Friday, November 9, 2012

Women and Medieval Armor

stock photo : bows woman / medieval armor / historical story  / retro split toned
Chain mail armor
The first knights wore chain mail, a protective clothing consisting of small metal rings. The mail was flexible and it was worn as closely-fitted tunic with mail hood to cover the head. Head was usually additionally protected by a separate helmet worn over the mail hood because serious injures such as skull fractures and brain damage could had been inflicted simply by force. The mail was predominant type of armor until the beginning of the 13th century when the introduction of more sophisticated weapons required better protection. The mail prevented penetration and cutting through the skin but it did not provide protection against fractures and bruising which could had been fatal. For that reason knights started adding their mails small plates or disks of steel to protect the most vulnerable areas such as knees and underarms.
Chain mail was slowly replaced by plate armor in the 14th century. Plate armor consisted of closely-fitted smaller metal parts which were linked together by rivets or leather straps. It was worn on the chest and sometimes on the entire body. Plate armor was less flexible in compare to chain mail but it was not as rigid as it appears because it was designed and composed in such manner that it enabled movement. Full plate armor featured:
  • helmet to protect the head
  • gorget, a steel collar to protect the throat
  • pauldron to cover the shoulder area and sometimes also parts of back and chest
  • couter to protect the elbow
  • vambraces for protection of forearm
  • gauntlet, a type of glove to cover part of the forearm
  • cuirass to cover the front (breastplate) generally worn in connection with a corresponding protective piece for the back
  • fauld worn below the breastplate to protect the waist and hips
  • tassets to protect the upper legs
  • culet to protect the buttocks
  • a mail skirt
  • cuisses to protect the thigh
  • poleyn to protect the knees
  • greave to cover the legs
  • and sabaton to cover the feet

Full plate armor
Full plate armor weighted about 45 pounds (20 kg) and provided ultimate protection on the battlefield. For that reason breast and back plates continued to be used until the early 20th century. However, blunt weapons such as maces and war hammers could inflict severe injures through concussive force, while the other way to kill or injure a medieval knight in a full plate armor was to strike through the gaps between the armor pieces.

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