Sunday, 27 May 2012

St Louis and the 7th Crusade

The latest Slingshot (281) has an article about the 7th Crusade so I thought I would put up some pictures of figures I have painted for this campaign. I won't say very much about the background of the crusade - the article covers the main points. For more detail you can go to the eyewitness account of de Joinville .  Bartlett's 'The Last Crusade' is essentially a retelling of de Joinville with some additional information.

All the figures are 15mm Mirliton.

Firstly, the king - Louis IX.
 Suffice to say that if you ever choose to paint these arms then you do indeed need the patience of a saint or a liking for fleurs-de-lys.
The figure with the plain red banner is painted with the arms of Clement as shown in a stained glass window in Chartres cathedral.

He was actually marshal of France a generation before this crusade, but I liked the arms and kept his association with the flag, the famous Oriflamme.

There are various descriptions of the Oriflamme through the years and it is possible that it was replaced over the years. This site gives a potted history of its appearance and the battles where it is thought to have been carried.

Since first painting the flag I added a bit of 'brocade' effect, just to add a bit of interest.

Next is de Joinville, whose account gives us so much detail about this crusade.

 This is a slightly later illustration of de Joinville from a 14th century edition of his memoirs. It is useful for showing how the arms were carried on the horse bard.

I have chosen a figure with a kettle hat rather than a full helm. De Joinville recounts how he gave the king his own to allow the king some relief from the heat.

The figure next to him, Hughes de Trichatel, lord of Conflans, is mentioned as carrying his banner at Mansourah.

I'll put some more pictures of personalities from this crusade in my next post, including some non-French.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Persian Era Egyptians

It's been a long time since I've posted, so something quite quick...

A good while back, I bought a few packs of Xyston Egyptian spearmen largely because I liked the look of them rather than any hope that they'd be a worthwhile addition to a Persian army. They had sat in the lead mountain for a couple of years but I thought I'd try and get them painted in time for the Plataea Society of Ancients game.
As it turned out, I didn't get them done in time but as they were nearly finished I carried on with them rather than add them to the nearly-finished-but-not-ready-to-put-on-the-table pile.

This is how they turned out.

The figures are a straight rendition of the reconstruction in Duncan Head's Achaemenid book.
 Much of this is based on the description in Herodotus
"The Egyptians furnished two hundred ships. Their crews had plaited helmets upon their heads, and bore concave shields with rims of unusual size. They were armed with spears suited for a sea-fight, and with huge pole-axes. The greater part of them wore breastplates; and all had long cutlasses. "

There is also the description in Xenophon's Cyropaedia (7.33) which describes the use of long spears and large shields which they lock together as they advance on the Persians. The whole passage has many suspect features but some of what he writes may represent Egyptian practice in his own day.

The shape of the shield may have been the inspiration for Assyrian shields, replacing their earlier large roud shields. They certainly resemble earlier Egyptian shields though greatly enlarged. Alternatively the Egyptians may have adopted an Assyrian shield which resembled their own earlier shields; sort of convergent evolution.

The same  figures would probably be suitable for Saitic Egyptians - the 26th to 30th dynasties - though finding matching figures might be a problem. One of the reasons I painted the shields in different ways was to be able to pick out Guard infantry if I ever decided to expand the force.

I also wanted to try out different styles of shield. One pair of elements have a basic rawhide look but these have the traditional spotted cowskin look as was traditional in earlier times.

As for the men's skin, I did use a darker tone than usual but the photos make them look lighter than they are. When I did my New Kingdom Egyptians I found it difficult to get a tone I was happy with.

Coincidentally, two recent TMP threads on Egyptians are useful, with links to pictures of Egyptian cowskin and to the way that the Ancient Egyptians showed their own skin colour