Saturday, July 28, 2018

Canicular days continued

Melisande Psalter

Salvete Omnes,
it is the hot days of the year, lovely blues skies and harvest time traditionally in the Northern Hemisphere.
milking a cow

medieval life
medieval water mill and fishing - nota bene an article on Roman stone watermill

Author Helen Schrader wrote another excellent article on her blog - on the the particularly of the rural Frankish settlement in the Crusader states, according to the newest research and archaeology - mostly via Ronnie Ellenblum's research  - also about the  prevalence of Christian settlements and population in the Holy Land during the medieval period.
Here, an article on building a church in Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem.
Article on the Norman settlement in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem before 1133AD.
Simon Dorso has this article on sugar growing and in general on various aspects of the life of the rural settlers of Latin East.

council of Acra

Council of Jerusalem

My friend Krzysztof Laszkiewicz had the official presentation of his new book at the Manufaktura in Lodz.
They blew up my small drawing of King Jagiello and his courtiers onto the wall, as you can see in this picture
Krzysztof & wife Katarzyna at Manufaktura, Lodz

Arne Koets, Peter Spatling et al. did an experiment - shooting crossbow bolts at a reconstructed chain-of-mail shirt with a reconstructed medieval 200lbs crossbow - watch the video and marvel at the protective qualities of the medieval chain-of-mail.


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Battle of Walmojza AD 1626 - Polish-Lithuanian army companies

Salvete Omnes,
Wiki Commons has given us access to one unusual XVII century print showing two stages of the winter [January] battle of Walmojza (Wallhof), AD 1626, where Swedish king Gustavus II Adolphus defeated a small Polish-Lithuanian army under starost of Slonim and grand Lithuanian marchall Jan Stanislaw Sapieha, son of Lithuanian grand hetman Lew Sapieha, Lis coat of arms.
Polish-Lithuanian army was divided into two division, starost of Slonim was commanding perhaps a smaller detachment of the Lithuanian army, while the larger one was commanded by the talented hetman Krzysztof Radziwill, Traby coat of arms, who was some 35 km away from the battlefield and in fact was one of the most interesting commanders and tacticians in the Polish-Lithuanian military history.

 Walmojza was the first significant Swedish field victory over the Polish-Lithuanian army, including the winged hussars, during the Polish-Swedish wars for the control of the Baltic provinces and shores.

The map, with all its appearances, looks as it was done shortly after the victory and perhaps represents a piece of Swedish propaganda.
However, even if so  it contains lots of interesting and useful information about the battle, troops involved and even the terrain. or small events taking place during this engagement.
I will attempt to list Polish companies and banners participating in this battle
starting from the top of the first of two prints showing the battle of Walmojza:
right to left of the Polish-Lithuanian army , in parenthesis probable historic names of known commanders :
2 Old kozak-pancerni banners - [commanders' names]
  -Zemetowa? [Konstanty Zienowicz]

 2 companies of German 'reitar' cavalry
 -Duce Korfio[Ernest Korff?]

7 banners of winged hussars, under the command of
-Samuel Patz[ Samuel Pac]
-Gonsewsky [Aleksander Gosiewski]
-Mlodosky [Mlodski]

artillery - 5 guns with 6 German musketeer infantry 'units'?* standing behind them

7 winged hussar banners - no commanders listed

3 companies of Hajduk infantry
-Racowsky [ Jan Rakowski]
-Kunsacitz [ Marcin Koszczyc? ]

2 Old kozak-pancerni banners
-Krzyzewsky [ Jan Krzyczewski]
-Poplawsky [ Adam Poplawski /Plawski]

so according to the Swedis.h source for this print Polish-Lithuanian army at Walmojza consisted in total of :
20 banners of cavalry - 14 of winged hussars or heavy cavalry,  4 old kozak/pancerni medium cavalry and 2 reitar (pistoleers)
9 units of infantry - 6 'units' of German musketeers*, and 3 companies of Polish infantry.
5 field artillery pieces
 a quick commentary:
from reading Henryk Wisner's article on the very war -  Wojna Inflancka 1625-1629 (Livonian War 1625-29)[1] pp.48058-we can see that the Polish-Lithuanian army at this theater of operations had nowhere near the 14 banners of winged hussars, be it under the command of starost of Slonim or hetman Radziwill -  so this print is quite a bit too optimistic in the portrayal of the Polish-Lithuanian army and represents either  the wrong intelligence the Swedish army command had about their Polish-Lithuanian enemy or it was a willful attempt to make Swedish victory greater, - of the sort : we did defeat the undefeated Polish winged hussars, u la la ! -  than it was in fact.


