Friday, January 28, 2011

Training horses for war XVI century

a quick but very telling image that speaks for itself

training horses for war during the Renaissance, when firearms became part of regular warfare, forcing riders to train their horses  against the equine's natural instincts to run away from fire, smoke, and loud and sudden noise.
 my sketch of late XVI century reiter -with GIMP and Mypaint

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Sketch on the Saka/Scythian theme

it has been a while since i visited the Great Eurasian steppe. So let us return for a few moments, to take a look at the warriors' trophy taking amongst the first horsemen - the Indoeuropean or Iranian tribes of II and I millenia BC - Saka or Scythians  dariocaballeros/2009/08/skudra-irst-horsepeople.html
Ancient chronicler and story teller par excellance, good Greek named  Herodotus reports (4.64) that Scythians scalped and flayed their fallen enemies, using such 'hide' for a a cape, or even a  horse blanket etc. They also used fallen enemy skulls for drinking vessels, once such skull was fashioned into one (a custom carried by many later nomadic chieftains and warriors).
 More detail from this 1829 English translation:

Every Scythian drinks the blood of the first man he overthrows in battle ; and he cute off the heads of all he kills, and carries them to the king; for not until he has brought a head, does be take his share in the booty that may be won. The Scythian scalps a head in this way—he makes a gash round by the ears, and then giving the head a shake, separates it from the skin : having scraped away the flesh with the rib of an ox, he kneads it (the skin) with his hands, and when it is well softened, uses, it as a towel, or attaches it boastfully to the bridle of his horse. He who possesses the greatest number of these towels of skin, is held in the highest honour for valour. Many Scythians sowing these skins together, form cloaks of them, like the leathern hoods worn by shepherds. And many, taking the skins with the nails from the right hand of those they have slain, form with them coverings to their quivers. The human skin is in fact thick; and when tanned, excels almost all other skins in brilliancy and whiteness. Many taking the entire skin of their enemy, and stretching it upon pieces of wood, carry it on horseback.—Such are their customs.
The heads, not indeed all, but those of their greatest enemies, they dispose of in this manner:—They saw off the skull just above the eye-brows, and cleanse it. If the man is poor, he contents himself with stretching over its external surface a piece of bullhide, and so uses it; but the rich Scythian, besides the piece of hide, lines the skull" with gold, and then it serves him for a drinking cup. In this way they serve the heads even of their nearest relatives, if on occasion of some disagreement, they have gained the advantage over them in an appeal to the king. When strangers of any importance visit a Scythian, he produces these skulls— recounts how, though his relatives, they attacked him, and how he vanquished them; and upon such actions they confer the praise of virtue.
Once in every year the governor of each district mingles a cup of wine of which those Scythians only drink who have destroyed enemies; while those who have not achieved so much, taste not the wine, but sit disgraced apart: and this is deemed an extreme ignominy. Those who have slain great numbers quaff a double cup...

Well, lately  I have done a series of sketches showing such ancient custom of headhunting... there is one of them:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Early hussars - 1510-20s

German woodcuts and  printmaking of XVI century contains some most interesting images regarding early hussars and light cavalry development. Masters like Dürer, Burgkmair, and Beham are just a few artist perfecting this craft while working on a project for thrHoly Roman Emperor Maximiliam I.
There are some examples:



  My own little sketch, with a woodcut print insert from a book by XVI century Polish poet and hussar himself Adam Czahrowski, the book titled 'Treny i Rzeczy Rozmaite"
, (author of this famous poem  -  Duma_ukrainna    here sung by Polish famous musician Czeslaw Niemen Niemen Duma , and also performed by historian,  historical music singer and researcher  Jacek Kowalski  jacek_kowalski_duma_ukrainna   ).
Pan Czahrowski, hot-headed and warlike nobleman like many of that turbulent period of last quarter of XVI century, after fighting and losing against the grand hetman Zamoyski's army at Battle_of_Byczyna fled to Hapsburg Hungary and fought there for almost 10 years as a hussar comrade (among others he participated in the defense of fortress of Gran), even wrote a letter about his movable estate pawned with Kosice(then Upper Hungary) merchants.
   Jack Lalanne, French-American  fitness  expert and exercise Titan passed away yesterday at a tender age of 96. I learned a good many  things from his videos and guidance, and I share his love for push-up finger-tip push-ups by Jack -  May you train angels in heaven, Master Jack - Pacem Aeternam!

