Sunday, May 30, 2021

Jose Garcia y Ramos - late XIX century horses & people of Andalucia

 Salvete Omnes


another short entry this morning - just a number of works of art from Wiki Commons, all created by a Spanish painter Jose Garcia y Ramos(1852-1912).

Souther Spain, Andalucia (Andalusia), its religion and festivities, architecture, people and horses executed in  pen, engraving tools and brushes of this Spanish maestro native to Sevilla.

this horse's conformation looks a lot like a criollo horse of Argentina, doesn't it?


Friday, May 28, 2021

Late Rome's Nemesis - oldies but goldies again

 Salvete Omnes, 


short entry  with a grat link if you may be a Persian history afficionado

my friend Patryk Skupniewicz - via academia platform - published his article from the Ancient Warfare Magazine from 2008.

The article - Late Rome's Nemesis - deals with the Sassanian side of the Persian vs Roman-Byzantine conflicts, and concetrates on the cavalry and the armored Persian asavaran aka knight horseman. It includes a number of my illustrations, painted on paper. 

I think I have not done any drawings of the Sassanid Persian horsemen, being the kontophoroi or hippotaxatoi, in a long time... 

and some sketches to add more light to this minuscule entry


Thursday, May 27, 2021

Costumes de la Cour du Grand Seigneur

Salvete Omne,


a quick entry today -  the great French National Library on line aka Gallica contains a digital copy of a manuscript titled  'Costumes de la Cour du Grand Seigneur '[Ottoman Turkish emperor], compiled around 1630AD.

Drawn and painted in gouache, and written in Italian this manuscript is a veritable feast for the eyes, showing the splendor and beauty of the old Ottoman and Crimean Tatar costumes and people. 

Some of the plates below:

Tatar khan

Tatar warrior




Cairo [Ottoman Egyptian cavalryman)


and his servant

master of the stables




Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Trutina 1110AD - my new book cover

 Salvete Omnes,

May 2021 is ending fast, and the InfortEditions publisher from Poland has published another Polish medieval history work - titled Trutina * X 1110, it is a study  of our bellicose and pious Piast ruler Boleslaw Krzywousty (Wrymouth)  and his army's  expedition to Bohemia in 1110AD. The books represents the research done a young historian, horse archer and reenactor Jakub Juszynski

According to the author the Polish army was composed of lightly armed horse archers and those horse archers were instrumental in defeating the Czech warriors at Trutina. 

Here is the cover I painted on my computer with Krita, GIMP and MyPaint, as allowed by the publisher on their bookstore site -



Sunday, May 23, 2021

British Museum, kontophoroi & academia

 Salvete Omnes,

a short entry -  

wiki image

  Perhaps one of the greatest achievements of our, very maligned these days, Western Civilization is the invention of the institution of  museum and its use for public enlightenment, stud, use  and enjoyment.

... the first public museum might have been the Capitoline Hill site, today occupied by the Capitoline Museums, in Rome, where in 1471 His Holy See pope Sixtus VI made available to the public the ancient Roman & Greek bronze sculptures. 

Generally the princes and people of power and means of Europe donated space and more importantly art and artefacts, so their collection could have been viewed by the public (like Vatican Museum  in Rome, 1506, Ambras Castle , Austria 1580; Amerbach Cabinet in Basel, 1671;  Besancon in France opened in 1690s;  or Kunstkamera in Saint Petersburg, Russia 1729  or Tower of London in 1660 or  British Museum 1759 etc).

So let us turn to the subject mentioned in the title of my post - on British Museum's page, along a good quality photo of the Parthian kontophoroi known as  object nr 91908 they also have provided the list of  biographic references about this piece of ancient  Western Iranian art. I made my own rendering of this plate - already published in this post here in 2018.

Among the listed works there is a citation to this article written by my friend and doctoral student Patryk Skupniewicz.

And, among images used by Patryk in his article there is my own rendering of the Isola Rizza plate warriors. See below a scan from the article.


The very same article  can be had from the Siedlce University Repositorium, the very university where under the guiding and helping hand of prof. Katarzyna Makysmiuk, Patryk has been doing his research and developing his doctoral thesis. Article was published in 2016 issue of Siedlce University publication 'Historia i Swiat.'

Nota bene Patryk's articles are a veritable gold mine of iconographic materials and can 'be mined away' at your own pleasure.



I am going to brag a little for I have Ghirshman's 'Iran,' Nicolle's 'Sassanian Armies' and prof. Sekunda's 'Seleucid Army' - great lovely works from researches who devoted their lives to the pursuit of history, art  and the beautiful.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

East Iran in Late Antiquity - oldies but goldies

 Salvete Omnes,


     I have been shifting between subjects in my studies, and recently the ancient and early medieval topic popped out. Namely, I listed to two lectures from 2016 -  hence 'oldies but goldies' - :) 

The Silk Road and the Iranian Political Economy in Late Antiquity - by prof. Richard Payne
East Iran in Antiquity: Silk Road and Central Asia outside the Paradigm of Eurasian Trade -  prof. Khodadad 

Rezakhani .

and to go along with the lectures, there are some Sogdian images (including Rustam) or the Sogdians and their famous traders in the Han, Tang Chinese etc art, especially the sculpted figures of the land cruiser of the Eurasian land trade routes - the  camel, the Central Asia context it is the Bactrian camel.
On the Silk Road foundation site   you can read a rather intriguing article by Daniel Potts on the Bactrian Camels and Bactrian-Dromedary Hybrids.


