Friday, January 18, 2019

Nowa ksiazk o husarii dr Sikora

Salvete Omnes,
w grudniu 2018 pisałem o nowej książce imć pana Radka Sikory.
I oto mamy - parę dni temu wyszła rzeczona nowa praca - pierwsze recenzje: lubimy czytac &  video Historia Bez Cenzury.
W książce znajdziecie wiele ilustracji, w tym moje ilustracje, i zdjęć grafik, obrazów, obiektów muzealnych i przede wszystkim rekonstruktorów husarii, całe tabuny ciekawostek i źródłowych cytatów.
Ta dosc obszerna praca jest popularno-naukowym dziełem, ergo możne służyć i być bardzo dobrym wprowadzeniem do tematyki husarii dla czytelników dopiero rozpoczynających żeglowanie po oceanie historii tejże formacji kawaleryjskiej.

Ponizej parę stron z tej książki:

moja iluminacja strony spisu treści

moja dawny rysunek , iluminacja spisu treści

to moja ilustracja husarskiego pocztu trzykonnego - na stronie 249 -  podobno pierwsza taka rekonstrukcja w historii badań nad husarią. Robię historie - :)

Valete & Khoda Hafez*

* perskie pożegnanie - :)

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Jean-Léon Gérôme and horses

Salvete Omnes,
Napoleon Bonaparte and Sphinx 

just a quick entry - one of my most favorite artists of the Academic movement from France - Jean-Leon Gerome.
I used to have a very large album of his works, but it got lost somewhere during the years, so with help from  Wiki Commons we can get a glimpse into his equestrian art.

I would like to bring to your attention his equestrian sculptures -
maestro Gerome did a very powerful sculpture of Timur aka Tamerlane, but I cannot find any image on the Net. 
Henri d'Orleans




Sunday, January 13, 2019

Jan II Kazimierz White Eagle from 1649

king in chainmail and karwasze (vambrace)

Salvete Omnes,
 perusing Polish FBC (digital libraries)  I came across a publication, at the Lower Silesia library, of an elaborate panegyric  titled Primum Tributum Rei Literariae [...] Joanni Casimiro Polonorum [entire title here] from 1649 dedicated
Jan II Kazimierz coronation

to our new king Jan II Kazimierz of the Vasa Royal House.
Add caption

Nota bene this new king was elected amidst the Zaporozhian Cossacks rebellion and the rebels allied with the Crimean Tatar invasion of the central provinces, in short entire realm calamities abounded.
 Thus not a small role was played by the rebels leader hetman Bohdan Chmielnicki who influenced the election of this scion of the Jagiellon, Vasa and Hapsburg houses.
Kings's reign was nothing but conflicts, wars,  invasions (infamous Deluge )and eventually more rebellion. But this took place later, the post-election period was full of hope and expectations. He truly was a warrior king, and his life was full of contradictions, including being a prisoner in France' famous cardinal Richelieu (perhaps pour future king met the the Three Musketeers - :) ), and after his abdication a quest of honour at the French court of Louis XIV.

Jan Kazimierz French prison 1638-40AD

In this short volume there is a beautiful full page illumination, at the inception of this publication, showing the White Eagle with the coats of arms of all provinces and states under our king's rule (Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth - including the Ducal Prussia- and parts of Silesia).

simplified Vasa coat of arms with withy on the chest of White Eagle

Friday, January 11, 2019

The New Achilles - a new novel

Salvete Omnes,
I have been reading novels by Christian Cameron for a while now.
In the past I enjoyed his series Tyrant (Scythia and wars of diadochoi, and I do hope for more books in the series) and the Killer of Man series(Persian Wars).
I read yesterday that pan Christian is about to publish a new novel taking place in ancient Hellas - The New Achilles.

This is going to be the story of well forgotten Hellenic commander Philopoemen.
 I am looking forward to read this novel - it is not typical to see Hellenistic Greece in the English language novel -  even if our esteemed author is 'furiously anit-Spartan.' We have novels of Mrs Helena Schrader to give us a different view of ancient Sparta.
I expect good storytelling, plenty of adventure and a feel of ancient warriorship all by  Christian's skilled pen work.
Being in my usual critical mode, I just wish that they cover would reflect the ancient pottery techniques - red-figure, black-figure or white-ground ones. 
Here is link to Plutarch on this great warrior -
His skill as warrior, horseman, cavalry armament and actual fighting as described by Plutarch(6.3) during a battle under king Antigonus III Doson of Macedon against Spartan Cleomenes III (one of my favorite ancient heroic and tragic figures) :

