Monday, January 30, 2023

Emperor Ferdinand III in portrait paintings

 Salvete Omnes,


wearing a very splendid riding coat known as a cassock/casaque

January 2023 almost over - so I am winding up this month with a collection of portraits showing Ferdinand III who was the Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary and King of Bohemia (Bohemia included  most of the duchies of Silesia, with the Piast dynasts slowly dying out during this reign ) .

Ferdinand III (1608-1657) was an able military commander during the XXX years war, especially famous for the battle of Nordlingen, won together with his cousin cardinal-infante Ferdinand of Austria over the protestant armies.

during his life Ferdinand III  was subject of a number of portraits, and some of them show him in great armor, on horseback and in this other realm national costume - Kingdom of Hungary attire.

by all appearances this warhorse might be a Spanish one

King of Bohemia and Hungary

great Hungarian attire - including a delia riding coat

Nota bene emperor Ferdinand was married first to Maria Anna of Austria, his cousin.

and his second wife was Eleonora Gonzaga princess of Mantua etc - their 2nd daughter was a Queen of Poland etc.
and an allegorical  print from his reign 


Sunday, January 29, 2023

Nicola di Cosmo- a lecture worth your while

 Salvete Omnes,

I would like to point your 'horses' towards this lecture (Yt) - prof. Nicola di Cosmo, titled: the Early Great Wall  and the Formation of the Silk Road

Professor talks about the Warring States in the Chinese history, especially the three northern state of Qin, Zhao and Yan, and their trading gold, silver, silk etc for for horses and cattle, furs etc  with the pastoral nomads of the northern frontier et al., creating mutual dependencies and alliances and cultural borrowing - eg the saddles and horse tack(as evidenced by the horse tack in the emperor Qin Shiq Huang Di Terracotta Army & cavalry ), riding coat, riding pants, riding boots etc from the nomads.

All in all it is a very interesting lecture delivered in an easy manner, whereas the knowledge presented is vast and while the field of ancient Chinese and Eurasian archaeology  is still expanding.

lance heads

the Ordos Loop of the Yellow River, the vast grasslands that were the nomadic heaven in the old Chinese history

Han cavalry on the fines fine steeds Chinese empires would have produced

animal style of Eurasian steppe- from the western Eurasia to Manchuria and south into Warring States

Two maps showing the early Warring States period (with various barbarian or non-Chinese groups outside the 'Han' Chinese cumulative territory ) and the end or the Qin unification:




Thursday, January 26, 2023

January Uprising - Polish commaders & cavalry by Saryusz-Wolski

 Salvete Omnes,

staying in the spirit of the remembrance of the January Uprising tragedy and .. heroism.

During the January Uprising Polish partizan units were naturally very numerous and individual soldiers and Uprising  produced a very  large variety of commanders, uniforms and types of armament etc- from Colt and then modern European short and long firearms  to more ancient flintlocks and hunting shotguns.
Polish artist Kajetan Saryusz-Wolski (1852-1922) - article in Polish -  was popular in the second part of the XIX and early XX centuries as an illustrator & painter  of our Polish military  history. 

In 1909 in Krakow (Austrian Polish province since 1848) they published his collection of plates showing January Uprising commanders and soldiers - from cavalry to foot soldiers. This album was one of many albums he produced on the Polish military history.

I selected some of them from the scanned original, machine-printed but hand-colored,  and would like to share them with you:

ensign of a cavalry unit (no unit description)
Dictator Marian Langiewicz with his adjutant Wladyslaw Waga
                                          no army could be without their spiritual leaders and helpers,i.e, Christian chaplains-                                                                                       father Wojciech Elgot, capuchin & priest Tarejwa, father Kotkowski 

commanders: Lelewel, Szaniawski, Taczanowski, Czachowski, Bentkowski

various commanders

among the three officer there is a Polish heroine Anna Henryka Pustowójtówna .

Teodor Cieszkowski

famous since 1812 Polish Krakusi (Krakus horse)

these uhlans (ulani) of two regiments made up Taczanowski cavalry brigade, the largest Polish cavalry unit of this Uprising

famous and tragic general Dionizy Czachowski
some cavalrymen from the Wolhynia department

Kazimierz Bohdanowicz - hero of the Lublin region

not from this album, Langiewicz on horseback..

Kazimierz Langie (1839-1897) - ulan/uhlan of the Antoni Jezioranski's grey uhlans/ulans



Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Orava Castle and Juraj Gyorgy Thurzo

Salvete Omnes,


today we shall canter to one of the most picturesque places in Slovakia, where on a high rock above the Orava River there is a beautiful castle (very detailed history in Polish here). Known as Arwa or Orava, 


this castle became the seat of the Thurzo family, when Ferenec Frantisek Thurzo, a bishop of Nitra in Kingdom of Hungary, fell in love with a daughter of Mikulas Kostka/Kosztka,  left the priesthood and became thus the father of the Thurzo line from Orava.

The castle has inspired many artists - like our Polish Eljasz Radzikowski etc.

Thurzo coat of arms

bishop Ferenc Fratisek Thurzo coat of art, father of Gyorgy

Inside the castle there are some interesting and beautiful elements worth our glance or two...


Including this funerary monument to Gyorgy Juraj Thurzo, a power magnate of the Upper Hungary as Slovakia was known then, and between 1609-1616AD Thurzo was the palatine of Hungary.

sir Gyorgy aka George was a famous warrior and commander. In this monument he appears as a winged hussar commander

a little bit of a side view

a closeup on the shishak helmet, sabre hilt and the sabre belt, and gilded finishing of his chain-mail sleeve

Comes Gyorgy Juraj Thurzo on horseback - a print from the XVII century

in this print we see the splendor of this Hungarian nobleman's horse gear and also a horseman pick, a weapon going back to the Scythians and horse mounted warriors of Eurasia

more photos here.

From the inside of the castle come this beautiful imagery of Saint George fighting the dragon,

Saint George appears to be armed and armored like a typical winged hussar of the period, 2nd half of the XVI, early XVII century 

while this detail above, of a wall painting shows a hunting scenes (with dogs, falconry, with a short boar spear chasing wild boar) ,  perhaps comes from an earlier period.