[1]Wisner Henryk, Wojna inflancka 1625-1629 [w:] Studia i Materiały do Historii Wojskowości, tom XVI, cz.1, Warszawa 1970

*Michal Kadrinazi wrote some info about of the Duchy of Lithuania infantry during this period.
Walmojza battlefield as it appeared  in 2009

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Radek Szleszynski's newest Old Polish horse tack

Salvete Omnes,

last week our great historic tack maker Radek Szleszynski finished a complete set of horse harness based on an example held in the Polish Army Museum at Warsaw, and according to the art historians the original belonged to the Sapieha family clan.
Radek made it for his own winged hussar outfit and it will be worn by a horse ridden this August 15 during Army  Historic  Parade in Warsaw.
The leather material used in this project was goat and jucht (Russian leather aka bark-tanned cow hide)  leather. Goat skin was vegetable-tanned and dyed to malachite color. Leather parts were sewn together with the waxed linen thread.
The entire metal elements of this harness are brass that were cast via lost-wax casting, molded via Astragal (beaded molding) method and cut to finish.








Thursday, July 19, 2018

Jacek Perzynski's Zishe Breitbart

Salvete Omnes,
this post is not about horses or riders, definitely about a strongman from Poland whose life and performance (including his costume) gave raise to the idea of Superman - Zygmunt Zishe Breitbart son of a blacksmith from Strykow, Lodz voivodeship in Polish Republic. From Strykow also comes another heroic figure in Polish history -  Adam Piotr Mierosławski - whose personality and life exploits might have prompted Jules Verne to develop his  famous character  Captain Nemo however under the demand from his publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel he changed Nemo into a Hindu prince (The Mysterious Island), not accidentally Jacek also wrote a book about Mieroslawski in 2016.
My fellow Glowno-man (Glowno - our hometown in Polish Republic) journalist, local historian and writer Jacek Perzynski wrote a book about the life of Zygmunt Zishe Breitbart, and his excellent investigative study has been translated into English by Vincent Rospond and published in the US by Winged Hussar Publishing LLC from New Jersey.

 Why am I mentioning this book?
Well, because I played a part in the release of this work in English language, Namely, upon reading Jacek Perzynski's original (here a short article by Jacek - in Polish) I had connected the author and the publisher and the rest is history. It is the first book written by a modern Polish writer that Winged Hussar Publishing has published and I do hope there will be many more - eg there is one scheduled for October, written by dr Marek Wozniak from Warsaw University on the per-Islamic Persian armies.
Jacek Perzynski is working on a new project related to the history and extraordinary traditions of the Mongol and Tatar medieval settlers from a village of Makolice, near Bielawy, Lodze voivodeship.
I hope to read the printed version very soon.

Jacek is the author of the authorized biography of the one of the most famous Polish 'futbol' (soccer) players Wlodziemierz Smolarek.  He has written a series of books on the secrets of the city of Lodz. Article in the Lowiczanin about his Lodz project (in Polish)

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Westerveld - husaria or winged hussars circa AD 1651-52

