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An extract from Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 2
by Ian Heath

[Based on Bayasanghor’s Shahnama, 1430AD] [Based on a Shahnama made in Shiraz, 1435-40AD]
28 & 29.      PERSIAN CAVALRYMEN c.1430

These Timurid figures wear the two most common 15th century varieties of the khatangku dehel described under 25. That of 28, dating to c.1429-30, is of brigandine construction with an aina in the middle of the chest, while 29 (c.1435) wears a vertically-quilted type, with the sleeves invariably quilted horizontally, that appears in ms. illustrations from the second half of the 14th century. Both in addition wear leg-harness, appearing here for the first time. The characteristic Near Eastern style of composite mail and steel splint thigh and knee armour worn by 29, to be found in use in Persia, Ottoman Turkey, and Mamluk Egypt alike, first seems to have appeared in Persia in the late-14th century, though at that date without the mail fringe below the poleyns. 28 substitutes brigandine-style armour on the fronts of his thighs, strapped at the back, plus poleyns, greaves and sabatons of very Western appearance. Indeed, such armour may have been introduced as a result of Western influence since it is known that European armours were occasionally imported into Persia (Ilkhan Oijeitu, for instance, bought 1,500 armours and helmets from a European trader for his 1315 invasion of Syria). One unique ms. that has been dated to c.1370-80 (but more probably belongs to the early-15th century) even shows extremely complex leg-harness with poleyns and articulated sabatons of mail and plate attached, the whole lot being strapped behind the knee and to a belt worn under the armour at the waist, just like European cuisses. The same source also shows sophisticated arm-harness with mail and plate gauntlets attached, articulated at the wrist by bands of mail.

Next: 30. PERSIAN CAVALRYMAN c.1440 in Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 2 by Ian Heath

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