Friday, December 10, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Attack On a Medieval Tower

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Byzantine Helmet -- 13th century

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Brimmed helmets (with the "brims" sometimes little more than a flared rim) were the predominant type in the 12th-13th centuries, but during the 14th century they seem to have been displaced by the Bascinets, similar to those in Western Europe.
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Hungarian Helmets:

A. Peceneg helmet, perhaps basically of Byzantium origin, with nomad decorations, 11th-12th century (Deri Museum Nemiya #2, Debrecan);

B. 10th-11th century Magyar helmet of directly riveted segments, decorated with copper filets (Archealogical Museum, Pecs);

C. Cuman helmet in mixed steppe and Iranian style, 13th century (National Museum, Budapest);

D. 14th century "bascinet" with "klappvisier", probably of German origin, 1380 (National; Museum, Budapest);

E. Helmet in Turkish style, Mohacs, period, early 15th century (National Museum, Budapest).

Helmets and Head-Gear

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A. Helmet from Vatra Moldovitei possibly 12th-13th century, Byzantine origin (ex-Spinei);

B. 11th century Russian helmet, possible Byzantine origin (location unknown);

C. Engraved and inlaid, 13th-14th century helment (engraving not shown), of probable Byzantium origin, (Kremlin Armory, Moscow) ;

D. Helmet of scale construction on a felt base, poorer warriors, 15th-16th century, (National Museum, Budapest);

E. Helmet from Kalkis, supposedly Ottoman origin, but could be late Byzantine, early 15th century, (Ethnog Museum, Athens);

F. 13th century helmet, either "cerrelliere" or part of a "chapel-de-fer" (National Museum, Budapest);

G. "salet" of Italian origin (or a fake) from Serbia late 14th-15th century, (Military Museum, Belgrade);

H. "rassapka" mail coif with skull plate, 16th century, showing obvious similarity with the Ottoman "zirh kuluh" (Military Museum, Budapest);

I. Helmet catalogued as 5th century, but probably 15th-16th century Hungarian or Serbian (National Museum, Belgrade).

Military Uniforms

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The uniforms of these Trapezuntine warriors from a 15th century tomb in Trebizond's Hagia Sofia clearly demonstrates the Turkish influence prevelent among the local Byzantine and Laz populations. The mounted figures wear white hats, yellow boots, and red coats (one with a white pattern), while the other figure below, wears a white coat and a yellow tunic.

Ref. Heath, "Byzantine Armies ---"

Game Board -- Seaport of Telico, Cyprus

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This is a ficticious seaport drawn only for gaming.

Ottoman Hooped Iron Gun

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This 1464 gun is identical to the pieces used against Constantinople. Kritoboulos records that the very largest of Mehmed II's guns in 1453 was 8.17 meters (26.8 feet) long, made of two halves that screwed together. The bore was 76 cm (30 inches) in the front half (for the shot) and 25 cm (10 inches) in the back half for the charge. In the illustrated example the halves weighed 8-9 tons each.

Ref. Heath, "Byzantine Armies ---"

Hungarian and Balkan Seals

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Seal Owners:
A -- Istvan Erdelyi, Lord of Pecs, mid 14th Century (Budapest Historical Museum);

B -- King Stephen V of Hungary, 1270-72 (Budapest Historical Museum);

C -- Late 14th, early 15th century Bosnian seal (Sarajevo Museum);

D -- Despot Stefan Lazarevic of Serbia, 1410 (Monastery Archives, Manasija).

Ref. Heath, "Byzantium Armies ---"

B --

Armored Cavalrymen

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The Serbian (left) and the Bulgarian (right) are armored cavalrymen fighting as horse-archers from mid-14th century manuscripts. There is no similar pictorial evidence of Byzantium cavalrymen using bows, though the fact that Byzantium archers were frequently brigaded alongside Cumans and Turks on the battle field and must therefore have been mounted indicates that they did; and the English chronicler Ambrose actually records Isaac Komnenos of Cyprus firing two arrows at King Richard from horseback in 1191. Certainly composite bows are depicted amongst the weapons of most military saints in late Byzantine art. It can therefore be concluded that, despite having fallen out of favor from 1150 to 1350 -- during which period Byzantine sources invariably describe their cavalrymen fighting only with lance and sword -- the bow clearly never entirely disappeared.


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This is a simplistic map of the city which was drawn in 1422 by a Florentine traveler, Buondelmonte. The massive church of Hagia Sofia stands on the right, while the large building towards the top is the Blachernae Palace. Note that the double land walls extend North from the Golden Gate Fortress only as far as the Blachernae district. Beyond the Golden Horn lies the suburb of Pera, or Galata.

Ref. Heath, "Byzantine Armies ----"

Tower Archers

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Constantinople is under attack in this drawing. The drawing is taken from the Manasses Codes of 1344-45. The lower defender is armed with a crossbow, or "Tzangra" (crossbowmen were called tzangratoroi). The crossbow was considered to be a foreign weapon, often called the "Latin Bow";and it remained a rarity in the Empire even into the 14th century, when Byzantine writers still felt obliged to describe the bow to their readers in considerable detail. Normally, it was only used to defend a fortification and not in open field skirmishes / battles. However Byzantium troops who opposed the landing of Richard the Lionheart's landing on Cyprus in 1191 included a number of crossbowmen.

Ref. Ian Heath, "Byzantine Armies 1118-1461 AD." Osprey Pub., Men-At Arms Series - 287, London, UK, 1995 (ISBN 1 65532 347 8).

Game Board

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This is a better view of the Game Board for the Cretan adventure.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mural Gallery, Eastern Curtain, Perge

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A mural gallery in an eastern curtain at Perge. The wall-walk is only 1.6 meters wide here and behind the buttresses it narrows down to 0.6 meters. There was not room enough for placing and using missile engines, so the mural gallery was either used only by archers, or else temporary wooden planking was placed beyond the stone wall-walk between the buttresses.

Ref. Nossov, "Greek Fortifications ---"

Medieval Tower, Assos

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A medieval tower in the acropolis at Assos. In the Byzantine and Turkish periods the ancient fortifications of Assos were rebuilt. The masonry of the medieval towers, often erected on ancient foundations was quite different, consisting of rubble on mortar.

Ref. Nossov, "Greek Fortifications ==="

Western Curtain, Perge

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The curtain on the western side of the Perge, viewed from the city. Projecting courses of eaves are visible on the top. Rows of eaves allowed the widening of the wall-walk, thus making it more convenient for traffic and defense without conducting the labor-consuming work of broadening the entire wall.

Ref. --Nossov, "Greek Fortifications ==="

Game Board

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This is a picture that my wife took of the game board that I made for our battle against the pirates on Crete. The drawing is strictly one out of my imagination because I do not have at hand a detailed chart of any small Cretan cities with a seaport facility.

"Roman Gate", Perge

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This so-called "Roman Gate" at Perge was probably built in the 3rd century AD right in front of a monumental Hellenistic Gate. An additional line of fortifications built to the South was seemingly designed to protect the expanded territory of the city. Meanwhile the Roman fortifications were far from formidable and were probably only created for effect.

Ref. Nossov, "Greek Fortifications ---"

Side, Turkey

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A section of a curtain backed by corbelled buttresses at Side. A slit has been made in each bay between the buttresses. Note the slits are in different heights in different bays.

Ref/ Nossov, "Greek Fortifications---"