"Hunting for effigies". Cathedral of st. Stephen's in Budapest. Photo by the author, taken by someone else ...
“From the abbey of St. Geraldine, where Sir Tristan Druricom died and, according to custom, lay in the church for three days, on the day of St. Agates carried him out in a pine coffin on a rich gilded stretcher. They carried him in four rows, four people in a row, sixteen men, and yet they often had to be replaced, because the knight lay in a coffin in full armor, in chain mail with a hood, in armor, in a helmet with a casing, in iron gloves, yes, besides, in dead hands he held his long sword, and an ax was placed at his feet, as was customary. "
("Jack Straw". Zinaida Shishova)
("Jack Straw". Zinaida Shishova)
History weapons. Today we continue the theme of swords (and knightly armor, or armor and swords!) That were depicted on tombstones. However, I would like to start by referring to the epigraph. It is no coincidence that he is here. Probably, many in childhood read this romantic, touching and such a sad story by Zinaida Shishova about the love of a blacksmith's son for a noble lady and the uprising of Wat Tyler. The book is considered a classic, recommended for reading in the 6th grade as additional material on the history of the Middle Ages, and it describes a lot of things completely correctly. Much, but not all! Nothing of which she wrote in the passage that is placed in the epigraph was not and could not be.
Nobody put the deceased knights in armor in a coffin, dragged them to the grave, and laid a wooden coffin in a stone one, and buried them. Because that would be unacceptable paganism. Death equalized both the knight and the commoner, and the church followed this very strictly. A bare shroud and a candle in hand - that's all, in which both were sent to the next world. So everything written is an ignorant fantasy. However, understandable. She has not been abroad. Books about what bad feudalism was, I read only ours, Soviet ones, and for some reason the topic of effigies did not find a sufficiently intelligible reflection in them. All tombstones were credited to tombstones or statues, but what, how, their features - all this was not reported. As was not reported about the difference between effigies and breaststrokes, which we will tell you about today.
“Wow, another one got caught! And most importantly, it is a very late time, 1624. It turns out that in the presbytery of the cathedral are the tombs of Cardinal Aloysius Stepinats and Commander Tamash Erdödi. This is his effigy, made in the form of a wall bas-relief ”. The armor he wears is amazing! Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and Saints Stephen and Vladislav is a Catholic cathedral in Zagreb, Croatia. Photo by the author
Recall that effigies are gravestone figures carved from stone and located on a gravestone. That is, it is such a specific sculptural tombstone. Sometimes this statue is standing. Stands in full growth, and the grave itself is nearby. Or, on the contrary, it is very far away. But the sculpture of the deceased allows him to remember him with prayer, which is always useful for him. For example, there are many effigies of Joan of Arc: in Reims Cathedral, in the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, and in many other places.
But most of all I like this one, installed in the Cathedral of St. Michael in Carcassonne. Although the helmet at her feet is some kind of ... fantasy!
For a long time it was sculptural effigies that were in vogue in all European countries. But then it happened that the craftsmen learned how to make sheet brass. This material was expensive, but beautiful, and it immediately found its use on ... tombstones. Increasingly, knights abandoned sculptures, instead of which a flat image of a sheet of brass, usually with an engraved design, was laid on the slab. Such flat memorial plates were called "breaststroke", that is, "brass".
Brass by John and Alaina de Krecke, approx. 1340-1345, Westley Waterless Church, Cambridgeshire
Now it is difficult to say which breaststroke was the very first. But already in 1345 there were such tombstones. For example, in the same England. Of course, breaststrokes, due to their flat appearance, are less informative than voluminous ones. But they persist well. They are harder to damage, more accurately copied. So today breaststrokes are very important sources of information in the field of "knight costume" and knightly weapons. And on none of the breaststrokes does the ax lie at the feet ...
John de Argentine, 1382 Note the octagonal pommel of the hilt. It is by such small details that the time of production of a particular effigy is often determined ...
Brass by Andrew Latrell, 1390
The study of breaststrokes, like other effigies, led to a very interesting conclusion. It turns out that approximately in the last twenty years of the XIV century and the first XV knightly armor everywhere acquired a relatively uniform look. It was, if I may say so, the "final period" of the transition from mixed chain-plate armor to purely plate, "white armor".
William de Bruyne, 1395
Thomas Beauchamp, 1401
See how similar breaststrokes from that time are. And not only breaststrokes, but also sculptural effigies!
