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PostSubject: Midievel Weapons and Armor   Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:53 pm

Armor
Helmet: The bascinet was an open-faced military helmet, typically fitted with an aventail and hinged visor. The term is also written as bassinet or basinet.



The great helm or heaume, also called pot helm, bucket helm and barrel helm, of the High Middle Ages arose in the late twelfth century in the context of the crusades and remained in use until the fourteenth century. They were used by knights and heavy infantry in most European armies between about 1220 to 1540 AD.



Neck: An aventail or camail is a flexible curtain of chainmail on a helmet, that extends to cover the neck and shoulders.

Torso: Cuirass, the plate armour, is formed of a single piece of metal or other rigid material or composed of two or more pieces, which covers the front of the wearer's person. In a suit of armour, however, since this important piece was generally worn in connection with a corresponding defence for the back, the term cuirass commonly is understood to imply the complete body-armour, including both the breast and the back plates.

A culet is a piece of plate armour consisting of small, horizontal lamés that protect the small of the back or the buttocks.

Faulds are a piece of plate armour worn below a breastplate to protect the waist and hips. They take the form of bands of metal surrounding both legs, potentially surrounding the entire hips in a form similar to a skirt.

A Plackart is a piece of medieval and Renaissance era armour, initially covered the lower half of the front torso. It was a plate reinforcement that composed the bottom part of the front of a medieval breastplate. They were predominantly worn in the 15th century.

A hauberk is a shirt of mail armour. The term is usually used to describe a shirt reaching at least to mid-thigh and including sleeves. Haubergeon ("little hauberk") generally refers to a shorter variant with partial sleeves, but the terms are often used interchangeably.

A codpiece (from Middle English cod, "scrotum") is a covering flap or pouch that attaches to the front of the crotch of men's trousers and usually accentuates the genital area. It was held closed by string ties, buttons, or other methods.

Arms: Besagews are circular defences designed to protect the armpits, as part of a harness of plate armour.



The couter is the defense for the elbow in a piece of plate armour. Initially just a curved piece of metal, as plate armor progressed the couter became an articulated joint.

Gauntlet is a name for several different styles of glove, particularly those with an extended cuff covering part of the forearm. Gauntlets exist in many forms, ranging from flexible fabric and leather gloves, to chainmail and fully-articulated plate armour.



A pauldron (sometimes spelled pouldron or powldron) is a component of plate armour, which evolved from spaulders in the 15th century. As with spaulders, pauldrons cover the shoulder area. Pauldrons tend to be larger than spaulders, covering the armpit, and sometimes parts of the back and chest.



A rerebrace (sometimes known as an upper cannon) is a piece of armour designed to protect the upper arms (above the elbow). Splint rerebraces were a feature of Byzantine armour in the Early Medieval period. As part of the full plate armour of the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance the rerebrace was a tubular piece of armour between the shoulder defences (pauldron) and the elbow protection (couter).

Spaulders are armored plates worn on the upper arms and shoulders in a suit of plate armour. Developed during the Middle Ages, the use of spaulders declined during the Renaissance along with the use of plate armour.

Unlike pauldrons, spaulders do not cover the arm holes when worn with a cuirass. Instead, the gaps may be covered by besagews or simply left bare, exposing the mail beneath.



Vambraces (French language avant-bras, sometimes known as lower cannons in the Middle Ages) are "tubular" or "gutter" defences for the forearm, developed first in the ancient world by the Romans, but only formally named during the early 14th century, as part of a suit of plate armour. They were made of either leather, sometimes reinforced with longitudinal strips of hardened hide or metal (a crafting method named "splinted armour"), or from a single piece of worked steel and worn with other pieces of armour. Vambraces are generally called forearm guards, with or without separate couters.

Legs: Chausses are armour for the legs, usually made from mail. They could extend to the knee or cover the entire leg. Chausses were the standard type of metal leg armour during most of the European Middle Ages. Chausses offered flexible protection that was effective against slashing weapons. However, the wearer felt the full force of crushing blows.

