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Arek Przybylok

Location: Upper Silesia
Joined: 16 Jan 2007

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PostPosted: Thu 01 Nov, 2012 10:16 am    Post subject: Inscriptions on cabassets         Reply with quote

I am searching for sources from the first half of 17th cent. telling something about inscriptions (prayers) written by soldiers on cabassets and morions
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Rob Phillips

Location: Orlando Florida
Joined: 06 Nov 2012
Reading list: 8 books

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PostPosted: Thu 15 Nov, 2012 2:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Inscriptions on cabassets         Reply with quote

Arek Przybylok wrote:
I am searching for sources from the first half of 17th cent. telling something about inscriptions (prayers) written by soldiers on cabassets and morions

Cabassets are also known as casques or pear helmets.

Did a word search on "cabasset" "morion" and "prayer" for the following texts;

Hewitt - Ancient Armour and Weapons in Europe from the Iron Period of the northern nations to the end of the 13th century
No relevant hits

Bohn's Artists' Library - Arms and Armour
Page 46. ...different sorts of burgonets in the
sixteenth ; the armet or helmet of the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries (the last technical name applied in the trade
to a headgear) ; the morion and the cabvsset, both of which,
being lighter sorts of helmets, were worn only by the infantry
all these different pieces of armour help us, by their
shape and general characteristics, to fix the date of their
make with tolerable accuracy.
Page 241. The morion (Morian in German) was originally a Spanish
helmet, and the word is derived from the Spanish word
morro, round. It had neither vizor, nose-piece, gorget, nor
neck-guard, but was surmounted by a high crest sometimes
half the height of the helmet ; and its edge turned up in a
point in front and behind, so as to form a crescent when seen
in profile.
Page242. The cabasset, or pear helmet (Birnhelm in German), derived
its name from the gourd-like or calabash form, was without
vizor, gorget, neck guard, or crest, but was pointed like a
pear, of which the stalk made a little crest. This helmet,
like the morion, was worn by both horse and foot soldiers,
particularly in France and Italy, till about the middle of the
seventeenth century. The morion, ornamented with an
enormous embossed fleur-de-lys, is to be seen in many
arsenals of Germany, especially those of Austria and
Bavaria, where it was part of the municipal equipment in
the middle ages. This fleur-de-lys has nothing to do with
the arms of the kings of France, being simply the emblem
of the Virgin, whose image many bodies of crossbowmen
and halberdiers had adopted for the sign of their civic
Page272. Burgonet-cabasset of the beginning
of the seventeenth
century, in blackened iron.
It has a peak, cheek-pieces,
neck-guard, but no crest.
The crown is pointed, like
that of the cabasset.
Arsenal of Geneva.
Page 276. 138. German morion of the sixteenth
century. This shape is rare.
Arsenal of Munich
139. German morion of the end of
the sixteenth century. In the
National Museum of Brunswick,
where it is described as
being of the twelfth century.
The large screw on the top
distinguishes it from the
usual morions.
140. Cabasset, or pear-shaped casque
(Birnen-helm in German,, of
the sixteenth century ; richly
engraved iron, with socket
for plume.
Collection of M.le Comte de Nieuwerkerke.
141. German cabasset with cheekpieces,
in engraved iron, of the
sixteenth century. This samo
shape, but with a slightly
different rim, was very much
in use in France and Italy.
Arsenal of Munich.
142. Italian cabasset for foot-soldier,
of the sixteenth century, in
iron, beaten, chased, and damascened
in gold. The subject
represents Perseus and
Andromeda. It is a very fine
H. 100, Museum of Artillery, Paris.
143. Italian cabasset for foot-soldier,
of the sixteenth century. It is
richly engraved, and pointed.
Tower of London.
144. German cabasset in blackened
iron, with socket for plume,
of the sixteenth century. The
only ornaments on this helmet
are copper nail-heads.
Collection of M. le Comte de Nieuwerkerke.
145. Italian cabasset in embossed
iron, of the sixteenth century.
It is a very beautiful specimen
of workmanship.

No specific references to inscriptions of verse or prayers, nor any depicted in the relevant images.

