El Cid – c1050

The Spanish hero is here shown in the traditional light equipment used in many parts of 11th century Christian Iberia. Such styles were giving way before French military influence but would never entirely disappear. El Cid’s round shield, relatively light sword and even his red cloak were features also seen on the Muslim side of the frontier

Alvar Fanez Minaya – c1075El Cids friend uses heavier mail armour and his kite shaped shield in Catalan style similar to that of southern France. His helmet is of a twp-piece construction probably descended from a late Roman prototype, while his sword betrays Islamic influence via Andalusia. The mail flap on this chest is seen in two Catalan manuscripts and recalls a similar feature on the Bayeux Tapestry. Here it is interpreted as an unlaced form of primitive ventail to protect the face. Andalusian alguazil c1080Muslim Andalusian troops used equipment reflecting various traditions from the early Islamic Middle East, North Africa, Iberia itself and even Christian Europe. Documentary sources often mention armour but this rarely appears in pictorial sources. Here a middle-ranking officer has a cloak similar to that of El Cid. He is comparatively lightly armed except for a scale-covered cuirass. One such armour survives but its dating is controversial. His light axe clearly betrays eastern influence.