Reinforcing plates called poleyns began to supplement mail armour in the 13th century. One of the first locations to see this protection was the knee. Steel shin plates called schynbalds came into use during the final quarter of the century. Unlike greaves, schynbalds protected only the front of the lower leg. These early plate additions were worn over chausses and held in place with leather straps. Chausses became obsolete in the 14th century as plate armour developed.

Chausses were also worn as a woollen legging with layers, as part of civilian dress, and as a gamboissed (padded) garment for chainmail.

Cuisses are a form of medieval armor worn to protect the thigh. The word is the plural of the French word cuisse meaning 'thigh'. While the skirt of a maille shirt or tassets of a cuirass could protect the upper legs from above, a thrust from below could avoid these defenses. Thus, cuisses were worn on the thighs to protect from such blows. Padded cuisses made in a similar way to a gambeson were commonly worn by knights in the 12th and 13th Centuries, usually over chausses and may have had poleyns directly attached to them.

Cuisses could also be made of brigandine or splinted leather, but by the Late Middle Ages they were typically made from plate armour.
A greave is a piece of armour that protects the leg. Often in matched pairs (a pair of greaves), greaves may be constructed of materials ranging from padded cloth to steel plate. Some designs protect only the lower leg (a half-greave) or extend upwards to protect the thigh.

In the Middle Ages, greaves eventually developed to protect the back of the legs as well and these were called full greaves (the style which only covered the front became known as half-greaves or demi-greaves).

The poleyn was a component of Medieval and Renaissance armor that protected the knee. During the transition from mail armor to plate armor, this was among the earliest plate components to develop. They first appeared in the mid-thirteenth century and remained in use until the early seventeenth century when firearms made them obsolete.

A Sabaton or solleret is part of a Knight's armour that covers the foot. Fifteenth century sabatons typically end in a tapered point well past the actual toes of the wearer's foot. Sabatons of the first half of sixteenth century end at the tip of the toe and may be wider than the actual foot.

Schynbalds were an early experiment in plate armour for the lower leg. Schynbalds were metal plates strapped over chausses. Each schynbald was a single piece of steel that covered the front and outside of the shin. Schynbalds did not enclose the lower leg: hence, they were not true greaves. Schynbalds first appeared during the late thirteenth century and remained in use during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.



Tassets are a piece of plate armour designed to protect the upper legs. They take the form of separate plates hanging from the breastplate or faulds. They may be made from a single piece or segmented. Tassets were mainly used in the Middle Ages by knights.



Component Sets: Gousset was a component of late Medieval armor. During the transition from mail to plate armor, sections of mail covered parts of the body that were not protected by steel plate. These sections of mail were known as gousset. Gousset came into use in the fourteenth century as plate became a structural part of a suit of knightly armor rather than an addition strapped over a suit of mail. During the fourteenth century there was considerable variation in the ratio of gousset to plate.



A lamé is a solid piece of sheet metal used as a component of a larger section of plate armor. Multiple lamés are riveted together or connected by leather straps to form an articulated piece of armor that provides flexible protection.

A rondel is a circular piece of metal used for protection, as part of a harness of plate armour, or attached to a helmet, breastplate, couter or on a gauntlet.

Rondels most commonly hang off breastplates and cover the armpit, which is a vulnerable point. In this instance they are commonly known as besagews. They also appear on the back of a type of late medieval helmet known as the armet. Their purpose for this is unknown, though it has been sumised that they may protect strapping, or just be some sort of added protection. Rondels also appear uncommonly on the metacarpal part of some historical gauntlet designs, and appear in some period illustrations protecting the side of the head, and the point of the elbow (where a fan may normally be).




Weapons


Swords and Daggers Terminology

Arming Sword - With the appearance of the long sword the simple, single-handed weapon became known as a short sword or arming sword, since it hung from the belt of the knight, while his long sword hung from the saddle. In the mid-15th century treatise How a Man Shayl be Armyd, the author advises: “hys shorte swerde upon hys lyfte syde in a rounde ryunge all nakid to pulle out lightlie....and then hys long swerd in hys hand.’