Gardner - Foreign Armour In England
Page6. Besides its excellence of design and richness of ornament, the mere craftsmanship
of the armour itself is of a quality that never can be excelled, and the modern counterfeiter, with all his skill and appliances, is baffled in the reproduction of torn's-de-force, such as the high-combed morions of Italy and Spain.
Page 14. The most eloquent testimony to the excellence of Milanese arms is, however, to be found in the pages of
Brantome, a very keen observer on all matters military. Milan furnished the finest engraved and most elegant corselets for hommes de pieds " tant de M. de Strozzi que de Brissac." " Ce genre de cuirasse
legere eut la plus grande vogue a la cour de France"; and
" on yapprouvoit fort les corselets graves de Milan et ne trouvoit point que nos
armoriers parvinssent a la mesme perfection, non plus qu'aux morions."
Strozzi, insisting that his armaments should be Milanese,"pria voire
quasy contraignit tous ses capitaines de n'avoir plus autres amies, tant
harquebuses, fourniments, que corselets de Milan"
: while Guise wished his infantry to be armed not with muskets, but good harquebuzes de
Milanó" de bonne trampe pour ne crever." Milanese armourers, like the Gambertis, were enticed to Paris
Page 72. The armet continued to be used by mounted officers until the middle of the seventeenth century, a picture of
Rocroy, 1643, showing Conde in a hat, but his staff in visored helmets.
One of the latest cap-a-pie suits, probably never worn, is that in the Tower, richly worked and gilded all over, presented to Charles I. by the City of London.
The high - combed morions and cabassets of the pikemen and
musketeers are generally richly etched in vertical bands, or covered
with interlacing arabesques, which we gather, from numerous passages in
Brantome's works, were usually gilt. Thus 4000 harquebuziers stepped
out of the ranks as enfans perdiis^ at the call of Mons. d'Andelet " tous
morions gravez et dorez en teste."

References to engravings only.

Ashdown - British and Foreign Arms & Armour
Page 280. A very perfect type of close helmet is shown in Fig. 868, in which the
comb is much larger than was the custom at an earlier date and resembles
that of a morion. The visor is formed of two parts, the upper or visor proper, which falls down inside the second part or baviere, and could be raised for vision if required without disturbing the lower portion. The date is c. 1560,
and it is probably Milanese. The helmet engraved in Fig.
FIG. 368. Milanese close
helmet, c. 1560.
FlG. 369. English close
369 is of English origin and partakes of the nature of a helmet and also a burgonet. The latter form of helmet
appeared during the Burgundian wars, hence its name, at the beginning of the fifteenth century,
and is essentially a helmet with cheek -pieces attached, the
protection for the face being afforded by separate pieces, the
bufe or laminated chin-piece being used at times. Fig. 370 is an
Italian burgonet dating from 1540.
Page 303. The Pikeman was furnished in the early portion of
the period with a plain pot-de-fer having a turned-down
brim, but later with a crested helmet based upon the
classic style, and later still, the cabasset helmet. Very
little armour is represented upon the pikemen in contemporary
drawings of the early part of the century, but
FIG. 410. FIG. 411. FIG. 412.
it is probable that a breast- and backplate with occasionally
armour for the arms and thighs, wrere in general use.
Page 304. During the reigns of Edward VI. and Mary the morion
and the cabasset helmet became almost universal for the
pikemen, being in many cases richly etched in vertical
hands or covered with arabesques. When first adopted
the cabasset helmet was comparatively small (Fig. 4KJ) ;
about 1560 the small projecting spike at the apex became,
curved, and as the century progressed the brim grew
narrow at the sides, and projected to a considerable distance
before and behind, while the height of the headpiece increased
(Fig. 414). The morion, which is distinguished from
Fig. 413. Cabasset
Fig. 414. Cabasset helmet,
Hatfield House, c. 1580.
Fig. 415. Morion.
the cabasset helmet by having a comb (Fig. 415), developed
an exceedingly large one, at times 6 inches in height, about
the years 1570-80, while the brim took on a very strong
curve and was generally roped at the edge. By the end
of the century the comb had lessened in height, and the
brim became wider it was still very lavishly decorated.
The pikemen during the reigns of Edward VI., Mary,
and Elizabeth were defended by back- and breast-pin Us
with tassets, gorgets, gauntlets, and steel hats or caba^
morions (Plate XXVI., p. 318).
Page 316. The Pikeman of the time of James I. was accoutred
in a morion-shaped helmet with a comb of moderate si/.e
and a flat brim, not curved, but pointed back and front.
It was provided with a holder at the back, in which four
or five large feathers were inserted.
Page 317. The pikeman of the Cromwellian period had
a similar accoutrement, but his morion may better be
termed an iron hat, inasmuch as the crown is low
with a small comb, the brim wide and drooping and coming
well over the eyes and the back of the neck, and
it is without plumes (Fig. 427). Two cheek-guards are added.
Page 317. The Musketeer wore a morion in James I. 's reign similar
to the pikeman but with no feathers, and this with a backand
breast-plate completed his metal defences. In 1625,
the morion was discarded in favour of a jaunty felt hat
with feathers, but subsequently the morion was again
worn with the addition of cheek-pieces. No tassets are
shown upon a musketeer's uniform.

