Saturday, November 27, 2010

Italian Medieval Armies 1300-1500

While reading over this book, there were a few things, not necessarily direclty related to the title, that struck me.

On page 47, there is a picture of a 15th century fresco. The illustration notes, "in the usual medieval manner it depicts war-gear of the artist's own day."

Think about that. Art, something that may be used down the line, not actually showing what was, but showing what is with the scenario of what was. In such a case, the viewer would have to know several things about the art. They'd have to know when it was actually done, and what era its covering.

This makes inventing history or using history perhaps even more tangled than it already is. The records of the past speaking with the minds of the more recent past?

The next thing was the aftermath of theBattle of Fornovo. Here, the French and Italians both claim victory and both did acheive some of their goals but neither really managed to wipe out the other or get everything they were looking for out of the conflict. Each country probably has history books recording these great victories against insurmountable odds. But where does the actual truth lie?

Again, the reality of history doesnt' lend itself easily to be shuttered up into one quick convienent piece. When designing your own backgrounds, don't forget the multiple view angle and how an event seen by many witnessess may appear different to each witness.

In terms of art, G A Embleton isn't bad. The artwork is similiar to the cover. It feels, to me at least, low grade 'gamish'. It doesn't have the polish of Angus McBride, but isn't bad. His illustrations are of the different army members and would make great illustrations for a group of warriors.

Italian Medeival Armies provides details on the overall militia life and several looks at different campaigns. Well worth a purusal if your interested in how the various city states of the time managed to thrive as long as they did.