May 16, 2017

English-speaking historians about the great period of white armor knights, Part 1

“White armor” – is full-plated armor of polished steel, glittering in the sun, and therefore a distance seemed to be “white”. It should be noted that the European knights went to him for a long time, but the very nature of their appearance had a genuine revolution in military affairs. However, the main reason for their appearance in Europe, according to the English-speaking historians, was the lack of European tradition, riders use a bow. Because of this high mobility of neck and shoulder girdle, it was not required, and the first place they stood protection. At the same time in the East, where the bow remained the main type of weapon the rider continued to dress and wearing chain mail, plate armor with front open helmet.

The decisive rejection of chain mail armor, speaking to this as a link between the individual plates, brought to life the active search for new forms of protective equipment, which occurred mainly in the first half of the XV century. Bascinet In addition, there was also a sample of the helmet like Sally, or Sallet, which became especially popular among the German gunsmiths.

In this helmet, design clearly manifested the desire to strengthen the protection of gunsmiths head and face, without complicating the structure itself. That is why Sallet got a hemispherical shape and its top slot for the eyes, as well as a broad field, the outlet side in the direction of impact to the head. If Sallet wore shallow, pushing back, it was possible to watch from under the helmet. During his impending battle deep in the face, and then used to review a narrow transverse slot. The lower part of the face and nose are protected by special projection, whereby the tip of arrows and spears were discarded to the side, not down to the neck. In German helmets neckguard had the shape of an elongated tail; French and Italian – more like a bell.

As for the equipment, “white armor”, the total number of parts in some of the mid XV century reached 200, but considering all the buckles, nails, hooks and screws, and then to 1000. Their average weight reached 20 – 24 kg, and it was distributed fairly evenly throughout the body, as opposed to, say, chainmail, erstwhile mainly, the man’s shoulders. A. Borg ironically on this occasion that “no crane to put such a rider in the saddle it is not required. A knocked off his horse to the ground, he does not look like a helpless beetle. “At the same time, Knight was not at all, and the mountain of muscles and meat, and never relied only on brute force and ferocity. This soldier had to be able to apply as a slashing and thrusting, dodge enemy attacks, as well as riding, try not to tire the horse waste and be able to take a position favorable for the attack. Already in the last period of the Hundred Years’ War, when “white armor” turned into a vernacular remedy contemporaries pointed to the need for a foot fight the use of lighter armor and carry on the fight at a fast pace, trying to get over the enemy a psychological advantage by showing him his peace of mind. It is clear that having a more armor and thick quilted underwear, a knight of any complexion was very much suffering from the summer heat. In addition, when the lowered visor could very easily lose breath. Do not therefore be surprised that at the first opportunity the Knights tried to remove the head helmet or at least raise his visor. Moreover, according to medieval chroniclers, that moment often leads them to death.

By the middle of the XV century. Most Knights no longer wore surcoat. However, our time has come some interesting pictures in which soldiers wear that conditionally could be called a “national marks of distinction.” This could be a piece of fabric, a cut in the form of an inverted “T” and fixed to the cuirass front. At the same time, and armor, especially helmets became customary swift expensive fabrics, including embroidered with gold thread, and ornaments of precious stones. There are also cases where the top of the “white armor” worn by the knights of cloak Tabar, who had a kind of short cape in front and behind. He could be covered by the heraldic emblems or be made from beautiful and expensive fabrics.

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