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Title: The Defensive Armour and the Weapons and Engines of War of Mediæval Times, and of the "Renaissance."
Author: Clephan, Robert Coltman
Language: English
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[Illustration: Fig. 1.--Transitional Gothic Suit at Munich.]



  With 51 Illustrations from Specimens in his own and in other
  English Collections, and also from others in some of
  the Great Collections of Europe.



This volume has grown out of some “notes” printed in the _Archæologia
Æliana_ in 1898, and added to as any new facts and lights presented
themselves to me. The text is compressed as much as possible, with a
view to publishing at a moderate cost; and as a more general interest
in arms and armour is decidedly growing, I venture to hope that this
volume, however imperfect, may supply a want, and that it does not
contain too many manifest errors and inaccuracies. The subject is
treated chronologically, and no further detail entered into than seemed
necessary for presenting it in a consecutive and concrete form.

All students, myself among the number, owe much to those experts whose
original research and delineation of nice points of detail go to
make history in the several branches of my subject, and it is to be
regretted that more of them do not undertake further comprehensive work.

Defensive armour is the section I am most conversant with, and it is
perhaps the one affording the most concrete materials for chronological
classification and analysis.

The question of the weapons of the “middle ages” and of the
“renaissance,” their chronology, description and classification, is
far from being in a satisfactory state. There are no books dealing
with the subject as a whole, and many of the “notes” and “papers” I
have seen spread over many years are, most of them, very sectional
and fragmentary in their scope and character. Technical terms vary
exceedingly among the different writers, and some more generally
intelligible codification is very desirable. International it cannot
be, as Germany naturally has her own terms, while those of England are
perhaps as necessarily mixed up with Norman-French.

There are often great difficulties in the way of reasonably
approximating the date and nationality of both weapons and armour,
owing to causes which will be touched upon later in these pages; but
these apparent inconsistencies must needs be grappled with as far as
possible, and herein lies the work of the archæologist. In the case of
sword specimens, it very often happens that blades and hilts belong to
widely different periods, and even nationalities, and cases of this
kind often give rise to much doubt and perplexity; indeed, unless there
is evidence that a blade and hilt are contemporaneous, it is always
well to consider that they may not be so; for blades were passed down
from father to son, and often re-hilted more than once. Hilts also were
often re-bladed.

The great question of smiths’ marks could only be adequately dealt with
in a volume devoted entirely to that subject. This will be seen from
the complexity arising from the piracy of marks--such, for instance,
as that of the running wolf of Passau, or Scottish blades with the
many variations of “Ferrara” impressed upon them. These marks came to
be regarded merely as “standards,” and were often used without any
intention to defraud--in the sense, in fact, of the name “Wallsend”
being applied to express a certain quality in coals. A book dealing
comprehensively with this branch of the subject has yet to be written.

While gratefully acknowledging much information and infinite assistance
from other writers, I have found many manifest errors, which have been
both inherited and perpetuated, handed down, so to speak, through long
generations of book-making. I have taken as little as possible from
books, especially over the period where actual specimens are available,
but have endeavoured, by carefully studying many important collections,
both at home and abroad, to compare, as far as possible, the types
and fashions prevailing at the different periods dealt with, which,
however, greatly interweave, especially among European nations, where
easy facilities for interchange existed.

It takes many years and opportunities of study to achieve much in the
direction of judging armour, and it is only by a close comparison,
not merely of individual pieces, with a careful examination of every
detail, but also a knowledge of the makes of steel of the various
ages covered, their composition, manipulation, and relative degrees
of hardness, that a reasonable amount of certainty can be arrived at.
Much ingenuity has been applied in faking up and partially restoring
many suits, still, it is obvious to an expert, in most instances,
which pieces are of comparatively modern construction, especially in
the cases where ornamentation has been applied, for here the best work
of the “renaissance” cannot be adequately reproduced. Many suits,
even in national collections, are not only doubtful, but now known to
be spurious, while in others the restoration process has left much
to be desired. The uninitiated would be surprised if they knew how
comparatively few suits are absolutely homogeneous, so many having been
set up by dealers, often more or less of pieces of various types and

It is most interesting to trace what may be termed the evolution
of arms and armour, and to follow the craft and ingenuity of the
armour-smith as pitted against that of the makers of weapons;
indeed, all through the history of the armour period this contest
has proceeded with varying fortune. Fashion also has always been a
potent and arbitrary factor in the direction of change, and hence so
many preposterous departures, such as both the extravagantly long and
ridiculously wide sollerets of the “Gothic” and “Maximilian” periods
respectively. Expansive skirts of steel, which must have been very
crippling to the wearers, were used at one time by all cavaliers who
had the least pretensions to be considered _à la mode_.

At the risk of the general subject occasionally overlapping, and
of some repetition in matters of historical retrospection, I have
concluded to divide these pages into two main sections, viz.,
“Defensive Armour” and “Weapons of War” over the period set forth in
the title-page. This has been done in the interests of conciseness and
perspicuity, and more especially with a view to an easy reference to
any branch of the subject under discussion.

                        ROBERT COLTMAN CLEPHAN.

        _March, 1900_.


  PREFACE                                                              v

                     SECTION I.--DEFENSIVE ARMOUR.

      I.  INTRODUCTORY AND GENERAL                                    15

     II.  CHAIN-MAIL AND MIXED ARMOUR                                 20

    III.  THE TRANSITION PERIOD                                       37


      V.  PLATE ARMOUR                                                48

          ABROAD                                                      71

    VII.  THE TOURNAMENT                                              76

   VIII.  DETAILS OF DEFENSIVE PLATE ARMOUR                           96

              PERIOD                                                 114

      X.  “MAXIMILIAN” ARMOUR, 1500–1540                             125

     XI.  ARMOUR WITH LAMBOYS OR BASES                               130

              CENTURY                                                132

   XIII.  DEFENSIVE ARMOUR, 1540–1620, AND TO THE END                134

    XIV.  ENRICHED ARMOUR                                            139


     XV.  INTRODUCTORY AND GENERAL                                   151

    XVI.  THE SWORD                                                  158

   XVII.  THE DAGGER                                                 175

  XVIII.  THE LONGBOW                                                178

    XIX.  THE CROSSBOW                                               183

              WARWOLF                                                187


   XXII.  THE SLING AND FUSTIBAL                                     192

  XXIII.  STAFF AND CLUB WEAPONS                                     193

   XXIV.  EARLY ARTILLERY                                            204

    XXV.  EARLY HAND-GUNS                                            216

         INDEX                                                       229


  FIG.                                                              PAGE
   1.  TRANSITIONAL GOTHIC SUIT AT MUNICH                 _Frontispiece_
   2.  GREAT HELMS AT BERLIN                                          48

