Subject: жилецъ imperial cavalry guard
Setting: Muscovite empire, Russia 17thc
Context (Event Photos, Period Sources, Secondary Sources)
* Shpakovsky & Nicolle ill. McBride 2006 p9
"...[J]iltsi [were] provincial nobility who occasionally lived in Moscow as a Tsarist praetorian elite."
* Hellie 1971 p23
"... [T]he zhil'tsy ... did not necessarily have lands close to Moscow but lived and served in Moscow in shifts a quarter of the year at a time, and made up part of the tsar's regiment also. Members of the zhilets stratum could join the 'Moscow register' (moskovskii spisok) by petition, after having rendered service of sufficient length or quality. The zhil'tsy were either members of the middle service class who were being promoted (three hundred were appointed from the vybornye dvoriane to serve for a term of three years as an honorary convoy for the tsar) or were the children of members of the upper service class just beginning their service careers. By the middle of the seventeenth century there were about 1,500 zhil'tsy."
* Dmytryshyn ed. 2000 p391-392 (Jacques Margeret, writing in 1606)"[T]hose called dvoriane vybornye are selected from the principal gentlemen of each town within the jurisdiction of which they hold their lands. According to the size of the town, sixteen, eighteen, up to twenty or, indeed, thirty vybornye dvoriane are chosen, who reside in the city of Moscow for three full years. Then others are chosen, and those in Moscow are dismissed. This means that there is always a multitude of cavalry, so that the emperors seldom go out without eighteen or twenty thousand riders with them."
* Gorelik 1995 p48
"The mounted horseguard of the tsar quartered at the Kremlin presented an interesting spectacle. They wore rich caftans and caps, their clothes and horse harnesses were luxuriously decorated. They also bore white swan wings on the back (like the Polish Hussars' wings) and gilt dragons on spears."
* Shpakovsky & Nicolle ill. McBride 2006 p47 (reconstructing a Russian guard cavalryman in parade costume, early 17th century)
"The horseman's sugarloaf-shaped hat is stiffer than that of many lower status troops; it is also decorated with a silvered band and a gold plume holder. The gold embroidery around his coat is relatively restrained, but the swan's wings attached to his back are extraordinary. His buff leather gloves have stiff cuffs; the boots have high heels, and he wears a silk sash with fringed ends hanging down both sides. His gilt buckle and stiffeners, a pair of wheellock pistols in saddle holsters, and a spear with a four-sided blade; during special parades this was decorated with an extraordinary model dragon made of gilded leather."