Wednesday, April 1, 2009
the very beginning of Polish Hussaria belongs entirely to the Balkan Serbian warriors already known as hussars (for almost a hundred years prior to their coming to Poland).
They came to the Polish Kingdom, at the end of the 15th century, in search of military employment and probably somewhat of a easier life, and our Polish Kingdom did offer these noble refugees from the Turkish-Hungarian-Habsburg wars of the 15th century plenty of religious freedom and economic prosperity...
They carried 3 meters long, light lances with small pennons, Balkan shields, oriental and Hungarian sabres, and presumably war axes and 'klevets' or war hammers. They used light Balkan, Turkish and Hungarian saddles, peculiar round stirrups, curb bits and long 'czaprak' (large and often richly decorated textile horse blanket or 'shabraque') to cover their horse back, sides, and hindquarters.
Polish-Serbian hussars can be seen in action circa AD 1514 in this very large 1530s painting from the Polish National Museum in Warsaw, you can take at look at the painting here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Battle_of_Orsha_(1514-09-08).jpg
The painting depicts the first Polish-Lithuanian victory over a huge Muscovite army near Orsha on the Dniepr River (now Bielarus), one of three battles that took place at Orsha in the first half of the 16th century.
During the next 50-70 years hussars acquired full armor, larger horses, longer and heavier lances, shishak (Turkish style) helmets, leopard, bear, wolf and lion pelts to cover themselves and their horses, and plenty of eagle, ostrich, falcon etc feathers.