           COLLECTION, STOCKHOLM                                      67

   4.  SHARFRENNEN AT MINDEN IN 1545                                  88

   5.  SUIT AT DRESDEN FOR SHARFRENNEN, DATE 1554                     88




   9.  ARMOUR FOR THE FREITURNIER AT DRESDEN                          92

  10.  REINFORCING PIECES FOR THE TOURNAMENT                          95

  11.        DO.         DO.         DO.                              95


  13.  SALLADS, ETC.                                                  98

  14.  BRAYETTE IN CHAIN-MAIL, AT BERLIN                             109

           OF PRUSSIA                                                113

           CHURCH, WARWICK                                           119

  17.  GOTHIC SUIT AT SIGMARINGEN                                    120

  18.  GOTHIC SUIT AT BERLIN                                         122

  19.  GOTHIC SUIT, IN THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION                       124

  20.  FLUTED MAXIMILIAN SUIT AT BERLIN                              127

  21.  FLUTED MAXIMILIAN SUIT AT MUNICH                              128



  24.  MOUNTED MAXIMILIAN SUIT, WITH BARDS                           130


  26.  SUIT BY PETER VON SPEYER OF ANNABERG, DATED 1560              135

  27.  PLAIN DEMI-SUIT, IN THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION                   136


  29.  LATE SUIT AT MUNICH, 1590–1620                                137

  30.  LATE SUIT AT BRANCEPETH CASTLE, DURHAM                        138

                             ENRICHED ARMOUR.

  31.  SUITS BY JÖRG SEUSENHOFER, OF INNSBRUCK                       141

  32.  CUIRASS AND TASSETS AT DRESDEN                                141

  33.  SUIT AT ALNWICK CASTLE, NORTHUMBERLAND                        142

  34.  SOME DETAILS OF THE SUIT AT ALNWICK CASTLE                    144

  35.  SUIT BY LUCIO PICCININO, OF MILAN                             144

  36.  REPOUSSÉ ARMOUR AT BERLIN                                     145

  37.  SUIT OF THE DUC D’OSUNA                                       146

  38.  SOME DETAILS OF THE OSUNA SUIT                                147

  39.  SUIT BY ANTON PEFFENHAUSER, AT MADRID                         148



  41.  HAND-GUNS, RENAISSANCE WORK                                   157

  42.  TWO-HANDED SWORDS, FLAMBERGES, AND DAGGERS                    166

  43.  ANELACE AT BERLIN                                             176

  44.  SWORD OF CHARLES V., ABOUT 1530                               168

  45.  RAPIERS--GERMAN, SPANISH, AND ITALIAN                         169

  46.  SCHIAVONA, IN THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION                         173

  47.  CROSSBOWS AND QUARRELS                                        185

  48.  PRINCIPLE OF THE BALLISTA                                     204

  49.  STAFF AND CLUB WEAPONS, ETC.                                  204

  50.  EARLY ARTILLERY                                               210

  51.  EARLY HAND-GUNS                                               228






The phrases, “the Stone,” “Bronze,” and “Iron Ages” are mere
generalizations fast losing their significance, and the purposes of
this volume will not permit of any special disquisition on the weapons
of these mixed and merging classifications of periods, or even those
recorded of the Egyptian, Etruscan, Greek, Roman, and Eastern peoples;
beyond what, in some instances, may seem necessary for showing any
prototypes or analogies of arms or armour in use during the “Middle
Ages” and the “Renaissance.”

The more remote ages of Egypt would have been a blank to us but for
the character of the tombs, which preserved so wonderfully the papyri
and frescoes we find so valuable, and, above all, the inscriptions and
bas-reliefs on stone, affording infinite information concerning the
arms of this ancient people and their martial achievements; indeed,
we really know more of the weapons of the ancient Egyptians, and even
those of the times of Hesiod, Homer, and Cambyses, than we do of those
of the Goths, Vandals, Huns, and Ancient Britons during the centuries
immediately following on the final evacuation of Britain by the Roman
legions. The vigorous races that had been vanquished by imperial Rome,
and those that in their turn had invaded and conquered Italy, inherited
much from the earlier Roman wars and domination, more than has been
thoroughly understood by historians of the nebulous centuries partly
preceding and closely following on the final overthrow of the Western
Empire; and the Romans had already gathered together many of the forms
of the nations and empires that had preceded them, to say nothing of
adaptations from the armament of contemporary tribes and peoples;
still, in the main, the Romans had imposed their own methods and
civilisation on all the nations they conquered. On a monument recently
brought to light by M. de Morgan at Susa, erected by Naram-Sin about
B.C. 3750, is a figure of the king wearing a horned helm, and armed
with an arrow in his right hand and a bow in his left; a dagger is
thrust into his girdle.

The granite sculptures of Persepolis show the weapons of the Assyrians
to have been mainly those perpetuated for many ages and under many
degrees of civilisation--viz., the sword, the lance or javelin, the
sling and the bow; and in the rusty fragments of solidified iron rings
in the British Museum, found at Nineveh, we see the ancestor of the
Roman lorica, the bright byrnie of the “Sagas,” and hauberk of the
“middle ages.” The same monumental inscriptions clearly indicate to
which ancient people the Romans were indebted for their missile-casting
engines, for here you have the catapulta and ballista, differing but
little from those which were used by the Romans in the third century
of our era, and doubtless handed down in their turn principally
through the Franks to mediæval times. Strange it is that the principle
involved, nay, the very machines themselves, have hibernated, so to
speak, again and again!

An antique Greek drawing, representing Amazons fighting, in conjunction
with Scythians, against Theseus at Attica, shows the following
armament, viz.[1]:--Helmets of the Phrygian type; tunics coming
half-way down the thighs, fortified with scales; and complete leg
armour looking on the drawing like chain-mail, but probably, like the
tunics, of small scale armour similar to that found at Æsica, referred
to later in these pages. Two of the figures brandish long spears with
leaf-formed heads, while the third is in the act of bending a bow, the
arrow having a barbed head, and wears a quiver slung over the shoulder.
They all have belts, and the tunics are ornamented with a geometrical
border. Such long spears were also the weapons of the heavy Greek
infantry. We owe, then, the inception of much of the arms and armour of
European countries to the ancient civilisations of Asia and Egypt, and
much also to the Etrurians, Greeks, and Romans; for, up to the middle
of the fifth century, the countries as far as the Danube, in form at
least, were still under the domination of Rome, so that Roman influence
on armament must still have been very considerable; but with the final
break-up of the empire of the West, at the end of the century, the old
national and patriotic forms, which were of a more ponderous character,
began to reassert themselves. These, again, became much modified, at a
later period, in a considerable revival in the direction of Roman forms
among the Franco-Germans, who aimed at a continuation or reconstruction
of the traditional Western Empire. Another potent influence in the
direction of change and interchange, concerning which we can merely
speculate, was the swarming out of Eastern peoples, as well as the
constant pressure from the frozen North towards the sunny South.

The analysis of the suits hereinafter presented will be prefaced by
a short and concise sketch of mediæval and “renaissance” armour in
general, and under its own section, that of the weapons of war, etc.
This, no doubt, will be helpful in making the explanations clearer as
regards nationality, fashion, and chronology.

