jerusalem, late 13th century
(after Johns, Quarterly of the Dept. of Antiquities of Palestine, vol.V, no.l (1935), fig.15, p.50)

A superb spearhead was found in the ruins of the Templar castle at Athlith on the Palestinian toast (A). Three small tang-type arrowheads were also recovered (B-D) although the flatter two (B and C) look more Mamluk than Crusader. A substantial axehead (E) was, judging from the thickness of its blade, a work-axe rather than a weapon. Nevertheless, its presumed original outline had a characteristic half-moon shape.

737A-B Carved marble tympanum from Larnaca, Cyprus, 1200-50
(Victoria and Albert Museum, inv. A2-1982, London, England)

The small and somewhat worn reliefs on this carving show perfectly straightforward European military equipment. The only slightly unusual feature is that none of the armoured figures wear surcoats. Two sleeping guards outside the Holy Sepulchre (A) have tall conical helmets without nasals, plus long-sleeved mail hauberks, coifs, and in one Case mail chausses. Two other soldiers at the Crucifixion (B) have the same armour, though they lack helmets and their hauberks lack mittens. Swords are straight and in one case apparently non-tapering. A lack of surcoats seems to reflect current Byzantine styles and there is no reason why the Larnaca sculptor should not have chosen to use Byzantine models for these men. After all, the Byizantines regarded themselves as descendants of the Romans (and, indeed, called themselves Romans) and were often seen as such by their allies, rivals and foes.

738A-B Engraved monumental slabs of the Lusignan family, probably from Aya Sofia Mosque (former Cathedral), Famagusta, Cyprus, late 13th/early 14th centuries
(soon to be in the Limasol Historical Museum, Cyprus)

These two little-known tomb slabs shed important light on the arms and armour of the later Latin East. Both men wear mail hauberks with integral mail gloves, these having individual fingers. The necks are raised, perhaps being fastened to a stiff undergarment, but the coifs were clearly separate. Their heraldic surcoats seem to have squared shoulders, suggesting substantial padding or some semi-rigid cuirass worn beneath. One figure still has his plated leg-harness (B), consisting of knee-covering poleyns and greaves that only (over the front of his shins. Mail chausses are worn under these. Their swords, interestingly, distinguish these figures from their Western Eurof can contemporaries. One figure (B) clearly has his weapon slung from a baldric rather than a sword-belt. The sword itself appears to be a straight non-tapering weapon unlike the very pointed blades of the West. With these exceptions the figures are armoured in a style very reminiscent of Italian arms and armour, which is not surprising given the growing influence of the maritime republics and of southern Italy in Crusader affairs.

739A-D Coins of Bohemond IV, Prince of Antioch, 1201-33
(Bib. Nat., Cabinet des Medailles, Paris, France)

Thirteenth-century coins from Antioch still portray a helmeted head bearing a cross. By the 13th century, however, these pictures had become slightly more detailed, showing a variety of hemispherical helmets with sometimes substantial nasals (D) and riveted rims. These are worn over mail coifs that seem to cover the lower part of the face and may even be joined at the brow to cover the face (B).

740 Coin of Raymond-Roupen, claimant to the Principality of Antioch, 1216-19
(Bib. Nat., Cabinet des Medailles, Paris, France)

It would be hazardous to see Armenian influence behind the slight differences in this similarly dated helmet. Raymond-Roupen was, of course, supported by Cilician Armenia in his unsuccessful struggle for Antioch. The helmet is almost square in outline and seems to have a bulge and perhaps a dangling lace at the back.

