ITALIAN HEAVY INFANTRYMEN OR KNIGHTS OF THE COMMUNE, 12th CENTURY

An extract from Armies of Feudal Europe 1066-1300
by Ian Heath



[Based on the Basilica di San Zeno porch lunette by Nicholaus, Verona, c.1135-38] [Based on the Porta Romana frieze]
92 & 93.      ITALIAN HEAVY INFANTRYMEN OR KNIGHTS OF THE COMMUNE, 12th CENTURY

92 dates to c.1135 and comes from the same Veronese sculpture as 90. The small version of the town flag on his lance is probably the standard of his quarter, each of which had its own cavalry and infantry standards. He has a short mail haubergeon and, surprisingly, mail hosen. Similar flags are depicted on the Porta Romana and in other sources.

The most interesting thing about figure 93 is his long corselet of scale. The second armoured figure in this source wears a long mail hauberk instead. Though he is Milanese the device on his shield actually appears to be that of Arezzo, which was a black horse an a white field, Milan's own badge being a red cross on white. Marco Serverino gives the communal badges of other Italian towns of the period 1150-1350, as were frequently used on flags, shields and surcoats of militiamen and communal knights, as follows: Alessandria, Bologna, Genoa, Mantua and Padua - argent, a cross gules; Asti, Como, Novara, Pavia and Treviso - gules, a cross argent; Bergamo - parti per pale or and gules; Brescia - azure, a lion rampant argent, queue and langued gules; Florence -argent, a fleur-de-lis gules; Lucca - parti per fess argent and gules; Modena, Parma - or, a cross azure; Sienna - parti per fess argent and sable; Pisa - gules, a Toulouse cross argent; Cremona - barry of 6, gules and argent; Ferrara - parti per fess, sable and argent; Piacenza - parti per pale, argent and gules; Pistoia - chequy argent and gules; and Verona - azure, a cross or. The wearing of any other sort of heraldry by its citizens was forbidden by most communes as part of their 'anti-vassalage' policy. Some contadini, however, coming as they did largely from the estates of noblemen, were permitted to display their lords' coats-of-arms, and by the close of this era some towns had even begun to decree that the arms of their ruling families could be worn by the communal militia, as, for example, was the eagle of the Este family of Ferrara.



94. CARROCCIO