Friday, March 29, 2013

Daily sketch

a sketch in MyPaint of a Roman officer or a decurion.
He is obviously missing his weapons and boots, also details of his helmet etc; but playing with that part of his equipment I will save for the next time

Timetrotter - these guys from Germany are awesome Roman reenactors . I think they were using Camarague or Iberian horses in these videos.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Daily Sketch

 Semana Santa or Wielki Tydzień is upon us, and in the spirit of Christian love and sharing, allow me to share with you a sketch of a horse in MyPaint.

Interesting links here   - Cavalry bits by Ken Bray and Don Murphy and Curb chains with Dennis Moreland  -  remeber! usage of these bits is all about the rider's hands and touch, with tons of experience and the horse has to be trained to it, so from hackamore/cavesson or snaffle bit to curb bit. Yes, it is historic, it is time consuming and when properly used on a highly trained mount, your friend mind you, it can look and work amazingly - say old Vaqueros liked Ed Connell. But improper handling of the reins on a horse not trained for it  can spoil the horse's mouth, not to mention the potential injury to the animal.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sarmatian horse

Sarmatian riders became famous because of their contact with the Classical world, mainly the Romans and their empire. Being nomadic dwellers of the Panonian, Pontic and Caspian steppes they had to have some good, well trained horses to be able to carry their riders against their enemies while often heavily armoured and armed, at least the elite warriors.

 We know from  Strabo that they rode geldings, having castrated their colts. Strabo wrote that their horses were ''small, but exceedingly fast'' but ''difficult to control'' (for the Romans, I suppose).

Were the Sarmatian horses large, like the alleged Nisayan? Well, it does not appear to have been so, at least not from the sources, as evidenced by Starbo's description, or from the famous Trajan Column in Rome, where their horses are the same size as the Roman cavalry mounts. But they must have been strong and stout to be able to carry their bardings (scale armor) 

  Above a wikipedia photo of the pertinent section of the Trajan Column.

           In Roman work titled ''Historiae Augustae,'' a collection of biographies of the Roman emperors from Hadrian to Carinus, we have an interesting story involving  a reputedly fast Sarmatian (Alan) horse and  emperor Probus (Ad 276-282), :

   ''Once, indeed, when a horse was found among the booty taken from the Alani or some other nation — for this is uncertain — which, though not handsome or especially large, was reputed, according to the talk of the captives, to be able to run one hundred miles in a day and to continue for eight or ten days, all supposed that Probus would keep such a beast for himself. 

But first he remarked, "This horse is better suited to a soldier who flees than to one who fights,"  and then he ordered the men of the put their names into an urn, that the one drawn by lots should receive the horse.  Then, since there were in the army four other soldiers named Probus, it so chanced that the name of Probus appeared on the lot that first came forth, though the general's name had not been put into the urn.

And when the four soldiers strove with one another, each maintaining that the lot was his, he ordered the urn to be shaken a second time. But a second time, too, the name of Probus came forth; and when it was done for the third and the fourth time, on the fourth time also there leaped forth the name of Probus.  Then the entire army set apart that horse for Probus their general, and even those very soldiers whose names had come forth from the urn desired it thus.'' [David Magie's translation]

Finally,  we also know that emperor Hadrian had an Alan steed, used for hunting (thus a hunter), and he was called Borysthenes Βορυσθένης (Greek name for river god of Scythia and the Dnieper River). The name and information about this hunting horse survived because it was inscribed on its tomb at Apt, near Nimes, in present day France.
 I have copied the poem, so pretty soon I will provide the entire poem with an appropriate drawing, gods willing - :)

I did this drawing on MyPaint, and this is a Sarmatian horse, that bears a tamga{owner's brand marking] on its hindquarters, a notched ear also indicated his owner, and perhaps it belongs to the Bosporan Kingdom horseman ( a Sarmatian monarchy mixing Greek, Roman and Sarmatian elements since the rule of king Asupurgus ), and his equipment is a mix of Roman and Sarmatian tack, and while his tail is tied in the steppe manner his mane is not crenellated.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Steppe rider - daily sketch

 just wanted to share with you a sketch of the Eurasian Steppe rider - perhaps a Polovetz (Cuman), prior to the Mongol blitzkrieg of XIII century - astride a tall blood horse purchased, given or stolen from the southern lands (south of Cumania), perhaps Persia (Khwarezmid Empire) or from the Karakhanids or the Seljuks.
I hope to write and sketch some more Polovetz riders, both men and female -
for examples see dr Nicolle book on the Kalka River battle and the watercolours by Victor Korolkov in there. 

