Military illustrations from

Les « Histoires Roger », ou Histoire ancienne jusqu'à César , composée par un clerc sous les auspices du châtelain de Lille, Roger.

The 'Roger Histories', or Ancient history until Caesar, composed by a cleric under the auspices of the castellan of Lille, Roger.

Acre, c.1287. Ms Français 20125.

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Sources: Bibliothèque nationale de France: Gallica & Mandragore (search for Français 20125)
The captions are from Gallica which appear to be more accurate than those at Mandragore. All the largest images are black and white.



An Extract from Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era, 1050-1350, Western Europe and the Crusader States by David Nicolle:

741A-K Histoire Universelle, Kingdom of Jerusalem, c.1287
(Bib. Nat., Ms. Fr. 20125, Paris, France)

A - Oedipus, f.91v; B - Polyneices and Tydeus, f.96r; C - Death of Hector, f.133v; D-F - Muslims (?); G-H - Crusaders (?); I- Army of Alexander, f.235r; J - Holofernes, f.205v; K - Army of Holofernes, f.207v. This manuscript from the school of Acre includes some more up-to-date pieces of military equipment as well as traditional items. Oedipus (A), for example, has a round helmet with a small nasal and his limited mail chausses cover neither the calf of his leg nor his heel. Polyneices and Tydeus (B), on the other hand, have two forms of great helm, one a very early picture of a round-topped type and the other a traditional flat-topped variety. Both have crests, presumably in the kind of plume-holders seen in the previous manuscript. The flat-topped great helms in this manuscript are, incidentally, a transitional form in which the top plate is itself quite domed (B, G and H). Note that horsemen (B) also wear padded or perhaps scale-covered cuisses with round, knee-covering poleyns attached. In the death of Hector at the hands of Achilles a rather gruesome picture shows the victim being slain by a spear thrust into the upper thigh above the top of his mail chausses (C). Elsewhere presumed Muslims are given very curved sabres (D) and two peculiar objects which do not seem to be maces (E and F). Could they be the long-necked 'fire-pots' full of naft (Greek Fire) that were used by Mamlūks and other troops as grenades? A soldier in Alexander's army (I) who could be expected to appear as a Westerner is dressed in full mail armour but carries a small round buckler, which might have been a local infantry fashion in the Crusader States. These and oval shields are certainly put in the hands of Crusaders in other Acre manuscripts. Such shields were also used by Muslim, Byzantine, Balkan and Italian foot-soldiers. This warrior in Alexander's army wears what appears to be a broad-brimmed hat over his mail coif. It could be a chapel-de-fer but its irregular lower edge makes this unlikely. Such presumed sun hats also appear in Islamic sources of the same period. They were, after all, a practical idea in the Middle Eastern climate. Holofernes (J) seems to wear poleyns on his knees, while a soldier in his army (K) has a helmet with a broad chin-strap worn over a separate mail coif.




Links to images
FrenchEnglish (click for large B&W image)
Page 1: oedipe et le sphinxOedipus and the Sphinx
combat de tydée et de polyniceCombat of Tydeus and Polynices
amazone(s)Amazons
amazones au combatAmazons in combat
Page 2: combat de thésée, hercule et des amazonesCombat of Theseus, Hercules and the Amazons
mort d'hectorDeath of Hector
penthésilée et sa compagniePenthesilea and her company
combat de penthésilée et de néoptolèmeCombat of Penthesilea and Neoptolemus
Page 3: camille et son arméeCamille and her army
reddition à holopherneSurrender to Holofernes
judith et holopherneJudith and Holofernes
alexandre et jaddusAlexander and Jaddus
Page 4: bataille de l'hydaspe (-326)Battle of the Hydaspes (326BC)
combat d'alexandre et de pôrosCombat of Alexander and Poros
Page 5: armée de pyrrhos 1Army of Pyrrhus I
romains au temple de janusThe Roman Temple of Janus
combat de scipion l'africain et d'hannibalCombat of Scipio Africanus and Hannibal
combat de jugurtha et de mariusCombat of Jugurtha and Marius



See also Histoire ancienne jusqu'à César (Ancient history until Caesar), The 'Roger Histories', Acre, c.1287. Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS Français 20125.
Illustrations of 13th century Costume & Soldiers
Index of Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers