Lombard Arms & Costume in an 11th Century copy of the Encyclopedia of Maurus Hrabanus
Also known as De Universo or De rerum naturis

Click for a detail.
f.474 De Bellis (War)A B C

Click for a larger image.
f.383 De Paganis (Pagans)DE

f.489 De Theatro (Theatre)F
Credit: Getty Images

P . . . Q . . . R . . . W . . . X UO V
f.363De Repositorii (Weapons)LN
M TS
Credit: White Images/Scala, Florence

Manuscript: BMN Montecassino Cod. 132 - De rerum naturis
Location: Montecassino, Italy
Dating: 1025
Institution: Biblioteca Monumento Nazionale di Montecassino



An extract from pp253-4, Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era, 1050-1350, Western Europe and the Crusader States by David Nicolle
673 Encyclopedia of Maurus Hrabanus, Campania, 1013
(Abbey Library, Ms. 132, Monte Cassino, Italy)
A-C - De Bellis, f.474; D-E - De Paganis, f.383; F - De Theatro, f.489; G - Labarinthis, f.348; H-I - De Jus Gentium, f.387; J - De Martyribus, f.66; K - De Magis, f.379; L-X - De Repositorii (On Weapons), f.363. The Encyclopedia of Maurus Hrabanus is potentially a very useful, though difficult and largely ignored, source of information about traditional arms and armour in the pre-Norman Mezzogiorno. Shields are round or oval and deeply convex (B, D, J and L). Mail hauberks are short-sleeved and slit at the sides or front, and are seen with and without coifs (A-D and J). One may have a crudely-drawn ventail (B). Helmets are more of a problem. All seem to have rings or buttons on top. Three may either be mail coifs, or have been confused with Byzantine or Turco-Iranian-style hoods or caps worn over possible helmets (B, D and J). Elsewhere a helmeted head is probably a very degenerate echo of a Roman original reflecting no current reality (M). Two other helmets are slightly more straightforward. One just appears to be a conical type worn without a coif (A) while the second seems to be of two-piece construction as seen elsewhere in early medieval Southern Europe (C). Weapons include spears with or without wings or flanges (A, B, D, E, J and K) plus a probable javelin (V). Various spears or javelin heads are illustrated as part of a survey of weapons (O, S, T and U). Swords are all of the broad early medieval Mediterranean form, normally with short straight quillons (C, F and R). They have curved (G and N), round (C and R) and typical early medieval European trefoil pommels (F, G and N). A bow and arrow appear once in a section concerned with law (H and I). The daggers are more interesting. One work-knife is shown with a narrow curved blade (X). The other three have tapering, almost triangular blades. One has a rounded tip and a tear-shaped pommel (P). The others (Q and W) look very much like southern Italian, or perhaps more accurately central Mediterranean, prototypes of the later basilard. Their long bar-like pommels, which give them almost H-shaped hilts, are very distinctive. If this is a correct interpretation then it pushes the history of the basilard back by two-and-a-half centuries.



See also:
'Emperor Constantine at the Council of Nicaea', Northern Italy, c.825 AD
Lombards in a 10th Century Exultet Beneventano
Lombard King Rotario Dictating the Law, Codex Legum Longobardorum, 11th century
David in a Polirone Psalter, northern Italy, before 1086AD
'Charlemagne's chess set', Southern Italy, end of the eleventh century

Illustrations of Italian Costume & Soldiers

11th Century Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers