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Saint Maurice

Magdeburg Cathedral


Click for a larger image of Saint Maurice.

Source: p176, Gothic Sculpture: 1140-1300 By Paul Williamson



A knight of c.1280 in Armies of Feudal Europe 1066-1300 by Ian Heath, based on Saint Maurice at Magdeburg Cathedral.
Referenced on p180, Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era, 1050-1350, Western Europe and the Crusader States by David Nicolle.
461   'St Maurice', carved figure, Brandenburg, c.1250-1300
(Cathedral Museum, Magdeburg, Germany)

Since St Maurice was referred to as 'the Egyptian', he has been given African facial features. This particular carving has, however, attracted attention because it portrays an early example of a coat-of-plates. Over his long-sleeved mail hauberk the saint wears a cloth-covered garment in which the hidden metal splints or lamellae are indicated by two rows of rivets plus additional rivets near the shoulders. Note that this armour lies beneath a separate mail coif. Such an armour would have been laced or buckled at the back. The lower part of the garment consisted of non-protective flaps hanging down at the front and back. The similarity in outline of at least the upper part of this coat-of-plates and the garment seen on the slightly earlier Bamberg Seal (fig.459) is striking. St Maurice's sword is also worthy of comment, being a very short, perhaps broken, weapon with a large polyhedral pommel. It is, however, surely no coincidence that most of the earliest clear and less clear representations of German coats-of-plates are found in or near the eastern half of the country. These regions might have been under Slav or Hungarian influence, but more importantly they had more immediate experience of the armour worn by invading Mongol armies.



Referenced in German Medieval Armies 1000-1300 by Christopher Gravett:
the statue of St. Maurice made in Brandenburg between 1250 and 1300 that shows the saint in one of the earliest representations of a coat-of-plates. The chest shows rivets and even the edges of some of the plates. The coat-of-plates is fastened at the rear with three straps and buckles. The coat-of-plates also has split "flaps' front and back, making it appear similar to a surcoat. It appears almost like a cross between the separate, skirtless coat-of-plates and an "armoured surcoat".



Other 13th Century Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers