Transylvanian and Szeklerland Illustrations

For our research concerning the weapons, the collection of the Szekler National Museum and the ordinance of the 1536 Marosvásárhely diet gave basis. Because in this it is detailed with what the Szekler warriors belonging into different social stratums had to turn up at the musters. According to the archaeological findings, stove tiles and the medieval murals found in Szeklerland, they might have used both the Western-like (harness, double-edged longswords, shield forms) and the Eastern-like (bow-types, cone-shaped helmet forms, “Cumanian” maces) armature type.

The Transylvanian Hungarian aristocracy, the Szekler primores and primipili had to exhibit heavy armour, wire armour, helmet; this is proven by the illustrations of the stove tiles found in great amount, but also by the diet ordinances. Taking into account the great number of findings of the one and a half handed swords, it counts as one of the basic armour of the 14th -15th century Szekler primipili and primores (aristocracy).

Based on the illustrations of the Szeklerland murals and the parameters of the place of arms of our fortified churches we reconstruct the basis of the traditional bow and archery. In the archery, the Szekler people could have applied a particular Eastern, so-called semi lune release technique and so-called heart-shot (the nerve pulled to the chest) strain technique. Amongst others about the sizes of the bows are there scientific debates. Based on the doctoral dissertation of Sófalvi András we find it possible the diversion in size from the traditional Hungarian reflex-bow. A smaller bow in the defence of the fortified churches and castles might have meant an advantage in the tactics.

The murals besides this can help in the creation of the medieval Szekler martial attire. Exceptionally widespread are in our regions the illustrations of the Saint Ladislaus’s legend, which depict the fight of the knight king and the maiden heist Cumanian. The Cumanian warriors’ attire on the murals might have been similar to that of the Szeklers’, as to the local mural painting masters the attire of the Szeklers could have served as a basis. According to the experts as well, the so-called Cumanian fashion spreads in the whole Hungarian Kingdom, the Szeklers wore Eastern-like robe (caftan) in the Middle Ages.

Illustration considered authentic of the Szekler warrior survived in the Pictured Chronicle, where we can see the Szeklers’ deputy near King Louis the Great on the left in red caftan with saber. According to the medieval murals our ancestors wore canvas armour too. The European military history writings call it gambeson, the national costume history researches call it bambusium or joppe. It cushions the body and it protects it from the effects of the crushing weapons. The most widely spread armour type of the contemporary pedite Szeklers might have been the leather armour, as being big bodied animal keepers (cow, horse), they had tremendous raw material. At the same time, as a more efficient weapon they used double-edged one and a half handed swords.