Friday, March 28, 2014

Mercury wing - early hussars Orsza 1514

      following the post before the last post I am going to turn to a curious element of the Polish early hussars equipment depicted in the Orsza AD (1514 battle of Orsha now in Belarus) painting:
the so called Mercury wing or 'gilded, tooled leather flap attached to the boot 
instep' (''removed when not in saddle'')  - I am citing here what  dr David 
Nicolle  said in 'Polish Medieval Armies' (from Osprey Military Publishing) on 
page 47.
I am going to copy the reconstructed early hussar there with some comments 
on the reconstruction in the near future, following the thread on the 
anniversary of AD 1514 Orsza battle.
Anyway, the 'wing' seems to me  to follow the tradition of the Greek 
mythology, of the winged shoes worn by Hermes (Roman Mercury) and known
as 'talaria.' After all this was the Renaissance :) 

This Hungarian nobleman seems to be wearing them albeit covered by the 
hem of his caftan/robe..

The various styles of Mercury wing on Polish early hussars, plus stirrups,
spurs and boots; in the last detailed image the hussars had crossed the river 
and are removing water from their boots and clothing, soon to rejoin the
battle, and Mercury wing is nowhere to be seen, perhaps stowed away before
the crossing of Dnieper River:

 The above images come  from battle of Orsha painting AD 1520-30s

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