741A-K Histoire Universelle, Kingdom of Jerusalem, c.1287
(Bib. Nat., Ms. Fr. 20125, Paris, France)

A - Oedipus, f.91v; B - Polyneices and Tydeus, f.96r; C - Death of Hector, f.133v; D-F - Muslims (?); G-H - Crusaders (?);I- Army of Alexander, f.235r; J - Holofernes, f.205v; K - Army of Holofernes, f.207v. This manuscript from the school of Acre includes some more up-to-date pieces of military equipment as well as traditional items. Oedipus (A), for example, has a round helmet with a small nasal and his limited mail chausses cover neither the calf of his leg nor his heel. Polyneices and Tydeus (B), on the other hand, have two forms of great helm, one a very early picture of a round-topped type and the other a traditional flat-topped variety., Both have crests, presumably in the; kind of plume-holders seen in.the previous manuscript. The flat-topped great helms in this manuscript are, incidentally, a transitional form in which the top plate is itself quite domed (B, G and H). Note that horsemen (B) also wear padded or perhaps scale-covered cuisses with round, knee-covering poleyns attached. In the death of Hector at the hands of Achilles a rather gruesome picture shows the victim being slain by a spear thrust intp the upper thigh above the top of his mail chausses (C). Elsewhere presumed Muslims are given very curved sabres (D) and two peculiar objects which do not seem to be maces (E and F). Could they be the long-necked 'fire-pots' full of naft (Greek Fire) that were used by Mamluks and other troops as grenades? A soldier in Alexander's army (I) who could be expected to appear as a Westerner is dressed in full mail armour but carries a small round buckler, which might have been a local infantry fashion in the Crusader States. These and oval shields are certainly put in the hands of Crusaders in other Acre manuscripts. Such shields were also used by Muslim, Byzantine, Balkan and Italian foot-soldiers. This warrior in Alexander's army wears what appears to be a broad-brimmed hat over his mail coif. It could be a chapel -de -fer but its irregular lower edge makes this unlikely. Such presumed sun-hats also appear in Islamic sources of the same period. They were, after all, a practical idea in the Middle Eastern climate. Holofernes (J) seems to wear poleyns on his knees, while a soldier in his army (K) has a helmet with a broad chin-strap worn over a separate mail coif.

742A-F History of Outremer, Kingdom of Jerusalem 1286
(Bib. Nat., Ms. Fr. 9084, Paris, France)

A - Crusaders massacre Muslims of Antioch, f.64; B - Bohemond and Raymond before Jerusalem, f.307v; C - Crusaders besiege Shayzar, f. 182v; D - Siege of Tyre; E - Siege of Antioch; F - Siege of Damietta. In another manuscript made by the school of Acre, Crusaders are clearly and quite deliberately shown with round (C) or oval (B) shields. This seems to indicate that, far from the Muslims adopting some of the supposedly more advanced military technology of the West, the reverse might have been happening to a limited degree in response to specific military circumstances. The Crusader States were by now little more than a string of castle-bound garrisons. Ventures into open battle were rare and usually disastrous. Any local military fashions that distinguished the troops of the Crusader States from those of Western Europe are, therefore, likely to reflect purely defensive warfare of ambush and siege. One warrior has a brimmed chapel-de-fer war-hat (A) which is of almost exactly the same size and form as the supposed sun-hat in the previous manuscript. Muslims are accurately portrayed with turbans (D and E), maces (E), and small round shields (D and E). One archer has a hat or an iron war-hat with a square top (D), while others have pointed helmets, tall, short or with angled crowns (F), as well as mail and perhaps in one instance lamellar armour (F).

743A-E History of Outremer, Kingdom of Jerusalem, 1290-1
(Biblioteca Laurenziana, Ms. Plu. LXI. 10, Florence, Italy)

A - Crusader crossbowman, f. 162 v; ] 5 - Crusaders massacre Muslims of Antioch, f.61; C - Crusaders besiege Antioch, f.42r; D - Crusaders attack Acre by sea, f.63; E - Crusaders attack Nicea, f.33. No flat-topped greathelms are seen in this manuscript, only a very round-topped version (B). Most troops wear chapel-de-fer war-hats, which would presumably have been more suited to the climate (C and E), or mail coifs alone (D). Shields are mostly oval (B) or round (C and D), with a few flat-topped triangular ones attached to the side of a galley (D). Mail is the only other armour shown, but crossbows are common (D and E) with two clear pictures of loading hooks hung from a belt (A and E). An axe is used to undermine a fortress (E), while a solitary archer takes part in naval warfare (D). This manuscript also includes a very clear illustration of a counterweight trebuchet (C).

