An extract from Armies and Enemies of the Crusades 1096-1291
by Ian Heath


Jacques de Vitry tells us that the Georgians were 'very warlike and valiant in battle, being strong in body and powerful in the countless numbers of their warriors', adding that they were 'much dreaded by the Saracens . . on whose borders they dwell.' Marco Polo similarly relates that 'the Georgians are a handsome race of doughty warriors, good archers and good fighters on the battlefield.'

Of their appearance during this era we know little and this figure is based largely on 14th century sources. Arms and equipment appear to have been principally of Persian design and the composite bow was one of their main weapons, though lance, mace and sword or sabre were also carried.

De Vitry records that they wore their hair and beards 'about a cubit long', while Polo says they wore their hair short, so we are obviously not the only ones uncertain of their appearance!

See also illuminations in the 12th Century Georgian "Jruchi Gospels"
A 12th Century Georgian Fresco in Vardzia Monastery

Next: 83 & 84. MONGOL LIGHT CAVALRYMEN in Armies and Enemies of the Crusades 1096-1291 by Ian Heath