An extract from Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 2
by Ian Heath


The Teutonic Knights, like most of their contemporaries, used flags and trumpets to transmit orders on the battlefield. The ‘Livonian Rhymed Chronicle’ of c.1290 mentions trumpets (‘horns’) several times in this context, in one instance recording the Livonian Landmeister saying to a brother knight: ‘If the Semgallian army attacks you, set up a defence and blow my horn. That shall be the signal for me to come with my band.’ In a longer passage we are told how ‘when the morning light appeared, the Master ordered the war-horn blown as a signal. The noise was grand and mighty, and the army quickly gathered itself together and made ready. Once again the horn sounded clearly, at which the army broke camp. When the third blast was blown, good Master Andreas von Stierland (1248-53), like a bold hero, began the march with his entire army.’ (Compare this description to those in volume 1, notes to figures 60 and 130.)

Some musicians were provided by the Order’s vassals - the city of Reval, for instance, sent a mounted, uniformed band of 7 trumpeters and pipers to join Livonian armies in 1433 and 1435 - while others belonged to the Order. The trumpet and Lithuanian-style fur cap of the figure depicted here come from a picture of c.1485.

Next: 103. FLAGS OF THE TEUTONIC KNIGHTS in Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 2 by Ian Heath