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An extract from Armies and Enemies of the Crusades 1096-1291
by Ian Heath

[Shield based on Folio 153v, Histoire d’Outremer by William of Tyre, Saint-Jean-d’Acre, Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, c.1287
Boulogne-sur-mer - Bibliothèque Municipale - Ms 142

8.      FRANKISH KNIGHT c. 1290

This figure, based on mss. illustrated in Acre between 1280 and 1291, shows how knights were equipped during the kingdom’s closing years. The barrel-helm has been replaced by a type called a ‘sugar-loaf’ after its shape (though the heaume also remained in use) and he carries a cross-emblazoned shield. Colours of cross and field on crusader shields in the Acre mss. indicate that practically any colour combination was possible, irrespective of heraldic rules, including red on black, brown on red, red on mauve, blue on yellow, etc. The cross itself also appeared in diverse forms and shapes.

Attached to his chausses are iron poleyns (knee-guards), which could also be attached to the quilted cuisse. Other pieces of plate-armour in use by this time but uncommon until the 14th century were couters (elbow-guards which, like poleyns, probably first appeared c. 1225) and schynhalds (greaves, protecting either the front or both front and back of the lower leg). There were also shoulder pieces called ailettes which first appeared c. 1270, but these were of leather rather than metal; their defensive value remains questionable.

Next: 9. FRANKISH MOUNTED SERGEANT in Armies and Enemies of the Crusades 1096-1291 by Ian Heath

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