Thursday, May 27, 2010


The Emperor Charles V at the Battle of  Mühlberg by Titian

This was a Spanish term for reiter-type heavy cavalry. Verdugo’s editor indicates that they were German cavalry, not necessarily Spanish (Verdugo, Francisco [1537-1595]. Commentario del coronel Verdugo de la guerra de Frisia, en XIII años que fue governador y capitan general de aquel estado y exercito por el rey D. Phelippe II, nuestro senor.)

The name probably came from the application of the Spanish term for a short coat with a collar but no cape (herreruélo or ferreruélo) to the armor worn by the reiters. This armor, according to Nuñez de Alba (Dialogos del soldado) first appeared in 1547 in the Schmalkaldic War. The Titian portrait of the Emperor Charles V in his “Mühlberg harness” is a good example of this armor (at least as worn by a wealthy warrior). The armor worn in the portrait consists of: back- and breastplates; taces; tassets; gorget; espaliers reaching to the elbow over mail sleeves; gauntlets; and morion. The emperor is armed with a javelin and a pistol.

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