Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fridericus Redivivus: Jinetes


Now to enter the final stages of this project, here's the penultimate unit of Konradin's "basic" army, a skirmish party of light cavalry or jinetes:


These may come as a surprise, since the jinetes are mostly regarded as a troop type particular to the Spanish peninsula. There they originated, most likely, in the Muslim Berber fashion of horsemen equipped with shields and javelins, who were either employed as mercenaries or imitated by Christian troops. However, Italy itself had strong ties to the Muslim world. The southern peninsula (including Sicily) saw Muslim rule for about 200 years, while other areas were exposed to Muslim influences by trade and travelers. Added to that, Byzantine traditions were present as well, so that light cavalrymen from the Balkans, recruited into Byzantine armies as soldiers (stratiotes), became generally known by the Italian term stradiotti. Therefore, it's quite probable that Italy had its own tradition of horsemen similar to Spanish jinetes.


In the instance of this particular unit I've opted for a mild mixture of styles. The army list labels them as "ginettes", and that clearly refers to retainers of a certain Spanish adventurer, who (honestly, rather by chance) supported Konradin's enterprise. More on that flamboyant character on a later occasion. However, due to the aforementioned reasons, I wanted to picture light cavalrymen of different origins. Hence, most of the models are carrying round shields, which are a common feature in many Mediterranean armies of the Middle Ages. The one exception is an elongated shield bearing a stylised lion, a design loosely based on an Osprey illustration (MAA 200) depicting an Aragonese knight's armour. Another "Spanish connection" is a striped shield; it was a rather typical pattern in those parts as shown in an article by Peter over at Dante's Wars (way more serious research than mine!).


Since there are no dedicated models in Legio Heroica's range yet, I used some sergeants, shortened their spears and gave them infantry shields. I would have loved to include one or two Arab riders as well in order to indicate supporters from the Muslim community of Lucera (which, in fact, acclaimed Konradin's arrival in Italy). But that would have meant more models on a base representing skirmishing cavalry, so I've reserved this for a possible later expansion. Instead, I changed the basing a bit, so that, compared to the other bases, it looks more dry and rough. Lightly armoured and fast moving cavalry was well-adapted to such terrain, from where they could easily prey on knights and heavy infantry.


Next time it's again the Romans' turn. And after that there will be the last 'regular' part of this army project. Hooray! :-)

Miniatures by Legio Heroica.

3 comments:

Brummie said...

Beautifully painted and converted, great work!

Dalauppror said...

Greate work !!!

Like your background text !

best regards Michael

El Senyor Verd said...

Absolutely awesome Sir!

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