During the earlier periods, and in fact throughout the entire
time covering the use of defensive armour to its decadence, great
difficulties constantly arise regarding the precise antiquity and
nationality of specimens preserved, and, consequently, the fashions
generally prevailing in a given country at a particular time. This
uncertainty is greatly owing to immigration, invasions, and to the
importation of foreign artificers, as well as of arms and armour from
the more advanced countries to others less forward in mechanical skill,
as applied to armour and weapon-making.

Some of the manuscripts, seals, effigies, brasses, and illuminated
missals preserved, afford great help in deciding doubtful points;
but very little of this kind of evidence goes farther back than the
ninth century, besides being sometimes of a more or less fanciful and
inaccurate character, and it is only by closely weighing and comparing
that some reasonable degree of certainty can be got at.

In English brasses we have the best consecutive representation of
armour, extending from that of Sir John Daubernoun, in the reign of
Edward I., to that found at Great Chart, near Ashford, Kent, of the
reign of Charles II.; but few have been preserved that date from
earlier than the fourteenth century, though there are many military
effigies. There was formerly a brass in St. Paul’s Church, Bedford, of
Sir John Beauchamp (1208), and this would have been the oldest brass
known had it been still to the fore. There is now an Elizabethan
brass of a knight in this church. The figure on the brass of Sir
John Daubernoun (1277), Stoke d’Abernon, near Leatherhead, Surrey,
is entirely encased in mail, excepting, of course, the face. A large
number of brasses may be seen in Boutell and Creeny, and you have the
best series of effigies in Stothard and the continuation by Hollis.
There are, besides, many other books treating both on brasses and
effigies. The best German series exists in Hefner’s _Trachten_. Some of
the foreign brasses are most artistic, but the iconoclast has left us
only a couple of hundred, while the English brasses are to be numbered
by thousands. The great majority of Continental brasses now left are
in Germany and Belgium, while some half-dozen examples cover those of
France, and there is only one in Spain. It must be borne in mind that
the date on ancient monuments is that of death, so that the armour
indicated may be the make of a quarter of a century earlier; besides,
it may have been inherited by the defunct. There are also cases where
these memorials were executed during the subject’s lifetime, or
from contemporary models after his death. Suits were also sometimes
“restored” by the armourer to correspond with a later fashion, and
cases of this kind naturally give rise to some difficulty; and, as in
the case of some Egyptian tombs, we have instances of misappropriation
in English monuments. A case in point is the memorial of “Vicecomes et
Escheator Comitatus Lincolniæ,” who died in the reign of Henry VIII.
The armour is late fourteenth century, but to whom the monument was
originally raised is unknown. Of course, the armour for the back is not
shown on brasses and effigies. The Beauchamp effigy at Warwick affords,
however, a notable exception, though this is of less importance owing
to the fact of there being real armour of that period existing. Another
valuable source of information arises from the custom prevailing
during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, of leaving arms and
armour as mortuaries to churches, and several helms and shields have
come down to us in this way.

Later in these pages will be found a chapter headed “Details of
Defensive Plate Armour.” This section deals as fully as a reasonable
regard for space will allow with each important piece of armour, as
regards its form, history, and chronology. It will serve also, to some
extent, as a glossary of terms. It will be seen that there is usually
a period of transition between the different well-marked styles of
armour, just as is the case in architecture.



Remarkably little is known of Britain during the centuries immediately
following the Roman occupation, and the question as to when real
chain-mail was first used in Europe is both difficult and obscure.
There is a representation of loricas on the column of Trajan that
looks remarkably like chain-mail, and it is almost certain that the
Romans used iron chain-mail in Britain. The bronze scales of a lorica,
or Roman cuirass, found at Æsica, do not help us;[2] but interlinked
bronze rings of Roman origin have also been found, and if in bronze,
why not in iron? This question is adequately answered by the masses
of corroded iron rings of Roman times found at Chester-le-Street, and
referred to in the report of a meeting held by the Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Society of Antiquaries as far back as 1856.[3] These rings could
hardly be massed together as they are without having been interlinked.
The extract from the report of this early meeting of the Society runs
thus:--“The Rev. Walker Featherstonhaugh had presented two pieces of
chain armour, corroded into lumps, from Chester-le-Street.” Similar
masses of rings of Roman date have been found at South Shields, and
may be seen in “The Blair Collection” at the Black Gate Museum. These
are of a date certainly not later than the fourth century. We may then
reasonably conclude that these masses of corroded iron rings were once
loricas of iron chain-mail. But the Romans were not the first to use
chain-mail, for they got it probably, like so much besides, from Asia.
In the British Museum are some corroded masses of links brought from
Nineveh, similar in character to those found at Chester-le-Street, so
it may be taken that this kind of armour is of a remote antiquity.

The Dano-Anglo-Saxon epic poem of “Beowulf,” written doubtless during
the second half of the eighth century, bears frequent reference to the
hero’s arms and armour:--

  Beowulf maœlode,         Beowulf spoke (or sang?),
  On him byrne scan,       He bore his polished byrnie,
  Searonet seowed          The war-net sewn
  smipes orpanum.          by the skill of the smith.

This poem has been cited as proof that chain-mail was in use in early
Saxon England, and by the Vikings also, and there is some supposed
confirmation of this idea as regards the latter in the finds of chain
armour in the peat mosses of Denmark, which have been freely ascribed
to the fifth and sixth centuries; but this mail is of such excellent
workmanship, and so similar to that made at a much later period, as
to cast grave doubts on this deduction, and there is really nothing
whatever to show that it was of so early a date. Every ring of the
Danish mail is interlinked with four surrounding rings, and so on
throughout the garment. This is the prevailing fashion of all periods,
and there is a great variety of mesh. It would seem that the “war-nets”
alluded to in “Beowulf” were not chain-mail at all, but leathern or
quilted armour with pieces of iron, shaped like the drawn meshes
of a net, or steel rings sewn on to it, and that this combination
constituted the “bright byrnie”[4] referred to in the poem, and that
the chain-mail found at Vemose, Flensburg, and other places, was made
much later. Quite independent of other evidence, the line in the poem,
“The war-net sewn by the skill of the smith,” would point to the
leathern or quilted tunic being fortified with rings or scales sewn on
to the garment; and this was the general method up to and even beyond
the time of William the Conqueror.

There are, however, other words in the poem referred to, such as
“hand-locen” (hand-locked), and “handum gebroden.” The latter words
might well read either twisted or embroidered with hands, while both
might point to interlinked mail, so it clearly cannot be affirmed with
certainty that there were no instances of real chain-mail in use in
Britain at this very early period after the Romans; but if there were
any hauberks of the kind it might indicate a much greater continuity
from the Roman occupation than the historians of those shadowy times
have hitherto imagined. Possibly chain-mail was introduced from Asia,
through the Vikings, and that the byrnies mentioned in Beowulf were
really made of interlinked rings; but it is probable that there was no
real chain-mail in Northern Europe between Roman times and the ninth
or tenth century. That it was in use in the East at an early period
is shown by the discovery of a chain-mail tunic in a “barrow” in the

The Arab hordes which were driven back by Charles Martel at the
decisive battle of Poitiers in 732 were despoiled of their body-armour,
which was of a rich Saracenic character, by the conquerors. This was
probably of leather or quilted stuff fortified with small plates or
scales; and such armour was henceforth adopted by the Franks, while
Charlemagne grafted Roman fashions and traditions on to the armament.