Salvete Omnes,
Abraham Westerveld, a 'peregrine' painter from the Dutch Republic, worked for several years in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, in the employ of prince Janusz Radziwill, grand hetman of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania army. It was the time of the Chmielnicki's rebellion, and hetman Radziwill beat several times the rebellious Cossack armies sent against him by hetman Chmielnicki. Radziwill's army retook Kijow (Kiev of today) from the rebels in 1651. The rebellion brought the destruction of the Ruthenian lands, as the result of this uprising  Cossack Ukraine was depopulated and Left Bank subjugated by the Grand Duchy Muscovy (future Russian Empire) and officially annexed in 1686, while Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was seriously weakened and lost huge amount of land and peoples, later leading to the Ottoman invasion of the Polish voivodeships of Podolia, Wolhynia,  Ruthenia etc and the subsequent long Polish-Ottoman wars 1672-1699.
Westerveld painted some interesting paintings (now lost - Germans and Soviets took care of this disappearance, but who knows perhaps in some Austrian or German house these paintings can be seen hanging ) during this employment with the prince, and drew many drawings - the drawings were done during the campaign in the rebellious and hostile country of the Zaporozhian Cossacks; these drawings were copied in the late XVIII century, and the copies survive in the Polish Army Museum Collection at Warsaw.
I would like to share with you some details from his drawings showing winged hussars as well as the hetman's staff, and znak hetmanski aka hetman's sign.
amazing detail - considering the image is from Wiki Commons

Bellow a smaller detail from another panel showing one of the stages during the victorious battle of Lojow AD 1651  - my friend Witold Biernacki wrote a book about the 1st battle of Lojow or the AD 1649 one.

more hussaria from the battle of Lojow AD 1651

 Hetman in Kiev AD 1651
Radziwill and his hussaria etc entering Kiev

more hussaria and prince with his ensign behind him holding his hetman's standard and sign of military command

Karol Lopatecki [in Polish] wrote an article about  using the period iconography as a primary source material in study of history as evidenced by Erik Dahlberg's drawing and/or print showing the destruction of the Sandomierz Castle by the Swedes in 1656.
 in sports world this being Mundial times (go Croatia! - this Sunday Croatia versus France )- in March 2018 the fleetest Polish runners beat the amazingly fast American  runners during the 4x400 meters relay race of the World Indoor Championships in  Birmingham, UK.  they held then the World Record at 3:01.77 minutes.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Royal Insignia of Kazimierz Wielki

Salvete Omnes,
I watched the entire second half of the soccer match between Croatia and United Kingdom teams during Mundial in Russia. it was a great game - Vivat Hrvatsko!
Seal of Polish Kingdom AD 1334

ad rem, after the Partions of Poland the fate of the Polish Royal Insignia (one day I should list some of them via various inventories done prior to AD 1795) was not different from other Crown property taken by the partitioning powers - Russian Empire , Prussia and Austrian Holy Empire. Those Polish Royal insignia taken by Prussia were destroyed by the Prussian king's orders (on their way to unify Germany and become emperors) who had them melted and minted into money.  Royal Insignia taken by the Russian Empire survived the Partitions.
our king Kazimierz Wielki (the Great) was buried with his royal insignia - crown, apple, scepter, gold ring with an amethyst, and a pair of stirrups - in the Krakow Cathedral in 1370.
King's XIX century imaginary portrait

In AD 1869 when Kazimierz's sarcophagus was opened and contents studies by scientists and artists were busy sketching, the royal insignia discovered inside the casket were copied and the originals can be found on display at the Cathedral Treasury (John Paul II Cathedral Museum) situated within the Wawel Hill Royal Castle complex in Krakow.
A copy of Kazimierz's Royal Insignia can be also viewed at the Beginnings of the Polish State Museum in Gniezno, the ancient capital of Poland.
Several views of the Royal Insignia display as can be seen at Gniezno Museum.

 one of the Royal spurs

 There is also another crown thought to had been owned by Kazmierz the Great, a helmet or traveling crown - it was found in Sandomierz and it is one of few surviving helmet crowns  in Europe.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The good times of summer

Salvete omnes,
my friend Krzysztof Laszkiewicz, local historian and 'collectionner' of unusual antiques, while doing research encountered and thus re-discovered the original AD 1433 Lodz town charter granted by king Wladyslaw II Jagello. Town and its belonging villages were owned by Crown chancellor Piotr Szafraniec, Bishop of Wloclawek, Stary Kon coat of arms.
   This was the second charter granted to Lodz, 10 years before the king  granted first charter.
Nota bene my own hometown, 30 km away to the east,  was located in the allied duchy of Masovia, and its town charter was granted by the Masovian sovereign prince Siemowit V of Masowia in AD 1427.