Friday, January 21, 2011

! Vivat Kielbasa !

 'The Saveur' magazine  announced that 'kielbasa'  is the most delicious of 100  foods selected and thus NUMERO UNO- vivat kielbasa!
My friend Waldi made us some fine Polish kielbasas and  other smoked meats* this season -see the delicious traditional foods :)
on the plate:

 and freshly from the smoke house:

made from the best organic Canadian (Quebecoise ) pork  - :), with organic casing etc.
would like to welcome new followers :)

...and an little quick sketch oil-like digital painting in MyPaint (thanks to all these MyPaint developers, especially Ramon Miranda, tanda, and David  Revoy fine blog and website )

and give links to some fine equine (horse) photography blogs:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A little Morisco curb-bit I

I am preparing some drawings on curb-bits and terminology, and I got this image (woodcut print0 from the Polish-Lithuanian winged hussar Dorohostajski book Hippica  - link in my earlier post

These curb-bits (munsztuk in Polish) - known in Europe as 'morisco,' 'gennette,' 'gineta' between XV-XVIII ( 15-18th) centuries, were know here, in the Americas, as a 'ring bit' or 'mule bit'( US ) and the  chileno or morisco (Spanish Texas, pre-1848 US Southwest and Latin America) bit. Instead of a curb chain it uses a fixed ring (some are removable while others are permanent) attached to the port (short port it should be).

According to a Californio writer and horseman Ed Connell (died in 1970s), it was supposed to be used on a 'finished' horses by experienced riders - check some paintings of Californio riders from early 1800s, I imagine in Puerto Rico, Cuba and Santo Domingo they might have done it too.

It predated spade curb-bit (still popular in the US), and perhaps came to the medieval Spanish horsemanship (in Spain) tradition via Moors hence perhaps the name: 'morisco.' But it could have been developed  from the Roman Newstead-type  bit (as shown in the Ann Hyland's book 'Training the Roman Cavalry'), quien sabe :) (who knows):

In Europe, Africa and Asia it was used for the war horses and parade horses (stallions and geldings alike, and mares where Arabs were involved) - Polish Army Museum has a few of these dated to the XVII century.
Obviously in the Americas it was not a war-stallion bit, but a cow horse bit, especially in the good old US. In California, until the 1930s, was also used on parade horses along with a very elaborate 'barba de freno', the same in Mexico and other Latin America. They still may use it in southern Latin America. This bit was very popular with the Navajo and other US Southwestern tribes during the XVIII and XIX century, and appears in the Southern Cheyenne ledger drawings from the 1870s and 1880s (eg  Arrow's Elk Society Ledger).

It's application - it is no more cruel than any leverage or non-leverage bit when used by inexperienced or heavy-handed rider and when used on untrained horse.

Ed Connell, his book 'The Reinsman,' stated that it took 4 years of training, from snaffle through hackamore to curb-bit, to finish a reinsman's horse, to use this curb-bit correctly.
So I guess at one time there were true 'ecuyers' (master horsemen) in America (especially showmanship 'crazy' cowboys,  Spanish-American and Native American rider), but also regular cowhands who destroyed horses mouths with heavy bits... c'est la vie.

Perhaps it could be beneficial for a student of this subject to read some good books by authors like Spaniards Pedro de Aguilar or Pedro de Machuca (XVI century), French 'ecuyers' Pluvinel and la Gueriniere (XVII and XVIII centuries), Californio reinsmen like Ed Connell, horsemanship specialist like dr Deb Bennett (especially her  explanation here Deb Bennett on morisco or ring bit  - where she states:

"[...] my Mexican bit is kind, your 'mule bit' is unforgiving. I mean here not merely the big shank length, which multiplies the leverage by which the tongue and bars could be crushed, but the angular contour of the tongue-relief -- there IS no tongue relief in the mule bit.This stuff happens when a group of people, a culture, a society, get into a hurry. I state in "Conquerors" how Stephen Austin's colonists, when they came to Texas, rejected the Mexican work-concept -- Mexicans like to work in teams, so that man and horse can expect a little relief every so often;
Anglo-Texans prided themselves on being able to do the whole job alone. This work ethic affected everything from saddle design to the choice of rope and the way the rope was used. The Anglo colonists also preferred a different type of horse than the Mexicans. Whereas the Mexicans rode horses of Iberian descent, i.e. tamed mustangs, Austin's colonists and everybody who came from the East after them, until just before the Civil War, brought Morgans and TB-Morgan crosses. The Easterners expected their horses to be in work between four and six years of age*. They were not at all interested in learning traditional Mexican and Spanish training techniques that not only involved a long preparatory period in the bosal, but might mean the horse wouldn't be bitted until he was six years old or more.
The Anglos wanted control, and thought that the bit was the primary tool for control [...] Anglo thinking along these same lines also produced the 'western curb', which is not really an evolution from the Weymouth which Austin's colonists would already have been familiar with, so much as it is a 'chopping down' of a ring-bit -- i.e. 'chop down' the port so you only have a tongue-relief. You then hybridize that by putting on shanks that have both an upper and lower part (notice that mine has zero upper shank and yours has very little), and removing the ring and replacing that with a curb chain. This much is similar to the development which produced the Spade from the Morisco.
'' )

...or simply peruse 'the Encyclopedia of Bits and Bridles'...
 More to come.... I hope

In Old Poland, pre-1795,  Polish ridding horses were trained circa 4 years old  or later, and 4-6 year old stallion ('ogier') was called 'źrebiec' and was trained for war and chase whereas the older stallion was called a 'drygant,' or  a 'stadnik' if he became a stud horse.
Polish warriors and cavaliers rode stallions and geldings to war and chase, not mares - or so the writers and inventories of warrior's movable estate and testamentary provisions make us believe.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Polish documentary Klushino on youtube

 documentary film on Klushino battle of 1610 and... 2010 :)
 Documentary on Klushiono

Caveat -only in Polish, but still worthwhile where you can see the great footage of 2010 reenactment, people from Russia, Czech Republic, USA and others in Warsaw, Poland

Above, one of my Klushino Polish hussars digital drawings - this time unfinished hussar retainer... need to add a bridle, breastplate and reins etc.

Lucas Mayer woodcuts - 1594 and 1595continued

two more woodcuts by Lucas Mayer

 one showing a 1594 Ottoman Turks versus Christians battle, not very clear copy of a woodcut print, still some Turkish and their foe equipment can be seen

The second one seems to show Polish and Hapsburg forces  - date is shown January 1595, no horses but for the artillery pulling one

Lucas Mayer woodcuts 1595-96 - warfare in Kingdom of Hungary

the subject of today's entry will be woodcuts of a German printmaker named Lucas Mayer who was active in the Holy German Empire  from 1566 through 1606. Amongst many he produced a woodcut showing our king Stephen Bathory as a prince of Transylvania and later as king of Poland-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

First woodcut shows a battle between the armies of Transylvania and Ottoman Turks in August 1595 ( most likely Michael the Brave indecisive (victor had to withdraw) victory over Ottoman commander Sinan Pasha front guard corps - battle of Calugareni where 16000 Wallachians plus 7000 Hungarians and 12 cannons under captain Kiraly bloodied 100000 Turkish force in the Neajlov River  canyon near Bucharest  ), with plenty of detail on each cavalryman dress and armament
Second woodcut shows a battle again between the Transylvania and Ottoman Turks in 1595. with many interesting ways of lance handling - resembling Sarmatian, Roman and medieval 'fechtbuch' techniques.
Third woodcut shows Hungarian army, vassals of the Hapsburgs,  of the 1596 commanded here by Nicolas Palfi  or Palffy Miklos , governor of Gran,  meeting the refuges under army escort, and it is very interesting as amongst other  things,  it shows feathered wings on some of the hussars

Palffy Miklos here in this nice German single leaf woodcut


I am enjoying myself living on the High Plains of US, last weekend we went to to western horse show at the El Paso County Latigo Horse Center , Colorado lost of horses and every level of horsemanship, too bad so few boys and men participate in these equestrian sports; horses and horse sports  seem to be feminine field nowadays, who may know, perhaps for the better :) . Got to see a 1870s  Henry riffle (under restoration), about to buy my first hunting rilfe (as oppose to assault riffle - i am not going hunting, my terrier does it here ) and a nice recurve 50 lbs bow..
Also had a chance to observe  horse shoeing of many different horses, and while at it we, friendly farrier Susan and I, talked -well, Susan  talked and I asked questions mostly - about horse's hoof,  horse breeds and  hooves, mustangs and trimming hooves for crooked and injured legs & feet.
I got myself a US cavalry saddle circa 1917 in not so bad condition, 11 3/4 " seat and hope to have it restored as one of the straps is broken