744A-C History of Outremer, Kingdom of Jerusalem, 1287
(Bib. Munic., Ms. 142, Boulogne, France)

A - Defenders of Shayzar, f. 153v; B - Standard-bearer of Godefroy de Bouillon, f. 16r; C - Crusaders slaughter Muslims of Antioch, f.49v. The sabres given to the Muslim defenders of Shayzar (A) are among the most accurate Christian portrayals of such weapons. The thickening of the blades towards the tips is exaggerated but the lack of pommels and one curved hilt show a genuine knowledge of Islamic sabres. Godefroy's standard-bearer during the First Crusade (B) seems to wear a war-hat, while two of the Crusaders in Antioch (C) clearly carry oval shields.

745A-L Histoire Universelle, Kingdom of Jerusalem, c.1286
(British Library, Ms. Add. 15268, London, England)

A - Scythian women besiege their enemies, f. 101 v; B - Club of Joseph's brother, f.48r; C - Mace of Goliath, f. 104; D-E - Soldiers of Nimrod, f. 16r; F-G - Frontispiece, f. 1 v; H - Bow of Amazon, f. 123r; I - Soldiers of Nimrod, f. 71 r; J - Trojan or Greek warrior, f. 105v; K - Athenian in sea battle, f. 136v; L - Soldier of Alexander, f.208r. Another manuscript from the school of Acre shows an interesting mixture of Western European, Byzantine and Islamic influences in both the style of painting and the military equipment it illustrates. The siege by Scythian women and their menfolk (A) portrays the latter as heavy cavalry with round or flat-toppled great helms, swords, and normal kite-shaped shields. The women; plus one man, are shown as sappers or infantry with an axe and three pickaxes. The defenders have bows, crossbows, an axe, and assorted rocks. They wear mail hauberks with or without mittens and have brimmed chapel-de-fer war-hats or close-fitting -round helmets, both made of two pieces joined along the crown. One defender also has what looks like 4 stiffened or scale-covered collar of a type seen elsewhere in the manuscript (E and J). Such collars were to become a feature in late 13th and 14th century Byzantine and Balkan art. They may also represent Byzantine influence in this manuscript. Two forms of club (B) or mace (C) are portrayed, the latter perhaps having a knobbed iron head. The followers of Nimrod (D, E and I) also seem to indicate strong Byzantinfe influence. Two guardsmen (D and E) even have splinted upper-arm protections, in one case apparently fastened to a coat-of-plates (D) which has rivets on the chest. In a second case they are fastened to a second mail jerkin (E). Another figure (D) also has an archaic splinted skirt and a long-sleeved mail hauberk with mittens under his perhaps fanciful coat-of-plates. His mail coif is likely to have been separate, while the second guard (E) has a coif and a collar which is not of mail. Both men wear mail chausses and carry small round shields. Their brimmed helmets are similar but not identical in construction. The second guard carries a sword which is barely tapering, blunt-tipped, and somewhat archaic. Many of these features are shown, in a simpler form, being worn by others of Nimrod's soldiers (I). A simple mail coif and brimless helmets of two-piece construction, some with a raised comb, are also seen. A Greek or Trojan (J) is in a similar mould, with a perhaps scale-covered or splinted collar. Such collars are unlikely to have been totally fanciful as similar systems would appear in early 14th century Europe. An Athenian warrior (K) has a strange mixture of influences in his armour. His upper-arm protections are a Byzantine convention but his long-sleeved mail hauberk, small shield, acutely tapering sword and either flat-topped helmet or coif worn over a squared arming cap, are all typically Western European. A small degree of Islamic influence may be seen in the archer who uses a thumb-draw (F), in a recurved bow (H), and in the (...)