Backsword - The backsword was so named because it only had one cutting edge. The non-cutting edge (the back of the blade) was much thicker than the cutting edge thus creating a wedge type shape which was said to increase the weapons cutting capacity. Also known as a "Mortuary Sword", or the German "Reitschwert."

Basilard - a two-edged, long bladed dagger of the late Middle Ages, often worn with both civilian dress and armour.

Bastard Swords - developed in the mid 1400's as a form of long-sword with specially shaped grips for one or two hands. These swords typically had longer handles which allowed use by one or both hands. The sword's hilt often had side-rings and finger rings to defend the hand, and a more slender, or tapered, narrowly pointed blade. Bastard swords continued to be used by knights and men-at-arms into the 1500's, and for a time, enjoyed the civilian side-arm role that would later be superceded by the sidesword and rapier.

Broadsword - A term popularly misapplied as a generic synonym for medieval swords. The now popular misnomer "broadsword" as a term for medieval blades actually originated with Victorian collectors in the early 19th century.

The term " broadsword" seems to have originated in the 17th century, referring to a double-edged military sword, with a complex hilt. A medieval sword was simply called a "sword," a "short sword" (in the works of George Silver), or an "arming sword."

Further complicating the issue is a "true broadsword," which is actually an 18th century short naval cutlass. The term did not take on the meaning of a wide-bladed medieval sword until the later 19th century. Since then, it has entered popular use by collectors, museum curators, fight directors, and authors. What should modern students call it? The word "sword," seems to work very well.

Medieval swords appeared in a variety of forms, but generally had a long, wide, straight, double-edged blade with a simple cross-guard (or "cruciform" hilt). The typical form was a single hand weapon used for hacking, shearing cuts and also for limited thrusting which evolved from the Celtic and Germanic swords of late Antiquity. Over time, the sword became more tapered and rigid, to facilitate thrusting, and began to add a series of protective rings to the hilt, to defend the fingers and hand. This was the birth of the "cut and thrust" or "sidesword."

Claymore - Identified with the Scot's symbol of the warrior, the term "Claymore" is Gaelic for "claidheamh-more" (great sword). This two-handed broadsword was used by the Scottish Highlanders against the English in the 16th century and is often confused with a Basket-hilt "broadsword" (a relative of the Italian schiavona) whose hilt completely enclosed the hand in a cage- like guard. Both swords have come to be known by the same name since the late 1700's.

Compound-hilt - a term used for the various forms of swept, basket, and cage hilts found on Renaissance swords. The compound hilt is comprised of the quillon, side-rings, and a knuckle bar in a variety of configurations.

Cross-guard - the steel, cross-piece between the hand and blade of a Medieval sword.

Cut-and-Thrust Sword - the spada filo or spada da lato of the Italian Renaissance masters. The sword was a thinner, more tapered sword than the earlier Medieval forms, but still shorter and wider than the nearly edgless rapier. They were used for hacking, slashing, stabbing, and had compound hilts used to employ a "fingered" grip. Unlike the later rapier, which was wholly a civilian weapon, the cut & thrust sword was a military weapon that became popular for civilian use until superseded by the rapier. Various forms of later military cut & thrust swords include the: schiavona, spadroon, hanger, and Espadon. These are the swords discussed by such Masters as George Silver, Achille Marozzo, and Di Grassi.

Dagger - a knife, usually in the form of a sword. Daggers came a variety of forms, with both single and double edged varieties. Like swords, were usually fitted with a pommel and guard, and throughout the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, also developed progressively more complex hilts.

Dirk - a long, usually single-edged dagger that developed from the Medieval ballock and kidney daggers.

Estoc - A form of long, rigid, pointed, triangular or square bladed and virtually edgeless longsword designed for thrusting into plate-armor was the estoc. Called a "stocco" in Italian and a "tuck" in English, they were used with two hands - similar to great-swords. They were used in two hands with the second hand often gripping the blade. Rapiers are sometimes mistakenly referred to as tucks, and may have been referred to as such by the English.