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Baroque painting - Philips Wouwerman on Polish-Swedish "Deluge'

both at the Hermitage, Russia, and at the National Gallery, UK, there are   painting showing a battle scene between Western soldiers with blue and yellow colors (colors of Swedish army at the time) and somewhat 'oriental' looking cavalrymen. This is perhaps one of a few scenes where our master Wouwerman painted a scene from the Polish-Swedish was known as the Deluge or Second Northern War (1655-60). Perhaps he heard of the exploits of the Stefan Czarniecki division of the Polish army in Denmark, also described by our Polish participant J.Ch. Pasek Polish Baroque memoirs

This is a scene showing a Swedish cavalry outfit-company or squadron - about to lose its color.
With Swedish infantry being attacked and repulsing the charge?

 The Polish cavalrymen carry warhamers and battleaxes, and Wouwerman painted them with  rather short sabers, but we can forgive him :) . There are several distinguished features attributable to Polish Cavalry of the times besides the warhammers and sabres, long lances, red or crimson color of their clothes, entirely fur or fur-trimmed caps with feathers, they appear to use a 'short seat' (shorter stirrup leathers), the same as the 'Polish rider' in the Frick Collection, they use metal (gilded) decorated bridles, throatlatch of  the center grey horse is decorated with a dyed red horse-tug...
More details:

Baroque painting - Philips Wouwerman continued

 I decided to add some details from his paintings showing tack and horse related activity, i.e., farrier at work. we have a scene of a blacksmith or farrier shoeing a grey horse,w while his assistant is working on a bay horse mouth. Note beautiful red leather saddle, not unlike Latin American and US cowboy horned saddles, on the grey horse, his rather small stature, and curb-bit with long shanks (partially obscured by a holding cavalier's hand)...

In this fragment of a multi-horse scene, we can see a nice 'gentling' saddle on a pinto horse, being trained in a rather large stable setting full of horses, goats, kids, dogs, and hens and roster (not shown here)
Here we have a scene of two soldiers vising a Gypsy, with know results of losing some money to the 'soothsayer'
Again we have a 3/4 view of a grey's red saddle, his long-shanked curb-bit and long stirrups.

*top image also shows a red saddle, perhaps in fashion amongst the soldiers?

Please note that in these and other paintings we see no black Frisians, and this painter painted mostly Dutch and Northern European horses of his day....

Baroque painting - Philips Wouwerman

this time another Northern European artist and his horses of the Baroque period - Dutch painter Philips Wouwerman  or
Books eg -  on google books The Masterpieces of Wouwerman

No much talking here, but simple pleasure of viewing equestrian art, and these are his horses in hunt, camp life, war or just for a beholder's eye :)

well, lovely paintings and fine, realistically painted powerful  horses and nags long time before  English painter Subbs did horse anatomical charts for artists and veterinarians.

Baroque painting - Peter Snayers

the students of the Polish Renaissance warfare know the famous painting of the battle of Kircholm and Polish readers of Michal Kadrinazi Blog  can read about the battle illustrated with good and detailed images taken from that painting. Pieter Snayers has a nice biography here and one can view many of his works here
I am more interested in the horses depicted in the master of battle Pieter Snayers' works and I made an image with horses from his various paintings. Flemish artist Snayers was definitely a painter of war horses or this tumultuous period in European history, the very horses that many horse-people (breeders, aficionados, and owners of Spanish and Frisian horses) and scholars call Baroque horses nowadays.
Well, you can see these horses in war and hunt on many canvases painted by master Pieter...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Captain John Smith of Pocahontas's Virginia fighting Turks

Adam Czahrowski, Treny i Rzeczy Rozmaite's illumination plus my horse sketch

we all know about Captain and gentleman John Smith who had been saved by Pocahontas, the Algonquian 'princes' and many years later Disney made a movie about it :).
Well, prior to Jamestown our Captian had same quite extraordinary adventures that merit at least one or more Hollywood films (pretty please).
Born around1580 he was taught arts of the Tudor knight – horse riding, sword fighting, lance fighting and pistol marksmanship – by a Italian-Greek nobleman Theodore Paleologue [or Paleologe], the riding master [ecuyer] to the Earl of Lincoln.
At the age of 23 he was a well rounded master of European martial arts, and found himself fighting as a mercenary for the Hapsburg Emperor against Ottoman Turks and their allies in the Balkans in 1601 or so (well, future Capitan was quite liberal with his places and dates when writing ).

