Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Hungarians of the 13th Century

A few months back, I decided to have another go at finding some of the heraldry for the Kingdom of Hungary in the 13th century. My lack of any knowledge of Hungarian was a bit of a problem and it seemed that there was precious little available online in English although I did find a few coats in wikipedia.

In Pal Engel's book there were a few references to heraldry which made it clear that it had begun to emerge in the kingdom soon after it appeared in Western Europe. Armed with a few names, I eventually found some information. It turns out that the Hungarian for coat of arms is cimer from the French cimier  meaning crest. The arms belonged to a number of gens (clans - nemzetseg) and I think that various members of the clans would bear the same arms or close variations. Here is a potted history of some of the clans. One reason for this different approach is that society developed very differently in Hungary compared to Western Europe although some aspects of feudalism did appear especially under the Angevins in the 14th century.

The most useful site I found was here. I concentrated on those labelled nemzetseg  as most of the entries are civic. Even without any knowledge of the language it was possible to use dates to narrow down the arms I wanted to use. There was quite a change in the style of arms into the 14th and 15th century, so I tried to make sure I used the arms from this earlier period. I saved these as a word document so that I could refer to it during painting. Even with this site, I have likely made some errors.
Support for some of the arms comes from the Gesta Hunnorum et Hungarorum of the late 13th century. The author included a discussion of where some of the non-Hungarian familes had originated, many of which were German. In many cases the arms are described.

By the 13th century, there were increasing numbers of people who held land within Croatia and Hungary proper so I have included a few Croatian arms. I did intend to keep them on the same base but messed up! Here is a site with some background to Croat heraldry.

The King. I don't think I found a specific example of both sets of arms being used together, so a bit of poetic licence.
(EDIT - I rememeber now - the Chronica Pictum does show this combination though it may well be anachronistic. See here

Centre figure is OG15s flanked by two Mirliton figures.

Hont-Pazman, Buzad-Hahot, Jak
Keglevic (Croat), Hermann ('Saxon'), Kaplony 

Ratold, Gutkeled (both probably 'Saxon')

Gundulic (Croat), Doroszma, Subic (Croat)

Kacsics, Vaja, Boksa

There are a few alterations to some of the figures. The Vaja figure is a OG15s. It comes with quite a tall helmet which I didn't much like, so this was cut down and changed to form an early form of face mask helm. The same figure was used for Doroszma but this time the entire head was removed and replaced with a Minifigs helmet. The rest of the Minifigs figure was a bit small to fit the style of the other figures but this magnificent crest needed to be put to use. I have a couple of others which are likely to end up being used elsewhere, probably as Poles or the King of Bohemia. The Hermann figure has also had a Minifigs head grafted onto an OG15s body. The shape of the helms makes them ideal candidates for transplants, with enough room to drill a hole and insert a small piece of brass rod to keep the head secure. 

For some background reading, there is a list of sources here . This mainly focuses on the 15th centry, so I would add the chronicle I mentioned earlier and also Hungary in the Thirteenth Century . I managed to look at both of these at my local University library. The latter book has a reasonable amount of military detail including some about the first Mongol invasion.

Friday, 17 August 2012

7th Crusade II

One point about the naming of this crusade. You will find some source material (such as the Salles des Croisades) numbering it as the Sixth Crusade. This is due to debate in the past as to whether Frederick II's crusade counted; he was excommunicate at the time and he achieved his aims by the rather unknightly method of negotiation rather than by slaughtering the heathen.

Anyway, more on the participants. This crusade was predominantly French, though the Wikipedia article are a bit off the mark with the reason. Henry III of England was not involved in conflict with de Montfort at this point - relations had been strained but Henry actually stopped de Montfort going on crusade as he wanted him to govern in Gascony. Allowing him to return to Syria could have been a convenient method of getting him out of the way if necessary.

Some English did take part however. The most famous was William II Longespée, son of the 3rd Earl of Salisbury. He is often styled Earl of Salisbury, and claimed the title himself, but his father only had the title by marriage and the younger William's mother still lived. He was not an exile and, according to a letter he sent to the Pope, accepted that the denial of the title to him was in accordance with the law. (See the Wikipedia article). In fact, he was even given an annuity by the king and Henry may have been instrumental in William gaining additional land. See the History of Poole from around page 16 for more detail of this character. The figure on the left of the picture is painted as Longespée.
His standard is borne by a member of the de Vere family. I have used one of the variants of the standard arms with a black engrailed border. The figure on the mail barded horse bears the arms of the de Bohun's. I'm now doubtful that a prominent member of the family carried out his crusading vows but I kept them anyway.
The figures are all Old Glory 15s.

These are also Old Glory 15s - lances have been replaced as those moulded on are rather flimsy.

They are painted as some of the knights from Frankish Romania. In the centre is de la Roche, Duke of Athens (though he was in the 8th, not 7th, crusade). On the right of the picture are the rather plain arms of the decidedly unplain sounding Katzenellenbogen.

More OG15s. The centre arms are those of Ibelin, borne by the Count of Jaffa. There is an interesting passage in Joinville:
"The Count of Jaffa came ashore upon our left, who was cousin-german to the Count of Montbeliart, and of the lineage of Joinville. He it was who made the most noble show at landing; for his galley came up all painted above and below water with his escutcheons, the arms of which are "or with a cross gules patee." He had about three hundred oarsmen in his galley, and each oarsman bore a target with his arms, and to each target was attached a streamer with his arms embossed in gold."
This is one of the few instances I have seen where it shows the rank and file also bearing the arms of their lord.

Finally, some more French knights.
The main reason I have included this is because it shows a mix of Old Glory (right) and Mirliton (left). The two ranges mix very well. The OG shields are slightly smaller. I do have some gripes with the range. They are sold as 3rd crusade whereas they are far more suitable for the mid-13th century though some have an older style helm. They also lack a saddle cloth on either the figure or the horse and there is a ridge underneath which stops them sitting well on the horse.However it was easy enough to make a green stuff saddle cloth and this helped the figures to sit well. I like the full mail bard on some of the horses and there is a wider range of horse pose than Mirliton.