ITALIAN LIGHT INFANTRYMAN, 14th CENTURY

An extract from Armies of the Middle Ages, volume 1
by Ian Heath


74.      ITALIAN LIGHT INFANTRYMAN, 14th CENTURY

This figure is one of Charles of Durazzo's Neapolitan soldiers, dating to 1381. Similar figures, unarmoured with oval or smallish round shields and caps or open helmets, appear throughout the 14th-15th centuries. The standard arms of such troops appear to have been javelins, a spear or, as here, just a sword, the swordsmen normally wearing a gauntlet on the right hand. Circular and oval shields remained more popular in Italy than anywhere else in Europe.

Actual sword-and-buckler infantry were first experimented with in Italy by Braccio da Montone in 1416, when he used them in his assault on Perugia. They rose to prominence after the establishment of the Aragonese in the kingdom of Naples in the mid-15th century.
[Based on The 1381 Conquest of Naples by Charles of Durazzo, by the Master c.1400 in Florence]



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