Up to the later middle ages the sizes of the links of chain-mail, which
are of hammered iron, vary considerably, extending from one-sixth of
an inch to an inch in diameter, and they were soldered, welded, or
butted in the earlier times, and often riveted in the later. Most
of the earlier Oriental mail is riveted. It is said that the art of
wire drawing was discovered by Rudolph of Nuremberg in 1306. At all
events its application at this time rendered chain-mail much cheaper
and more generally used than when each ring was separately wrought.
This discovery was possibly only the revival of an ancient art. Very
much was lost during the “dark ages” which followed the disruption
of the Roman empire, when so many landmarks were swept away; and
the same kind of thing has happened often before in the cycles of
obscuration that preceded it. Much was preserved in “Chronicles,”
as was also the case in the earlier periods of obliteration, when
hieratic writings on stone, papyrus, or parchment restored so much to
the newly-awakening times. Double-ringed mail is mentioned by some
authorities, but the author has never seen any, and it seems probable
that the indistinct drawings on manuscripts, brasses, or tapestry gave
rise to the idea--very small ringed mail might easily be taken for
double; still, many effigies show what looks very like double-ringed
mail.[6] The Danes of the eighth century generally adopted the
Phrygian tunic, reinforced with steel rings, probably obtained through
their intercourse with the Byzantine empire; and both Meyrick and
Strutt agree that such a tunic was then in use. The paladins of
Charlemagne wore jazerant and scale armour of strongly marked Roman
characteristics, and, according to the monk of St. Gall, the emperor’s
panoply consisted of an iron helmet and breastplate of classic form,
with leg and arm armour. This period represents to a certain extent a
classic revival, and such forms were clearly then reverted to. It was
under this reign that heavy cavalry attained the pre-eminence which
sustained its first check with the successes of the English yeoman with
the longbow. Charlemagne adopted the service of the ban, and formed a
standing militia of his own vassals.

The real mediæval coat of chain-mail was probably somewhat of a
rarity in the tenth century, but that it was in general use by the
greater knights late in the eleventh is clear from the testimony of
the Princess Anna Comnena, daughter of the Emperor Alexius Comnenus,
who says, in describing the body armour of the knights of the first
crusade, “it was made entirely of steel rings riveted together.” She
further remarks that this kind of armour was unknown at Byzantium up to
the time of the first crusade. Mail armour is mentioned by a monk of
Mairemoustier (temp. Louis VII., a contemporary of Stephen, 1137), in a
description of the armament of Geoffrey of Normandy.[7]

The inception and principles of chivalry were the romantic outcome of
the lessons of Christianity as taught in the earlier “middle ages,”
though confined to a narrow and privileged class; which class assumed
a concrete form under Charlemagne, who did his best to divide society
into “the noble” and “the base”; thus promoting the feudal system, the
symbol of which became the sword. The earlier stages of the movement
were characterised by great fervour and self-abnegation, operating
in various ways according to the modes of thought of the different
nations brought under its domination. It gradually declined, and by
the end of the thirteenth century had degenerated into a fantastic
fashion rather than a principle; and culminated, like the church of
the period, in licentiousness and frivolity. Froissart alludes to it
in this sense. The influence exercised by the laws of chivalry was on
the whole beneficent in subjugating the rude passion of combat to some
of the limitations of Christian ethics; and the knightly watchword
“God and his lady” raised the social status of women of the privileged
class. The conquest of England by the Normans, the stirring incidents
of the first crusade, when we have the shrewd account of the arms and
armour of the crusaders by the Byzantine Princess Anna Comnena, and
the general martial spirit of the age, lent an immense impetus in the
eleventh and twelfth centuries to warlike equipment of all kinds; but
this was more in the direction of improving old forms, rather than in
the introduction of new ones.

The Bayeux tapestry--worked, there is little doubt, in the middle of
the eleventh century, but whether embroidered in England by order
of Matilda for an English cathedral, or in Normandy by noble ladies
or hirelings--is of comparatively little moment so long as its
authenticity as an approximately contemporaneous monument of the reign
of the Conqueror is generally admitted, and this is happily the case.
It shows that the Conqueror’s chivalry wore conical helms with the
nose-guard and hood of mail for protecting the neck, shoulders, and
part of the face. The hauberks reached down over the thighs, with a
slit in the middle of the skirt for convenience on horseback; and the
mail on the arms usually came nearly to the elbows, but sometimes to
the wrists; and the continuous coif occurs frequently. The hauberk of
this period had no division down the front, but was drawn on over the
warrior’s head. The Norman knights bear pear-shaped, convex shields
with a point at the bottom, secured to the arm by a leathern strap,
and large enough to cover the body from the shoulders to the hips; some
with a rough device. Some of the shields shown are polygonally formed,
with a central spike. The Saxon shields on the tapestry are round or
oval, with a central umbo. Maces are shown in the hands of some of the
figures. With the exception of William himself, whose legs are encased
in chausses, probably of leather, with reinforcing scales or rings,
the limbs of his knights are simply swathed in thongs. Probably only
the richer knights wore chain-mail, the majority having hauberks of
cuir-bouilli (boiled leather) strengthened by continuous rings sewn
on to it, side by side or overlapping. Some also had the pieces of
lozenge-shaped metal already mentioned, called jazerine or jazerant; or
scales, which were occasionally of horn, fixed on to the leather. It
is impossible to determine these details absolutely, as all the armour
looks very much alike on the tapestry in its present condition, this
being especially the case where rings were used; and it is only by
careful comparison with other contemporary evidence that any reasonable
certainty can be assured. This has naturally given rise to a great
diversity of interpretation; and the same difficulty arises with seals.
The knights wore no surcoats over their mail. The great seal of William
the Conqueror shows him in a hauberk coming down to the knees, with
short sleeves and no leg armour. Under the hauberk was the gambeson
and tunic. The helm is hemispherical, and fastened under the chin. The
Germans were probably before us in the general use of real chain-mail,
for the epic poem of Gudrun, written in the tenth century, states how
Herwig’s clothes “were stained with the rust of his hauberk.”

The panoply of knights was very much the same during the century
preceding the Conqueror’s time, as shown in the illuminations of a
“Biblia Sacra” of the tenth century. Helms with rounded crowns were
worn then, and this is all confirmed by the “Martyrologium,” a MS. of
the same period in the library at Stuttgart.

