folio 73v
David and Goliath
British Library, MS Harley 603
Harley Psalter


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Origin: England, S. E. (Canterbury)
Date: 1st half of the 11th century
Source: British Library, MS Harley 603



Referenced in WAR - 005 - M.Harrison, G.Embleton - Anglo-Saxon Thegn AD 449-1066
'David and Goliath', a biblical scene in an 11th-century Anglo Saxon manuscript. It is possible that Saxon armies contained slingers though their low status means they receive no mention in Anglo-Saxon records. Goliath wears a conical helmet and mail-shirt, split at the front to facilitate riding on horseback. Note, however, that he appears to have been stripped of this valuable mail shirt in the foreground, before David delivers the coup de grace with a sword. (British Library, Ms. Harley 603)



Referenced on p54, Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era, 1050-1350, Western Europe and the Crusader States by David Nicolle

98A-L Utrecht [Harley] Psalter, Wessex, early 11th century
(British Library, Ms. Harl. 603, London, England)

A-f.69r; B-f.73; C-f.25; D-F f.68r; G-f.69r; H-f.25; I-f.29v; J-f.73; K-L f.25. This and similar manuscripts are believed to be copies of a Carolingian psalter [the Utrecht Psalter]. They use the same agitated linear style, but are clearly not following all the details of military equipment shown in the original manuscript. Not only are kite-shaped shields shown (D and L). but so are tall saddles with raised pommel and cantle, almost exactly the same as seen in the Bayeux Tapestry (I). Another horseman has a straight-legged riding position and a very long cavalry sword (A). Other features are more old-fashioned, including many round shields (B, C, E, F, H, K and L) and the throwing of javelins (A, C, K and H). Such a mixture of old and new would not be surprising in the early to mid-11th century. The angel using a bow (J) is ultimately copied from a southern European original, whereas the armoured figure (B) might reflect the best equipped huscarls of the period. He has a conical helmet with a broad nasal and a mail hauberk without a coif but with short, broad, untailored sleeves.



Illustrations of 11th century Costume & Soldiers