While playing a triple role of an adventurer, Hapsburg mercenary and Christian crusaders, he had three mounted and heroic duels with three different Turkish soldiers (who themselves not necessarily might have been Turkish) during the siege of some strong but unidentified Turkish-Transylvanian held town in the countryside around the capital of Alba Iulia, Transylvania.

These three duels were quite chivalrous but eventually bloody affairs and in many respects do well in recalling previous centuries of chivalry mounted duels, but for one element - the pistols...but let him speak [The True Travels, Adventures, and Observations of Captaine John Smith (1630)]:
*this the original spelling from the 1819 edition of Smith's memoirs.*
That to delight the Ladies, who did long to see some court-like pastime, the Lord Turbashaw did dene any Captaine, that had the command of a Company, who durst combate with him for his head: The matter being discussed, it was accepted, but so many questions grew for the undertaking, it was decided by lots, which fell upon Captaine Smith, before spoken of.
1st duel
Turbashaw with a noise of Howboyes entred the field well mounted and armed; on his shoulders were fixed a paire of great wings, compacted of Eagles feathers within a ridge of silver, richly garnished with gold and precious stones, a Ianizary before him, bearing his Lance, on each side another leading his horse; where long hee stayed not, ere Smith with a noise of Trumpets, only a page bearing his Lance, passing by him with a courteous salute, tooke his ground with such goode successe, that at the sound of the charge, he passed the Turke thorow the sight of his Beaver, face, head and all, that he fell dead to the ground, where alighting and unbracing his Helmet, cut off his head, and the Turkes tooke his body; and so returned without any hurt at all. The head hee presented to the Lord Moses, the Generall, who kindly accepted it, and with joy to the whole armie he was generally welcomed.

This “Turkish' Basha in his winged attire is quite interesting as this account offers us a brief but solid description of a Balkan Turkish 'hussar' noble lancer. Interstingly enough the Turk is wearing an armor and helmet with a buffe – perhaps so called Hungarian

2nd duel
The death of this Captaine so swelled in the heart of one Grualgo, his vowed friend, as rather inraged with madnesse than choller, he directed a particular challenge to the Conquerour, to regaine his friends head, or lose his owne, with his horse and Armour for advantage, which according to his desire was the next day undertaken: as before upon the sound of the Trumpets, their Lances flew in peeces upon a cleare passage, but the Turke was neere unhorsed. Their Pistolls was the next, which marked Smith upon the placard; but the next shot the Turke was so wounded in the left arme, that being not able to rule his horse, and defend himselfe, he was throwne to the ground, and so bruised with the fall, that he lost his head, as his friend before him; with his horse and Armour; but his body and his rich apparcll was sent backe to the Towne.

3rd duel
The challenge presently was accepted by Bonny Mulgro.
The next day both the Champions entring the field as before, each discharging their Pistoll having no Lances, but such martiall weapons as the defendant appointed, no hurt was done; their Battle-axes *was the next, whose piercing bils made sometime the one, sometime the other to have scarce sense to keepe their saddles, specially the Christian received such a blow that he lost his Battleaxe, and failed not much to have fallen after it, whereat the supposing conquering Turk, had a great shout from the Rampiers. The Turk prosecuted his advantage to the uttermost of his power; yet the other, what by the readinesse of his horse, and his judgement and dexterity in such a businesse, beyond all mens expectation, by Gods assistance, not onely avoided the Turkes violence, but having drawne his Faulchion, pierced the Turke so under the Culets thorow backe and body, that although he alighted from his horse, he stood not long ere hee lost his head, as the rest had done.

