Sunday, February 20, 2011

1520s German woodcuts on two different 'seats'

Blog has been slow this month and a bit dried, but nevertheless galloping forward I would like, and I fully intend to take you along :) 

By the way, I would like to extend  my Old Poland's sincere welcome to new followers and all the visitors of my blog.

Ad rem, ever since Dr Deb Bennett (scholar and horse trainer I admire and respect a lot) published her fine book 'The Conquerors. The Roots of the New World Horsemanship' ( ) there has been this  popular notion that short riding style know in a Spanish form 'la jineta' was an exclusive Spanish and then Colonial New Spain domain.
Well, we know that Eastern Eurasian horsemen who were archers used short stirrup leathers and high saddle from  the Late Antiquity onwards,  causing many headaches to Chinese Emperors of Tang Dynasty (Uighurs and Turkuts)  and to the Germanic heirs of the Western Roman Europe a bit later (Awars).
Moors or more proper the African Berbers who brought the 'short stirrup' and high saddle  or 'la jineta' to Iberian Peninsula did not invent the practice for they had learned that style from some Turkish mercenaries (ghulams and mamluks - I intend an article on furusiyya here one day ) from Central Asia and Egypt.
Incidentally at the time of the spread of Spanish riding style into Americas there were other people that had been riding  short and high in South-Eastern Europe for long time already - the Ottoman Turks and their vassals in the Balkans -Hungarians, Wallachians etc, Ruthenians, Golden Horde warriors and Crimean Tatars, and Adyge, Georgian, and Alan peoples of the Caucasus these people would not call their riding style 'la jineta.'

Now we have an ample evidence that nobles of Central Europe (Holy Roman Empire) trained in both riding style - the short and long stirrup leather technique (la brida in Spanish), from woodcuts of 1520s done for Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I who wanted to have been seen as the perfect knight (and used printed and lavishly illustrated books to buttress his image). Both woodcuts show a knight hunting, one of the best martial exercises for a mounted warrior - eg, great horseman, archer and warrior Chinghis or Genghis Khan used it to train his warriors.
Enjoy these woodcuts and study them a bit ( as per more evidence - long stirrups of knightly style is present in many woodcuts by master Albrecht Durer and other  XV and XVI century artists, while short Turkish riding style in paintings and drawing of  XV century master from Venice Bellini, and some woodcuts of Durer and others)


Dario T. W. said...

a little side comment on the use of the words 'Ruthenian' and 'Turkut'- well, I have been following the guidelines set forth by one of the greatest Russian scholars Lev Gumilev or Gumiliov who when refereeing to Russia and Russian sets a time frame - the reign of czar Peter the Great (truly a great man, wish we had one line him in our part of the European woods). Prior to late XVII century a proper name is Ruthenians (for Russians, Belorussians, and Ukrainians outside of Muscovy) and Muscovites for inhabitants of medieval and Early modern Grand Duchy of Muscovy. Peter the Great turned Muscovy into Russia, and Muscovites into Russians...
Turkuts are a name for Old Turks who created one of the largest empires in Eurasia during the second half of I millennium AD.
Also, Adyge is the name Circassians use for themselves.

Samuel said...

Jolly entry as usual Dario..
I do believe the pictures of Maximilian I you present come from Weißkunig..
Interestingly page 93 also refers to his equestrian skills and describe how "the young king" became proeficient in fighting with a Bohemian pavise on foot and with a hussar targe, lance,throwing-axe, battle-axe and sabre from horseback -


Dario T. W. said...

Hey Samuelu,
yes, this all about kaiser Maximilian and his prowess with arms and horses.

Unknown said...

But where is the Durer's woodcut or cupric engraves? I don't see;-((

Dario T. W. said...

I did not attach any attentional woodcuts but for these in the body of post, it was not my intention to show Durer's equestrian work at that time - they may come to this blog in the near future, with another posting I hope

Unknown said...

I am asking about Durer's work not of his personality context but in the Renaissance knights context.

Dario T. W. said...

right, I will write about his images one day, I hope, did some drawings based on his images, lots of info there