I did it entirely in MyPaint :)

my Wacom Intuos4 tablet is malfunctioning and perhaps it will declare itself 'finito' any moment soon, so be forewarned I will put here some pen and ink drawings :) etc. Since Intuos5 is nothing to brag about, I may purchase the new Wacom Cintiq tablet that is coming out this April, we shall see...

 Easter is coming fast, this being La Semana Santa; hence we arrived at the moment when one needs to paint some eggs and .... do some travelling, astride a mechanical herd of horses.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Daily drawing - Silesian noble and chart polski

 as tradition demands a MyPaint sketch of a XVI century Silesian noble with a chart polski.   Going along my point of interest, i.e., cattle driving accross Polish Crown and Silesia into Germany, then the  old Piast cities of Wrocław and Świdnica were big cattle markets for the Polish oxen, and later in XVIII century also horses.

Silesian nobility, with their roots deep  in the Piast Poland while augmented with the blood of German and Bohemian nobility of the Holy Roman Empire, was often seeking employment with the Polish Crown and her magnates, although as often fought against the Polish Crown, especially under their own Piast dukes during the later Middle Ages and later in the employment of their Hapsburg emperors, eg battle of Byczyna. The most famous Silesian nobleman who achieved great fame and success in Poland during XVI century was this great knight and military lord Bernard Pretwicz, "Wczele"  coat of arms,  known in Poland as Murus Podoliae and Terror Tartarorum. One day I would like to write more about his numerous deeds, amongst them there is a legend of unicorn's horn.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A winged hussar - daily sketch

Salve friends,

 a MyPaint sketch of a XVI century winged hussar, could be Hungarian or Polish, with a sketch of a anima armor/armour  - has a nice discussion on the subject 
The discussion includes some input from my friend and young scholar Samuel Bena who is doing some great research into the history of the early winged hussars.

Have a nice day

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Polish cowboys during early modern history

I have always been interested in the American West and the cowboys (the ones from Latin America, especially from Mexico where cowboys or vaqueros started on the American continent, being transplanted there from Spain), and while reading about their history often thought about our own Polish herdsmen that worked the cows, oxen and bulls from XIV century until mid XIX century.

Hence I have been doing some research, also using my favorite net forum for Polish history, and it appears that the trade in Polish Kingdom cattle and horses between Polish Kingdom and later Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth  and the German Empire(Hapsburg possessions) and further German countries was quite huge at times.  The cows, oxen and later horses were herded along the so called ''Via Regia'' (Royal Road) that run  from Kiev in Polish-Lithuanian Kingdom through  Lviv, Cracow, Wroclaw(Silesia), Gorlitz, Leipzig, Erfurt, Frankfurt au Main all the way to  Santiago de Compostela in Spain (thus being nowadays  el Camino de Santiago).
Old Kievian city of Kiev but more importantly  Polish royal city of Lviv were connected with the Black Sea ports and with the old Silk Road that ended on there (the Silk Road was supplanted by the sea trade during the Age of Discoveries in XVI century); Lviv merchants conducted brisk trade with the Danube principalities, Moldavia and Transylvania, Crimean Khanate and the great empire of the Ottoman Turks.
There was also a branch that run across the Duchy of Lithuanian lands into the Rus republic of  Novgorod (until Ivan IV obliterated the republic), and the herds coming from there met in central Poland, perhaps near Sieradz to proceed to Cracow and then west.
We know that in the Borderlands of Polish-Lithuanian Kingdom the cattle herdsmen were called ''czabanowie'' (sing. ''czaban'') that were known for their wildness and half-barbaric state; many Tatars, fugitives  from the inside of Poland, Hungarians, Turks, Ruthenians and many others could have become these herdsmen.  Interestingly enough the cattle driving was so profitable that all levels of Polish-Lithuanian society were involved, from the richest magnates through the enterprising peasants.

