RUMI 'FIRENK' HEAVY CAVALRYMAN

An extract from Armies and Enemies of the Crusades 1096-1291
by Ian Heath


[Based on Two Warriors on a Seljuq Marble Bas Relief, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts: Sultanahmet, Turkey.]
51.      RUMI 'FIRENK' HEAVY CAVALRYMAN
This 12th century figure in short lamellar corselet bears a remarkably close resemblance to contemporary Byzantines (see, for example, 66 and 67). This is probably because he is himself a Byzantine, possibly a member of one of the indigenous Greek Christian units, uniformed and armed in Byzantine fashion and with their own commanders, raised and maintained by the Seljuk Sultans of Rum and later known as Kāfir-Sipahiler and Martolos by the Ottomans. Some were brigaded alongside Frankish mercenaries and the general term 'Firenk' or Franks was often applied to them collectively (see page 20). For lamellar armour in use amongst Moslems see note 48 above.



Next: 52. TURCOMAN TRIBESMAN in Armies and Enemies of the Crusades 1096-1291 by Ian Heath




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