The sheath of this little arm is made of crimson velvet richly embroidered with gold thread, and hanging from it is a large tassel of gold cord and crimson silk. The chape and mouth are silver-gilt, profusely decorated, and the latter of these pieces is embellished with circular devices of a lightish green enamel, in addition to the chasing.
The small, plain knife, also preserved among the spoil, was carried in this sheath, together with the dagger.1
1 To-day the craft of finely decorating arms is not forgotten in Morocco. "A silversmith advanced to show a half-completed silver-sheathed and hafted dagger, engraved with pious sentences, as, "God is our sufficiency and our best bulwark here on earth," and running in and out between the texts a pattern of a rope with one of the strands left out, which pattern also ran round the cornice of the room we sat in, and round the door, as it runs round the doors in the Alhambra and the Alcazar, and in thousands of houses built by the Moors, and standing still, in Spain. The dagger and the sheath
War Harness Of Charles The Fifth (Royal Armoury, Madrid)
The Royal Armoury at Madrid is often thought by foreignersl to contain a representative collection of the arms, offensive and defensive, used by the Spanish people through all their mediaeval and post-mediaeval history. This is not so. Although it is the choicest and the richest gallery in Europe, the Armeria Real was formed almost entirely from the camaras de armas or private armouries of Charles the Fifth and of his son, and is, as Melida describes it, "a splendid gallery of were handed to me for my inspection, and on my saying that they were beautifully worked, the Caid said keep them, but I declined, not having anything of equal value to give in return." - Cunninghame Graham; Mogreb-El-Acksa, p. 234.
1 E.g., by Townsend, who wrote of it, with ill-informed enthusiasm, as "an epitome of Spanish history." Swinburne's notice of the same armoury is also curious: "At the bottom of the palace-yard is an old building, called the Armeria, containing a curious assortment of antique arms and weapons, kept in a manner that would have made poor Cornelius Scriblerus swoon at every step; no notable housemaid in England has her fire-grates half so bright as these coats of mail; they show those of all the heroes that dignify the annals of Spain; those of Saint Ferdinand, Ferdinand the Catholic, his wife Isabella, Charles the Fifth, the great Captain Gonsalo, the king of Granada, and many others. Some suits are embossed with great nicety. The temper of the sword blades is quite wonderful, for you may lap them round your waist like a girdle. The art of tempering steel in Toledo was lost about seventy years ago, and the project of reviving and encouraging it is one of the favourite schemes of Charles the Third, who has erected proper works for it on the banks of the Tagus." royal arms," dating, with very few exceptions, from the sixteenth century.
The greater part of its contents were made within a limited interval, as well as not produced in Spain. Such are the glittering and gorgeous harnesses constructed for the actual use of Charles the Fifth by celebrated German and Italian armourers, ponderous suits for jousting or parade, or lighter suits for combat in the field, whether on foot or horseback (Plate xlviii.), fashioned, chiselled, and inlaid by craftsmen such as the Negroli and Piccini of Milan, Bartolommeo Campi of Pesaro, or Kollman of Augsburg, bombastically called, by a Spanish poet in the mode of Gongora, "the direct descendant of Vulcanus."
This German and Italian armour, with its multitude of accessorial pieces,1 falls outside the province of a book on Spanish arts and crafts. Nevertheless, I reproduce, as being too little known outside Madrid, the sumptuous jousting harness (Plate xlix.), of Charles the Fifth, made for the emperor when he was a lad of only eighteen years by Kollman Helmschmied of Augsburg.1 Laurent Vital, describing the royal jousts at Valladolid in 1518, relates that "apres marchait le Roy bien gorgiasement monte et arme d'un fin harnais d'Alemaigne, plus reluisant que d'argent brunti." This is the very harness told of by the chronicler. The helmet turns the scale at forty pounds; the entire suit at two hundred and fifty-three pounds; and the length of the lance exceeds eleven feet.
1 Throughout this time, the full equipment of the knight consisted of no less than four complete suits, for tournament or battle, or for foot or mounted fighting, together with their lances, swords, and targes. The Alburquerque inventory describes in detail a complete set ("all of it kept in a box") of war and tourneying harness belonging to the duke. Although the warriors of that day were short of stature, their muscular strength is undeniable, for one of their lances has to be lifted nowadays by several men. When the author of Mogreb-El-Acksa wrote contemptuously of the "scrofulous champions tapping on each other's shields," he was perhaps, forgetful for a moment of this fact.
There is, however, also in this armoury a jousting harness (Plate 1.) formerly the property of Philip the First of Spain, a part of which, including the cuirass, is known to be of Spanish make. The cuirass in question bears the mark of a Valencia armourer, and the harness generally dates from about the year 1500, at which time Gachard tells us in his Chroniques Beiges that Philip was learning to joust "a la mode d'Espaigne." Besides the enormous helmet and the Spanish-made cuirass, covered with gold brocade, this ornament includes a tourneying lance with a blunt three-pointed head,1 and a curious form of rest, said by the Count of Valencia de Don Juan to be peculiar to the Spaniards and Italians. This rest is stuffed with cork, on which, just as the fray began, the iron extremity of the lance was firmly driven. Another interesting detail is the cuja, fastened to the right side of the cuirass, and also stuffed with cork, made use of to support the lance upon its passage over to the rest. Nor in this instance was the cuja a superfluous device, seeing that the lance is over fifteen feet in length.
1 The Count of Valencia de Don Juan has found, from documents at Simancas, that in the year 1525 Kollman visited Toledo to measure Charles for armour. It is also certain, adds the Count, that, in order to produce this armour of a perfect fit, Kollman first moulded Charles' limbs in wax, and then transferred the moulds to lead. In a budget of accounts which coincides with Kollman's visit to Toledo appears the following item: "Pour trois livres de cire et de plomb pour faire les patrons que maitre Colman, armoyeur, a fait" - followed by details of the cost.