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Our Collection of Painted Metal

Muscovite Cavalryman - 15th Century
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Muscovite Cavalryman - 15th Century (1 painted mounted metal figure) History Works/Del Prado | HWISME053 $20.00

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Material: Scale:
Our Collection of Painted Metal 54mm (1/32nd - about 2 1/4 inches high)

The gentry militia cavalry was derived from the 15th century court of the Muscovite Grand Prince. It consisted of a hierarchy of nobles who held hereditary estates called votchina and gentry servitors who were given estates, called pomestie, in exchange for military service. It was this army which threw off the last vestiges of Mongol rule (1240-1480) and reconsolidated the patchwork quilt of independent princes which had splintered under Mongol rule.
Cavalry weapons included the bow and arrow, spear, saber, axe, dagger, and, at the end of the century, a small number of pistols. The bow and arrow used was the "composite bow" standard among eastern horsemen. It was constructed of laminated horn, horn and wood, or apparently sometimes of metal. It was very effective. A one-half ounce arrow could range 600 yards, although a two-ounce, 24" arrow was more common in wartime. The three-foot bow had a 118-pound pull and could shoot the war arrow 300 yards or pierce a 1/2" plank at 100 yards.(2) Cavalrymen also used a long-shafted spear with an iron tip. The boar spear (rogatina) was characterized by a pole-axe blade. Also popular was an iron bludgeon with thorns, strengthened by chain links to the shaft.(3)
Extensive use was made of defensive body armor. Shirts of iron links, called kol'chuga, were traditional wear. In the mid16th century two new styles became increasingly popular: the iushman, a short-sleeved chain mail shirt with square plates of metal in the midsection, and the zertsalo, a circular metal plate over the chest with plates on the sleeves and neck area. Rich servitors wore an undershirt of velvet under coats of mail: poorer servitors wore linen. Lower class servitors and servants often wore a quilted caftan called a tegiliai. The tegiliai consisted of leather or strengthened linen, stuffed inside with wadding and tightly sewn so that it could be exposed to weapon's fire. Richer servitors might have tegiliai made of velvet trimmed with ermine or linen with a metal lining.(4)

The gentry cavalrymen were first and foremost horsemen. Foreigners noted the Turkish influence on both dress and tactics. Anthony Jenkinson, an English soldier of fortune, noted, "When he rideth on horseback to the wars or any journey, he hath a sword of the Turkish fashion and his bow and arrows of the same manner. They use saddles made of wood and sinews with the tree gilded with damask work and the seat covered with cloth, sometimes of gold and the rest saffian leather, well stitched."(5) Giles Fletcher, the English ambassador, was also interested in the military skill of the gentry cavalry. "The common horseman hath nothing else but his bow in his case under his right arm and his quiver and sword hanging on the left side.... The under captains will have commonly some piece of armor besides, as a shirt of mail or such like. Their swords, bows, and arrows are of the Turkish fashion. They practice like the Tatar to shoot forwards and backwards as they fly and retire."(6)

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