749A-K Histoire Universelle, Kingdom of Jerusalem, late 13th century
(Bib. Munic., Ms. 562, Dijon, France)

A - Army of Porus of India, f. 190; B-C - Army of Porus of India, f. 172v; D-E - Spears of Amazons and of Alexander, f.86v; F-G -Soldiers of Joseph in Egypt; f.57; H - Story of Troy, f.89v; I-K -Soldiers of Alexander (?). Most of the figures in this manuscript are dressed and equipped in European style. The exceptions are the 'Indians' (A-C) who, with their maces (A), small convex round shields (A-C), tiraz bands around some sleeves (B) and an emphasis on archery (B-C), are clearly based on Muslim prototypes. The same might be true of the spear pepnons or streamers of the Amazons (D), which are in clear contrast to the triangular pennons of Alexander's men (E). A mounted knight (K) is in up-to-date European style, even including plate poleyns. Two other great helms have plumes or streamers attached (I-J). Infantry are in heraldically-striped helmets and surcoats (F and H). Both also have raised and presumably stiffened collars on their mail hauberks. One shield appears to be a foreshortened oval type (F). The second infantryman has an extremely interesting and very early representation of a basilard dagger on his hip. No belt is shown, but such a dagger would presumably have been hung from a belt by cords, as commonly seen in early 14th century European sources.

750A-O History of Outremer, Kingdom of Jerusalem, c.1280
(M.E. Saltykov-Shchredin State Public Library, Ms. Fr. fol.v.IV.5, St Petersburg, Russia)

A - Siege of Damietta, f.166r; B - Attack on Shayzar, f.129r; C-E -Siege of Maarat al-Numan, f.45r; F - Siege of Tyre, f. 103r; G - Siege of Antioch, f. 18v; H-I - First Crusade, f. l0v; J - Siege of Antioch, f.27r; K-O - Capture of Antioch, f.36r. The Leningrad copy of the History of Outremer is one of the earliest and finest of late 13th century manuscripts from the school of Acre. It shows considerable knowledge of Islamic arms and armour, even to the extent of showing a kind of large saddlecloth of a type which found no parallel in 13th-century Western Europe (B). Muslim troops correctly wield heavy, winged maces (B), carry round shields (B and J), and have turbans wound around presumed conical helmets (C and L). Elsewhere they have possibly fluted helmets (D), brimmed hats or war-hats (D), low or tall conical helmets without turbans (J and K), and mail coifs (C and K). The Crusaders use mail hauberks with integral mittens (B, H and J), mail coifs (H and M), and mail chausses (B and H-J). Some have presumably padded cuisses over their mail chausses (B, I and J). Skull-cap cervellieres or low-domed round helmets appear (H and M), but the most common helmet is the fully developed great helm (A, B, J and O), usually with an angled front profile. Most of these also have a clearly defined plume holder or ventilation hole on top, though no plumes are actually shown. Swords are tapering with curved quillons (B and N), and a crossbowman is shown with what looks like an early example of a loading-hook on his belt (H). Two interesting siege machines are illustrated. One is a small, man-powered mangonel mounted on a pole with attachments for three ropes (G). A second is an extraordinary device mounted on, a substantial frame, with what looks like a loading winch in the front F). Given the accuracy of other pictures in this manuscript, it seems unlikely that the artist has simply forgotten to draw the other end of the beam sling, so perhaps this machine is operated by torsion power in some way which was either unclear to him or is unclear to the modern observer. The closest equivalent to this device seems to be an engine somewhat crudely drawn on an Iranian ceramic plate some fifty years earlier.

751 Seal of Baldwin I, Latin Emperor of Constantinople 1204-5
(now lost, after Schlumberger, Sigillographie de I'Orient Latin)

Various features of this otherwise typical European seal are worthy of note. Attached to the symbolic crown-helmet is a face-covering visor, while the sword is of the new thrustipg and regularly tapering type. Although the mittens appear to be separate, such a feature is not normally seen in the early 13th century and might simply be the artist neglecting to add stylised 'squiggles' to indicate mail.

752 Seal of Henry I, Latin Emperor of Constantinople, early 13th century
(Bib. Nat., Cabinet des Medailles, Paris, France)

At first glance this seal seems very similar to that of Baldwin I (fig.751). The sword similarly tapers to a point and the hand is either unmailed or has a glove made of a different material. The shield appears to be of a small, somewhat Byzantine kite-shaped variety, but it is the helmet which demands attention. It clearly has a crest or plume. Such an idea is unknown in Western Europe at this time and probably reflects Byzantine or archaic Roman symbolism. The helmet also appears to have a form of chin-guard around the face. This could be a frame to support a face-mask or it could be another unrealistic artistic convention. Somewhat similar frames around the face are occasionally seen in 13th-century Western Europe but even here their interpretation and real purpose remain uncertain. If it was not for the plume or crest such a piece of headgear could be regarded as an arming cap.

753 Seal of John II of Ibelin, Lord of Beirut, County of Tripoli, 1261
(Archivio di Stato, Venice, Italy)

This seal from the Crusader States is completely European in style. The rider's helmet is either a flat-topped great helm with a single eye-slit or perhaps a flat-topped helmet with a rectangular face-mask. His surcoat has pointed shoulders indicating either padding or a semi-rigid cuirie worn beneath. His sword is tapering with a relatively acute tip.

754A-D Icon of St George, Crusader (?) Greece, 13th century
(Byzantine Museum, inv. 89, Athens, Greece)

A-C - Soldiers in Passion scenes; D - St George. The warriors on this icon are probably dressed in 13th century Byzantine style, although the icon itself may have been, made either in one of the Crusader States in Greece or in an area under strong Western European influence. Byzantine troops in Greece were reportedly more lightly equipped than their Crusadeir foes. The minor figures (A-C) wear round or slightly pointed chape-de-fer war-hats and short-sleeved mail hauberks. In one instance (A) a sleeveless mail jerkin, painted gold in the original, is worn over the sleeved hauberk. The larger figure of St George (D) has a standard European type of shield and a blue-painted short-sleeved mail hauberk. Over this, but under his cloak, he has a shorter, brown-painted garment with split sleeves. This could indicate a leather-covered coat-of-plates, a stylised piece of 'Roman' armour, or some other unidentified garment.

755 Icon of St Nicholas from Church of St Nicholas tis steyis, Crusader Kingdom of Cyprus, late 13th century
(Makarios Foundation, Nicosia, Cyprus)

St Nicholas' armour consists of a mail hauberk with fingered mittens, mail chausses, and maybe a padded surcoat with squared shoulders. A small and perhaps symbolic great helm is added just ahead of the figure, while on his head he might wear a round helmet with a nasal. The face has, of course, been disfigured.

756A-B Icons, Crusader States (?), 13th century
(Monastery of St Catherine, Sinai, Egypt)

These saints are dressed in traditional and even archaic armour. One may be identified as St Theodore Tyro 'the Recruit' (B), the third of the great soldier saints of the Middle East after Sts George and Demetrius. The equipment of another (A) can almost certainly be dismissed as fanciful, but that of St Theodore (B) has a new splinted or scale-covered 'collar' which was not seen in earlier Byzantine art. His cuirass may also be intended as a quilted form of armour.

757 Icon of the Virgin Mary, Crusader Kingdom of Cyprus, c.1300
(Makarios Foundation, Nicosia, Cyprus)

The story of the Dominican or Carmelite Order is illustrated on the smaller panels of this icon. The arms and armour are typically European except that the shields are either very small kite-shaped types of early Byzantine form or small round bucklers.

