5 Most Popular Medieval Armor
Posted by Sharp Import on 11/23/2023
A protective outfit meant to be worn by knights and soldiers during the Middle Ages is known as medieval armor. Typically, it included a metal helmet, a coat of plates or breastplate made of iron, leg defenses made of wood or copper, and a chain mail hauberk with additional arm protection. Armor served as defense against projectiles such as longbow bolts, crossbows and arrows that were fired from a distance, as well as against strong blows from lance, medieval swords, medieval axes, or mace weapons.
It also prevented the rider from hurting himself with part of his own weight and that of his horse. Armor during the Middle Ages was comparatively simple. A large metal helmet with an attached visor, a breastplate, and a trunk-like garment called an "armored gown" were the main components. Greaves, which protect the legs, spaulders, which shield the upper arms, and vambraces and gauntlets, which cover a large portion of the forearm, are examples of more sophisticated armor sets.
These ancient precursors of body armor were constructed from multiple layers of leather and fabric, reinforced at key locations with metal strips. But shortly after the mail was invented in the tenth century A.D., various kinds were made available to protect various body parts. Let’s take a look at the list of the most popular components of armor:
1. Medieval Helmets
One of the most important components of medieval armor was the helmet. They were made of various materials and came in an assortment of sizes and shapes. The enameled iron helmet was the most popular kind. This was put on top of a coif, a decorated cloth cap, and covered with an arming cap that was padded to deflect blows from an enemy's weapon.
To protect against injuries from arrows, crossbow bolts, and other weapons, some medieval helmets also had cheek pieces, neck guards, and/or noseguards. Reenactors from today are equipped with medieval helmet replicas. Three separate parts were used to make helmets.
The first shielded the ears from darts and quarrels, which are tiny arrows, by covering them. The second piece, which was worn over the helmet, served as protection against arrow and sword wounds to the face and upper cheekbones. The third part of the helmet was a nose protector that protected the nose and face.
2. Medieval Leg Armor
Depending on the type of armor they wore, armies in the late Middle Ages were split into three groups. Heavy infantry was the name given to the first group. Their armor, which protected them from head to toe and included a steel helmet, breastplate, big round medieval shield, and leg armor that hid everything but the hands and feet, allowed them to endure long periods of combat.
The second group consisted of light cavalry who wore quilted or padded clothing to protect their bodies without being overly burdened by armor. The third group consisted of archers, who typically only needed to cover their hands and heads when firing long-range arrows at adversaries riding horses.
Greaves, another type of leg armor that protected the legs, were worn during the late Middle Ages. The main purpose of the greaves, which were worn like socks, was to shield fighters' calves from sharp blades and forceful kicks. The 12th century saw the rise of greaves as heavy knights engaged in combat with light cavalry using bows. As a means of defending themselves from arrows, the heavy knights donned steel shin guards, which came to be known as "knee-cops."
3. Medieval Chest Armor
In ancient and medieval Europe, the term "medieval chest armor" was used. It was used to describe any kind of chest piece that covered the entire body from the armpits to the hips and was worn by knights, soldiers, and occasionally civilians. This type of armor was far heavier than a combat shirt or mail hauberk, with a carrying capacity of over 1,100 pounds per square foot.
Depending on how it was designed, this kind of medieval armor was frequently supported by leather or metal reinforcing straps that crossed over the cuirass (breastplate). The production of steel armor was costly during the Middle Ages. It was very labor-intensive and needed a lot of materials to make. These armors' steel had to be heated in massive furnaces, typically using charcoal as fuel.
In order to avoid chafing between the two pieces of metal, the steel plate would next be cooled in water before being shaped into the appropriate shape and riveted onto clothing made of leather or linen. Although knights would typically wear some sort of padding underneath their chest piece for additional protection from bladed weapons, this type of armor was occasionally worn uncovered.
4. Medieval Armet
The mid-15th century saw the development of the armet helmet style in response to advancements in weaponry. Armet has a piece of the skull, usually with a comb or crest on it, and it sometimes has throat protection, though this was not always the case. Up until around 1610, when the rapier and pistol overtook the armet as the primary military weapon, the armet appears to have remained in use. Of the helmet forms using a fixed skull and a move toward articulation in the crest, the armet was the most developed.
Around 1420, it was first worn by archers and cavalry, but by the middle of the century, men-at-arms and infantry had begun to adopt it. It's unclear if the armet evolved on its own or was derived from an existing type of helmet. A bascinet's skull resembles an armet's in shape, but it lacks ear protection, a hinged visor, and a moveable crest (although it may still have an additional skull cap or a pivoting visor resembling an armet).
5. Mail Coif
Mail carriers wear a customary kind of cap called a mail coif. The chainmail armor may be lined with fur and typically has a brim made of wire or leather. Other names for mail coifs include caps, peaked caps, and top hats. Mail coifs are usually worn by nurses and men in military uniforms. When delivering mail in urban and rural areas where there isn't enough space for a full-sized vehicle to turn around and deliver mail, the hat shields the back of the head from harm.
In addition, it keeps hair out of the way of conveyor belts when goods are automatically processed for dispatch or delivered to their final locations, regardless of altitude or weather. While some postal workers receive the coifs as personal belongings, others wear them as part of their uniform. The high crown of the mail coif shields the head from harm in the event that it is struck by a brick or other projectile. Additional protection against blows to the head is offered by the hat's brim and side, particularly if the head is bowed forward.
When delivering mail, trainee couriers like letter carriers are told to keep their heads up and look out for objects that could collide with them. Postal workers have worn war helmets during hostilities to shield themselves from enemy fire and shrapnel. These helmets can be wire-wound for field artillery or equipped with horsehair plumes for cavalry. In addition, many postal employees have worn steel helmets for protection against the effects of bombs or rockets.
The Current Vogue for Medieval Armor!
It's hard to say how popular medieval armor is these days. What does the typical person know about chainmail hauberks or suits of plate armor? A whole generation has never even laid eyes on one, much less used one in combat. Rather than accurately portraying historical events, some films, such as Monty Python and the Holy Grail, are merely satirical meditations on what it must have been like to wear such bulky armor.
Thankfully, armorers and metalworkers are still able to produce new pieces based on antique designs by using labor-saving modern methods like riveting and time-tested hand hammering. As a result, a variety of medieval armor is available for purchase that is made using conventional processes rather than contemporary machinery for mass production. The expertise of these armorers has been used by armies all over the world, and many of the designs they employ are still covered by current patents.
How well-liked will it get? We'll find out in time. However, I'm willing to wager that there will always be a market for accurate replicas of armor, even at a time when movie prop houses are having difficulty locating historical replicas to use as the basis for their creations. More importantly, I think that every single piece that is made by hand in an armorer's studio is a real historical connection between the past and the present.