Illustration of an

Icon of a Saint equiped as a Turcopole
St Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai, late 13th century



A larger image of this Icon of Saint Sergius equiped as a Turcopole, St Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai, late 13th century.


Referenced on p24, WAR – 018 – Knight of Outremer AD 1187-1344 (Warrior) by David Nicolle (Author), Christa Hook (Illustrator)
Icon of St Sergius, late 13th century, Crusader states. While the Saint is portrayed as a light cavalry turcopole, the donor is a Latin woman wearing the long black veil adopted by the ladies of Outremer. (St Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai)



Referenced on p56, EH - 001 - Essential Histories. The Crusades. by David Nicolle
St George on a painted icon panel made in the Crusader States, probably in the late 13th century. Not only is this painting almost undamaged, but it also illustrates the warrior saint equipped in what is almost certainly the same manner as those turcopole light cavalry who served in the armies of the Crusader States. He has a spear a relatively small round shield, a short-sleeved mail shirt and a box-style quiver identical to those used by Islamic horse-archers. His saddle is, however typically Western European. The identity of the kneeling woman who kisses St George's foot is unknown, but she was probably the donor. Her costume also appears to be more Western European in style than Orthodox or Byzantine.
(St Catherine's Monastery, Egypt)



Referenced as figure 272 in The military technology of classical Islam by D Nicolle
272. Icon, late 13th century AD, Crusader States, Monastery of St. Catherine, Sinai (Weitz).
pp.460-461. In a second Christian area that bordered the Muslim world, the Crusader states in Syria and Palestine, there seems by contrast to have been almost complete stagnation, except insofar as military changes reflected developments in western Europe.68 During the Crusaders' first offensive phase, existing techniques proved adequate, while in the later defensive years the Franks were generally forced to rely on counter-siege warfare that left little scope for tactical innovation. Such developments no did occur, including the recruitment of turcopoles, seem to have been learned from the Byzantines rather than developing as original concepts.69 The turcopoles were not horse-archers in the Turcoman, nomadic tradition, though many may have carried bows in mamlūk, Arab or Byzantine style. Their primary role seemed to have been as light cavalry who fought either as scouts and skirmishers or alongside other mounted Frankish troops70 (Figs. 272 and 275).

68. Smail, op. cit., pp. 113 and 116-118.
69. Ibid, pp. 111-112; Vryonis, op. cit., pp. 133-134.
70. Smail op. cit., pp. 110-112.



Referenced as figure 758 in Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era, 1050-1350, Western Europe and the Crusader States by David Nicolle
758 Icon of St Sergius, Crusader States, late 13th century
(Monastery of St Catherine Sinai, Egypt)

This well preserved icon of the Syrian warrior St Sergius is believed to have been made in one of the Crusader States. It is basically Byzantine in style but includes very accurate representations of Middle Eastern military equipment. In this context it should be noted that the nomads of the Middle East traditionally regarded Sergius as their patron saint. Here he wears a short-sleeved mail hauberk without any head or leg protection. His shield is round and he rides in the bent-leg position, despite having a Western-style high saddle with a raised cantle and pommel. His archery equipment is accurately shown mixture of Turkish, Mamlūk Egyptian and possibly Mongol styles, but it does not appear to have been fully understood by the artist, who neglected to include the straps that would have led from the upper-rear side of the quiver to the belt. A smoothly recurved bow is in a bowcase on the saint's left hip.



See also a Icon of Saint Sergius equiped as a Turcopole, late 13th century. St Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai
Turcopole in Armies and Enemies of the Crusades 1096-1291 by Ian Heath
Other 13th Century Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers