Browse Items (43 total)

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The horse, as seen by its prominence on this Florentine crest, was a vital part of chivalry. From the earliest incarnations of knights in the Roman equestrian class—literally citizens wealthy enough to own a horse—the presence of an elite mounted…

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By the late Middle Ages, the idea of what it meant to be a knight had solidified from its early origins. Once an almost purely military definition, knighthood had become a desirable status among high nobility and royalty as well as an avenue for…

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From a codex on Florentine heraldry, crafted at the dawn of the nineteenth century. The codex details the contemporary houses of Florence, with some armigerous families dating back to the 1200s (Penn Library Catalog description). Though they were…

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Made in Germany, possibly Brunswick. Well over six feet long, boasting a blade more than 4 1/2 feet in length and weighing more than ten pounds, this sword is some indication as to the physical ability of the men skilled in its use (Philadelphia…

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Made in Italy. A two-foot diameter, weighing ten pounds (Philadelphia Museum of Art). Whereas shields in antiquity were used to create tight military formations with the purpose of winning a battle through superior discipline, for the medieval…

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Made in Milan, Italy, possibly for a Spanish noble. Weighing in just less than ten pounds. This decorative helmet was made for tournament use (Philadelphia Museum of Art). If swords, heraldry and horses were the symbols that identified the knight,…

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The waistcoat corselet of Captain Cunz Van Unckel is a traditional piece of armor from the 1500s. This piece showcases the craftsmanship that elite warriors would have for their armor. The captain used religious imagery on his armor, shown in…

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This section of the altarpiece depicts the Archangel Michael, who is a symbol in the Abrahamic faiths of the powers of heaven. Archangel Michael is a warrior angel, who in the New Testament is said to have commanded the army of heaven against Satan…

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The Kneeling Knight in Prayer is a stained glass image depicting a German knight. The knight is bent in prayer inside of a church, while his shield—fully depicting his coat of arms and symbolizing him as a member of the societal elite. He is clad…

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Families used coats of arms as identifiers for them, both in battle and in general. This symbol of heraldry, became more common with the inception of full faced masks on the battlefield, as the only identifying factors in battle would be a knight’s…
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