It is also evident from Royal Letters of this time, that the kings of Spain depended very largely for the flower of their forces on the private fortune or resources of the Spanish noblemen or even commoners; nor did they ever hesitate to turn these means of other people to their own particular good. The Ordinance of Juan the First, dated Segovia, 1390, commands that, "Every man who possesses 20,000 maravedis and upward shall have his proper set of harness, habergeons and scale-pieces, and lappet-piece, cuisses and vantbrasses, bassinet, camail, and war-cap1 with its gorget; or else a helmet, together with sword and dagger, glaive and battle-axe. And whoso possesses 3000 maravedis and upward shall have his lance and javelin and shield, his lappet-piece and coat of mail, and iron bassinet without a camail, and a capellina, together with his sword, estoque, and knife. And whoso has between 2000 and 3000 maravedis shall have his lance and sword or estoque and knife, or a bassinet or capellina, together with a shield. And whoso has from 600 to 2000 maravedis shall have a crossbow with its nut and cord and stirrup, quiver and strap, and three dozen shafts. And whoso has from 400 to 600 maravedis shall have a lance, a javelin, and a shield. And whoso has 400 maravedis shall have a javelin and a lance."
1 Capellina. The Count of Clonard says that this was in the shape of half a lemon, and fitted with a visor with a cutting edge.
The wealthier classes responded lavishly to this command. Describing the battle of Olmedo and the forces of Don Alvaro de Luna sent against the Navarrese, the chronicle of the Constable declares that among his entire host could hardly have been found a single cavalier whose horse was not covered with trappings, and its neck with mail. "For some there were that carried divers figures painted on the aforesaid trappings, and others that bore upon their helmets jewels that were a token from their mistresses. And others carried gold or silver bells suspended from their horses' necks by thick chains; or plates upon their helmets studded with precious stones, or small targes richly garnished with strange figures and devices. Nor was there less variety in the crests upon their helmets; for some bore likenesses of savage beasts, and others plumes of various colours; while others carried but a plume or two upon their helmet crest, like unto those upon the forehead of their horses."
The fifteenth century is often called in Spain her golden age of arms - not in the sense that she invented anything new relating to this craft, but that her warriors were more fully and more frequently equipped with what had been imported from elsewhere. As in the case of crested helmets, foreign initiative brought about the substitution of plate or German armour - developed from the chain armour and the coat of mail - for the earlier sets of disconnected pieces. Possibly, as a chronicle which describes the Englishmen and Gascons who were present at the siege of Lerma in 1334 would seem to indicate, it was in consequence of this direct association with the foreigner that the older form of Spanish harness yielded to the new. However this may be, plate armour certainly appeared in Spain at some time in the fourteenth century, and grew in vogue throughout the fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries.
Suits of armour worn by Spanish pikemen and crossbowmen of this period may be profitably studied in the Royal Armoury (Plate xl.); and the same harness is reproduced in the choir-stalls of Toledo cathedral, carved by Maestre Rodrigo in 1495. It is also useful to consult the prolix description of the Passo Honroso (1433) of Suero de Ouinones, held at the bridge of Orbigo, as well as the painting of the battle of La Higueruela (Plate xli.) in the Sala de las Batallas of the Escorial. We find from these authoritative sources that Spanish harness then consisted of the war-hat or capacete, with its barbote or piece to cover the mouth and cheeks, and fringe of mail (mantillos) to protect the neck; the coracina or korazin of tinned steel plates;1 the coat of mail; armlets and gauntlets; leg-pieces with closed greaves; and steel-pointed mail shoes.
The Spanish man-at-arms of the sixteenth century is well described by Martin de Eguiluz, in his book, Milicia, Discursos, y Regla Militar. "The man is mounted and bears a lance. His head is covered with a visored helmet. He wears a double breastplate, of which the outer piece is called volante. His thighs are guarded by cuisses, his legs by greaves, and his feet by shoes of mail or iron. His horse's face, neck, breast, and haunches are covered with iron or with doubled leather. These coverings are called bardas, and the horses protected by them bardados, of which each man-at-arms is called upon to possess two."
1 The following armourers' marks are stamped on various korazins in the Royal Armoury, made in Aragon and dating from the fifteenth century: -
Moorish Sword (Casa de los Tiros, Granada)
These plainer sets of war-harness for horses were made in Spain. The costlier bards, whether for war or tournament, were made in Italy and Germany, and often match the outfit of the rider in the splendour and luxuriance of their decoration. Striking examples of these bards are in the Royal Armoury, including one (Plate xlii.) which formerly belonged to Philip the Third. Probably it is the same referred to in the manuscript account of Valladolid from which I have already quoted curious notices of other crafts. Speaking of the Duke of Lerma in 1605, this narrative says; "He rode a beautiful horse with richly decorated arms and gold-embroidered bard, fringed, and with medallions in relief. The trappings, reaching to the ground, were of black velvet covered with silver plates as large: as dinner-plates, and others of a smaller size that represented arms and war-trophies, all of them gilt, and studded with precious stones. I heard say that this armour which the Duke now wore, had once belonged to the Emperor, and is now the King's."1