Whether you are traveling in Italy in your own car or in a rented car, you have the chance to get to the town of Imola, a small town in Romagna in central Italy, and there you get to one of the side chapels of the Church of Saints Nicholas and Dominic. There you can see a marble tombstone, which can be considered one of the most "charming" effigies in 14th century Italy. And the uniqueness of this effigy is such that, I think, it should be devoted to the whole material of our knightly series, and (believe me) it is she who is worth it!
Miniature depicting Italian knights around 1340-1350 "Novel about Three", Venice, Italy (National Library of France, Paris)
A step to the left and to the right is unacceptable liberty
To begin with, the monuments of that time, erected in honor of the famous warriors, were usually made strictly according to the rules of the then iconography, which in a certain way demonstrated the social status and glory of the deceased. First of all, this concerned effigia, which were usually located on the floor of the church and represented the figure of an armed knight, carved in the technique of bas-relief, lying with folded hands, with a face that could be seen. A Latin inscription carved along the edges of the slab briefly listed his name, titles and dates of life and death, which, incidentally, allows us to accurately date the vast majority of effigies. Occasionally, but mostly outside Italy, the warrior was portrayed in a more realistic manner, perhaps holding his helmet in his hands and with a shield on his side, but always lying on his back or "standing." At the same time, the deceased was never depicted in battle. In Tuscany, the type of slab predominated, on which the effigia of the deceased was framed by a rich Gothic window with twisted columns and flower garlands.
Images of Italian knights 1300-1350 from the Life of the Twelve Caesars manuscript. (National Library of St. Mark, Venice)
How best to position the sarcophagus?
More complex was the sarcophagus, which stood on the floor of the church or on brackets hanging against the wall. In this case, religious scenes and events from the knight's life were carved around its perimeter, although sometimes they were just figures of grieving angels or local saints. The figure of the deceased in this case usually lay on the lid of the sarcophagus. A more or less long inscription telling about his merits (including those that he did not possess in the slightest degree!) Could be placed anywhere. For example, on the wall above the sarcophagus. The sarcophagus could have been very pompously decorated with architectural decorations. Everything here depended on the "culture" of his family and its financial capabilities to order a "social passport" for the deceased at a higher price. A third type of effigia, still very rare in 14th century Italy, was an equestrian monument, sometimes added to the sarcophagus. In general, it can be said that in Central Italy - roughly from Bologna to Rome - a slab on a floor or wall has dominated throughout this century; Several sarcophagi were also found, but there is no equestrian monument. Moreover, we will hardly ever be able to recognize and identify the authors of the gravestones, since they did not sign their works, either, apparently, not considering them to be something significant, or … such was the tradition at that time.
Non-canon headstone from Imola
Now is the time to return to our tombstone from Imola. It violates all the canons: a warrior does not lie with folded hands, but rides on a horse; and finally the sculptor signed his work. Now this effigia is on the wall of the passage that leads to the chapel itself, but in the past it lay on the floor. The expression sub ista… area, “inside this coffin”, which is in the inscription, suggests that this slab was once the lid of a marble sarcophagus that rested on the floor. The inscription, carved along the edge of the slab, reads: “He achieved a lot, and excelled in many virtues. He died on May 13, 1341. " Between the horse's legs we can read the signature bitinus de bononia me FECIT. Which means: "Bitino Bologna made me"
This is what this stove looks like today.
Beccadelli is a man of a respected family
The Beccadellis were a renowned Bolognese family, said to be named after a certain Beccadello del Artenisi, who dissociated himself from the mainline by the late 1100s. That is, they did not belong to the Ghibelline party and were expelled from Bologna in 1337 after they sided with the losing party. In 1350 they were granted permission to return to their homes in Piazza Santo Stefano, where we can still see the remains of their coat of arms carved into the column capitals; although Señor Colaccio himself (short for Nicolassio) died in exile at Imola in 1341. Back in 1305, he fought against Guidinello Montecuccoli during the siege of Montese, near Modena, and in 1315 he joined the allies of Florence in the bloody battle for Montecatini, lost by the Guelphs. He was ambassador to Padua and Ferrara in 1319 and was elected an elder several times between 1320 and 1335, that is, he was one of the prominent figures in the political life of his city.