Edmund Cocaine, died 1403, effigy of 1412
As you can see, all these breaststrokes and Sir Cockayne's effigy are very similar: a bascinet helmet with a clip-on mail mantle, armor, over which a short jupon caftan is worn. The main thing that catches your eye is, of course, the chain mail mantle. The belt, decorated with square plaques, is lowered to the hips. In addition to the sword, the knight's weapon is the rondel dagger.
Georg von Bach, 1415
Pay attention to this tombstone, entirely of stone, the figure depicted on it is also almost flat, cut into its surface, also from 1415. It depicts the knight John Woodwill in armor, in which an all-metal collar is already visible over the chain mail mantle.
John Woodville, c. 1415 Grafton Regis, Northamptonshire. The chain mail in his armor is already a completely auxiliary role. And, of course, the pommel of the sword hilt in the shape of a decanter cork is very characteristic of this time.
And finally, before us is a knight in typical "white armor"!
Effigius of Nicholas de Longford of Longford Church, 1416 Helmet dropped over shoulders. Collar made of metal plates. Why the replacement of this part from chain mail to plates was delayed for more than 30 years is unclear. After all, the spearhead could well have grabbed the rings of the chain mail, and not slipped off them ... but, nevertheless, it was so. But then they no longer returned to chain collars! Pay attention to his besagyu - the shields covering the armpits, they are not round and of a very whimsical shape
Although at the same time there were knights on the continent who also dressed like this: Johann Kammerer, 1415 (buried with his wife Anna von Baikebach). And in the photo it was he, Kammerer, and not his wife!
We see full plate armor without textile cover on the example of the breaststroke of Henry Paris, 1427 Hildersham, Cambridgeshire. That is, by 1427, such armor finally became a mass phenomenon.
Interestingly, the first "white armor" was extremely functional. They had no frills, no decorations. Only one "white" polished metal! True, the sword sling has changed. Now it is no longer a belt lowered to the hips, but a simple belt on which a sword is hung. The scabbard of the dagger is most likely riveted directly to the stripes of the "skirt", assembled from overlapping plates, arranged like a tourist folding cup! At the same Henry Paris, we see the simplest round-shaped assagyu, a convex globular cuirass. The gunsmiths seemed to be trying on the possibilities of working with metal and therefore made only the simplest protective parts, without bothering themselves with special difficulties.
Randolph Leger, 1470 Ulcombe, Kent. It is interesting that a certain fashion also existed in the depiction of the figure of a knight on breaststrokes of different eras. So, towards the end of the XNUMXth century, for some reason, the sword began to be depicted on his stomach. For us, this is, of course, good. You can see its handle in detail. But the fact that no one wore it like that is also obvious, since it is impossible to walk with a sword hanging in this way. But ... it was so fashionable and that says it all!
Throughout the XNUMXth century, one might say, there was a process of developing the style of armor, which eventually took shape in two of the most popular: Milanese and Gothic, which spread in Northern Germany. Milanese armor appeared at the end of the XNUMXth century and existed until the beginning of the XNUMXth century. A feature of the Milanese armor was the large elbow pads, which even made it possible to abandon the shield, and also the asymmetrical shoulder pads, which sometimes went behind each other on the back; plate mittens with long sockets and an armé helmet, although a sallet (salade) was also used, like a barbut.
Richard Quatremain, Counselor to Richard Duke of York and Edward IV, 1478 Teme, Oxfordshire. He is wearing typical Gothic armor.
Peter Rede is depicted in knightly armor on a plaque in St. Peter Mancroft, Norwich. Interestingly, although he is depicted in armor and manner around 1470, he died in 1568. Apparently, the engraver of his breaststroke was asked to "dress" the deceased in armor of an earlier type, and ... he overdid it, obviously using the breaststroke created 100 years earlier as a model!
Gothic ones appeared in the second half of the XNUMXth century and were distinguished by sharp angles, especially noticeable on elbow pads, sabatons (plate shoes) and gloves, as well as their helmet - salad. But again, all the armor of this era had no adornments. They were distinguished by polished metal and nothing else!
Sir Anthony Gray, 1480 St. Albans, Herdfordshire. The same tradition is observed ...