No references to inscriptions or depiction of such in figures.

I have about 10 more texts to search through. Perhaps tomorrow!

In search of the truth
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Rob Phillips

Location: Orlando Florida
Joined: 06 Nov 2012
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 8

PostPosted: Fri 16 Nov, 2012 12:43 pm    Post subject: Other searches         Reply with quote

Henry Donald - A Handbbok of Pictorial History

Page 158. A pikeman of the time of James I. (from
a broadside in the possession of the Society of Antiquaries). He wears .1
morion-shaped helmet with plumes, back and breast plates reaching to the
waist, with two broad tassets fastened to the breast plate over padded
knee breeches. He is armed with a long pike and sword.
(Fig. 12) : A musketeer of the time of James I. (from the same source as Fig. 11). Musketeers
at first wore morions on the head, but, later on, large hats with plumes were adopted.

No references to prayers or inscriptions depicted.

Francis Grose - A Treatise on Ancient Armour and Weapons
Charles Ffoulkes - Armour & Weapons

No references to prayers or inscriptions depicted on the morions figured in the text.

Gardner - Armour In England

Page 80. The wheel-lock pistol, the arm of the German Reiters, who
wore black armour, mail sleeves, and a visored morion, was in the field
in 1 5 12. From this time, therefore, armour was worn rather for display
than service, and the purchaser came to value its defensive qualities
far less than the magnificence of its decoration. Nor was ostentation
in arms confined to the noble or knight alone. Brantome says that
among the pikemen and musketeers of Strozzi, De Brissac, and the
Due de Guise, thousands of gilt and engraved morions and corselets
were to be seen on parade days, and the armour worn by the picked
force of Spaniards and Italians sent by Philip of Spain to occupy the
Netherlands was a splendid sight.
The great and wealthy have seldom cared to stint in matters of personal adornment, and in days when there
were fewer ways in which a taste for extravagant expenditure could be
combined with a high appreciation of art, fortunes were spent upon the
coverings of the body. Nothing more sumptuous in applied art exists, in
regard either to design or execution, than the work lavished on the armour
produced tor the French, Spanish, and other monarchs in the second half
of the sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth centuries.

No references to prayer inscriptions or depictions in figures but recognised extensive decorative engravings late 16th early 17th century.

BY FAR THE BEST RESOURCE I came across is the following;

Sir Guy Francis Laking - A Record of European Armour and Arms Through Seven Centuries
Volume IV
Chapter 33 - Morions And Cabassets
Pages 193-217

This includes an extensive description of the period 1500-1700's including many plates of excellent examples, some ofwhich include inscriptions around the brim or band of the helmet. Most examples are either spanish or latin. One such includes the words faith and hope.

There are also listings of large quantities of cabassets and morions located at identified british churches from page 178 onwards in Volume 5. These include XVIth and XVIIth century morions at the churches of St Mary The Virgin, Holy Trinity, St John. Some of the morions and cabassets are also Saxon.

So it's possible what you are interested in is themed accordingly.

I have 8 more references to search if required. Please let me know if you need an image matched.

In search of the truth
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