Modern reconstruction of the standing figure of Colaccio Beccadelli.
A ready-made manual on the history of knightly weapons …
The image of Beccadelli on the slab is very interesting, even though it is flat. He is wearing full knightly equipment typical of 1341, although, as we well know, two equally dressed knights never existed! However, since he is not shown in full growth on the slab, let's turn to the reconstruction of his image. So, on his head is a helmet-comforter - an early bascinet with a removable aventail - aventail, and double (which was just typical for Italy at that time) - covering the shoulders and stripes along the perimeter of the side and back of the helmet. The aventail is removable. On the shoulders one can see triangular shoulder pads with a coat of arms. It is difficult to say what they are made of and what purposes other than identification they served. Perhaps this is an analogue of French and English ellets. However, usually the ellets had a different shape. However, in Emilia, as in Tuscany and elsewhere in northern Italy, triangular shoulder pads were preferred, often protruding beyond the shoulder line. By the way, the last dated Italian ellets of the traditional form can be seen on the effigy of Ftaimondo Cabanni, um. 1334, in the Church of Saint Clara in Naples.
The last years of the "chain mail era"
The torso is clad in chain mail with long sleeves and two slits on the sides. A jupon, a short "jacket" with a scalloped hem, is worn over the chain mail. Interestingly, it is shorter in front than in the back, and why it was done in this way is not entirely clear. After all, the fabric here was clearly thin, and there could be no lining on the scallops, which means that this cutout in the front had no practical need. There is no doubt that there is "something" on it underneath. The fact is that the jupon has an attachment for three chains that go to the handles of the dagger, sword and to the topfhelm helmet behind him. It is clear that no fabric could withstand such a heavy load, and the chain mail would be stretched like a bubble. But we do not see any of this. This means that there is a rigid base under the fabric: either "boiled leather" or a metal cuirass.
The hands are clad in plate gloves with leather sockets and metal details on the back of the hand.
When legs are more important than hands …
Armor for the legs is shown very well. So, the thighs above the knees are protected by quilted leggings with metal plates riveted on them in front and forged knee pads, which, however, are held in place with the help of special straps fastened under the knees. The chain mail visible from under the fabric may indicate that under the "quilted" Colaccio is also wearing short chain mail chaussures. Folded greaves. They can be both metal and "boiled leather". However, in Italy at that time, it was customary to decorate leather greaves with embossing. Therefore, since they are smooth, then there is metal. Shoes, sabatons, obviously leather, but again double, with padding of metal plates, the heads of the rivets of which are clearly visible on the skin. Spurs - "wheel" in the form of an asterisk.
Colaccio Beccadelli effigia leg.
Passport of a knight
As we know, Beccadelli's coat of arms was azure with the image of a winged eagle's paw. And it is just such, and, most likely, gilded, "comb" we see on his helmet. The helmet itself is quite ordinary, but it is decorated with two winged paws, not one. Apparently, one seemed a little! And we also see the same decorations on the shaffron - "horse mask" and on the rump of his horse. That is, this knight loved to show off, what is already there … A decent "mod", he was, probably!
Helmet decorations of Italian knights (from left to right): helmet of effigia Mastino II della Scala - Podesta of Verona, 1351. He was buried in a Gothic mausoleum next to the Church of Santa Maria Antica, in one of the famous tombs of the Scaligers - Arch Mastino II; a helmet and helmet-mounted decoration on a knight's bas-relief on the wall of the courtyard in the Bargello Palace in Florence, around 1320-1325; effigia helmet Colaccio Beccadelli (fig. A. Sheps)
The color of the jupon, as well as the shoulder plates, was most likely also azure in color of the coat of arms, and the horse blanket was the same. That is, all the "passport details" of a knight of that time are present in Beccadelli's attire.
