Medieval Knights Armor

Knight Armour was expensive and specifically designed and under continuous development.

Medieval Armourers in medieval times

A knight’s 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.

In medieval times Armour was categorized into three different types, strictly by function: Field Armour, Ceremonial armour, and Jousting armour.

Field Armour *was designed to be worn in combat, so its main characteristics were lightness and flexibility. This gave the knight the possibility of having good mobility while still being strong enough to cope.

Field Armour

Field Armour

Ceremonial Armour *As the name suggests was designed for ceremonies and this is why in general it was adorned with silver, copper, gold, or cloth. The appearance was extremely important.

Dubbing Ceremony A Medieval Knight and Knighthood

Ceremonial Armour

Jousting or Tournament Knight Armor *This armor was specially created to offer protection, even if it meant to overlook the mobility factor.

Knights Armor Parts

Knights Armor Parts

Knights Armor *Parts

It is common knowledge that back in the medieval times’ knights represented an elite warrior group and this is why armorers produced armor that was functional and decorative. Here are the parts that formed a knight’s suit of armor.

Helmet

One of the most basic parts of the knight’s armor might incorporate a visor that could be pulled down while in combat, in order to protect the face.

Breastplate Armour

Breastplate Armour *Protects Chest and Ribs

Greaves (metal shin guards) protected the lower legs

Greaves (metal shin guards) protected Lower Legs

Cuisses ca. 1450 Italian Steel Leg Protection Thigh

Poleyns *Bendable Knee Armour

Poleyns *Bendable Knee Armour

Vambraces Flexible Armour Protect the Knights Arm & Elbow

Vambraces Flexible Armour Protect the Knights Arm *Elbow

Gauntlets Hands and Wrist Armour Gauntlets

Gauntlets Hands and Wrist Armour

ChainMail *Body Armour used before Plate Armour also extra protection underneath the knight's armor

ChainMail *Body Armour used before Plate Armour also extra protection underneath the knight’s armor

Hauberk Chainmail Shirt

Hauberk Chainmail Shirt

 

Coif chainmail for the head and neck

Coif Chainmail Armour protected the head and neck of knights

Tassets Body Plate Armour Skirt

Tasset Body Plate Armour Skirt

Lance Rest

Lance Rest

Full Plate Armour

Full Plate Armour was created around the end of the 13th century, first as a reinforcement for mail defenses and afterward simply defenses. Plate armor as a full suit that we recognize and the knight in shining armor today didn’t take place until quite late in the medieval period.

Plate Armour Detail

Knight in Shining Armour *Full Plate

The golden era of the fully plated knight in shining armor was during the 15th century onward

Knight in Shining Armour

A knight in full plate armor would weigh in at around 50 lbs, full plate armor was specially created to safely protect the medieval Knights, but light and flexible enough for fast mobility.

Knights Armor Weapons

During the Medieval Ages, a wide variety of weapons were created and developed specially designed to be used in battle by gallant knights.

The sword was a standard fighting weapon that was created before the appearance of the medieval knight. That being said, the sword became intertwined with the gallant and mythical identity of the Knight and became a legendary weapon that was worshiped in medieval times.

King Arthur Excalibur

King Arthur *Mythical Sword Excalibur

The knightly sword was double-edged, made out of mild steel, and commonly engraved with a prayer or the sword owner’s name.

Medieval Swords Types

Medieval Swords Types

Lance

The Lance was commonly made of wood, with a sharp metal tip, lances in later medieval times were 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.

Protection for the hands and wrist were added to the Lance *Commonly metal discs

Lance Rest

Lance Rest

Other efficient weapons used by Knights were Polearm weapons such as the poleaxe and Maul and shorter weapons such as the mace and short war hammer.

Medieval Poleaxe Footsoldier

Medieval Poleaxe Weapon

Knights Armor Advantages

Protection *The main advantage the knight’s armor provided. The opponent commonly had to aim at specific gaps in the armor (armpits and neck) in order to injure or kill the knight.

Rondel Dagger

Rondel Dagger used to thrust into Gaps in Armour

Identification *Armor represented a status symbol that distinguished him from normal soldiers, Knights also had the custom and honor of adding their family crest Coat of Arms on the armor.

Medieval Surcoat

Knights Armour Disadvantages

Weight *Armor weighed between 40 and 60 pounds, thus creating huge disadvantages when it came to hand-to-hand combat.

Maneuverability *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.

Breathability and Vision *The helmet had small slits or holes where the eyes and mouth were, thus leaving little room to see and making it difficult for air to come inside.

Heat *Armour was made of metal and the knight commonly also wore chain-mail and quilted padding with the plate armor, which was very hot inside.