Insights from Historical Artwork

One of the most graphic examples of the horror of Medieval combat from the 13th century Maciejowski Bible.  On the far left a rider with weapon fully raised pulls his bleeding opponent with a head lock from his horse.  His opponent tries to resist by grabbing his attacker's helm   To the right a fighter stabs his enemy in the eye with a dagger.  Next to him and below another large axe strikes.  Note the rider with his wounded helmet to the right of this in the back.  On the far right at the table a "civilian" is assaulted in a spurt of blood. Note in this panel the large "chopper" blades rising in the background and the fallen fighters below. On the far left is a clearly wounded shin.  Next to that lies a twice wounded arm and a dying knight bleeding from the neck, wounded in the arm, and pierced with a broken lance.  Note also the wearing of the sword on the center standing figure taking prisoner.  In the second panel below, several dead and dying knights litter the ground.  On the far left a figure crawls away with wounds to the head, back or underarm, and hip or side. Next to him is a fallen horse with it's rider showing stab and wounds through his mail.   On the right an unarmed fighter bleeding from a lower torso wound is dispatched by an axe blow.  On the far right, a body missing an arm and wounded in the shoulder has been cut completely in half.  Note the two swords with inscriptions sticking clean through bodies. The detail of the depiction, even though supposed to show ancient Biblical events, are interpreted in "modern terms", and while questionable as to it’s accuracy, nonetheless must reflect significant aspects of combat reality at the time it was created. To what degree of this however, cannot be certain.

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