Chains and weapons
Now let's turn to some interesting details. For example, at the end of the helmet chain there is a "button" in the form of two connected cones that must be inserted into a slot on the helmet. And indeed there is a cruciform slot on the lower faceplate on the left of it. It is known that sometimes a pair of chains was used for this, one for each shoulder. But more often the chain was one. Apparently the weight of the helmet created sufficient pressure on the "button", and it could not pass through the slot through which it had to be removed in a strictly defined way.
Helmet of a Medici knight from a bas-relief in the Church of St. Reparat in Florence, 1353 (drawing by A. Sheps)
You should also pay attention to the armament of Kolaccio. Usually in the hands of effigii is a sword. Very rarely they hold on to the spear, but here is the mace … Perhaps this is the only such case. Although a dagger and a sword on chains are constantly found on effigies, and the number of chains in some of them can reach four! Perhaps the mace indicated his superior rank, but this is nothing more than an assumption.
Known wall painting in the Church of St. Abbondio, Como, Lombardy, dating back to 1330-1350, which depicts the commander of the city militia with a six-pole in his hands. It is interesting that over the chain mail he is wearing a leather cuirass, sewn from separate "segments" like the anatomical cuirasses of Ancient Rome, and in his left hand he has a leather shield. Well known for various miniatures from manuscripts.
"Commander of the city militia with a six-pole" (Church of St. Abbondio, Como, Lombardy) Reconstruction by a contemporary artist.
Armor for the knight, blanket for the horse
A horse blanket worn on Beccadelli's horse, also a shaffron, is very interesting. The saffron and its side plates were almost certainly made of "boiled leather." This material adhered well to the horse's head, and the blunt edges did not irritate or injure the animal's skin. But the cruciform protection and the four plates on the neck, forming the crinet (the predecessor of the full metal protection for the head and neck), are clearly made of iron. The horse is well-shod, with protruding nail heads and protrusions on the rear horseshoes, which are used on frozen and soft ground to strengthen the support of the hooves.
As for the blanket, it is clearly merged from two panels of fabric, with ties at the front of the chest. The color should also be azure with applied or embroidered gilded winged claws. The cover could be made of sargano fabric (canvas). The lining could be made of two layers of quilted leather, and in this case such a blanket could well protect the horse from blows and even arrows, especially where there was metal under the fabric. And he was definitely on the muzzle, neck and on the rump, since the presence of internal armor under the blanket is indicated by the winged paw on the rump. If it were not for a rigid base, it could not stand upright. It is known that in Italy of this time several types of very durable canvas were used, used to cover carts, mule backs and the like. For example, chronicler Giovanni William reports that at the Battle of Crecy in 1346, English archers fired "from behind and from under carts covered with garfish", which gave them protection from Genoese crossbowmen. The term coverta (cover) was used to refer to the blanket of the war horse, which was said to be "coverto" or "covertato". Warriors could wear a dress made of silk, garment or barakame - woolen fabric. Inkamutata meant "quilted" or "wadded," and it is possible that the term referred to quilted bedspreads that were made by stitching together pieces of fabric and were further reinforced with crossed leather strips.
The saddle is regular, "chair type", with high bows in the front and back. This effigia has no shield. But the knight has it on a bas-relief from the Bargello Palace in Florence. As you can see, it is characterized by an "iron-like" shape and is traditionally used to apply the knight's coat of arms to it.
1. Oakeshott, E. The Archeology of Weapons. Arms and Armor from Prehistory to the Age of Chivalry. L.: The Boydell Press, 1999.
2. Edge, D., Paddock, J. M. Arms and armor of the medieval knight. An illustrated history of Weaponry in middle ages. Avenel, New Jersey, 1996.
3. Held, Robert. Arms and Armor Annual. Volume 1. Northfield, USA. Illinois, 1973.
4. Nicolle D. Arms and Armor of the Crusading Era, 1050-1350. UK. L.: Greenhill Books. Vol.1.