In the early part of the high medieval period, knights were those soldiers who were best trained and equipped and the knighthood reflected not only a social rank but also a military designation in what it came to abilities, performance and equipment.
Later on, at the end of the period it became increasingly needed to make a distinction between a knight, with his rank and position and merely well-equipped and trained fighters, who were becoming more and more needed due to the quick advances on military technology. That was the birth of the Man-at-Arms, a fighter that could be equipped as well as a knight and had similar training for fighting on horse and foot, but lacked the rank and social relevance of the first. All European armies employed them and they were very important until XVI century, when professionalization of the armies became a major trend.
Our figure depicts an early Man-at-Arms that can be painted in many different ways. It has a clear English inspiration, as it includes the typical kettle hat and the pole arm known as “bill”, but both elements were not unknown to other armies of the period. It is painted with the cross of St. George on the surcoat and has Edward III’s heraldry on the shield, as we wanted to portray him as a veteran soldier on the king’s retinue at the Battle of Crecy.