The cattle they were herding and driving west was the long horned grey Podolian cow and perhaps the red Ruthenian/Polish cow, and also the grey cows of the Hungarians. More about them in the future.

Grey Podolian oxen was the most demanded type of the cattle, and during XVI and early XVII centuries every year some 40,000 oxen were herded and driven across Polish borders into Silesia, south into Bohemia  and west to the German countries.
I should mention that horse trade was also brisk but trading in horses, especially stallions and geldings, was regulated in XVI through XVII centuries, but in XVIII century Poland supplied countless horses to all armies of Continental Europe.
This cattle and horse trade along Via Regia ceased in 1840s, when the construction of transcontinental rail system made the cattle driving obsolete.

I sketched this horseman after a painting by Jozef Brandt. I  imagined that our Polish 'czaban' or cowboy was armed with a lance since it was a very useful tool to be used from the saddle to prod the oxen and cows along; we should not forget that also our  Polish cavalry was very skilled with lance and even earlier the Tatars and other nomads of the steppe used lances and wooden poles from horseback to prod cattle (and a lasso to capture horses and smaller cattle), while in Spain the doma vaquera used (and still uses) lances to help herding cattle. In Mexico, when cattle herding was introduced in XVI century the vaqueros did herding and driving  using  a long lance.
Although we also know that the Hungarian cowboy or ''Csikós'' also used extensively a large whip along with a lasso, so perhaps our  czaban used many other instruments of control.

Well, this is the very beginning of my research into this subject and I shall come back with some more findings as my research will progress.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hussaria on History TV

my friend and winged hussars re-enactor Rik Fox Suligowski appeared in this episode of ''Museum Secrets'' by History Television Canada .

This episode is interesting to me also because Rik did the sound experiment regarding the feather wings, measuring the level of noise made by the wings, in order to find whether the feathered wings made specific noise that might have scared horses, as it was claimed by some foreign visitors in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth during  XVII century.

Rik found, by the way of sound recording equipment,  that the feathered wings made no discernible noise, but  wings alone, when seen by the horses unaccustomed to them, might have caused some horses to get  nervous and  spooky, even unmanageable.

Yet again Rik's experiment showed the role of the long lance (''kopia") with a fluttering long pennon and  of the wild animal pelt flying off the winged hussar shoulders - and clearly we can see that these pieces of winged hussar equipment  made what was the most important  psychological weaponry in the Polish hussaria arsenal; weaponry successfully used  against the enemy infantry and cavalry,i.e., a rider and his horse, for some 150 years (starting with the battle of Lubieszow AD 1577 and ending during the Great Northern War)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Daily horseman

I have been drawing and reading about Byczyna battle AD 1588, hence this MyPaint sketch of a XVI century reiter.

Western Horseman Magazine has this video of Richard Caldwell explaining the spade bit, a form of curb-bit associated with the Californio horsemen and since XIX century popular with the American Western horsemen, vaqueros, buckaroos and cowboys.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Daily sketch

 just a quick sketch - ballpen, white & black acrylic paint and resizing with GIMP - of a horse in a Western horsemanship, here from reining

I like to watch videos showing different stages of training and then play with the horse, this summer will be playing with a 3 years old Quarterhorse/Arabian  filly; anyway, here  one of the trainers - Larry Trocha  part 1, I bought 2 videos from him, and may travel to visit his place in California next year or so, God willing :)

!we got a new Pope - habemus papam!

-Jorge Mario Bergoglio a cardinal from Argentina - vivat los hispanos!

 A discovery,  in Tel Haror, then a town in Canaan  and  now in present Israel, of a  donkey, perhaps sacrificed and  then buried circa 1700BC, with a bit in its mouth and saddle bags ...;  article about war in Canaan during the early 18th  Dynasty

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Daily sketch

Salve friends,
 a quick sketch, first in ballpen and then manipulated using MyPaint and Gimp
Subject - Polish, Turkish or Hungarian XVII century horse with its tack, note the curb-bit with its long cheekpieces/shanks taken from a Transylvanian example from 1600s.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Sassanian bridle - sketch

 I have been writing, from time to time, about the Sassanians and their horse tack , e g in this post.

 The above sketch shows my attempt  of a generalized appearance of such bridle, one of   possible variations in the bridle arrangement of this Sassanian horse - the plate shows a royal personage hunting.    Interestingly the forelock is not tied as customary on the Persian horses, it appears to have been just trimmed.   I will post my copy of this plate next time.
Metal horse head from Kerman, showing the bridle, perhaps a combination of a metal bit and a cavesson/hackamore

My sketch was done with MyPaint

Khoda hafez :)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Daily sketch

Salve friends,
 keep up with my blog's new tradition :) I am throwing in a quick MyPaint sketch I did today - sort of digital watercolor - of a mustang horse from Colorado -Sand Wash Basin Herd Management Area - 
here and here (and many other sites if you search for them) great photos of these wild horses.

 Please note that I am not throwing in a link to Wikipedia here, as I am in a rather strong, to put it mildly, disagreement with or I should say in opposition to the information presented there.

More of horse anatomy from Kentucky

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Daily drawing

nice pre-spring day is upon us and here I come with another of my daily drawings/sketches. This time I am showing here  an American West subject - a vaquero riding his  range ''pardner' and using a spade curb bit and jaquima (hackamore) at the same time.. This was a pen drawing and I used GIMP to manipulate a bit this sketch

For all those that do sculpting horses or wanting to learn horse anatomy (for drawing, sculpting or painting, or perhaps their quine studies anatomy class) this presentation by Jeff Wolf is a great tool in itself and I think his resin models are rather required, but then my opinion in this matter will be  subjected to  the famous Latin saying - de gustibus et coloribus non disputandum est.
Horse head skeleton anatomy explained - by the University of Kentucky Roberta Dwyer

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Daily sketch

 keeping up the new plan for more drawings, here is another set of sketches -

this one is based on sculpted metal figures originally adorning  the casket of Crown grand hetman Stanisław Żółkiewski who died fighting at Cecora in 1620 AD. The figurines are incomplete and are treasured at the Czartoryski Dukes Museum in Cracow, Poland.

Above here is my copy of the sculpted horse from the casket, showing a typical winged hussar horse tack - curb bit, bridle with a halzbant or small horse tug,  a tall, deep saddle, heavy stirrups, shabraque covering the horse, breastplate with a horse tug, and a firearm in a leather holster attached to the saddle.
Below a rather loose, but more finished (ink on paper, slight manipulation with GIMP) drawing based on it:

and one incomplete drawing

There are more figurines from this collection and I will revisit them in the future

Master sculptor David Lemon, on his blog and on youtube, sculpts horses and talks about it - I greatly recommend these videos to all who like art, American West, and horses :)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Daily drawing

Salve Friends,
 I am going to start a 'new activity' on my blog, apart from the  usual sketches, drawings, paintings and smaller or bigger talk on horses, history, historic horsemanship and chivalry etc.
My plan is to show as frequently ad possible and perhaps at least 4-5 days a week a new drawing or sketch or some other image done my own hand. Well, fingers crossed because AUDACES FORTUNA IUVAT  the ancient Romans used to say  ( Fortune favors the brave. Virgil, Aeneid 10, 284)  .
I am saddled, so to speak, so let us start right away today :)

... a sketch of a XVI century Polish (Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth) or Hungarian horseman I did  with a German fountain pen on paper, photographed and then manipulated via MyPaint watercolor brushes (by deevad aka David Revoy - many thanks)

.... and the same digitalized  sketch treated with GIMP cartoon filter

The sketch is but a sketch so it is obviously not a finished drawing/digital watercolor
Nota bene I have been looking at Medieval manuscripts available on the German and French libraries sites and I wish you to inform you that I will share with you what I have been finding