The Lodz renewed charter our ailing king granted during the important war council and gathering of magnates, nobles and Crown troops in the Royal Castle of Kolo. with witness being some of the most important persons of the Polish Crown:
-Wojciech Jastrzebiec, Archbishop and Primate of Poland, Jastrzebiec coat of arms
-Zbigniew Olesnicki, bishop of Krakow, Debno coat of arms
 -Spytek of Tarnow, voivode of Sandomierz - Leliwa coat of arms
 Jarand (Jurand) of Grabie, voivode of Sieradz - Pomian coat of arms
-Marcin of Kalinowa, veeran  commander of the battle of Grunwald and at the time of signing of the Lodz charter the commanding officer of the Polish troops on the Polish Crown-Teutonic Order border. - Zaremba coat of arms
-Mikolaj of Michalow, Castellan of Krakow, Roza coat of arms

The document was most likely read aloud and sealed by Wladyslaw of Oporow, Crown sub-chancellor and king's confidante and adviser. Wladyslaw was of the same coat of arms as famous Zawisza Niger (Czarny aka Black), i.e., Sulima coat of arms.
This document was lost since 1922 and Krzysztof brought it back into the public light and enjoyment in March of 2018. Now his book - How I rediscovered Lodz Town Charter - is ready and will be available for purchase  in Poland starting July 27, 2018.

 I did 4 small drawings for my friend's book and I pray the will smartly augment his narrative.
here there are some sketches I did in preparation for the book
sketch 1
sketch 2

sketch 2.1

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Forth of July

Salvete Omnes,
 today there is the anniversary of several important battles and the American national holiday.
on July 4th 1187 the Kingdom of Jerusalem and its vassals lost the most important battle since the First Crusade - Hattin. Cunning,talented and most ruthless Kurdish  sultan Saladin won his most stunning victory, that gave him an immortal fame.
on July 4, 1610 Polish hetman Zolkiewski with his tiny army of mostly winged hussars defeated the huge army of the Muscovite tsardom under Shuisky-de la Gardie, took Moscow in a short stride, Poles occupied Kremlin and thus opened the way for a Polish ruler on the 'Rurik's' throne. It is entirely other matter that the scheme did not work out to the Polish advantage.

Happy Forth of July to all my Americans all over the world !
and the detail from the XV century (?) fresco from a Church in Norwich, UK. Saint George and the dragon.
I do not have a better image - images from Wiki Commons.


Sunday, July 1, 2018

Winged Hussar armor - a replica

Radek & Radek - Warsaw 2017

Salvete Omnes,
my friend and compatriot imc pan Radek Szleszynski (on Wiki there is his photo in full regalia of a winged hussar), co-author of the famous and unique art book Husaria Rzeczpospolitej, has announced a new winged hussar armor for himself, made by the Olsztyn-based armorer Sergey August.
Katerina Zhuravieva @copyright
Katerian Zhuravieva @copyright

Radek is himself a very talented artist (also a photographer) who works in leather, textiles, metal and semi-precious stones, and has been famously  reconstructing winged hussar horse tack, especially bridles etc, and pistol holsters of the XVII century period.

Radek Sikora @copyright

the armor reconstructed by Sergey August is a replica of the extant armor from the Skokloster Castle in Sweden,
original armor from Skokloster
The collection is part of the loot brought from Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by Carl Gustaf Wrangel after the Deluge (1655-1660)



I do hope  that in this armor and in a painstakingly reconstructed horse tack (Radek's own) and saddle (made by Marcin Ruda and owned by Radoslaw Sikora, Ph.D. ) Radek will be leading the winged Hussars during the 2018 Parade in Warsaw on August 15, 2018. Note that I do not know at this time which horse Radek will be riding.
 all photos copyright Radoslaw Szleszynski unless noted