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John C. Dos Santos




Location: United States
Joined: 29 May 2019

Posts: 8

PostPosted: Tue 26 May, 2020 8:42 pm    Post subject: Portuguese in Burgundian Army of Charles the Bold???         Reply with quote

Hello
I am trying to learn more about the activities, arms, and armour of Portuguese fighting men in the late 15th c.

Are there sources which mention Portuguese soldiers in Charles' army? Were they knights? Mercenaries? What arms and armour were they using? Did they have native weapons? Like slings or specific sword types?

Thank you,

John
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Anthony Clipsom




Location: YORKSHIRE, UK
Joined: 27 Jul 2009

Posts: 132

PostPosted: Wed 27 May, 2020 1:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In the 1476 army, there is mention of a company of 300 men-at-arms and mounted archers under Dom Denis of Portugal. These would be mercenaries, similar to the Italian, Spanish and English companies. As they are recorded as an ordonnance company, we can assume they were organised as one of those but with entirely or largely Portugese personnel.
Anthony Clipsom
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Michael Zimmermann





Joined: 19 Dec 2018

Posts: 31

PostPosted: Wed 27 May, 2020 4:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Anthony is indeed correct. For further information you could do worse than getting your hands on the following volume:

Jacques Paviot: Portugal et Bourgogne au XVe siècle: 1384 - 1482. Recueil de documents extraits des archives bourguignonnes. Lisbon 1995.

I haven't read this myself, but the reviews are alright and there's much about primary sources to discover here.

As you can see from this table of contents (http://bvbr.bib-bvb.de:8991/exlibris/aleph/a2...IHKM45.pdf), it features a supplementary section on Portuguese personnel in the service of the Burgundian dukes.
On the financial side of things, there should be records of payments to troops and stipends for their leaders (as members of the ducal court). Consult the time frame of interest (unfortunately, due to events, the records for 1476 appear rather more basic than is usually the case). The ordonnance company in question, n° XX, came into being in 1475, if I recall correctly.

Hope this helps.

- Michael
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John C. Dos Santos




Location: United States
Joined: 29 May 2019

Posts: 8

PostPosted: Wed 27 May, 2020 6:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you for the information,

I cant read French. Have to find a translation.

When you talk about mounted archers, were they using recurve more eastern style bows?

Thank you
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Anthony Clipsom




Location: YORKSHIRE, UK
Joined: 27 Jul 2009

Posts: 132

PostPosted: Thu 28 May, 2020 2:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

John C. Dos Santos wrote:
Thank you for the information,

When you talk about mounted archers, were they using recurve more eastern style bows?

Thank you


They are more likely to use crossbows, I think. I have very limited knowledge of Medieval Portugese forces but I don't remember much evidence of forces of ordinary bows, but crossbowmen, including mounted ones, feature.

Anthony Clipsom
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




Location: Sioux City, IA
Joined: 14 Mar 2015

Posts: 340

PostPosted: Thu 28 May, 2020 6:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Anthony Clipsom wrote:
John C. Dos Santos wrote:
Thank you for the information,

When you talk about mounted archers, were they using recurve more eastern style bows?

Thank you


They are more likely to use crossbows, I think. I have very limited knowledge of Medieval Portugese forces but I don't remember much evidence of forces of ordinary bows, but crossbowmen, including mounted ones, feature.


So, theoretically, there isn't any surviving evidence for longbow use in late medieval Portugal. Since the 12-13th centuries, the crossbow totally supplanted bow as the ranged-weapon.We have records of longbows at hundreds in Lisbon Royal Arsenal, but I think they were used to be sold to the English or to be given to them in the occasion of mercenary service. A Portuguese catalog of medieval pieces have a longbow in Alcacer do Sal castle, south Portugal.

Those mounted archers might likely to be mounted crossbowmen, and actually cavalry troops, not mounted infantry. The "Besteiros de Montada" was a class of cavalry crossbowmen created in King Joao I reign (late 14th to early 15th centuries), but as far as I know, they didn't seen to be numerous, but I might be wrong on that. The few references for military categories speak of "aquantiado em besta de garrucha" or "besta e cavalo" that requires horse, a type of loading compatible with mounted use and body armor. Horses itself were expensive as hell in Portugal, so I think this was cavalry rather that mounted infantry.

Regarding the subject of Portuguese in Charles the Bold army: King Afonso V was blood-related to Charles, cousin, I think. After Isabela gave a coup in Castile and used Aragon's forces to impose her rule (Afonso being the pretender from the other side), he tried to seek Charles' help against the Catholic Kings in the following war (he even married Henry IV's daughter, which was also his niece). Apparently, Charles traded troops for that, specially crossbowmen.

Portuguese Historians in general always point out that our crossbowmen were regarded as just as good as Genoa's ones, so in the later phases of Charles' war, he even asked for more crossbowmen to Afonso, but his appeals came to no avail, as no mercenary troops came.

Besides that, I think there is a small possibility that the Portuguese took part in the Black Army of Hungary and in many other foreign mercenary service. One of Joao I's sons went to adventures in Hungary after gathering a knightly host in Portugal and England, then proceeding to Venice and then to Hungary; according to the sources, the Black Army employed "Spaniards" but by that time this could mean any filiation in the Iberian Peninsula (like the 17th century Portuguese in Brazil calling the Dutch Calvinists as "flemish"). Portuguese and Spanish took part in mercenary service in Muslim African Kingdoms too, as just as the Black Legion of Landsknecht in the early 16th century included Spaniards and moors. Middle Ages were more culturally integrated that we could suppose. Take Jorg von Ehingen's experience at Ceuta under Portuguese patronage, or the Anglo-Gascon army at Aljubarrota (which wasn't exactly english-gascon, at least a single man-at-arms was from Florence)..

“Burn old wood, read old books, drink old wines, have old friends.”
Alfonso X, King of Castile (1221-84)
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