Sunday, May 16, 2021

Bernard Cornwell -War Lord Uhtred

 Salvete Omnes,

this is not a review, just about a fiction book and the series I finished reading last week.

ad rem,

for years I had enjoyed the Last Kingdom saga woven the British master storyteller Bernard Cornwell, and this time master raconteur delivered his final[?] word in the saga of a Northumbiran warlord named Uhtred of Bebbanburg.
This 13th novel in the sagas is a good old fashion hero story. 


Its epic story is woven around the events of 930s leading to one of the most eventful battles in British history, the battle of Brananburh, AD 937 also known as the Great Battle.  The story of this  battle is also told, and it is told with a skill and mastery typical to master Bernard
According to many historians this was this battle where the sweat, skill, blood and sacrifice of the  England's  warriors truly forged the united kingdom and allowed for dominance of England within the British Isles.
Saxon king Aethelstan, who was  the grandson of Alfred the Great,  defeated the army  commanded by king Anlaf Guthfrithsson, which was comprised of the Viking Norse (from Orkney Islands and Ireland), Scots under king Constantine II of Alba, and other minor kingdoms' adversaries.

In the context of the novels we finally get Uhtred, the main hero,  in his manly warrior twilight, for in this 13th installment he is old and aching, but still very cunning, savvy, skillful with his weapons and martial experience with his two trusted weapons, his sword named  Serpent Breath and a seax named Wasp  Sting - eg before the Great Battle we get this delightful accounting of old warlord Uhtred getting armed for this battle .
Within the meandering towards the epic battle story we get much detailed  but nor overbearing vision of the period daily life, including  foodstuffs, camping, horseback riding, war stallions and their names and also stories of the Viking saga lore and Christianity.  Finally last but not least we get some fine sword duels, strength   and horse riding feats, cavarly charges, and the final epic shield wall etc - :) as in this video from the Wolin Slavic and Viking Festival AD 2015.

Bernard Cornwell has based  his storytelling on traditional sources (eg the poem) and  some of the most recent scholarship - eg this YT lecture my be of interest to you, as it is a magnificent feat of scholarship and analysis.

Thus my wholehearted congrats to master Cornwell for delivering us this final epic tale.

Nota bene I have had not opportunity to draw or paint Saxon warriors and thier horses yet, who knows, perhaps one day. But there is this article about the horses in Anglo-Saxon England and Saxon cavalry, including  using the Maxims or Old Poems .



Note I am not going to say much about the Netflix series supposedly based on the novels, I did try watching the first season and did not suffer past 2nd  or 3rd episode.  I did watch the entire Netflix Witcher series, horrible as it was, hoping for the episodes to improve. They did not, sadly.
  On the other hand I enjoyed the film version of the comissario [inspector]  Salvo Montalbano series (based on the fabulous novels by Andrea Camilleri and translated into English by with love, passion and skill  by master translator Stephen Sartarelli), and these can be leisurely watched on Netflix.

Monday, May 10, 2021

New medieval painting from Dariusz Bufnal's atelier

 Salvete Omnes,

I have been a friend of one hell of a painter (and musician) from Poland - messer Dariusz Bufnal from Wrocław, Poland - Facebook page here.

I have Dariusz' permission to show on my blog one of his latest brushwork, in his maker's intent and execution  sort of a  window into the XV century borderlands of Silesia, Lusatia, Bohemia and Saxony. Where Polish (Silesian Poles), Czech, Sorbian, German, and Pomeranian nobility and noble clans intermarried and mixed in the plethora marriage and political alliances, adopting language and coats of arms.
The castle-tower and medieval manor of Witkow, Lubusz land and today in part a Polish voivodeship(most lays in the Federal Republic of Germany) belongs to that medieval borderland tradition.
In this painting, one of three painted for the current owners of the castle-tower,  provides a depiction of the Central European  knights from the late XIV and early XV centuries.

   here, on canvas,  we have two brothers von Warnsdorf, Frantzko and Nickel, and their retinue in process of leaving their castle to take part in the Great War 1409-11 ( the Teutonic Order, Sigismund of Luxembourg and their  knightly guests with retinues  against the  Jagiellonian realm - kingdom of Poland and grand duchy of Lithuania) . They have the same coat of arms  - Leliwa - as Polish Kingdom and Silesian duchies clans. In the history of the castle you can read why von Warnsdorfs had Leliwa coat of arms.

The painting was executed in oils on canvas.
Dariusz Bufnal pinxit and all copyrights et al.

maestro Dariusz also painted plates for Trzy Swiaty Sredniowiecza, a study-book on the medieval castles and fortresses from Lower Silesia, written by Grzegorz Kiarszys - Dariusz' Art Station link to some of those plates.