Alas, the brave Englishman was a bit of a Bayard in his brave duels, and left us with a memorable scenes of dueling and feat of horsemanship in the early XVII century Balkans.
*these battleaxes with 'piercing bills' are most likely the 'nadziaks' of the Polish-Lithuanian XVI-XVIII century terminology. Gentleman of my drawing holds such 'nadziak'

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Little sketch of Russian 'cholop' after von Herberstein

upon reading some of the von Herberstein's notes I drew this image of a Muscovy warrior, and I gave him an Ottoman Turkish pallash taken off some Polish, Lithuanian or Tatar warrior; also I drew his horse taller than what von Herberstein described.

'They have small gelded horses, unshod, and with very light bridles, and their saddles are so adapted that they may turn round in any direction without impediment, and draw the bow. They sit on horseback with the feet so drawn up, that they cannot sustain any more than commonly severe shock from a spear or javelin. Very few use spurs, but most use the whip, which always hangs from the little finger of the right hand, so that they may lay hold of it and use it as often as they need; and if they have occasion to use their arms, they let it fall again so as to hang from the hand. Their ordinary arms are a bow, a javelin, a hatchet, and a stick, like a caestus, which is called in Russian, kesteni; in Polish, bassalich*. The more noble and wealthy men use a lance. They have also suspended from their arm oblong poignards** like knives, which are so buried in the scabbard, that they can scarcely touch the tip of the hilt, or lay hold of them in the moment of necessity. They have also a long bridle perforated at the end, which they attach to a finger of the left hand, so that they may hold it at the same time as they use the bow. Moreover, although they hold the bridle, the bow, the short sword, the javelin, and the whip, in their hands all at the same time, yet they know how to use them skilfully without feeling any incumbrance.' Some of the higher classes use a coat of mail beautifully worked on the breast with a sort of scales and with rings; some few use a helmet of a peaked form like a pyramid. Some use a dress made of silk stuffed with wool, to enable them to sustain any blows. They also use pikes.

now in Polish we use word 'Korbacz' [korbach] or 'Kiscien' for such a weapon, it was very popular in the Middle Ages amongst the plebeian militias and later amongst the Zaporozhian Cossacks, i.e. in the Polish-Lithuanian forces of the XV-XVII centuries.

Poniard (or Poignard, Poyniard, Puniard)
A term derived from the French poignard and introduced in England in the late 16th century, denoting a light dagger that had a strong blade, usually squarish in section, and a reinforced point, beadlike in shape. Some blades were deeply grooved and ridged, such a structure adding to the rigidity of the blade. Most poniards were only thrusting weapons—unlike the dagger of the time, which had larger, double-edged blades for making cutting strikes as well. When provided with a sizable cross guard and, particularly, a strong side ring for protection of the hand, the poniard served as a light parrying weapon used in conjunction with the rapier in personal combat.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sigmund Herberstein's 'Notes on Muscovy' at

 internet free libraries are such wonderful places for all us, students of the past and present. This time proved itself to be again the best internet resource, for I found both volumes of the famous 'Notes upon Russia: being a translation of the earliest account of that country, entitled 'Rerum moscoviticarum commentari' in downloadable book form, scan of the 1851 English translation. 
This is a portrait of the author Sigmund von Herberstein, who was a keen observer and fine writer.

Von Herberstein went to Muscovy Russia when it just had won several important engagements (eg capturing the city of Smolensk by treachery) with Grand Duchy of Lithuania and had had the  great prince Vasili III (Василий III Иванович) , one astute ruler, since 1505 when his even more astute father Ivan III ( Иван III Васильевич) died. These two rulers will figure in my future posts as their armies fought the Polish-Lithuanian ones ( I intend to talk about the famous battle of Vedrosha/Wiedrosza/Ведрошская битва of 1500, or battle Orsha 1514), as wall as the Crimean Tatars and Kazan Tatars, Livonianas etc. Amongst interesting aspects of the Muscovy Russia, Herberstein notes horses and uses this  word 'argamak' - Turkish word (borrowed from old Persian and pretty soon a subject of this blog more than one time) for a fine stallion - for some Turkish horses amongst many of the great prince horses, thus interesting information for me, a student of horse history - :). I guess I should mention that Herberstein is a reliable source to the conflicts between Muscovy Russian and Poland-Lithuania.

