Pyrrhus Receiving the Honor of Knighthood

Pyrrhus. Medieval knight. Middle ages. Tapestry. Knighthood.

Pyrrhus Receiving the Honor of Knighthood

Pyrrhus Receiving the Honor of Knighthood

BEASONS of considerable force are adduced by M. Jubinal, in his splendid work on Early Tapestries, for believing that the Tapestry from which the accompanying plate is taken, was made in the earlier part of the fifteenth century. 

Medieval knighthood initiale. Middle ages Alphabet. Medieval knighthood initiale.

The tapestry itself consists of three compartments, all taken from the then popular subject of the war of Troy. The first compartment represents the city of Troy, with the arrival of Panthesilea queen of the Amazons to succour the Trojans. The second represents a battle, in which Æneas, Polydamas, Diomedes, and Panthesilea, are engaged in combat. In the third, which forms the subject of our plate, we see Pyrrhus the son of Achilles, under a rich tent, receiving the honour of Knighthood, with all the ceremonies practised in the Middle Ages. Ajax and Agamemnon are assisting at the ceremony; the former is buckling the belt of the young hero. An esquire is fixing his spur on his foot. Underneath are the following lines, “Loco patris Pirrus statuitur; Polidamas per hune succubuit; Philimines item comprimitur; Diomedes sic morte caruit.”
It is possible that the ornamental work in this tapestry may owe something of its detail to the imagination of the original artist; yet a comparison with other monuments of the time is sufficient to convince us that the costume and armour may be considered as very fair specimens of what was worn by sovereigns and princes during the fifteenth century.

The history of this tapestry is remarkable. It is said to have belonged once to the famous Bayard, and remained in the castle in which he was born (an edifice seated on the summit of a hill which commands the banks of the river Isere), until the beginning of the present century. When the castle was ravaged by the democrats in the great revolution, this tapestry was overlooked, and escaped destruction by a mere accident.

Note:  Charles D'Anjou, King of Sicily, 13ème siècle.

In 1807, it was discovered in the Chateau de Bayard by a distinguished artist of Lyon, M. Richard, who bought it of the proprietor of the place, and thus saved it a second time from imminent destruction, threatened in this instance by the neglect of its possessor. From M. Richard it passed, in 1837, to M. Achille Jubinal, who has given a faithful representation of it in his work on Tapestries, and who afterwards presented it to the Bibliothèque du Roi at Paris. It now adorns the wall of one of the stair-cases in that noble establishment. Our initial letter, which represents St. Mark the Evangelist, is taken from the same printed volume which has furnished us with initials representing the three other Evangelists. The wood-cut at the foot of the present page represents an iron knocker of the fifteenth century, in the possession of M. Dugué of Paris. It is seven inches and a half long.

Source: Dresses and Decorations of the Middle Ages from the 7th to the 17th centuries by Henry Shaw F.S.A. Published: London William Pickering 1843.


  1. Reigns of John and of Charles V. 1350 to 1380. (Medieval, Byzantine, Gothic)
  2. Reigns’ of Charles VI. and Charles VII. 1380 to 1461. (Medieval, Gothic, Burgundy)
  3. Reigns of Louis XI, Charles VIII, and Louis XII. 1461 to 1515 (Medieval, Burgundy, Renaissance)
  4. Reign of Francis I. 1515 to 1545. (Renaissance, Tudor)
  5. Reign of Henry II. 1547 to 1558. (Tudor, Renaissance)
  6. Reign of Francis II. 1559 to 1560. (Tudor, Renaissance)
  7. Reign of Charles IX. 1560 to 1574. (Tudor, Renaissance, Spanish court dress)
  8. Reign of Henri III. 1574 to 1589. (Renaissance, early Baroque, Spanish court dress, Tudor)
  9. Reigns of Henri IV. and Louis XIII. 1589 to 1643. (Renaissance, Baroque)
  10. Reign of Louis XIV. 1643 to 1715. (Baroque)
  11. Reign of Louis XV. 1715 to 1774. (Rococo)
  12. Reign of Louis XVI. 1774 to 1780. (Late Rococo)
  13. Reign of Louis XVI. 1780 to 1789. Le Pouf. Fashion in the Ancien Régime.
  14. The Reticulated Headdress. 15th century. Medieval Burgundy era.
  15. The Hennin. Headdress 15th century. Medieval Burgundy era.
  16. Costumes de Noblesse du 14ème siècle. Histoire de la mode médiévale.
  17. Noble anglaise. Mode féminine du Moyen Age. 13ème siècle. 13ème siècle.
  18. Gabrielle d’Estrées, mistress of the French King Henry IV. 16th century, Renaissance.
  19. Henri de Lorraine, duc de Guise. France 16th century. Huguenot wars.
  20. Madame de Pompadour. Her political power and general influence to Louis XV. Rococo era.
  21. 15th century medieval room interior. The history of Tobit. Historia Scholastica.
  22. The Corset and the Crinoline. Fashion history. From ancient until 19th c.
  23. Pictures and Royal Portraits Illustrative of English and Scottish History.
  24. Les Modes de la Renaissance de l’an 1461 à l’an 1574.
  25. Characters of The Commedia dell Arte. Italian Renaissance Theater.
  26. The Rise of Monachism. Monastic costumes history.
  27. On the history of costumes. Fashion gallery from ancient until the 19th century.
  28. King James I of England, son of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots.
  29. The Gunpowder Plot. England history.
  30. Mary Queen of Scots England history.
  31. The character of Henry VIII. Tudor King of England.
  32. The reign of Elizabeth. The days of Queen Bess.
  33. Tudor Queen. The offer of the crown to Lady Jane Grey.
  34. Queen Mary, the daughter of Henry VIII.
  35. Sir Francis Drake. England history.
  36. The english boy king Edward VI. England history.
  37. Relics associated with Queen Elisabeth. England history.
Note:  Carolingian queen and king costumes. 10th century.

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