Falchion - a single-edged, heavy-bladed sword, usually widening noticably towards the tip. A form of sword that was little more than a meat cleaver, possibly even a simple kitchen and barnyard tool adopted for war. Indeed, it may come from a French word for a sickle, "fauchon". It can be seen in Medieval art being used by warriors of all stations, especially in close quarters fighting. The weapon is entirely European in origin, and is similar to the German "dusack," and has been linked to the Dark Age long knife or "seax." The falchion was used throughout the Middle Ages, predominantly by foot soldiers, but occassionally as a side-arm for mounted knights. More common in the Renaissance, it was considered a weapon to be proficient with in addition to the sword. The falchion appeared in several forms, but mostly all forms have a single edge and rounded point or "clipped" point. This wide, heavy blade was weighted more towards the point, and could deliver tremendous blows, making it ideal for combating heavy armours.

Flamberge - An unusual waved-bladed rapier popular with officers and upper classes during the 1600s. It was considered to look both fashionable and deadly as well as erroneously believed to inflict a more deadly wound. When parrying with the flamberge, the opponent's sword was slowed slightly as it passed along the length. It also created a disconcerting vibration in the other blade. The term flamberge was also used later to describe a dish-hilted rapier with a normal straight blade. Certain wave or flame-bladed two-handed swords have also come to be known by collectors as "flamberges", although this is inaccurate. Such swords are more appropriately known as "flammards" or "flambards".

Great-Swords - are infantry swords which cannot be used comfortably in a single-hand. The term "great-sword" has come to mean a form of long-sword that is still not the specialized weapons of later two-handed swords. They are, however, the weapons often depicted in various German sword manuals. Length was usually measured against the wielder's body - usually from somewhere between the diaphragm to the armpit. Blade shape could be flat and wide, or narrow and hexagonal, or diamond shaped. These larger swords were capable of facing heavier weapons such as pole-arms and larger axes, and were devastating against light armour. Long, two-handed swords with narrower, flat hexagonal blades and thinner tips were an evolutionary response to plate-armour.

Longsword - the Medieval hand-and-a-half sword, which forms the basis of most surviving Medieval fighting treatises. Longswords are the classic "hand and a half" or "war sword," of the 14th and 15th centuries. Between 4 - 4.5' long, and with an average weight of 3 - 4 lbs, the longsword was typically straight, double-edged, and with a simple cruciform hilt. It grew naturally out of the older, single-handed sword, as a means of combating heavier mail, and reinforced mail armour. References to longswords appears as early as the 1180s, but they do not seem to have been common until the late 13th century, and became the principle battlefield sword for the knightly class in the early 14th c.

Main-gauche - the left-handed, parrying dagger used with the rapier.

Misericorde - from the word “mercy.” A straight, narrow dagger, commonly seen on knightly effigies. It was so-called because it was often used to give the final “mercy” stroke to the mortally wounded.

Pommel - the large steel knob that counter-balanced the sword, and provide a secondary weapon in its own right. Pommels came in a variety of shapes: disks, balls, brazil-nuts, crescents, a sort of mushroom cap, etc., and changed in popularity as much with changes in fashion sense as martial usage

Quillons - A Renaissance term for the cross-guard.

Rapier - a long, double-edged, slender bladed, single-handed sword, designed to emphasize the thrust. Rapiers first appeared in the mid-16th century, and were used through the next century. The rapier may be the first, purely civilian sword, devised. The exact origins of the rapier are still debated between Italy or Spain, but in either case, its popularity grew with the new, deadly “fad” of the duel (one no doubt directly influencing the other) and it began the process towards an exclusively thrust-oriented form of swordplay, which would see its final martial evolution in the smallsword of the Enlightenment.

Rebated - a sword that has had its point and edge blunted for training or tournament.

Ricasso - the unsharpened portion of the sword blade neares the hilt.