Well, this is the link - Sigmund Herberstein mediatype:texts  - do enjoy reading it at your convenience:  on your ipad, computer, book reader, phone or by printing a copy of choicest pages.

Finally I added a small old pen & ink cum watercolor drawing of a Muscovite soldier from around the Orsha battle of 1514, based on a Northern Renaissance painting of the battle, now at the National Museum in Warsaw.

as Russian say - pa ka, fellow net travelers.

Chocim 1621 and Turkish 'copia'*


a couple days ago my  dear friend and 'early hussars' scholar Samuel made a comment about the lances with 'galka' (knob. Apple, 'pomme') so in response to his comment I am showing a fragment of 1657-9 painting done for Swedish ambassador Claes Ralamb by hmm..., there is no agreement amongst the authorities as to the authorship, perhaps by a Polish dragoman and convert to Islam who was associated with Ralamb and perhaps procured or even drew the famous Ralamb Costume Book, while the ambassador was in Istanbul on a mission for his king Charles X Gustav of Sweden. The collections consist of 20 paintings now in Sweden.
These are spahis/sipahi of the Sultan bodyguard unit.   I had the entire Ralamb book on my computer but sadly I lost it when my Windows XP had got infected (and I use only Linux and Mac now).
And here a sample of a bit earlier, 50 yers,  Turkish lancer with knobed(with 'galka')  'copia'  drawn and etched by German artist Zimmerman circa 1605 - courtesy of Samuel.

 Pan Jakub Sobieski, who was one of the commissaries sent by the Polish Seym (Diet) to observe and assist the  Polish commanders during the Polish-Turkish struggle at Chocim (Khotyn), left a description of the Turkish cavalry as he saw them at the beginning of the battle. - battle described in English here
Amongst others he stated:

[Ottoman] cavalry gave wonderful show with their fine clothing and beauty of their argamaks (war stallions  - I am writing a little entry on this ancient  horse, perhaps during this coming week), and with banners or pennons with glittering  knobs. Their steeds, brought from much pleasant climate and used by the long trip they had made, were much less brave and sound than we expected.
Asiatic non-warlike host, made but numbers; with long beards and not because of their war deed they demanded attention, and they were terrifying because of their screams and not due to their bravery; they were ready to run,  unable to withstand camplife, used to riches but not the war itself, they did not carry much promise for war....
Turkish European armies justly could call themselves the defence and adornment of this campaign. Veterans trained in the Hungarian wars, and their bodies, spirit and even clothing were unlike the other Turks, they retained the traces of old Christian settlers [Balkan?]. Lancers [with 'copia/kopia'] stood in their first ranks, and we saw typical weapons that Turks commonly use: bow, curved sabres, curved iron hooks[sic!], 'rohatyna' spears [shorter lances or 'dzida' 1,7-3 meters long] and more often the short iron spears [jarid or djarid – Turkish javelin], which they assault enemy with by throwing...

Polish word 'oszczep' denotes a type of a shorter lighter spear-like weapon with a small leaf- or lance-shaped head. Oszczep was used usually by throwing or casting it against the enemy or prey (hunting), hence I think it is translatable into English as 'Javelin', which is a light spear used for throwing, either on foot or form horseback, eg ancient 'palta' was carried in pair, one was used as javelin and second as a thrusting light spear from horseback, such use we see by the ancient Iranian cavalry and later by the Greeks and Macedonians etc.
In Polish we also have a name for a very short javelin of a Turkish kind described above – 'dzirit' which is a borrowing form the Turkish language.

* I used Latin word 'copia' for lance, in a meaning used by the Polish writers in XV-XVII centuries.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Turkish rider sketch - progress

New Year has come and this is my first post this 2011.
I welcome all new follwoers to my blog and wish everyone lots of health and prosperity in this brand new year.
Ad rem, in this entry I have started a new illustration using my much older drawing showing nondescript Ottoman Turkish lancer.
Well, here you can find a newer version - this time our Turk has a lance, 'Balkan' shield, shishak helmet in more 'Turkish' style, a sabre and a straight sword (carried underneath the right thigh in the old Turkish fashion described in the 'mamluk' - slave-warriors -  training manuals in the XIII century). His shield strap has just broken and he is trying to salvage his shield and control his horse. More work to be done as this is but a tentative sketch...