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[Full reconstruction]12th century communal militaman (Read 1808 times)
Mauro Fiorentini
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[Full reconstruction]12th century communal militaman
Jan 4th, 2018 at 6:19pm
 
...

Here is the reconstruction of a communal infantryman of the town of Ancona, depicted during the siege of 1173 or 1174, during which he fought the army of Frederick Redbeard and the fleet of the Venetians, winning after much struggle and the help of allies.
Well, of course he didn't fight alone. He was one of the males inhabiting the town at the time, that were pressed into battle should the need arise. They formed the communal militia (from the word "comune", or "free town", indicating towns that were ruled in autonomy outside the sphere of the Church or the Holy Roman Empire).

He's armed with a spear, a hatchet, a flat top helmet and a small rounded shield which bears the motto "Unus portus in Ancona" (one harbour in Ancona).
He's dressed up with functional clothes such as a woolen tunic, sturdy boots and two belts.
He shows his wealth by wearing a bronze pin and a small knife with a damascus blade. There's a sling and some stone in his bag.

References are the book "Liber de obsidione Ancone" (The siege of Ancona), written in 1200 by Boncompagno da Signa, reliefs on the church of Santa Maria della Piazza and on the Palazzo degli Anziani (the Elders' Palace) in Ancona and on Modena's cathedral, mosaics from the cathedral of Monreale, Sicily, frescoes on the Templar's Chapel in Cressac, France, and miniatures in the Fécamp Psalter, Worms and Stephen Harding Bibles and in the Nouvelle Acquisitions Latines 174 and 1366  Smiley
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vetryan15
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Re: [Full reconstruction]12th century communal militaman
Reply #1 - Jan 4th, 2018 at 9:13pm
 
That's awesome. I can't say anything else.wow.
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Mauro Fiorentini
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Re: [Full reconstruction]12th century communal militaman
Reply #2 - Jan 5th, 2018 at 3:32am
 
Thanks Ryan, too kind  Smiley
Oh btw, happy new year everyone!!
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Re: [Full reconstruction]12th century communal militaman
Reply #3 - Jan 5th, 2018 at 5:31am
 
That is really cool.
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Mauro Fiorentini
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Re: [Full reconstruction]12th century communal militaman
Reply #4 - Jan 5th, 2018 at 5:48am
 
Many thanks Otter Smiley

The shield is 2,5 centimeters thick, 40cm in diameter, it's made of multi-layers wood covered with rawhide and some layers of linen. The handle is an iron bar recycled from a fireplace's piece  Grin
Everything is glued and riveted together, it's quite strong in my opinion, can't wait to see how it behaves in combat!
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Re: [Full reconstruction]12th century communal militaman
Reply #5 - Jan 5th, 2018 at 9:47am
 
I can just imagine the conversation between the militia and the quartermaster.

"Sorry, We have no more gambesons left, But we have some helmets that you could borrow."

"But it's got a flat top?"

"And?"

"What If It were to take a hit, wouldn't it be more likely to deform than a round one?"

"Uhhhh... would you accept a complementary free arming coif?"

"Does the coif come with a free shield?"

"Fine, just take it and go."

*Next militia in line*

"Sorry, we have nothing left."

Grin
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Mauro Fiorentini
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Re: [Full reconstruction]12th century communal militaman
Reply #6 - Jan 5th, 2018 at 11:44am
 
And this is exactly the kind of behavior that pissed off Frederick Redbeard and let him lay siege to my citizens  Grin
They were too levantine for his straightforwarded Northern habits...
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Re: [Full reconstruction]12th century communal militaman
Reply #7 - Jan 5th, 2018 at 12:51pm
 
That's awesome.  Which parts of his clothing and equipment did you make?

I'm guessing the shield, ax and knife?
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Mauro Fiorentini
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Re: [Full reconstruction]12th century communal militaman
Reply #8 - Jan 5th, 2018 at 1:53pm
 
I've been lazy on this one - just made the shield, knife, spear and lighter coloured belt.

