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Corey Skriletz




Location: United States
Joined: 27 May 2011

Posts: 118

PostPosted: Fri 30 Dec, 2011 10:55 pm    Post subject: Is that a black knight?         Reply with quote

If I posted this in the wrong forum, I apologize. The question I have isn't about the arms and armor, but rather about the man using them. In the Maciejowski Bible, there is a plate that depicts a large battle. In the midst of said battle, a man is getting his necked hacked at, who appears to be African. I think this is supposed to depict David's slaying of 200 Philistines. At first I thought it was just to show that this didn't take place in Europe. However, as far as I can tell, there is nobody else, in the entire Maciejewski Bible with such a dark skin tone. What really surprised me was the gear he had. He is clad in what looks to be a full suit of maille, which, unless I am much mistaken, was very expensive. Other than his skin color, the only thing to separate him from anybody else in this plate is his helmet, which (and I'm probably wrong here) appears to be fluted. So I guess my question is, could one of African decent reach the status of knighthood in England or France (I think France is where the Maciejowski Bible was created)? Or is there any other explanation for this one well-armed African man in the Maciejowski Bible? The plate in question is linked below:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bullets4brains/6...hotostream
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Roderick Stacey




Location: Ballarat, Australia
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PostPosted: Fri 30 Dec, 2011 11:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

St Maurice is also depicted as an African man, possibly Egyptian during the 13th C.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons...deburg.jpg

Dates from the 1240s from the Magdeburg Cathederal.
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Marik C.S.




Location: Germany
Joined: 16 Feb 2010

Posts: 163

PostPosted: Sat 31 Dec, 2011 5:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In the aftermath of the crusades there must have been some rather dark fellows who changed their belief to the Christian side of things and similar things will have happened during the Saracen occupation of Spain.
Add that to a culture where black people were very uncommon and you might get a knight who is not exactly black but is called and pictured as black because he is simply of much darker skin then those around him.

The citizens of the castle in Spain where Parcivals Father meets his first wife are also described as black though they would have been of north African decent rather then black African and as far as I know that story was written about the same time said bible was illuminated.

Europe - Where the History comes from. - Eddie Izzard
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Jeremy V. Krause




Location: Buffalo, NY.
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PostPosted: Sat 31 Dec, 2011 7:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

An interesting question! I read this thread with interest.
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Kurt Scholz





Joined: 09 Dec 2008

Posts: 390

PostPosted: Sat 31 Dec, 2011 9:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I remember there was a French knight travelling as far south as Nubia/Sudan and his travel was recorded, but can't remember the name.
Wolfram von Eschenbach mentions for Parzival a knightly (!) Muslim half-brother Feirefiz. So I would conclude there was something in the Muslim world that was considered or best described as a knight from the Christian perspective. With this in mind I have no doubt that black knights could exist.
The coat of arms of the archbishop of Freising, north of Munich (Oktoberfest location), has a moor in it because the moor was considered capable of defeating a lion. The lion was in the coat of arms of the duke of Bavaria (later elevated to king).
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/de/4/49/Wappenmarx.JPG
http://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Dat...0129233644
The pope, former archbishop of Freising, has kept his moor and his bear (in the coat of arms of the city of Freising) in his coat of arms.
http://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Dat...0701040230
So having such a black knight might be very prestigious because of attributed fighting capability.
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
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PostPosted: Sat 31 Dec, 2011 10:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Keep in mind that the Maciejowski Bible is portraying biblical stories, not participants of the time in which the bible was put together.

Cheers

GC
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Doug Lester




Location: Decatur, IL
Joined: 12 Dec 2007

Posts: 166

PostPosted: Sat 31 Dec, 2011 11:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It is correct the the Maciejowski Bible did depict biblical stories, with no little visual hyperbole, but the artists depicted that they saw around them; arms, armour, and men that they encountered around them. The portrayal of a dark skinned warrior doesn't prove that there were black Africans in Europe at the time that bible was made but it does open the question. However, it could only mean that the artist responsible for this panel had traveled to an area, such as the Holy Land, where there were dark skinned fighters who wore European armour.
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
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PostPosted: Sun 01 Jan, 2012 11:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Doug Lester wrote:
It is correct the the Maciejowski Bible did depict biblical stories, with no little visual hyperbole, but the artists depicted that they saw around them; arms, armour, and men that they encountered around them. The portrayal of a dark skinned warrior doesn't prove that there were black Africans in Europe at the time that bible was made but it does open the question. However, it could only mean that the artist responsible for this panel had traveled to an area, such as the Holy Land, where there were dark skinned fighters who wore European armour.


Not neccesarily, I have seen a picture of a duel between Richard I and Saladin where Saladin wore european armor, which I don't think ever happened...
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Corey Skriletz




Location: United States
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PostPosted: Sun 01 Jan, 2012 3:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Roderick: That's very interesting.

