Martirio di San Tommaso Becket, XII d.C.
Wall Painting in the Church of Saints Giovanni & Paolo
Murder of Thomas Becket, Spoleto, Italy, late 12th-century



Picture Source: Atlante dell'arte italiana



Referenced on p269, Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era, 1050-1350, Western Europe and the Crusader States by David Nicolle
708A-B 'Murder of Becket', wall-painting, Spoleto, late 12th century
(in situ Church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo, Spoleto, Italy)

Although this painting was made just north of the Norman kingdom of southern Italy and Sicily it may be taken as showing some typical aspects of Southern military equipment. Both warriors wear mail hauberks with long sleeves. Mittens are worn only on the sword hand. Three conventions are probably used to show mail, a different cross-hatched technique appearing on the mail chausses (B). The only real doubt cast on this interpretation stems from the fact that the artist uses two separate conventions to distinguish the feet and legs of the presumed mail chausses. The first figure has a mail coif beneath a pointed helmet with a fixed face-mask (A). The helmet itself is of a common form with a forward-angled crown. The second figure is more damaged around the head but appears to wear a simple domed helmet over a separate coif. This latter is depicted plain gold in the wall-painting, which might indicate that the coif had been given a decorative cloth covering. Such a fashion would become popular in Italy and some other parts of Europe 200 years later. Both swords have tapering but clearly blunt-tipped blades, one clearly straight pair of quillons, and round or oval pommels.




Referenced as a source in:
Norman Knight 950-1240AD by Christopher Gravett and Christa Hook
Plate D.
p54
The slight forward peak seen on the previous helmet and typical of the 12th century is seen again on this later 12th-century helmet complete with faceguard, based on a depiction of the murder of Becket painted on a church wall in Spoleto, Italy. The full face mask may have developed from 'T'-bars added to the nasal to protect the mouth. Hemispherical and cylindrical helmets were also occasionally adapted in this way.



Referenced on p.46, Italian Medieval Armies 1000-1300 by David Nicolle
This late 12th century wall-painting of 'The Martyrdom of Thomas Becket' includes a number of interesting military features including fixed face-masks on both pointed and round helmets. The central figure also has a mail hauberk with only one integral mitten for the right hand - cf Plate G1. (in situ Church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Spoleto)



Other Thomas Becket images:
Murder of Thomas Becket on the font in Lyngsjo Church, Scania, southern Sweden, late 12th century
Murder of Thomas Becket, BL Harley 5102, England, last quarter of the 12th century
The Murder of Thomas Becket, Wall Painting in Santa Maria de Terrassa, Catalonia, Spain, c. 1180-1200
Martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket of Canterbury, Chronica Majora by Matthew Paris, c. 124053
Martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket of Canterbury, Carrow Psalter, c.1250
Martyrdom of Thomas Becket, Fresco in the Museo Diocesano from Palazzo dei Trecento, Treviso, Veneto, Italy, c. 1260
Alabaster panel with a scene of the Martyrdom of St Thomas Becket, England, 1450-1500

Other 12th Century Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers
Italian Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers