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SPANISH HEAVY CAVALRYMEN

An extract from Armies of the Dark Ages 600-1066
by Ian Heath


[Based on Biblia Sancti Petri Rodensis (Roda Bible)]
135 & 136.      SPANISH HEAVY CAVALRYMEN

The heavy European knight never attained considerable popularity in Spain, where cavalry were largely non-noble. They rode mostly with a low saddle and short stirrups, both better suited to the hilly Spanish kingdoms. 10th century sources indicate that equipment basically comprised helmet, mail or scale corselet, wood or leather shield, lance and sword.

Spears were generally used overarm, and despite the introduction of the kite-shield in the late-10th or early-11th century the round shield remained popular until the late-12th. The shield carried by 135 is one of the leather ones mentioned, with tassles adopted from the Moslems of Andalusia; his helmet too appears to be of Andalusian design. Helmets were often decorated in gold and silver, as were sword-hilts and shields.

136, dating to c. 1050, wears a shorter corselet and an alternative helmet with the back extended into a neck-guard. The ms from which he comes shows horsemen all using kite-shields. Note the chest-panel as described under note 117. Other cavalrymen in this source are equipped like 127 except that they have no coifs.



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