When we think of early modern military, we typically think of infantry, cavalry and artillery. But once in a while while researching you run into a fun little term that provides some color and character to an otherwise monotone palette.
Enter the French’s enfants perdus.
Enfants perdus‘s literal translation is “Lost children” but a phrase more typically used as the translation is “forlorn hope.” It’s the equivalent to Dutch’sverloren hoop (which means “lost heap”). French generals of German troops used a more pragmatic phrase, commanded musketeers.
Despite it sounding overly-dramatic, the name enfants perdus were apt. These French enfants perdus were small groups of soldiers, typically musketeers, formed by pulling troops out of various regiments. They were used as skirmishers as well as given specific missions (such as “hold that bridge” or “charge that outpost”). They were also used at the head of regiments to lead attacks.
There are few uniforms more iconic than the Musketeers tunic. Thanks to Alexandre Dumas and Hollywood, it is celebrated as a symbol of brotherhood, friendship, and justice.
And Hollywood has created a whole slew of different looks and designs for the Musketeers uniforms — everything from royal blue cassocks and white crosses, to navy blue tunics, grey, black, etc. Some with gold fleur-de-lis on the ends, some with a red sunburst behind the cross, others much more plain. The latest BBC rendition of the Musketeers even gave us leather shoulder pauldrons and a bastardized version of a long cassock.
And as much as all of these designs are instantly recognizable, just how accurate are they to history? What exactly did the King’s Musketeers (Mousquetaires du Roi) actually look like?
Back from Pennsic and working on some new research projects that I’m hoping to release soon. Until then, I wanted to show off my Opening Ceremonies outfit from the event — a 17th Century French chevau légers.
Chevau légers were considered light to medium cavalry. In the early to middle part of the 17th Century, they often wore a cuirass worn over a buff coat or just a buff coat, leather boots, and a helmet. The helmet was often a capeline, though the French cavalry apparently were big fans of the “iron hat” — a helmet that was in the shape of the wide-brim hat that was fashionable at the time (see the photos). Continue reading PENNSIC: My Chevau-léger Outfit→
It’s Friday night and I’m doing laundry, so I have some clean garb for Smoking Rocks Investiture tomorrow. I just stumbled across this cool video from IraqVeteran8888 on the 17th Century matchlock musket. They do a pretty decent job going over the big picture of the weapon and how it changed warfare.
Thanks to these guys, I now have another vendor for my future musket needs.
The Thirty Years War is my era of choice when it comes to research and persona portrayal. I stumbled across this great little documentary about the Battle of Lützen (1632) where Gustavus Adolphus was fatally shot.
It’s got some nice research and amazing animation, showing what happened in the battle. It surrounds mostly mass burial grounds at the battle site, and how the soldiers died.
The following is the handout and notes from my “Abridged Capo Ferro” class, based off Capo Ferro’s manual, but more specifically, a drill/video by the talented Guy Windsor. Additional and great resources are listed at the end of the post.
Goal: To teach the basic techniques of “what counters what” in Capoferro’s rapier system. This is based off a drill created by Guy Windsor. Video of the drill can be seen below.
The Basis: Skilled Italian fencers know to stringer (constrain) their opponent’s blade before attacking. Doing this limits their opponent’s options of attack. The most common attack after being stringered is a thrust by ways of a cavazione (disengage).
As noted in a previous post, I became Master Donovan’s provost (see: fencing squire). He gave me a sweet blue leather collar with pewter hardware — similar to what some of the EK MoD’s have but in white.
Because of the hardware, I didn’t want to be wearing that at K&Q Rapier Champs or other fencing events. I’m afraid it’ll take a hit and break. Of course, the simple solution is “just don’t get hit” but simple =/= easy. So I wanted to make a “fighting collar.” It also gave me an excuse to whip up something that’s more in line with my 17th Century persona.
Very late in SCA period and beyond, the chains of offices slowly lost their chains and were replaced by fancy silk bands. This was my basis for the design. Super simple and easy. And like with my fancier provost collar, we put an EK Populace badge on it. The silk came by way of my fencing sister Alesone via Master Donovan.
Researching swords, gonnes and garb during the 16th and 17th Centuries.