Marik: That's what I always thought. I can't imagine why Crusaders wouldn't bring black (or at least darker-skinned) men back with them.

Glen: I do realize that, but everything in the Maciejowski is portrayed the way it would look in the 13th century. For instance there were no fully-mailled warriors in Biblical times, but there were in the 12th and 13th centuries. And nobody else in the whole thing is black or even darker-skinned. There's nothing special about this guy, he isn't supposed to be somebody in particular he's just riding alongside all the other knights. If they made hm darker-skinned to show that it was in the Holy Land, why would he be the only one?

Doug: I'm not sure that the there were too many different artists involved in making the Maciejowski Bible, especially since the artistry style in all the panels is so similar. So it still begs the question, why is this the only dark-skinned guy in the whole manuscript?

Luka: Well, I think Saracens did wear some maille, although certainly not as much as their European counterparts. Do you have a link to the picture you're referring to?
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
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PostPosted: Sun 01 Jan, 2012 3:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Corey Skriletz wrote:

Luka: Well, I think Saracens did wear some maille, although certainly not as much as their European counterparts. Do you have a link to the picture you're referring to?


I will try to find the picture. It was a 15th century picture of Richard and Saladin duelling and both wore similar full plate armor, I think maybe the headwear was different...
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Corey Skriletz




Location: United States
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PostPosted: Sun 01 Jan, 2012 4:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh, well then it isn't accurate in any sense of the word. I have seen a picture similar to the one you speak of, perhaps even from the same artist, portraying Saladin in full plate armor and a turban. Neither side had plate armor back then.
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
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PostPosted: Sun 01 Jan, 2012 4:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Corey

What is the plate entitled?

As you have this linked to flickr and I am on dial up, I quit waiting for it to load after about a minute.


What does the plate refer to and portray is what I am getting at. It is not a depiction of Europeans in amrour, it is a biblical tale. What is the tale? I dunno..... can''t see the plate I do not know what it portrays.

shrug

Cheers

GC
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Corey Skriletz




Location: United States
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PostPosted: Sun 01 Jan, 2012 10:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

MedievalTymes.com says it's supposed to be David slaying 200 Philistines. It can be found under Maciejowski 29 if you go to the aforementioned website.

If Flickr is the only problem, then perhaps this link will work for you:

http://www.medievaltymes.com/courtyard/images...&d.gif
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Glen A Cleeton




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Jan, 2012 8:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Right, so the ones depicted as casualties are Philistines, not English or French knights.

No?

Cheers

GC
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Corey Skriletz




Location: United States
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PostPosted: Mon 02 Jan, 2012 3:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nobody in this thing is supposed to represent English or French. However the Maciejowski Bible was created in France and all the characters are dressed up in 13th century Western European clothes and armor. Which are things one certainly wouldn't see in the time the scene in question takes place.
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
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PostPosted: Mon 02 Jan, 2012 4:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Or is there any other explanation for this one well-armed African man in the Maciejowski Bible?


The dark man is one of the Philistines. The bad guys in that plate are being slain.

Just before that you are wondering whether a man of color might reach knighthood in European medieval times. My point is still that the bible does not relate that, but the biblical stories. Medieval chivalry has nothing to do with it (imo).

Cheers

GC
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Roderick Stacey




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Jan, 2012 6:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The black man is an infidel, so perhaps representative of Muslim forces at the time?
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Doug Lester




Location: Decatur, IL
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PostPosted: Mon 02 Jan, 2012 8:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka, that's what I mean, the maker of that illustration that you site never saw the type of arms and armour that Saladin would have worn so he illustrated him wearing European style armour that he was familiar with. It's the same reason that the Isrealites and the Philistines were in Medieval European garb in the Masiejowksi Bible. Those were arms and armour that the artist saw on a daily basis. The fact that he illustrated a dark skinned man-at-arms in that one plate would indicate that he had seen dark skinned races some where and possibly in European armour contemporary to the time the illustration was made.
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Corey Skriletz




Location: United States
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PostPosted: Tue 03 Jan, 2012 12:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Glen: But he's the only dark-skinned person in the entire thing. African-descended people wouldn't be terribly rare in this area, so why is the only one? Why wouldn't all the Philistines be dark-skinned? I'm inclined to agree with Doug, the artist probably saw at least one dark-skinned man who had joined the ranks of some Crusader and took up European garb.
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Kurt Scholz





Joined: 09 Dec 2008

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PostPosted: Sat 14 Jan, 2012 2:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dark skinned knights might have been rather something well known from iconography because http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Maurice Saint Maurice was a patron Saint of the Holy Roman Emperor and depicted as a black man.
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