Rondel dagger - a military dagger witht he pommel and hand-guard formed of roundels. The dagger was often 18” long or more, with a single-edged, or even triangular, blade.

Sax/Saex - a long, heavy single-edged knife favored by the Nordic peoples, with a recognizable modern descendant in the Bowie knife. The Saxon race is said to have taken its name from this weapon, which originally meant stone. Some saxes could be as much as three feet long, and hilted like swords.

Scabbard - a sheath for a sword or dagger. Most scabbards were made of thin wood, lined with felt of sheepskin, and covered in leather.

Schiavona - A form of agile Renaissance cut & thrust sword with a decorative cage-hilt and distinctive "cat-head" pommel. So named for the Schiavoni or Venetian Doge’s Slavonic mercenaries and guards of the 1500’s who favored the weapon. They are usually single edged back-swords but may also be wide or narrow double edged blades. Some have ricasso for a fingering grip while others have thumb-rings. The Schiavona is often considered the antecedent to other cage hilt swords such as the Scottish basket-hilted "broadsword".

Small-Sword - Sometimes known as a "court-sword", a "walking-sword", or "town-sword", small-swords developed in the late Renaissance as a personal dueling tool and weapon of self-defense. Most popular in the 1700's it is sometimes confused with the rapier. It consisted almost exclusively of a sharp pointed metal rod with a much smaller guard and finger-rings. Its blade was typically a hollow triangular shape and was much thicker at the hilt. Most had no edge at all, and were merely rigid, pointed, metal rods. They were popular with the upper classes especially as decorative fashion accessories, worn like jewelry. In a skilled hand the small sword was an effective and deadly instrument. Until the early 1800s it continued to be used even against older rapiers and even some cutting swords. It is the small-sword rather than the rapier which leads to the epee and foil of modern sport fencing.

Spatha - the Roman long (36”), cavalry sword. One of the origins of the “knightly” sword, and the Latin origin for spada, espada and espee.

Two-handed sword - a specialized type of great sword that became popular in the 16th century. The size and weight of the weapon, made it unsuited for close formation fighting, and its use was reserved for banner defense, guarding breeches in siege warfare, and forming skirmish lines. The grip was very long in proportion to the blade, and the overall sword could be 5 1/2’ - 6’ long.

Two-handed Swords are really a classification of sword applied to Renaissance, rather than Medieval, weapons. They are the specialized forms of the later 1500-1600's, known in German as "Dopplehander" ("both-hander") or in English as "slaughterswords" (named after the German "Schlachterschwerter" -- battle swords), or in Italian as "lo spadone". In Germany and England they seem to have enjoyed a vogue for use in single-combat, but their precise military role is still in debate. True two-handed swords have compound-hilts with side-rings and enlarged cross-guards of up to 12 inches. Most have small, pointed lugs or flanges protruding from their blades 4-8 inches below their guard. The lugs provide greater defense, and can allow another blade to be momentarily trapped or bound up. They can also be used to strike with. Although collectors have come to call certain wave or flame-bladed two-handed swords "flamberges", these swords of the early-to-mid 1500's and are more appropriately known as "flammards" or "flambards" (the German" Flammenschwert").

Waster - a wooden practice sword. Also called a bevin, bavin or cudgel.

Blunt Weapons

Double Flail - Originating from a threshing tool, the flail as a weapon that took several forms. The piece illustrated here was made to be used in by two hands while fighting on foot and was also called a Dire flail. This highly gothic example of a hand flail shows the brutish aspects off medieval weapons. The unique links of the chain are sculpted with two rows of spikes on their outer edge. The right angle links also allow for a sinuous flow of the head and chain when in motion. The grip is topped by a ring and butted by a turned finial. Use of this weapon resembled the three sectional staff.

Flail - The flail was a deadly medieval age weapon used in military warfare, however many flails were also used to administer punishment for crimes against the state and church. Also called Holy Water Sprinklers, this deadly medieval weapon was also used to administer punishment for crimes against state and church. One of its most famous users was the Spanish inquisition.

