“… the French Courage proceeds from vanity—the German from phlegm—the Turkish from fanaticism & opium—the Spanish from pride—the English from coolness—the Dutch from obstinacy—the Russian from insensibility—but the ITALIAN from ANGER—so you will see that they will spare nothing.” —Lord Byron, Letters
An early happy Independence Day to my readers here in the States! And a happy late-Wednesday to my lovely international readers! With the holiday this weekend, I decided it best to offer an early writeup, rather than bank on having time to write one on Sunday. It’s funny how when I want to offer a writeup for one of Adelruna’s awesome portraits, I end up rolling a d6 to decide which one. She just has so many lady knights that it’s hard to pick just one. The die came up three this time, which was her commission of Lucrezia di Firenze, for Gambargin.
Lucrezia is a character for Gambargin’s Historically Wrong Women Warriors project, a deliberately anachronistic look at what women warriors and soldiers might have looked like from different time periods in different parts of the world. The lovely Luc is a mercenary officer from Florence during the Italian Renaissance—a time of constant infighting and warfare between the different Italian city-states and against various external opponents. I’m hardly an expert on Italian Renaissance politics, but I recall that the Florentines were particularly renown for their military prowess and the ruthlessness of their soldiers.
A common mercenary rather than a knighted noblewoman, Lucrezia opts for a utilitarian coat of infantry armor rather than an expensive suit of plated mail. I like that her armor is made up of multiple layers of protection. The outermost layer is a padded surcoat or gambeson for deflecting arrows or glancing blows. The studs in the coat may or may not be rivets for holding in tiny plates or disks sewn into the padding. Beneath the coat, our heroine wears a long-sleeved chain-mail shirt for cushioning against bludgeoning attacks, or for absorbing cuts and thrusts that manage to penetrate Luc’s padding. Underneath it’s likely she wears another gambeson or at least an arming shirt to protect her skin from chafing and her armor from rusting.
I love as well the attention to joint protection against disabling blows. Segmented spaulders and steel mantle cover our heroine’s shoulders and neck, while steel pads protect her knees. Luc’s pants look to be a similar padding to her coat and hold up the chain stockings that cover her lower legs (though I’m not sure of the advantage of chain socks over steel grieves). Lastly, our heroine wears steel gauntlets for swordplay during infantry combat, offering the advantage of allowing her to grip the blade when thrusting or parrying. All in all, this portrait remains one of my favorites from Adelruna’s galleries.
Huge thanks to Adelruna for letting me borrow her characters for the blog. Feel free to check out her art on Tumblr as well. I also totally recommend checking out Gambargin’s Historically Wrong sketches and discussion—totally worth perusing. As always, thanks so much for reading, folks! Take care and stay awesome!