Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1482 Granadan jinete
Subjectjinete cavalry
Culture: Moorish
Setting: late Nasrid dynasty, Granada 14-15thc

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Nicolle/McBride 2001 p38
"Although the Nasrid amirate of Granada was an Islamic state, it became increasingly similar to its Christian neighbours in several respects as Granada became a truly Spanish Islamic entity. Individual warriors crossed the frontier and changed allegiance, sometimes more than once, and unofficial alliances were forged between opposing frontier clans. At another level, however, Granadan society remained warlike with a siege mentality, making religiously motivated warfare popular and encouraging the presence of North African volunteers. Nevertheless, these North African ghazis were often unpopular; indeed, some Granadan rulers preferred to cultivate close relations with Christian Castile rather than Islamic Morocco."

* Fletcher 1992 p158-159
[O]ne might well wonder why Granada survived for so long. One reason was that it was extremely well fortified. Along its northern and western frontiers a chain of castles, on average about five or six miles apart, was constructed largely on the initiative of Muhammad II (1273-1302). Town defences were kept in good repair. Enormous numbers of modest watchtowers were constructed, not just on the frontiers but throughout Granadan territory, to serve as local strongpoints in the event of attack. The statesman and historian Ibn al-Khatib (d. 1375) reckoned that there were about 14,000 such in the emirate. Dozens of them may still be seen today. The Nasrids commanded good armies, particularly strong in contingents of lightly-armed cavalry recruited in Morocco. The tribal confederation from which they came, the Zanata, has given Spanish the term jinete, 'horseman', when English 'jennet'. Don Juan Manuel, the nephew of Alfonso X of Castile, who knew the frontier well, wrote of them with guarded respect in his Libro de los Estados composed in 1328-30: 'Because they are so lightly equipped they can travel great distances ... they cover the ground at an amazing speed ... two hundred Moorish cavalry can do more damage than six hundred Christian.'"

* Nicolle/McBride 2001 p39
​"Up to the early 14th-century horsemen were similar to their Christian opponents, with each armoured cavalryman having two horses.  But as Berber military influence increased, the number of Granadan cavalry increased and each usually only had one mount; at the same time their armour became significantly lighter.  By the 15th century Granadan jinetes or light cavalry still had short cuirasses, light helmets, leather shields, short spears with broad blades, and javelins."


* Nicolle/McBride 2001 p40
"​Where helmets are concerned, all the evidence shows that Andalusian cavalry abandoned the heavy European-style protections worn in the 13th century in preference for various forms of light, close-fitting helmets."

* Al-Andalus 1992 p294-295
"By the end of the fifteenth century, the helmet of Spain showed particular characteristics, such as semicircular cutouts above the eyebrows, a turned edge, a barely developed short projection over the nape, and apertures for the ears -- peculiarities divided between two groups of Spanish helmets.  This sallet, a helmet with a low, rounded crown, combines the principal characteristics of each group, displaying, in addition to the ear coverings, which have been lost on other surviving pieces, large spherical rivet heads placed around the rim and a minimal comb with a circular opening for holding a plume or crest."

* Nicolle/McBride 2001 p47 (reconstructing a Granadan armoured cavalryman, mid-15th century)
"This final figure is based upon engravings made by a German artist who spent some time in Spain, where he seems to have made a large number of sketches from life.  These showed light armour entirely covered in decorative fabric."


* Nicolle/McBride 2001 p39
​"Spanish influence on Granadan costume was obvious in the 14th-15th centuries.  The result was the development of a specifically Andalusian tafsil or fashion, different from that of the Middle East or North Africa.  Ibn Sa'id noted that 13th-century Andalusian soldiers dressed and equipped themselves in virtually the same manner as their Christian opponents.  Even the scarlet qaba' cloak worn by officers probably came from the Spanish capo rather than the Persian qaba'."


*Al-Andalus 1992 p284
"Paintings in the Partal and the Sala de los Reyes of the Alhambra from the second half of the fourteenth century record a class of swords known as jinetas, a designation used in late medieval and modern documentation whose original meaning has been lost.  Extremely elaborate hilts decorated with enamel, filigree, and granulation are one of the outstanding features of these swords.  Paintings in the Sala de los Reyes that date from approximately 1380 (A.H. 782) detail the characteristics of jineta swords.  Their most distinctive peculiarity, absent in contemporaneous western arms, is highly arched quillons with internal faces that are parallel to the blade.  The grip is divided into three parts, either by virtue of its construction or its decoration.  The pommel, the knob on the end of the hilt, is in the form of a disk, following western models, or spherical, and is finished with an elongated button.  Even though the paintings in the Partal seem to indicate a military purpose for these arms, their opulence is more appropriate to ceremonial swords, reflecting the lavishness of the Naṣrid court and earning the esteem these objects have been accorded in the Islamic world."

* Boeheim 1890 p252-254
"Neben Toledo glänzten in der Klingenerzeugung in Spanien im späteren Mittelalter Almeria, Murcia, Granada, vor allem aber Sevilla, im 15. Jahrhundert auch Valencia, Saraossa, Barcelona und Cuelar in der Provinz Segovia.
    "Wir kennen keine spanisch-maurischen Waffen von höherem Alter als dem 15. Jahrhundert.  Die schönsten besitzen die Armeria Real und die Sammlung des Marquis von Villasecca in Madrid, in letzterer bewahrt man die Waffen Boabdils.  Unter den berühmten Meistern spanischer Klingenindustrie, welche wir am Schlusse anführen, ragt der Maure Julian del Rey hervor.  Er war vor 1492 noch Boabdils Dienstmann, nahm später das Christentum an und erfreute sich der hohen Gunst seines Taufpaten, des Königs Ferdinand des Katolischen.  Als seine Marke ist eine einem Hündchen ähnliche Figur angesehen, daher auch deren Name ,,perillo'', aber selbst unter spanischen Archäologen im Fache regt sich darüber ein Zewifel, und man neigt sich jetz der Ansicht zu, daß mit diesem Zeichen nich jenes Julians allein, sondern ein allgemeines, ähnlich dem Passauer Wolf, ausgedrUckt sei.  Julian arbeitete anfangs in Granada, dann in Saragossa, zuletzt aber in Toledo, zu dessen Ruhm er außerordentlich beigetragen hatte."

* Nicolle/McBride 2001 p40
"​The famous jinete or 'Granadan' sword was designed for light cavalry tactics and was made in Granada, Almeria and Murcia, whereas a single-edged curved sword sometimes seen in later 15th-century Granada was probably of North African origin."


* Al-Andalus 1992 p296 (describing an adarga, Nasrid period, second half of 15th century)
"From the beginning of the thirteenth century, the term adarga was associated with a leather shield of distinctive bilobed shape documented in the Cantigas de Santa de Santa Maria of about 1281-84. ... [I]t was an extremely common type of shield in al-Andalus ...."

​* Nicolle/McBride 2001 p40
"The leather daraqa was now by far the most common shield, and was held well away from the body to absorb the shock of a blow."