MACE - Maces are one of the human race's oldest weapons. These crude and simple weapons can be traced back to the stone-topped club. Medieval maces are actually metal versions of clubs and evolved into the symbols of kings and popes alike, as sceptres.
The medieval mace was an armour-fighting weapon that developed from a steel ball on a wooden handle to an all steel war club. Medieval maces are also symbols of power from ancient times.

Light weight and easy to use with one hand, the mace was a favourite symbol among clerics. A strike from a medieval mace can knock the wind out of the enemy and give more time to strike back before they can strike back. Used for quick attacks a mace can keep enemies on the defensive during a battle.

MORNING STAR - The morning star is a medieval weapon that consists of a spiked ball on the end of a chain attached to a pole. It is a derivative of the mace.
A combatant would swing the ball on the pole around his head and attempt to strike his opponent with it, often with deadly force.
Sometimes, instead of one large spiked ball, the pole was attached with 3 spiked metal balls connected in chains. This modification is called "flail". The flail was most used in the 13th century to the 15th century.


Polearms

GLAIVE - Essentially an 18” butcher knife on a 6 - 7’ pole, the Glaive (Glafe) was an axe like pole arm with a broad flat blade with an arched cutting edge narrowing to a point. . Used mainly as a herald's weapon, after the middle of the 16th century the Glaive became purely a decorative weapon. The blunt side of the blade often had a hook or a crescent shaped smaller blade and the base of blade also had two triangular blades to help prevent an enemies weapon sliding off the main blade and up the shaft. A broad-bladed, single-edged pole arm.

GUISARME - Also called the gisarme or bisarme. A medieval European pole arm used predominantly between the 11th and 15th centuries, the guisarme had a long curved bladed edged on the concave side, with a slender spear point opposite it. The guisarme could be used to thrust at an oncoming opponent, slash, and even topple a rider (in the hands of an expert).

LANCE (HEAVY/LIGHT) - The lance is a pole weapon based on the pattern of the spear but adapted for mounted combat. The lance is perhaps most known as one of the foremost weapons used by European knights, but the use of lances were spread throughout the old world wherever mounts were available.

Jousting is a competition between two knights on horse-back, wherein each knight tries to knock the other off his mount. Jousting was popular in medieval times, although it is still performed in Renaissance fairs. The knghts are each equipped with three weapons; a lance, a one handed sword, and a rondel. When one knight knocks the other off of his mount, he is declared the winner of the round. If both knights are knocked off their mounts at the same time, it is considered a tie; they then engage in sword combat, and the last standing is victorious. The knights usually jousted in a best out of three situation. The reward of the tournament was the hand of his choice of lady.


QUARTERSTAFF - The art of the English quarterstaff, once used throughout England as a method of self-defense, is now extinct. The art of using the quarterstaff passed into oblivion with the advent of modern warfare early in the 20th century, with the Boy Scouts being the last-known practitioners.

As a means of self-defense the quarterstaff was once held in high esteem, especially in the rural districts of old England. Common folk, unable to afford expensive weapons, were well versed in the art. The weapon was used among the populace for settling brawls as well as for self-defense. And its use became a popular sport. Annual com- petitions were held at local festivals, where both nobleman and commoner could compete and win honours. Prizes were awarded to the champions of the day, usually netting the winner livestock or small purses of coins.

Because of its simple nature and the need of only basic skills, the quarterstaff was readily taught at the many martial art schools of "fence" found throughout the Middle Ages. These schools taught the fundamental elements of foot soldiery, self-defense and the use of weapons, much as do the local karate schools of today.

Tales of valour concerning the use of the quarterstaff as an instrument of self-defense are found throughout English folklore. The legendary outlaw hero Robin Hood, who purportedly was expert at the longbow and quarterstaff as well as at wrestling, is the focus of some better-known tales.
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PostSubject: Re: Midievel Weapons and Armor   Mon Aug 27, 2012 11:15 am

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