Defensive armour continued much the same during the reign of Rufus,
whose seal shows him in a long-armed hauberk without gloves of mail,
and a low conical helm with the nasal; but in the reign of his
successor, Henry I. (1100–1135), the reinforcing rings of the hauberk
were sometimes oval and set on edgeways, “rustred” mail as it was
termed; and this fashion became common in the next reign. The seal
of Henry I. shows a conical cap without nasal, and that of Stephen a
kite-shaped shield with a sharp spike in the centre. The king wears a
hauberk of scales, sewn or riveted on the gambeson. The nasal first
appeared in England about the end of the tenth century, and the
Bayeux tapestry shows it to have been common among the Normans in the
eleventh. Among the seals of the English kings, that of Henry II. is
the first to show the hood of mail. The hauberk of the Norman kings was
in one piece from the neck. Under Richard I. the hauberk is somewhat
lengthened, and armorial bearings become general. The sleeves of the
hauberk are lengthened, and terminate in gloves of mail. The first
seal of Richard Cœur-de-Lion shows the king on horseback in a hauberk
of mail. His spiked shield, shaped like half a pear cut lengthwise and
pointed at the bottom, is ensigned with a lion rampant. The arm is
mail-clad to the finger tips, and brandishes a simple cross-handled
sword; the chausses are of mail, and terminate in a spurred solleret.
Over the continuous hood, which is in one piece with the hauberk, he
carries a high conical helm without flaps or nasal, bound round with
iron bars. On Richard’s second seal he bears the great helm with a
fan crest, ensigned with a lion; his hauberk is rather longer than in
the first seal. The shield on this seal is ensigned with three lions
passant gardant, and this is still retained on the royal escutcheon
of England, which becomes quartered with the lilies of France in the
royal arms of Edward III. Both seals show the plain goad spur. There
is a good example of an undoubted suit of chain-mail on an effigy of
Robert de Vere (died 1221) in Hatfield Broad Oak Church. This suit
was probably made in the reign of King John. An effigy in Haseley
Church, Oxfordshire, of the reign of Henry III., shows a hood somewhat
flattened at the crown, hauberk reaching to the knees, and surcoat
coming nearly to the ankles.

It is stated that Richard sent home from the crusade numerous suits or
rather hauberks of chain-mail. There is a riveted sleeveless shirt of
chain-mail, with a fringe of brass rings, dating from the thirteenth
century, in the Rotunda, Woolwich; these brass rings are a common
feature of the period.

The question as to when coats of arms were first introduced is very
uncertain, but it is thought that the custom had its origin in the
first crusade, when distinguishing marks among such a motley crowd
of warriors were more especially needful. During this crusade the
several nationalities taking part in it were distinguished by different
coloured crosses sewn on to their garments, each leader displaying his
own colour and device; but heraldic bearings first became generally
hereditary in the reign of Henry III. His seal shows the king with
the fingers of his chain-mail gloves articulated, and wearing the
great helm. An early example of a helm with a heraldic device occurs
on an effigy of Johan le Botiler about 1300. It is figured in Hewitt.
The shield on the brass of Sir John Daubernoun bears a distinctly
heraldic device. Heraldry seems to have been most studied, prized,
and practised during the fourteenth century. An illumination in the
Loutterell Psalter, dating from the middle of the same century, shows
heraldic devices spread over the entire person of a knight; being
emblazoned over the body, ailette, banner, pennon, saddle, shield,
and on the housings of the steed, as well as on the dresses of the
ladies of the knight’s family. The numerous tournaments of this period
encouraged its use and development, mainly in the sense of ostentation
and pride of birth. In the Tower collection is a figure on horseback
clad entirely in chain-mail. To the hood is attached a fillet of iron
round the head. The hauberk has long arms terminating in gloves of
mail. A leathern belt with strong iron clasps encircles the waist.
Excepting the legs the horse is fully barded with leathern armour,
fortified with iron scales. The armour on the figure is labelled
“Indian,” and the horse “Persian.” There are two hauberks at Carlsruhe
of riveted chain-mail, hood and tunic in one piece, but the head bears
no fillet. On the breast, over nipples and navel, are three small
palettes inscribed with Oriental characters; and inscribed clasps at
the waist fasten the tunic. These suits are chiefly remarkable for the
presence of the hood, and the date of the mail is about fourteenth
century. There are two shirts of mail at Brancepeth Castle, Durham,
which are riveted, and probably of early fourteenth century date. It
was not uncommon for hauberks to be provided with reinforcements of
leathern thongs, which were intertwined through the rings; there is an
example of this kind in the Rotunda at Woolwich. This description of
reinforced chain-mail is referred to later under the paragraph dealing
with “banded” mail. An effigy of a knight in the Temple Church, that
of Geoffrey de Mandeville, Earl of Essex (1144), in the reign of King
Stephen, engraved by Stothard, shows the warrior armed completely
in chain-mail, having a hood of mail over the head and shoulders,
surmounted by a cylindrical helmet without nasal. The hauberk is in
one piece with the arms and gloves, the last without any articulation;
this form of gauntlet is the earliest. Chausses going above the knee,
in one web with the demi-poulaine or slightly-pointed shoes; globular
triangular shield extending from the shoulder to the hip; and the belt
of knighthood above the hips. There is a singular point in connection
with this and two other effigies in the church, viz., that the sword
is worn on the right side. This peculiarity is noticeable in other
figures of the period. The effigy of a knight in the same church,
that of William Longespee, Earl of Salisbury (1200–1227), wears mail
gloves, the fingers of which are articulated; the sword is on the left
side. Both figures wear surcoats. Like most continuous hoods of early
thirteenth century date, this example is somewhat flattened at the top.
They were usually rounded in the second half of the century, as shown
on the Daubernoun brass; and the gloves generally divided into fingers,
as may be seen on two of the sleeping guards in Lincoln Cathedral; this
form continued well into the fourteenth century; The “Coif de mailles,”
or separate hood of chain-mail, followed the same lines as the
continuous one, and examples of all may be seen in Stothard’s series,
and one of the effigies in the Temple Church shows how they were lapped
round the face and fastened. What the separate hood perhaps gained in
convenience, it certainly lost in invulnerability, as it left the neck
less adequately guarded against a thrust from below. The effigies in
the Temple Church are perhaps the most artistic, as well as the most
interesting, of any series existing. It is not known that any of them
really represented a knight templar, although several of them did
crusaders. The only effigy of a knight templar that is known to have
existed is that of Jean de Dreux, who was living in 1275. The figure
was unarmed, but bore the mantle of the order. The effigy was formerly
in the church of St. Yved de Braine, near Soissons.

A knight in Walkerne Church, Hertfordshire, wears the great helm,
rising slightly at the crest, pierced with eye-slits, and showing
breathing holes over the mouth.

Coutes or coudières for the elbow are seen but rarely in the thirteenth
century; but genouillières (knee pieces) began to appear over mail
towards the middle of the century. Examples of both pieces, dating
about 1250, may be seen in Stothard. Genouillières occur on the
Daubernoun brass (1277), while both pieces appear on that of Sir
John D’Argentine (1382). The adoption of these defences and the
plastron-de-fer was the first step in the direction of plate armour.
Something of the kind had become absolutely necessary by reason of the
number of casualties caused by the general use of the deadly battle-axe
and mace.

The cuisse and jamb (plate armour for the thigh and shin) are not seen
in England before the close of the century. They were first strapped on
over the chausses, and only covered the front of the leg. Chain-mail
continued in use in the East up to a recent date.

A spirited drawing of a mediæval water ewer of bronze is given in the
_Archæologia Æliana_, old series, vol. iv., p. 76, Plate XXII. This
ewer, which was found about four miles west of Hexham, represents a
knight of the thirteenth century on horseback, wearing chain-mail, and
over it a sleeveless chequered surcoat. The figure wears a flat-topped
cylindrical helm.

The epoch of chain-mail armour, pure and simple, may be said to close
during the reign of Edward I., although in more remote and less
advanced countries, such as Ireland and Scandinavia, it was to be met
with very much later. There was a revival in the use of scale armour in
the fourteenth century, and there are many instances. It was usually
applied in pieces such as chaussons, chausses, gauntlets, or sollerets.
It is often met with on German monuments. An English example occurs
on the brass of Thomas Cheyne, Esquire (1368), at Drayton Beauchamp,
Bucks. The mailed horseman continued the main force in every army in
the field up to the reign of Edward III.

A good idea of the equipment prevailing towards the close of the
century is shown in the will of Odo de Rossilion, dated 1298: he
bequeaths “my visored helmet, my bascinet, my pourpoint of cendal silk,
my godbert (hauberk), my gorget, my gaudichet (mail shirt), my steel
greaves, my thigh-coverings and chausses, my great coutel, and my
little sword.”

The surcoat was a device for protecting the armour against wet, and
to mitigate the rays of the sun. It is rare towards the close of the
twelfth century, when you have an instance in King Sverrer, who wore a
rose-coloured surcote (“raudan hiup”). The garment becomes common in
the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, when the ground of the fabric
was usually green. There are both sleeveless and sleeved varieties,
but the latter did not come into vogue before the second half of the
thirteenth century. There is a north-country example referred to in
Surtees’s _History of Durham_ (vol. iii., p. 155); one on the effigy of
an unknown knight in Norton Church; and another in the Temple Church,
London. Among the seals of the kings of England this garment first
appears on that of John. Chaucer, writing in the reign of Edward III.,

   “And over that a fin hauberk
    Full strong it was of plate,
    And over that his cote-armoure.”

The “cote-armoure of Sir Thopas” is the surcoat. There is an admirable
example of a thirteenth century surcoat on the figure on the ewer found
at Hexham, which has already been referred to. This surcoat is long
and sleeveless, with a slit in front. It is embellished by a diamond
pattern, interspersed with fleurs-de-lis and stars of six rays. The
garment has an ornamental border. A representative example may be seen
on the Daubernoun brass. It reaches below the knee, is slit half-way
up the front, and is fastened by a cord at the waist. The border is
fringed. The surcoat early in the fourteenth century was long, but
became gradually shortened and tightened. There are, however, earlier
examples of the shorter surcoat, as shown on the Whitworth effigy,
which does not reach the knee. The D’Argentine brass (1382) furnishes
a good example of the short fourteenth century surcoat, and another
may be seen on the effigy of the Black Prince (1376) in Canterbury
Cathedral. It is a sleeveless garment reaching a little below the
hips, and was variously fastened, being buttoned, laced, or buckled.
On an effigy engraved by Hollis in his Plate II., it is held together
by a brooch. The fabrics were rich and costly, and usually ornamented
with heraldic devices. The surcoat on the figure of the Black Prince
is charged with England and France quarterly, with a label of three
points. At this period but little of the trunk armour showed through
the “cyclas.” The helm on the figure of the Black Prince was gilt or
silvered, and had its scarlet mantling. The surcoat of the fifteenth
century presents heraldic devices on the front and arms, both before
and behind, indeed it was a “tabard of arms,” and so it continued in
the sixteenth century as a herald’s tabard. The garment, of course,
gave rise to the term “the coat of arms.” An effigy of Sir John Pechey,
figured by Stothard, shows a tabard of arms over the armour; and so
does the brass of Sir John Say (1473) at Broxbourne, in Hertfordshire.
The short surcoat had almost ceased with the second quarter of the
century, although there are still isolated examples, such as the
short-sleeved tabard on the Ogle effigy at Bothal, Northumberland,
which is early sixteenth century. During the first half of the
fourteenth century, English knights wore a garment under the surcoat,
called “upper pourpoint”; the true “pourpoint” was the surcoat itself.

A description of the “Ehrenpforte,” written in 1559, gives a
representation of the meeting between Henry VIII. and the Emperor
Maximilian, which occurred in 1519. The emperor wears a surcoat with
slashed sleeves and plaited skirt, obviously suggested by the civil
dress of the period, called “bases.” The knightly mantle is but rarely
seen on monuments. It was one of the insignia of the Garter, and was
usually blue in colour. There is an instance figured by Stothard, Plate
LVIII. There were two grades of knights instituted--the banneret and
the bachelor. The former had his square banner as well as pennon, and
square shield for armorial bearings; his retinue consisted of fifty
men-at-arms and their followers. The knight-banneret, so called from
having the right to bear a banner, was always a man of large estate,
with a great number of retainers. Knight-bannerets first appear during
the reign of Philip Augustus, and disappear by ordinance in the reign
of Charles VII. The _Gloss du Droit, Fr. de Laurica_ defines the
etymology of the term “bachelor” as here applied. It does not signify
“bas chevalier,” as has often been supposed, but refers to the minimum
extent of land that a candidate for the honour must be possessed of,
viz., four “bachelle” of land. The “bachelle” contained ten “max” or
“meix” (farms or domains); each of which contained a sufficiency of
land for the work of two oxen, during a whole year. It would thus
appear that the dignity of knighthood was only conferred on men
possessing a suitable estate, and that the two grades were based on
the extent of estate; which, of course, implied the number of vassals
available for military service. Although the pennon was the ensign of
a knight-bachelor, we have the authority of Du Fresne that an esquire
could also bear one, always providing that he could ride with a
sufficient number of vassals.

Orders of knighthood appear to have originated in France, and were
introduced into England probably by the Normans. The most ancient order
was the “Gennet,” instituted in 706. It was a military order, but
always partook, more or less, of a religious character. The aspirant
was usually trained to arms as a page, then he became an esquire,
in attendance on a knight. It was unusual to confer the dignity of
knighthood before the age of twenty-one had been reached. Knighthood
was conferred by the “Accolade,” which appears to have been originally
an embrace, but later consisted in the administering of a blow on the
neck by the flat of a sword. There was an intermediate grade between
a knight and an esquire in the pursuivant-at-arms, but the dignity of
knighthood was very often conferred on a simple esquire.

