The Betrayal, Mural in Agios Georgios, Artos, Crete, c.1401AD
Picture source: orthodoxcrete.com
St. George is a church at the Artos village which lies in ruins, in the Roustika area.
Among the ruins of the village three churches are found: Agios Georgios, Christos' and Panagia's (Virgin Mary).
The church of Agios Georgios is found south of the other churches of Artos and according to the dedicatory inscription found in the sanctuary, it was built and painted around 1401.
It is a single-nave church, covered with a pointed barrel vault. Two transverse arches with corbels support the pointed vault.
The interior of the monument was decorated with wall-paintings, 25 of which are preserved in a relatively good condition despite the signs of wear.
As with the iconographic program of the church of Panagia at Roustika, the narration of the Passion of Christ is emphasized. Moreover the theme of the damned is depicted.
In the Chapel of Saint George in Artos, Crete, the Rethymnon district, the tall soldiers wear Western armours, conical helmets painted in blue, red and
yellow and a great quantity of spears.76 Were the Venetian colonial infantrymen the model for such a painting?
The frescoes representing the scene of the Betrayal are a valuable source that furnished a realistic picture of the evolution of the military equipment of the Eastern Mediterranean World and Byzantium. If at the beginning the frescoes, though representing the reality of the material culture of the period of their execution, were more focused on the Biblical description, since the late 12th c. they begin to be always more militarised, i.e. to represent a band of fully armoured soldiers. The final result shows that the usual consideration of the Byzantine iconography as conventional and not responding to reality is wrong, at least for what concerns the images of warriors and the detail of the military equipment.
The frescoes offer not only a good instrument for the dates of weaponry found in archaeological context, but, compared with the written sources and other iconography, also a good way, sometimes within the limits of the hypothesis, to identify the image of famous regiments or ethnic groups in the territories of "Romania," i.e. the former territories of the Eastern Roman Empire.
p.93, Raffaele d'Amato The Betrayal: Military Iconography and Archaeology In The Byzantine Paintings Of The 11th-15th C. AD Representing The Arrest Of Our Lord
Compare the soldiers to A Naval Battle by Spinello Aretino, Palazzo Pubblico in Siena, Italy, 1406-7
Helmets with nob and rosette on top in a Georgian Illumination from a Psalter, 13-15th centuries
See also Venetian, Cretan, Byzantine, Mamluk, Negro & Ottoman Soldiers on 'The Crucifixion', by Andreas Pavias, Crete, second half of the 15th century
Illustrations of Byzantine Costume and Soldiers