THE KINGDOM OF SARAGOSSA 1100-1200
Almoravid drummer, early 12th century
Very few surviving pictorial sources can be directly related to Almoravid warriors. But abundant written descriptions clearly show that their dress was similar to that worn in parts of North Africa and the Sahara until modern times. Even the forms of their weaponry seem to have survived in isolated parts of the south Sahara and Sudan. The most characteristic feature of this figure is of course the face-veil.
Ahmad sayf al dawla – c1135
Last Muslim king of Saragossa, seen here wearing a full mail hauberk of typically European form. Even the habit of pulling a mail ventail up over the nose is seen in other parts of Europe where archery posed a particular threat. The Moorish kings helmet is, however, unlike anything seen outside the Iberian peninsula and is based on a very clear carving at Santo Domingo de Silos. His long shield appears to be of leather and reflects North African styles.
Christian mercenary, mid – 12th century
Christian warriors fought in many Muslim Iberian armies though Saragossa used them relatively rarely. In general Spanish troops carried French-style equipment though remaining lightly armoured compared to their northern neighbours. One very Spanish feature was, however, a series of helmets that protected much of the wearers face. These predecessors of the great helm sometimes had an integral extension to the front of the helmet with eye-holes pierced through it. Others, as here, included a fixed visor riveted to the helmet rim