Back in medieval times it was quite a challenge to protect yourself in battle as the weapons used were so brutal, Knights Armor was therefore introduced keep medieval knights alive, it was very effective and led to one Knight being able to take on and defeat 5-10 enemy soldiers at a time.
Knight Armour was therefore designed specifically for medieval knights’ and it was continually developed. A knights armor became a defining characteristic of Knights in battle, representing the military unit and also was a perfect way to show off their social class, as only the wealthy could afford such expensive armor and equipment.
All in all, the medieval knights’ armor was extremely vital if the knight wanted to have a chance of staying alive on the Medieval Battlefield.
Medieval Knights Suit of Armor
A knights Suit of Armour faced continuous changes over the centuries of the middle ages and it became a race to design perfect armor to match the advancements that had been made in metalworking & because of the advancing skills of Blacksmiths and their passion to create the perfect protection on the battlefield
In medieval times Armor was categorized into three different types, strictly by function: Field Armour, Ceremonial armor and Jousting armor.
Field armor: This Knight armor was meant to be worn in combat, so its main characteristics were light and flexible. This gave the knight the possibility of having good mobility while still being strong.
Ceremonial armor: As the name suggests it was designed for ceremonies and this is why in general it was adorned with silver, copper, gold or even cloth. The appearance was extremely important.
Jousting or Tournament Knight Armor: This armor was specially created to offer protection, even if it meant to overlook the mobility factor.
Image that details different parts of a knights armor
Different parts of a Medieval Knights Armor
It is common knowledge that back in the medieval times knights represented an elite warrior group and this is why the blacksmiths that created their armor designed it to be practical, functional and also decorative. Here are the parts that formed the medieval armor:
Helmet – one of the most basic parts of the knight’s armor, which also included a visor that was pulled down while in combat, in order to protect the face.
Torso – this is the part that protects the stomach. It was basically a breastplate mounted over a placard with the help of a few hinges, specially placed so that it could be taken on and off easily.
Legs – There are 2 types of protection: the lower legs, which were protected by greaves (metal shin guards), and the upper legs which were protected by poleyns (bendable pieces) and cuisses.
Arms – vambraces were designed to protect the Knights arms, and the gauntlets to protect the hands and wrists.
Chain Mail – this piece was used for extra protection underneath the knights armor, thus protecting any areas that may have been exposed, creating weak spots.
Medieval Knights Armor History
Throughout history, different types of armor protection were developed to protect Knights from all The lethal weapons that were created during the medieval era. There were a few progressive steps in the development of the Medieval Knights Armour in the medieval era, as follows:
Aketon or Arming coat – A padded garment which was either sewn or stuffed with linen or even grass. It’s goal was to serve as a complete armor or sometimes as a padding for any additional armor.
A Hauberk – an item that was worn over the Aketon. Basically, it was a long mail shirt that aimed to defend the legs. Until the late 13th century, it was the main defense item for body and legs.
Chain-mail – an item created of interwoven links of iron, riveted together so it form a defensive metal cloth.
Plate Armour – created at the end of the 13th century, first as a reinforcement for mail defenses and afterwards simply a defenses.
Full Plate Armour – introduced during the 15th, weighting around 50 lbs, specially created to safely protect the Medieval Knights, but light enough to fast mobility.
Medieval Knights Armor Weapons
During the Medieval Ages, a wide variety of weapons were created and developed specially designed to be used in battle by the brave knights.
The sword was definitely a standard fighting weapon that was created before the appearance of the medieval knight. This being said, it was still an effective weapon, made out of a mild steel, double-edged and also engraved with a prayer or the sword owner’s name. It definitely depended on the owner’s wealth.
Next to come was the lance, usually made of wood, with sharp metal tips. Throughout the Middle Ages, the lances developed a stouter appearance and allowed the knight to take advantage of his superior position while riding a horse. In case it broke or the knight dropped it, he could rely on his sword.
Other efficient weapons during that period were the Axe, mace and the war hammer. Even today, the weapons of a knight still raise curiosity and interest for many people collectors and people who are interested in medieval history.
See the attention to detail and beautiful engraving on this armor
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Medieval knight’s Armour
Back in Medieval Times, a knights armor was a difficult obstacle to overcome. However a knight’s armor had among it’s many advantages, quite a few disadvantages. This is why knowing both the disadvantages and advantages of their armor may help us better understand how these ancient medieval battles were fought.
Medieval Knights Armor Advantages:
Protection – this is one of the main advantages the knight’s armor provided. The opponent had to aim at specific places on the armor (armpits and neck) in order to injure or kill the knight.
Identification – the armor represented a status symbol that distinguished him from normal soldiers, Knights also had the custom and honour of adding their family crest on the armor.
Medieval Knights Armour Disadvantages:
Weight – in general the armor weighed between 40 and 60 pounds, thus creating huge disadvantages when it came to hand-to-hand combat.
Maneuverability – a Knights Armour was relatively limited. The joints were quite stiff and it became difficult to move and engage in quick combat. It depended on each knight’s strength.
Breath-ability and Vision – usually, the helmet had holes where the eyes and mouth were, thus leaving little room to see and making it difficult for air to come inside.
Heat – the armor was made of metal and the knight had to wear chain-mail under the armor and also a quilted padding suit under the chain-mail. I’m sure you can understand how hot it got under all those layers.
The purpose of the knight was something that managed to develop over a long period of time, a few centuries. The earliest knights recorded in history were the officers of the Greek and Roman armies.
They have always represented a status and a symbol; they were highly trained soldiers capable of riding horses while maneuvering weapons such as swords and lances. They represented a dream and today they represent part of our history.