And as for the latter - all the metal parts it's decorated with are old, reeeeeeeally old......almost as old as the soldier I wanted to represent  Grin

It's another kind of recycling, just don't tell anybody  Grin
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Re: [Full reconstruction]12th century communal militaman
Reply #9 - Jan 5th, 2018 at 8:12pm
 
Nothing wrong with recycled materials,  I use this all the time.
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Mauro Fiorentini
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Re: [Full reconstruction]12th century communal militaman
Reply #10 - Jan 6th, 2018 at 2:40am
 
I also try to recycle materials as much as I can, I think that when an object breaks down it still has much life inside and can still be employed in a variety of matters  Wink
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Re: [Full reconstruction]12th century communal militaman
Reply #11 - Jan 6th, 2018 at 7:10am
 
I couldn't agree more, I m forge alot of knives from recycled steel, and never have a problem.
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Mauro Fiorentini
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Re: [Full reconstruction]12th century communal militaman
Reply #12 - Jan 6th, 2018 at 8:53am
 
Ryan was it you that was looking for info on how to begin forging some years ago? If so I'm glad it all went well  Wink
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Re: [Full reconstruction]12th century communal militaman
Reply #13 - Feb 7th, 2018 at 7:48pm
 
Magnificent (and very authentic that the militiaman doesn't have a sword-- these specialized items get widespread only later in the middle ages, I think ? Around C14th ?)
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Re: [Full reconstruction]12th century communal militaman
Reply #14 - Feb 7th, 2018 at 9:25pm
 
Thank you John!  Cheesy

Yes, you're right, swords were not widespread by the time the siege of Ancona took place. There are some evidences of course but aren't really many neither are them so common.

The best one is this relief that once decorated the "Porta Romana" in Milan:

...

...

It is the best example (as far as I know) of Italian militiamen, representing the soldiers of Milan marching out of the town in order to fight Frederick Redbeard.
Those are the ages the siege of Ancona took place, but this shown here is nevertheless a rich militia as most men wear helmets, some wear mail coats and three (at last) have swords in their hands (plus a falchion).



There are similar reliefs surviving on a church in Ancona:

...

...

...

...


those are relatively newer than the relief in Milan (approximately 25 to 35 years newer, having been dated to circa 1200) and while 2 out of 4 armed men have swords in their hands, it is not sure they are meant to depict the town's militia.
I haven't been able to find a single iconologic interpretation of the church's portal, but the relief continues with figures of musicians, animals and apostles so I don't really think the armed men represents the town defenders.


I mostly based my reconstruction on a written source, "The siege of Ancona" by Boncompagno da Signa ("Liber de obsidione Ancone", written in 1200).
Altough Boncompagno did not experience the siege himself he claim to have interviewed citizens who fought there and, altough his text is at times full of rhetoric, he still gives us some useful information on the weapons used.

He speaks of this priest who one windy day grab a double-edged axe, undressed himself and went swimming under the biggest Venetian ship (called the "Totus mundus"), chopping its main anchoring rope and therefore allowing the wind to drift the "Totus mundus" against smaller vessels, causing great damages and loss.
Boncompagno also speaks of a woman, Stamira or Stamura, who grabbed an axe and a torch and while the Germans were assaulting the walls she performed a sortie and went to their siege machines, where she broke a barrel containing flammable material which she lit up with the torch, destroying the enemy machines.
He then cites the use of crossbows, spears, bows and shields.

The only thing I'm not really convinced is the flat helmet, which appears to be too shiny new for a militiaman.
But I kind of cheated, by saying that my man represent a wealthy ship's captain or a wealthy merchant or shipowner - all things that allowed him to travel much and put his hands on this sort of innovations earlier than the average fellow citizen  Smiley
A little bit too articulated but not necessarily unrealistic, in my opinion.

Thank you so much John, it's great to hear from you and a honor to receive your compliments!
(sorry for the many grammar mistakes but it's 3.25 am and I'm too tired to proof read  Grin forgive me)
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