ILKHANID LIGHT CAVALRYMEN

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

[Based on illustrations in Raschid al-Din's Jami' al-Tawarikh]

87 & 88.      ILKHANID LIGHT CAVALRYMEN

These 2 figures and the next all come from illustrations to the 'World History' of Raschid al-Din, executed between 1306 and 1315.

It was undoubtedly the Ilkhanids to whom Marco Polo was referring when he wrote that 'those (Mongols) who live in the Levant have adopted the manners of the Saracens', though it is apparent from these figures that it was the traditions of Persia rather than Egypt or Moslem Syria to which they had succumbed. The dress of both these figures (particularly that of 87 with his short-sleeved jacket and baggy trousers) betrays considerable Persian influence and is fairly characteristic of that worn by Persians and Moghuls over the next several hundred years, the only apparent concession to Mongol fashion being the Saraquj worn by 88. Turbans were also frequently worn from Ilkhan Ghazan's time (1295-1304) onwards, while some of Raschid's illustrations also show the Sharbush (see 41a-d) in use. Clothing colours were bright, with reds and blues predominating, often richly embroidered.

The circular device on the chest of 87 may be a badge of office called a Paizah (see note 93 in 'Armies and Enemies of Ancient China'); those of the Ilkhanids were marked with 1-5 lions depending on seniority, probably 1 lion for a commander of 100 men, 2 for 1,000, 3 for 10,000, 4 for 100,000 and 5 for princes and commanders-in-chief.

Judging from the illustrations bow and sabre were the principal arms, the latter a long, narrow weapon with only a very slight curve. Probably a small shield like that of 89 was also carried. 87a depicts an alternative type of shield which was also in use, ultimately derived from the Frankish kite-shield; one illustration shows such a shield slung at a warrior's back by guige-strap.



See also the 1430-1434 copy of Jami' al-Tawarikh by Rashid al-Din
Next: 89. ILKHANID HEAVY CAVALRYMAN in Armies and Enemies of the Crusades 1096-1291 by Ian Heath








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