Medieval Weapons and Armor
Medieval weapons and armor were typically made of metal and were much different than the weaponry and armor that is available today. Swords were the most popular type of weapon during the medieval era but there were also a variety of other hand weapons available for hand to hand combat. Armor typically consisted of shields, helmets and chain mail or plate armor. During the medieval period helmets were generally made of steel and were designed to encase the head completely to provide maximum protection. Most helmets had slits cut in them for people to see out of as well as several smaller holes around the mouth which provided wearers with a small amount of ventilation.
Barbuta helmets were popular in some areas and featured an open front which provided more ventilation for wearers but less protection around the facial area. Shields during the medieval period were also made of metal and were created in different sizes and shapes based on their use. Kite shields were popular before full body armor was created because they were much larger and provided more coverage than other shields. Wall shields were also very large because they were designed to be used by crossbow men and were meant to protect them while they were reloading their crossbow.
Once full body armor became popular shields became smaller and were created to be carried easily or hung from a belt. Shields were usually painted with different symbols or the knight’s coat of arms in red, white, blue, green, yellow or black. Swords during the medieval era came in a variety of sizes and were the most common weapon used during battle. Most swords featured a cruciform grip and were sharpened on both sides of the blade, but specialty swords were also created and used in certain areas. Long swords were especially popular during the 14th century because they were very powerful and they featured a longer grip and blade than the traditional swords which made attacking easier.
Daggers and knives were also seen very commonly during the medieval period as a secondary defense weapon for many warriors because they were easy to carry and were very useful in close combat. Blunt hand weapons were less popular, but they were still used by many people and were designed to strike opponents with powerful blows as defense. Clubs and maces were the most popular blunt hand weapons and they often featured spikes that added more damage with each blow. Chain mail armor was popular during most of the medieval period and consisted of linked metal chains or rings that were fashioned into armor.
Chain mail was the dominant form of armor for most of the medieval period because the linked rings made it hard for arrows and stabbing weapons to penetrate the armor. Chain mail was very difficult to assemble though and it was eventually replaced with metal plate armor. Plate armor initially started out as a breast plate over chain mail armor and then became more popular which lead to the creation of full suits of plate armor.
Medieval weapons and armor all featured similar styles, but different regions did add certain design customizations to their battle gear. Armor, helmets and shields were also customized for different jobs and ranks. Helmets were very commonly changed during this period because there was much debate as to which style was the safest and most effective. Many areas also added their own customizations to swords, but most areas still featured the same cruciform grip and dual sharpened blade.