Here is the quintain in the form of a Saracen, from Pluvinel.
The quintain in its original state was not confined to the exercise of young warriors on horseback: it was an object of practice for them on foot, in order to acquire strength and skill in assaulting an enemy with their swords, spears, and battle-axes. I met with a manuscript in the Royal Library, written early in the fourteenth century, entitled "Les Etablissmentz des Chevalerie," wherein the author, who appears to have been a man scientifically skilled in the military tactics of his time, strongly recommends a constant and attentive attack of the pel (from the Latin palus), for so he calls the post-quintain. The pel, he tells us, ought to be six feet in height above the ground, and so firmly fixed therein as not to be moved by the strokes that were laid upon it. The practitioner was then to assail the pel, armed with sword and shield in the same manner as he would an adversary, aiming his blows as if at the head, the face, the arms, the legs, the thighs, and the sides; taking care at all times to keep himself so completely covered with his shield, as not to give any advantage supposing he had a real enemy to cope with.
This drawing represents two men, equipped in martial habits, and each of them armed with a sword and a shield, engaged in a combat; the performance is enlivened by the sound of a horn; the musician acts in a double capacity, and is, together with a female assistant, dancing round them to the cadence of the music; and probably the actions of the combatants were also regulated by the same measure.
Group from Cottonian MS., Claudius, B. iv., folio 24: Aelfric's Anglo-Saxon Paraphrase of the Pentateuch, &c. Date about 1000. The crowned figure in the centre appears to be armed in a coat of chain-mail
In the Additional MS. 11,695, in the British Museum, a work of the eleventh century, there are several representations of warriors thus fully armed, very rude and coarse in drawing, but valuable for the clearness with which they represent the military equipment of the time. At folio 194 there is a large figure of a warrior in a mail shirt, a conical helmet,[Pg 316] strengthened with iron ribs converging to the apex, the front rib extending downwards, into what is called a nasal, i.e., a piece of iron extending downwards over the nose, so as to protect the face from a sword-cut across the upper part of it.
In the monumental effigy of Sir Robert Shurland, who was made a knight-banneret in 1300, we seem to have a curious and probably unique effigy of a knight in the gameson. We give a woodcut of it, reduced from Stothard’s engraving. The smaller figure of the man placed at the feet of the effigy is in the same costume, and affords us an additional example.
The engravings of Hans Burgmaier, in the Triumphs of Maximilian and the Weise Könige contain numerous authorities very valuable for the clearness and artistic skill with which the armour is depicted. We have given an illustration which represents a combat of two knights, on foot. The armour is partly covered by a surcoat; in the left-hand figure it will be seen that it is fluted. The shields will be noticed as illustrating one of the shapes then in use.