758 Icon of St Sergius, Crusader States, late 13th century
(Monastery of St Catherine, Sinai, Egypt)

This well preserved icon of the Syrian warrior St Sergius is believed to have been made in one of the Crusader States. It is basically Byzantine in style but includes very accurate representations of Middle Eastern military equipment. In this context it should be noted that the nomads of the Middle East traditionally regarded Sergius as their patron saint. Here he wears a short-sleeved mail hauberk without any head or leg protection. His shield is round and he rides in the bent-leg position, despite having a Western-style high saddle with a raised cantle and pommel. His archery equipment is an accurately shown mixture of Turkish, Mamluk Egyptian and possibly Mongol styles, but it does not appear to have been fully understood by the artist, who neglected to include the straps that would have led from the upper-rear side of the quiver to the belt. A smoothly recurved bow is in a bowcase on the saint's left hip.

759 Fragment of a sgraffito-ware ceramic dish from al-Mina, Principality of Antioch (?), early 13th century
(Hatay Museum, Antakya, Turkey)

The style is Arab-Islamic but the dish's provenance suggests that it might have been made within the Crusader States. It could, however, equally well have been imported. Its subject appears to be a mailed horseman, probably hunting with a hawk on his wrist. His horse appears to be covered with an Islamic style one-piece caparison or bard, with a portion cut out behind the stirrups.

760 Fragment of Aldrevandini-style enamelled glass, Crusader States, Cyprus or Venice, late 13th/early 14th centuries
(Museum of London, inv. 134-190-1982, London, England)

The origins of the pieces of a glass beaker in a style known as Aldrevandini, excavated in London in 1982, remain unclear. One fragment shows a man on horseback with a flat-topped shield and probably a lance. On his head is a hat, turban or helmet with a long plume. Both the technique and the subject are very similar to early 14th century Mamluk enamelled glass but the pictorial style is, of course, very different.
  1. R.C. Smail, Crusading Warfare, 1097-1193 (Cambridge, 1956), pp. 120-3, 130-3, 156-7and201-2;J. Prawer, The Crusaders' Kingdom (New York, 1972), pp.327 and 341-2; J. Beeler, Warfare in Feudal Europe, 730-1200 (Ithaca 1971), p. 144, Gontamine, loc.cit.
  2. R.C. Smail, 'Crusaders' Castles in the Twelfth Century', The Cambridge Historical Journal vol.X (1951), p. 148; J. Riley-Smith, The Feudal Nobility and the Kingdom of Jerusalem 1174-1277 (London, 1973), pp.28-9.
  3. Richard, op.cit. pp.284-5.
  4. Smail, Crusading Warfare, op.cit. pp. 110-11.
  5. N. Elisseeff, Nur al Din: un Grand Prince Musulman de Syrie au temps des Croisades (Damascus, 1967), p.732.
  6. J.F. Verbruggen, The Art of Warfare in Western Europe during the Middle Ages (Oxford 1977), pp.115-16.
  7. Verbruggen, op.cit. p.93.
  8. Prawer, op.cit. p.219; Smail, Crusading Warfare, op.cit. pp.52-3; Richard, op.cit. pp. 140-2 and 366; D.C. Douglas, The Norman Fate, 1100-1154 (London, 1976), p. 184;J. Laurent, Etudes d'Histoire Armenienne (Louvain, 1971), pp. 145-6; C.J, Yarnley, Byzantine Relations with the Armenians in the Eleventh Century, with Special Reference to Cilicia (B.Litt. thesis, Oxford University, 1972), p. 149.
  9. Smail, Crusading Warfare, op.cit. pp. 111-12, Prawer, op.cit. pp. 109 and 140.
  10. H.E. Mayer, The Crusades (Oxford, 1972), p.164.