Mamillières were circular plates over the paps, with rings affixed.
Chains passed through the rings, one being usually attached to the
sword and scabbard. These pieces were introduced in the reign of Edward
I., and prevailed during the fourteenth century, more especially in
the first half. Instances are comparatively rare. There is a beautiful
example on an effigy of Otto von Piengenau (1371) in the church at
Ebersberg. The chains are attached over the right breast, one fastened
to the sword and the other to the dagger. Another on the tomb of Alb.
v. Hohenlohe, died 1318. An instance of a mamillière over the left
pap, with a thin chain attached to the helmet, occurs on an effigy of
Berengar v. Berlichingen, 1377. On an effigy of Conrad von Seinsheim
(1369), on his tomb at Schweinfurt, chains connect dagger, sword,
and helm. The wood carving in Bamberg Cathedral (1370) affords two
remarkable cases, where they directly appear on the almost heart-shaped
“plastron-de-fer.”[8] An English example may be seen on the figure of
a knight in St. Peter’s Church, Sandwich. This interesting effigy is
also remarkable for skirts of scale-work. The scales are ridged, and
are probably of iron. They form the skirt of a garment which is worn
between the hauberk of chain-mail and the surcoat. The effigy would
appear to date from very early in the fourteenth century. Scale-work
frequently occurs on monuments of this century, seldom covering
the whole body, but more generally defending the hands and feet.
Mamillières are present on an effigy in Tewkesbury Abbey Church, the
date of which is doubtless about the middle of the century. A beautiful
instance may be seen on an effigy at Alvechurch, Worcestershire (1346),
showing clearly the one chain connected with the scabbard and another
with the hilt. There is a brass in Minster Church, Isle of Sheppey,
which represents an armed figure with only one “mamillière”; it is on
the left pap, with the chain going up over the left shoulder--early
fourteenth century. The derivation of the word is interesting, being
from _mamilla_, the breast. Its origin was a leather band worn by the
Roman ladies to support the breasts.

In effigies the knight’s head is usually pillowed on a helm, while a
dog or lion crouches at his feet; this latter feature is supposed to be
emblematic of fidelity.

There are frequent representations on monuments and in MSS. of a kind
of armour that appeared towards the end of the thirteenth century,
“banded mail” as it is called; but there has not been any general
determination arrived at as to what it really was, and there are no
actual specimens for reference. It presents somewhat the appearance of
the “rustred” mail of the middle of the twelfth century--that is, of
rings set on to the hauberk edgeways. On monuments and drawings these
rings frequently appear to be set in continuous rows, whereon the rings
turn in a right or left direction alternately; each line of rings being
“banded,” or framed with what looks like a rim. Examples of this mail
may be seen in Stothard’s series.[9]

We reach the highest point of mediæval culture during the fourteenth
century, and broadly the “renaissance” towards its close. Like all
periods of transition, it presents many points of interest, especially
in armament. It was not before the middle of the century was reached
that arms and armour approached to anything like uniformity. In the
first moiety the greatest possible irregularity prevailed. Scale armour
was still largely used throughout the century, and splint armour also,
though to a less extent. An example of the latter may be seen on the
effigy in Ash Church.



A combination of mail and plate armour, the latter strapped on, was in
general use in England late in the reign of Edward the Second, when
the helm, cuirass, or rather breastplate, and gauntlets were all of
plate, and sometimes the cuisse and jamb; but the leg armour was often
of cuir-bouilli. Chaucer says; “His jambeux were of cure-buly.” An
inventory, dated 1313, of the armour which belonged to Piers Gaveston,
includes breast and back plates, and two pairs of “jambers of iron”;
but most of the monumental figures are still clad in chain-mail and
genouillières. These “jambers” were only front plates for strapping
on. An effigy of Sir William de Ryther, who died in 1308, shows
genouillières of plate on a suit of chain-mail, with the hood covered
by a bassinet. This was probably thirteenth century armour, although
somewhat early for an example of the bassinet. The earliest brass we
have, that of Sir John Daubernoun (1277), exhibits genouillières in
a most artistic form. An effigy in Bedale Church, Yorkshire, that of
Brian Lord Fitz Alan, wears genouillières over chain-mail, like the
Daubernoun brass. He died 1302. Mixed armour continued longer in use
in England and Belgium than in Germany, which latter country and Italy
always led the way in defensive armour.

An effigy in Hereford Cathedral Church of Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of
Hereford and Constable of England (died 1321), engraved by Hollis,
wears the camail, a tippet of mail laced to the bassinet, which falls
like a curtain over the shoulders, hauberk of mail to the knees,
rerebrace, vambrace and gauntlets of plate, the fingers covered with
laminated plates, genouillières, jambs with hinges and very slightly
pointed sollerets, all of steel, with rondelles to protect the inside
of the elbow. Here we have a good example of the transition to full
plate armour, as attaching plates are replaced by rounded ones, fitting
round the limbs, but still strapped on. An inventory of the earl’s
effects (1322) appears in the _Archæological Journal_, vol. ii., p.
349. The bassinet is mentioned as being covered with leather. Other
good examples of the lacing of the camail occur on the D’Argentine
brass, and on an effigy of a knight of the De Sulney family in Newton
Solney Church, Derbyshire. A figure standing in the nave of Hereford
Cathedral, that of Sir Richard Pembridge, K.G., who died a year before
the Black Prince, wears mixed armour--camail and bassinet with the
great helm.

Both the goad and rowel spurs were in use throughout the fourteenth
century. The figure of the Black Prince (1376) in Canterbury Cathedral
is clad almost entirely in plate, and shows the prince wearing a
conical bassinet with camail attached. Breastplate, épaulières,
rerebrace, vambrace, coudières, leg armour, and gauntlets, all of
plate--his great crested helm has a mantling, or lambrequin, and cap
of maintenance, and is surmounted by a gilded leopard; besides the
ocularium, it has a number of perforations on the right side in front,
in the form of a crown, for giving air. There are gads (knobs) on
the knuckles for the _mêlée_, which take the form of small leopards,
with the usual spikes on alternate first joints of the fingers. The
surcoat is quilted to a thickness of three-quarters of an inch; and
this precious relic is the only actual garment of the kind that has
come down to us. The material is buckram faced with velvet--lions and
fleurs-de-lis embroidered in gold thread. This surcoat is short, and
laced at the back. The brass of Sir John D’Argentine, Horseheath,
Cambridgeshire (1382), shows a bassinet with camail. The brassards
are complete, with articulated shoulder-plates, and gauntlets with
finger articulations. The chaussons are of studded mail, and jambs,
genouillières, and sollerets of steel, while a short surcoat covers
the trunk, and the spurs are of the rowel type. Shields disappear from
brasses and effigies in this century, the last example on a brass
occurs in 1360.[10]

A brass in Wotton-under-Edge Church, Gloucestershire, shows a figure in
mixed armour of Thomas Lord Berkeley, who died in 1417. The sollerets
are “à la poulaine,” though not in the extreme form, and the gauntlets
have articulated fingers and a sharp gad over each knuckle. The figure
wears a collar of mermaids, the family cognizance. We now get very near
to full-plate armour on an effigy of Sir Robert Harcourt, K.G., in
Stanton Harcourt Church, Oxfordshire. The figure wears a horizontally
fluted bassinet; a standard of mail; coudières sharply pointed at the
elbow; cuirass with lance-rest; laminated taces, and long triangular
tuilles; sollerets slightly laminated and pointed. There is a great
crested helm with the figure. Sir Robert died in 1471, and the armour
was probably made in the first half of the fifteenth century. This is
a late example of the use of the standard of mail, but it probably
covered a defence of plate, as was often the case. The steel gorget
came in with the House of Lancaster. Several of these effigies and
brasses have been engraved by Hollis.