Judging by this tombstone with breaststroke on its surface, the fashion for the image of a "sword in front" has exhausted itself. Edmund Clare, 1488, and his wife Elizabeth, Stokesby, Norfolk. Edmund is wearing a salade helmet with a visor, and a chin. Besagyu missing
Lukasz Gorka, 1475, Poznan Cathedral, Poland. Very interesting tombstone with breaststroke. It disappeared from the Poznan Cathedral at the beginning of World War II and was found only in 1990 in St. Petersburg in the Hermitage, which in 1990 returned it to its original place along with some other similar monuments. The breaststroke consists of eight plates with a total area of 2,64 x 1,43 meters, which is slightly larger than life size. Lucas de Gorca, who died in 1475, is dressed in the full armor of a Nuremberg knight - the breaststroke was made in Nuremberg in the famous Fischer workshop. It stands opposite a damask curtain in an ornate gateway, in which the niches are filled with the apostles. Only the lion at his feet reminds us that this breaststroke comes from those that depict a horizontal figure lying on his back with his head on a pillow and a beast at his feet. This, as well as the fact that the inscription runs along the entire perimeter, and is easy to read if the "brass" was in a horizontal position on the floor, but difficult to read in an upright position, once again confirms that initially this slab was lying on the floor, although now for some reason it is fixed on the wall of the cathedral upright
For a short time, it became fashionable to wear heraldic robes over armor again, as this French tombstone tells us about ...
Ambrose de Villiers, 1503, Notre Dame du Val, France
John Leventhorpe, 1510, St Helen Bishopgate, London
In addition, for example, in England, the fashion spread for wearing tasset shields, which were suspended from the lower edge of the carapace "skirt", under which there was also chain mail as an additional reinforcement. There was no sense in such "booking", but judging by the large number of breaststrokes with knights in such armor, it was again another fashion that they tried to follow.
Someone had these shields more, someone less, but ... the fashion for them and the chain-mail hem lasted quite a long time.
Henry Stanley, 1528 Hillington, Middlesex
Another hundred years passed and the fashion for clothes (fluffy pants stuffed with cotton became fashionable) changed again, at the same time the armor changed. Even the position of the figure on the tombstone was different. Armor is increasingly decorated with a decorative strip along the perimeter of the details. The sword-epee with crosshairs and rings was also very characteristic of this time.
Sir Edward Filmer, 1629, East Sutton, Kent. However, he was no longer wearing knightly armor, but armor "in three quarters", that is, they could belong to the reiter, and the cuirassier, and the spearman - the main types of English cavalry of this time
But there were, of course, those who, according to tradition, due to loyalty to the principles and lack of the necessary funds, worn out old armor. For example, they are depicted on the breaststroke of Sir Alexander Newton, 1659 Brysworth, Suffolk. Probably, when he appeared in them in public, they laughed at him ...
In a number of European countries breaststrokes have not taken root. There they continued to carve tombstones out of stone. Moreover, the sculptors did not always succeed in depicting the deceased. However, since we are mainly interested in armor and weapons, body defects are not important to us.
Tombstone of Nickel von Miltitz (1532-1595), circa 1595. Hans Kohler the Elder (c. 1540-1606). From the courtyard of Siebeneichen Castle. Museum of the City of Meissen. Well, this Hans Kohler the Elder turned out to be an obvious freak. It would be better not to undertake. Although the armor is shown well. And one more thing: his weapon is still a sword and a dagger.
Tombstone of R.N. Centurius von Miltitz, circa 1607 from the courtyard of Siebeneichen Castle. Here you can look at the figure of the deceased without shuddering. As you can see, the armor still uses chain mail, from which the codpiece is made, and it looks like he is wearing chain shorts under his legguards. And under them, too, there was probably something thick and, most likely, quilted, because it is not very pleasant to sit on the "fabric" of chain mail in the saddle. A scarf over his shoulder shows that we are facing not just a soldier, but an officer! Museum of the City of Meissen. By the way, this museum is extremely interesting. Usually tourists are offered a choice: a city or a porcelain factory. But porcelain is also porcelain in Russia. And in the city you can see a museum with a lot of unique exhibits, and a castle with a cathedral, and ... refresh yourself in local cafes and restaurants with excellent cuisine and local beer and wine from the city vineyards that grow right in the city on the castle hill!
This concludes our journey into the world of effigies and breaststrokes.
PS And in conclusion, our traditional gratitude to the British Medieval Society for the provided photos of effigies and breaststrokes.