SPANISH TOWN MILITIAMEN, 12th-13th CENTURIES

An extract from Armies of Feudal Europe 1066-1300
by Ian Heath

[Based on A Fresco from the Church of San Baudelio de Berlanga, Soria] [Based on Las Cantigas de Santa Maria]
65 & 66.      SPANISH TOWN MILITIAMEN, 12th-13th CENTURIES

Figure 65, a Castilian of c. 1125 from a painted mural at Soria, is fairly typical of the less well-equipped elements of Spain's civic militias. His tasselled leather shield is probably that type used by the Spanish which the Andalusians called by the name hagaf. Like their Italian counterparts, most Spanish militiamen of this period appear to have been unarmoured, but some, of whom figure 66 (dating to Alfonso X's reign) is doubtless representative, wore helmets and armour consisting of a mail haubergeon (lorigon) or an aketon (usually referred to as an alcoton or algodon, alternative corruptions of its Arabic name, al-qutun). The lower classes wore sombre colours, bright clothes being a monopoly of the nobility.

The specification of regulation equipment for militiamen, as in the assizes and statutes of 12th-13th century England and France, was not attempted in Spain until the late-14th century (1385). At that date the various categories of infantryman were to be armed chiefly with spear and javelins and the same is fairly certainly true of the period under review here; one category was expected to be armed with a crossbow and 36 bolts instead. Not all categories carried shields (crossbowmen and the poorest militiamen did not) and few were expected to possess swords; figure 65's sidearm is a falchion, added from the 'Cantigas' mss. Indeed, to judge from 14th century evidence many militiamen may have been armed with no more than a sling (see note to figures 38-40).



67 BIDET, 12th-13th CENTURIES by Ian Heath