Medieval Knights Armor

The Medieval Knights Armor was vital on the Medieval Battlefield. The Knights Armor provided body protection from the onslaught of Battle and the various weapons which were used on the battlefield including the two-handed sword, bow and arrows, crossbow, battle axe, mace, dagger and lance. The Medieval Knights armor was extremely expensive to produce. It had to be tailor-made to fit the Knight exactly. Incorrect sizing of a Knights armor would be extremely dangerous as it could hamper the Knights ability to fight. The Medieval Knights armor was also a status symbol. The better quality of the Knights armor, the more important was the Knight. The Knights Shield displayed an heraldic blazon which identified the Knight. The Shield and Spurs were symbols of Knighthood and Medieval Knights. A disgraced Knight had his spurs hacked off and his shield was hung upside down as a sign of dishonor.

The History of the Medieval Knights Armor

The History and different types of protection was developed to protect them from any new, and even more lethal, weapons that were introduced during the Medieval era. The history of the Medieval Knights Armor progressed as follows through the Medieval era:

  • A padded garment known as an Aketon, Arming coat, Doublet, Gambeson, Hacketon. A quilted arming coat, either sewn or stuffed with linen or even grass. This served as a complete form of armor or as padding for additional armour worn over the top
  • A Hauberk was worn over the Aketon. The Hauberk was a mail shirt which extended down to defend the legs. The hauberk was the main defence for both body and legs until the late 13th century
  • Chainmail or Mail was made of interwoven links of iron wire riveted together to form a kind of defensive metal cloth
  • Plate Armour was first introduced during the 13th century as reinforcing for mail defenses. Full plate armor would not come about for two centuries.

A Medieval Knights Armor

Dressing a Medieval Knight for Battle in the 13th Century was a lengthy affair. Young, apprentice Knights called Squires accompanied the Knights to the Battlefield to assist with dressing the Knight in their armor. A Medieval Knights Armor was a complex series of garments, chain mail and iron plate. The elements of a 13th century Medieval Knights Armor are as follows:

  • Under Clothes - Linen Under-shirt and under-pants. Woollen stockings. Underclothes were important as they prevented the armor from chafing the Knights skin
  • Sabatons - these were the first armor to be put on. Sabatons was armor for the foot and consisted of riveted iron plates on the boots
  • The Aketon - arming doublet
  • Arms - Layer of chain mail over the arms of the Medieval Knights
  • Arm Armor - Besagues which were small round 'shields' laced to the mail at the shoulder to defend the armpit, rerebrace for the defence of the upper arm, vambrace for the defence of the lower arm.
  • Leg Armor - Greaves (Plate armor which protected the calf and ankles), poleyns (plate armor which protected the knee cap), and cuisses (plate armor which protected the thigh).
  • Chest Armor - Breast Plate
  • Back Armor - The Backplate
  • Faulds were rings of armour which were attached to the breast plate and protected the hips, abdomen and lower back of the Medieval Knights
  • Head and Neck armor - the 13th Century helmet was called the Bascinet which had a skirt of mail called an aventail to protect the neck
  • Face protection - A Visor was a detachable piece of armor which protected the face and eyes
  • Hand Armor - The Knights gloves were called Gauntlets and had ringed metal plates over the fingers. Spikes called Gadlings on the knuckles could deal a painful blow!
  • Spurs - Spurs were attached to the heel by straps and used to 'spur' the Knights horse on in battle. The spurs became a symbol of knighthood
  • Surcoat - A robe, with a belt around the waist, was placed over the body armor. The surcoat was emblazoned with the coat of arms or device of the Medieval Knights for identification purposes.
  • Weapons - A Dagger and Sword were attached to the Knights belt
  • Shield - Carried in defence and displaying the Knights heraldic blazon