The Pastrana Tapestries of Alfonso V

Siege of Asilah


Picture Source: The History Blog
Prince João on Horseback
A wooden fence surrounds the Portuguese camp outside the walls of Asilah. It was intended to protect the soldiers from attack by Moroccan horsemen, who had repelled previous Portuguese incursions in North Africa. The fence is decorated with the insignia of Portugal, the red cross of Saint George, and the emblem of Alfonso V. The prince appears just inside, mounted on a richly caparisoned horse and preceded by three trumpeters.
The Bombardment
The Portuguese bombard Asilah with cannon, cracking the walls. Some soldiers fire muskets and crossbows, while others are armed with long spears. Wooden screens in front of the cannon protect them against enemy projectiles. Before firing cannonballs, soldiers pulled on the ropes to raise the screen. The masts and crow’s nests in the background rise from the Portuguese ships blockading the port.
King Alfonso V on Horseback
The king appears inside the fence astride a horse covered with an elegant red, white, and gold caparison. Two trumpeters precede him, sounding fanfares. Banners with the arms of Portugal hang from their instruments. A pennant flying overhead bears Alfonso’s emblem, a golden paddle wheel spewing life-giving drops of water.


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