Philopoemen was stationed among the Macedonian cavalry with his own fellow-citizens […] 
he took matters into his own hands, formed his fellow-citizens into a wedge, and 
charged upon the enemy. [4] At first the light-armed troops were thrown into confusion, 
then put to rout with great slaughter. And now Philopoemen, wishing to encourage 
still further the king's troops and bring them swiftly upon the enemy thus thrown into 
disorder, quitted his horse, and with grievous difficulty forced his way along on foot, 
in his horseman's breastplate and heavy equipment, towards ground that was irregular and 
full of water-courses and ravines. Here he had both his thighs pierced through by 
a thonged javelin. The wound was not fatal, though severe, and the head of the weapon 
came out on the other side. [5] At first, then, he was held fast as by a fetter, and was
 altogether helpless; for the fastening of the thong made it difficult to draw the weapon
back through the wound. But since those about him hesitated to attempt this, and since,
 now that the battle was at its hottest, the ardour of his ambition made him 
impatient to join in the struggle, by moving his legs backward and forward he broke 
the shaft of the weapon in two in the middle, and then ordered each fragment 
to be drawn out separately. [6] Thus set free, he drew his sword and made 
his way through the front ranks against the enemy, thereby greatly animating 
the combatants and inspiring them with a desire to emulate his valour. 
After his victory, therefore, Antigonus put his Macedonians to the question, 
and asked them why, without his orders, they had brought the cavalry into action. [7] 
They defended themselves by saying that they had been forced against their will 
to attack the enemy, because a young man of Megalopolis had first led a charge against
 At this, Antigonus gave a laugh and said: ‘Well, then, that young man behaved
 like a great commander.’

XIX century sculpture
Nota bene Polybius on this battle and Philopoemen.
and Pausanias giving a bit about Philopoemen.

And from Pausanias description, from the linked page above, comes another interesting story of Philopoemen as cavalry commander and horseman:

Going back to Megalopolis, he was at once chosen by the Achaeans to 
command the cavalry, and he turned them into the finest cavalry in Greece.
 In the battle at the river Larisus between the Achaeans with their allies
and the Eleans with the Aetolians,2 who were helping the Eleans on 
grounds of kinship, Philopoemen first killed with his own hand 
Demophantus, the leader of the opposing cavalry, and then turned to 
flight all the mounted troops of Aetolia and Elis.


Sunday, January 6, 2019

Three Kings Day -

Salvete Omnes
so today we have the fine feast day of Magi (Epiphany)- Three Kings and their Adoration of Baby Jesus.
I am mixing some images for this occasion -
so first Adoration piece by one of my favorite painters of all times - Peter Paul Rubens.. housed at the Royal Museum at Antwerp.

Rubens' Adoration

interesting portrayal of a curb-bit and reins - XVII century horsemanship


long-shanks of this curb-bit

and a bit of anachronism  as find below several images of the Parthenon frieze - ancient Athenian cavalcade 'honoring' the Holy Family on this Epiphany feast day.


Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Sparta of Helena Schrader

Salvete Omnes,
my old acrylic illustration of a Spartan - published by Infort Editions in Poland

Dr. Helena Scharder's works figure often in this blog - Kiria (Greek for Mrs) Helena published several articles on Sparta on her blog, including one today - Removing the Roman Mask.

I grew up learning and reading about the famous Spartan king and Spartan values. I used to have a friend in college who is a Spartan Greek (modern).
I made my 'pilgrimage' to Thermopylae in Greece and visited the site of ancient Sparta in modern Peloponnese, Greece.

 So I wholeheartedly welcome Mrs Schrader's research and work, and as it seems usual with her research and analysis she stands against the popular knowledge and opinion, i.e, on the ancient Spartans of the archaic and classical ears.

  Finally I purchased and have started reading her novels devoted to Leonidas (from Amazon). Volume 1 is currently on my reading device - :), while vol. 2 is in the kindle storage, so to speak.
In the past I read not a few novels on the ancient Sparta, some of the written by Polish writers (I used to like the cycle about Agis III to Cleomenes III and the end of the independent Sparta during the Macedonian hegemony of Hellas). Also, if you have not read I strongly encourage you to read the series of historical novels written by Christian Cameron, centered on the Persian Wars - under the title Killer of Men, the story of Arimnestos of Platea.

And always one can read or listen to the Grandfather of History - Herodotos.


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Brand New 2019 - Evgeny Kray nomads

Salvete Omnes,
so we have crossed into 2019 - by by 2018 -:)
I would like to start with a link to quite spectacular page - of Evgeny Kray, Russian illustrator who has been reconstructing the ancient Eurasian nomads.
Here is the link to his VK page (including wall photos  and album showing his drawings based on Scythian kurgan of Kul-Oba artefacts).
a Skithian feast, North Pontic V-IV c BC

above and below some of the plates - with all of quite evident errors in horse anatomy etc   - while the costume and armory is his own reconstruction.
Kimmerian vs Skithian north Caucasus VII c BC
Skithian Amazon warrior - north Pontic IVc BC
Sarmatian - Kuban steppe, III-II c BC
Sarmatina, Filipovka Kurgan
Meothic horseman - Kuban region
Sarmatian from Bosporan Kingdom and a wounded Skithian - III c BC
There are many questions and few answers, but this is one giant step into the visualization of the ancient Eastern European warriors and their horse tack.

Photo by Edward S. Curtis - great American photographer who immortalized the warrior horsemen of the Great Plains
I think , bah, I feel and have felt for a long time there is a connection between the ancient nomads of our Eurasian steppes and the mounted Indians of the Americas. I have been studying both over all these years.

all Skudra images(and description) are copyright of Mr Evgeny Kray.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Dura-Europos - Rostovtzeff report of 1931-32 excavations - horses & tack

Salvete Omnes,
the Old Year is almost done - it was not the easiest one for many, for me the biggest loss was the death of my beloved German Shepherd dog Inka.
Anyway, perusing great I came across several articles and books on the world library site, including  famous professor M. I. Rostovtzeff Report on 1931-32 excavations at Dura-Europos (captured and destroyed  by the Sassanians in AD 256) site in Syria. - curiously the Yale publication was printed in Praha, Czechoslovakia in 1934.

I would like to remind you that one of the best images, attached above, ancient images of the armoured horseman aka clibanarius/cataphractus comes from Dura-Europos (in graffito form) - you can read about the Parthian and Sassanian armor from Dura-Europos in the article by H. Wójcikowski (University of Rzeszow magazine Anabasis 4/2013 - available via academia) or Patryk Skupniewicz, or recent publication from Siedlce University & Azad Univeristy- on the Persian helmets.

 horse archers hunting graffito from Dura-Europos

Horse graffito from Dura Europos - the entire page from the Report - great horse tack and horse conformation information in there.

also professor Simon T. James article on the siege warfare during the siege of Dura-Europos by the Sassanians ( two vplatforms - academia & archive).


I am awaiting a book from D'Amato and Negin team on the Roman Heavy Cavalry, recommended to me by Patryk Skupniewicz. I have seen the plates already, 'published' on Facebook ( nota bene I am somewhat skeptical about the  reconstructions and horses etc), but I am quite curious about the text - I enjoyed their work, separate and joint,  in the past. None of these two authors has some serious knowledge (evident in the images and text made available) about the horses and horse tack, but they are solid on sources and excavated materials - nota bene the plates have some amazing artwork by Negin showing armour, weaponry and Roman emblems etc - now, how they have gone on interpreting them it remains to be seen until I read it.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Powstanie Wielkopolskie 1918-2018 - video - vivat !

Ignacy Paderewski przyjezdza do Poznania

Salvete Omnes,
[in Polish]
Fragment pomnika w Poznaniu

dzisiaj mamy 100 rocznice Powstania Wielkopolskiego, wielkiego zwycieskiego zrywu Wielkopolan (inne wielkie walki powstancze Wielkopolski to 1768-72, 1794, 1806, i  1848).
Powstancza zandarmeria w Krotoszynie

Film dokumentalny na temat powstania
Kurtka i rogatywka, mundur kaprala  1 pulku ulanow wielkopolskich

Galeria na Wiki commons

                                   Vivat! Vivat! Vivat!


Young Medici in Polish costume by Justus Sustermans

Salvete Omnes,
and so it was Christmas AD 2018, sadly it is gone ,  now we shall await  the New Year's coming in less than a week time.
Ferdinando de Medici, Konopiste castle

Just I would like to share with you these three paintings by a Flemish painter Justus Sustermans, showing Ferdinando and Leopoldo de Medici  - their father the ruler of Tuscany died in 1621 AD and brave mother became the regent for oldest son, Ferdinando.

Leopoldo with his mother-the regent
Boys are painted in a contemporary Polish costume, circa 1622.
Here you'll find the story behind the costumes in the paintings.
Leopoldo alone with a sabre and bulawa-mace
The horse tack is very interesting - it reminds me quite a bit of  the  Stockholm Roll winged hussars horse trappings,  while the saddle has some characteristics of the Polish winged hussar saddles, royal gifts to the Tzar,  the collection of the Imperial Moscow Armory (Oruzhennaya Palata).
de Medici horse trappings and winged hussars' ones