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Pedro Paulo Gaião




Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Joined: 14 Mar 2015

Posts: 222

PostPosted: Wed 16 Aug, 2017 8:22 am    Post subject: Early 16th century berber equipment at paintings         Reply with quote

I came across these paintings describing battles of 1520-1530's regarding Emperor Charles V's wars in North Africa. In some of them, I notice the use of a very uncommon shields, as you can see:


http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-5p1itMjp4nQ/Vbo5SM8...enberg.jpg



http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Hy76E7i6800/Vbo5FzK...2Bmora.jpg

Their size and shape reminds me of hungarian winged shields, but I thought the only cavalry shield they had there was the leather "adarga". I would like to know if they are acurate descriptions of berber shields or simply european artistic license. I also have other questions regarding the usage of calvary harquebusiers by that time. I don't recall any reference of this in European Armies at that time, but these illustrations shows cavalry using both crossbows and firearms (the cavalry crossbowmen at least were a common feature in andalusian armies of Spain). Does any of you knows any book, link or online article to recommend on this subject?
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Daniel Staberg




Location: Gothenburg/Sweden
Joined: 30 Apr 2005
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Aug, 2017 2:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The top print is by Franz Hogenberg who copied the works of others rather than making his own interpretations. In this case he has based his print on either the "cartoons" or actual tapestries shown the conquest of Tunis in 1535.

The Conquest of Tunis series was illustrated by Jan Cornelisz Vermeyen who took part in the campaign and made numerous sketches of the things he saw first hand. 10 years later Charles V commisioned him to make a series of 12 "cartoons", huge water colour drawings that were to be used by the tapestry makers to create tapestries comemorating Charles victory. 10 of the cartoons survive in Wien today and they are an incredible source as Vermeyen took great care to draw the equipment and clothing in actual use in 1535 when just about all other artists would simply have shown the troops in 1545 clothing. There are some exceptions here and there and some parts are unusual, in particular the mounted arquebusiers among the Berbers at a time when such troops were just being introduced into European armies. (Mounted arquebusiers able to fire from horseback that is.)

Similar shields can be seen in use by Ottoman horsemen and the Ottomans had a lot of influence in the region, some Berber horsemen are using the adarga as well in Vermeyens drawings.

"There is nothing more hazardous than to venture a battle. One can lose it
by a thousand unforseen circumstances, even when one has thorougly taken all
precautions that the most perfect military skill allows for."
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Peter Spätling




Location: Germany
Joined: 07 Nov 2015

Posts: 104

PostPosted: Thu 17 Aug, 2017 12:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

at the Veste Coburg one of these paintings survives. What I found interesting was the many left handed people depicted there. (But only the moors were left-handed)
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Thu 07 Sep, 2017 10:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Weren't European armies already experimenting with mounted handgunners as early as the 1480s or 1490s? At the very least we have artwork as well as Philipp von Seldeneck's manual to prove it, although they were obviously not as common as they would later be in the 16th century. Given that North African armies were pretty quick to adopt firearms too, I don't find the presence of firearm cavalry among them to be that surprising either.
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Joined: 14 Mar 2015

Posts: 222

PostPosted: Wed 13 Sep, 2017 3:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Weren't European armies already experimenting with mounted handgunners as early as the 1480s or 1490s? At the very least we have artwork as well as Philipp von Seldeneck's manual to prove it, although they were obviously not as common as they would later be in the 16th century. Given that North African armies were pretty quick to adopt firearms too, I don't find the presence of firearm cavalry among them to be that surprising either.


Cesare Borgia employed some numbers of mounted harquebusiers in his mercenary company, but he wasn't the first one to do so. There are nowadays illustrations based in a 1449-pictographic source of french cavalry culverineers. I can't find the original source, though. Heath also says Charles VII of France might have some mounted harquebusiers too!

https://qph.ec.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-e6d974747fbb43676fa671e38403bc21-c

http://medieval_weapons.academic.ru/pictures/...ns/504.jpg

But due to the scarcity of major references on the subject, I believe they must have been inefficient units (at least regarding to an officer's view). They probably were focused on skirmishing in open battles or were put along the personal guards of kings or other princes. That said, if the berbers actually had cavalrymen with firearms, they did so by their own instead of adopting this practice by foreign influence: in Spain, although the spaniards didn't employed cavalry crossbowmen (at least as far as I know), the moors had been using the crossbow as cavalry weapon since the 14th century. Don't know if the morrocans also adopted it in its own cavalry, but this only proves they can do military innovations by themselves.



 Attachment: 74.15 KB
culveriner montado.png


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