By George E. Georgas, Fencing coach, Pammachon & Swordsmanship instructor
Christ bearing the Cross. This Byzantine icon of 15th cent which is probably unique is showing Christ carrying the Cross to Golgotha. The icon has anachronisms. The first is that Christ wear the dress of a Roman emperor of 15th cent and the second are the Roman legionaries who escort our Lord are wearing interesting armors and they are holding interesting weapons. The soldier right to Christ wears a 15th cent full plate of Italian origin, he has an Italian helmet a spear with the banner of SPQR and he has a long sword. The soldiers to the left they wear classical Eastern Roman armors. We can see lamellar type of armors, scale mails but also plate armor. All the soldiers have long swords, some they are holding spears and one he has a small shield (buckler). The icon was made from a Greek icon maker Nicolaos Tzafouris who he was working in the city of Candia (now Iraklion) in Crete at the time when Crete was under the control of Venice.
From this Greek made Holy icon we can take the following information. The weapons and armors that the soldiers, archontes and officers used, they did not have differences from the weapons and armors that the Western European kingdoms were use. It is obvious that neither the martial art of the Byzantines was different from other Europeans.
Credit Line: Bashford Dean Memorial Collection, Funds from various donors, 1929
Accession Number: 29.158.746
Medium: Oil and tempera on wood, gold ground
Dimensions: 27 1/4 x 21 1/2 in. (69.2 x 54.6 cm)