Sunday, June 30, 2013

Galloping horse and reading

I have been reluctant to draw on my Imac, although converted from OS to Linux Mint, these days as my eyes seem to quickly grow tired, even sore from the glare of the monitor/display, thus my digital output has been meagre.

On the other hand I have been reading, and to read my vast collection of digital books articles, from and Polish Digital Libraries, I bought this ebook reader that has Linux (very important to me) and is E-ink technology, reads djvue and it has been very relaxing reading ever since  -   PocketBook Pro 913
My reading as of lately:
The best biography of duke Jeremi Wisniowiecki, published 1933, by Władysław Tomkiewicz, (1899-1982).
My friend Michał  Kadrinazi Paradowski's book - Studia i Materiały do historii wojen ze Szwecją 1600-1635 (studies and Materials on history of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth wars againt Sweden 1600-1635.
 E. R. Chamberlin. The Sack of Rome - very interesting book of the infamous sacco di Roma AD1527 based on Italian sources, nota bene if you want to read the novelised and rather benign description you can Mika Waltari had a chapter in his book The Adventurer.
Fine book on German Chivalry via Holy Roman Empire and  Piotr z Gdańska (Peter von Danzig) fechtbuch manuals by  Jeffrey Hull, Knightly Duelling, I cannot honestly say I read it whole, as this type of scholarly work requires one to study the chapters and details slowly and with patience.
 Thanks to Witold Biernacki, great Polish military historian and wrtier, I have the vol I of monumental work by professor Marek Plewczyński: Wojny i wojskowosc polska w XVI wieku, 1500-1548 (Wars and Polish miltiary of 16th centurym 1500-1543). I also have volume II of the series, and waiting for the Vol III that finishes the series.
I received ''Jousting in Medieval and Renaissance Iberia'' by professor Noel Fallows, but I have not read it yet/
Also read some novels: P.C. Doherty-The Spies of Sobeck, Robert Crais -Suspect ( well, we have a 2 year old German shepherd female :) )M. H. Greenberg ed- After The King, Sories in Honor of J.R.R. Tolkien (an older book), and Jacek Komuda's two books, Samozwanie (tsar Dmitri Yoannovich) c, vol 3 and "Zborowski" (both dealing with the early  XVII century history of Polish wars with Muscovy, Polish Borderlands , Zaporozhian Cossacks, Tatars etc)
...and have been doing some translations from Bernardino de Mendoza book Comentarios de don Bernardino de Mendoça de lo sucedido en las guerras de los Payses Baxos: desde el año de 1567 hasta el de 1577 - it is a lot of fun with the old Spanish
Recently, 26 June, we had 718th anniversary of White Eagle in Red Field being adopted as the official emblem (coat of arms) Kingdom of Poland. It was our king Przemysł II and his circle, my favourite Archbishop of Poland Jakub Świnka, that adopted the White Eagle. I have been working on some drawings attempting to show king Przemysl in his regalia. 

Nota bene Polish historian and historical fiction writer Elżbieta Cherezińska wrote fantastic novel, Korona sniegu i krwi, (Crown of Snow and Blood), on duke and king Przemysł II and his contemporaries, especially duke Henryk Probus (here duke shown in the Mannese Codex) - I hope it will  be skilfully translated into English, French etc, since this novel is such a fine example of medieval Slavic romance, intrigue and a bit of fantasy too, and subejct not tackled since Karol Bunsch novels on the Piast Poland. 

until the next time

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Taldy 2: Saka of Saryarka

summer upon us, and I have been travelling and found no way to post  anything; all right, perhaps it is the sun and rain duo that has been fiercely lashing us... and strawberries season, straight from the strawberry bushes :)
Ad rem, there is a very nice article at the Karagandy Oblast Museum website on the Saka;
 and could not stop myself from copying the picture of the reconstructed Saka and his horse onto my blog. Obviously all copyrights to this image lay with the Museum etc
All of us who are interested in the history of horsemanship and horse tack, the reconstruction of the Saka King horse's bridle and reins should be most interesting , because it shows the third rein and its attachment (naturally leather, since the Saka were cattle herders and horse breeders and tanned leather as well as rawhide were most likely plentiful ). Also note the way the throatlatch is arranged in a similar fashion to the  the way we saw it portrayed in the Achaemenid stone reliefs of Persepolis Apadana -
Also this photo shows a little bit of the saddle. Looking at the horse: it is a very fine specimen, similar to the tall ones discovered in the Saka Kurgans of Pazyryk in the Ukok Plateau, Altai Mountains, and portrayed in the felt carpet discovered by S. I. Rudenko's team  in the Pazyryk Kurgan.

Museum Website

Monday, June 10, 2013

Hippotoxotai from Dura Europos' Mithraeum I

 I have this weakness for the eastern neighbours of the Greeks and Romans, the Persians, Medes and Sakas.
Well, for a long while I have been looking at the images from the Syrian desert found at the fortress city of Dura Europos, that was a frontier outpost under the Parthians and in  AD165  Dura was captured permanently by the Romans (note that emperor Trajan's army captured Dura during his Parthian campaign), who kept it for about a century until the fateful siege of AD 256.  Then the Sassanian warrior-king Shapur's forces captured the fortress and thus ended its history and because it was left as a ruined site then the sands of time covered the ruins and preserved its rich culture to our times, early XX century.
Interesting scholarly article on the siege's technical aspects, including the death of some Roman defenders and how it came about.
On a lighter side you could travel to Dura during the siege via some historical fiction eg British writer Harry Sidebottom wrote his series' first novel Fire in the East )Warrior of Rome)   about the siege of Dura Europos, although he changed the name of the fortress and some topography.
Also, you can get a glimpse of Dura art and culture from this short museum exhibit film
A student made mini-documentary

At Dura,  during the previous rulers and under the Roman governance, there were various temples and religious sites -  Roman, Greek, Palmyrene, Jewish and even a small Christian church and one of them was the Mitraeum - excellent site here - place of worship of Mithraism. There, during the excavations, several paintings were discovered, including a painting of Mithra on horseback, circa AD 200.
In that linear painting, Mithra, the hunter, is riding a horse, hence a horse archer -  hippotoxotai. He is painted wearing a standard Parthian costume (well, he is not wearing the typical Median coat or kantus, like the two personages at the Dura Synagogue are painted wearing. )

My own quick sketch of the original mural painting

A sketch, in progress, of a warrior with his horse

A horse - that will eventually carry the shooting hippotoxotai, just shooting at some wooden target etc. ..



Sunday, June 9, 2013

Saka - daily sketch

Salve amici and fellow travellers,
a quick sketch of a Scythian/Saka with a horse, somewhere on the  plains of Eurasian Steppe

Also, a sketch in progress, one abandoned a while back , and now I am going to work on it some more - these are Saka of the Altai's Ukok Plateau etc, 400-200 BC (after the Pazyryk finds etc)