It may profitably be mentioned again here that dates on monuments are
those of demise. The armour, therefore, may be much earlier, sometimes
a generation or so before the date of death; and it was common, nay,
usual, for a knight to bequeath his suit or suits to his sons or other
persons. For instance, Guy de Beauchamp, who died in 1316, bequeathed
to his eldest son his best coat of mail, helmet, etc.; and to his son
John, his second suit. It is obvious, however, that many effigies
represent the fashion of armour prevailing at the date of demise,
or even later. Mixed armour in France went well into the fifteenth
century. Broadly speaking, mixed armour was used in England during the
last quarter of the thirteenth to the end of the fourteenth century,
but nearly full-plate armour began to be seen there in the reign of
Richard II. It had, however, been in vogue in Germany and Italy for
some decades before it was generally worn by the English, and it is
probable that the earlier complete suits in England were imported from
Germany or Italy, which countries set the fashion. Studded armour was
not uncommon during the second half of the fourteenth century, and even
earlier. The effigy of Gunther von Schwarzburg, King of the Romans
(1349), shows the body armour to have been of mail, with reinforcing
plates for the arms and legs, on which blank and studded lengths are
interspersed. He wears the bassinet with camail. The following examples
will show to some extent the progress of the evolution in Belgium. A
figure in the library at Ghent, of Willem Wenemaer, wears genouillières
and jambs of plate, otherwise clad in mail (1325). The sword is covered
with a Latin inscription. A brass at Porte de Hal, Brussels, shows
John and Gerard de Herre (1398) in mixed armour. On a brass in the
Cathedral at Bruges, dated 1452, Martin de Visch has a full armament of
plate, excepting the gorget, which is covered by a standard of mail.

This continuous strengthening of armour was clearly rendered necessary
by the ever-increasing power and temper of weapons of attack, which
was met by a corresponding effort at defence on the part of the
armour-smith. We have the same sort of thing to-day in the constant
competition between armour-plates and heavy guns. Then, again, weapons
were invented to attack some _vif de l’harnois_, or vulnerable place,
which was parried in its turn by an alteration or addition in the
harness to resist it. The mortality in these days in battle was chiefly
on the defeated side, and it took place mostly among the unhorsed

The crusades exercised a cosmopolitan influence over both arms and
armour in Europe, not only in the introduction of new forms from the
East, but also in a general assimilation of fashion among the nations
of chivalry. The military administration of these two centuries of
disastrous warfare, in and towards Palestine, was simply deplorable;
and no reasonable provision was made against eventualities; hence
plague, leprosy, and famine played havoc among the Christian hosts. The
institution of quasi-religious orders of knighthood, however, did much
to redeem these ill-starred expeditions from absolute chaos.

The formation of these religious military orders was an outcome of the
proselytising zeal of the earlier “middle ages,” brought into play by
the first crusade. The movement was, to some extent, a fusion of the
Church with the military caste for warring against the infidel for the
recovery of the Holy Sepulchre. A living faith, boundless devotion, and
self-sacrifice characterised these orders in the early stages of their
existence, and the principles of charity and humility were strictly
enjoined and practised with all men except the infidel, against whom
they waged a pitiless war, not only in the East but in Europe also. The
Grand Master of the order of St. Lazarus was always chosen from among
lepers. The vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience soon, however,
became “more honoured in the breach than in the observance;” and as
these orders became rich, luxurious, and powerful, they began to
nourish ambitions and practices quite at variance with the principles
under which they were instituted. As their machinations began to be
directed against all authority, and even against thrones and religion
itself, they were deprived of many of their privileges, and some were
suppressed altogether.

The shoulder-pieces called “ailettes” first appeared in France. They
were in use in England late in the thirteenth century, but, as they
fell into disuse in the fourteenth, there are not likely to be any
actual examples preserved, and they rarely occur on monuments. These
pieces assume various shapes, but the usual one is a rectangular
figure, longer than it is broad, standing over the shoulders
horizontally, perpendicularly, or diagonally, rising either in front
or from behind; there are, however, instances of their being round,
pentagonal, and lozenge formed. The use of these curious appendages is
not very apparent, but the most natural explanation is that they were
applied as a defence against strokes glancing off the helmet. They
were usually ensigned with a device or crest; and, when worn in front,
were often large enough to protect the armpits, instead of palettes or
rondelles. They are mentioned in the roll of purchases for the Windsor
tournament in 1278. There is an interesting letter in the _Proceedings
of the Newcastle Society of Antiquaries_, vol. iv., p. 268, concerning
these somewhat puzzling pieces of armour. It is addressed to Dr.
Hodgkin, by Captain Orde Browne. The writer refers to the ailettes
which he noticed on the effigy of Peter le Marechal, in the cathedral
church of St. Nicholas, Newcastle. This highly interesting figure lies
immediately behind the monument to Dr. Bruce. Captain Orde Browne
mentions examples of ailettes in the churches of Ash, Clehongre in
Herefordshire, and Tew in Oxfordshire, and quotes two authorities who
state that these three are the only churches in which effigies with
these appendages have been found; the names, however, have not been
preserved in the letter. At all events, the authorities in question had
overlooked the Newcastle example, on the shield of which there seems to
be a bend. We refer to this effigy as attributed to Peter le Marechal.
Brand believed it to be the effigy of the founder of St. Margaret’s
chantry, Peter de Manley, a baron who bore, according to Guillim, “or,”
a bend sable. He was associated with the Bishop of Durham, and others,
for guarding the East Marches, and died in 1383. His arms therefore
correspond with those on the shield of the effigy. The late Mr.
Longstaffe, however, ascribes the figure to Peter le Marechal, who died
in 1322.

As to the question between Peter de Manley and Peter le Marechal there
can be no doubt whatever, as the presence of ailettes, and the general
character of the armour, undoubtedly date the figure about the end of
the thirteenth century or very early in the fourteenth, and there is
an interval of sixty-one years between the deaths of the two knights.
Peter le Marechal was sword-bearer to Edward I., and is buried in St.
Nicholas’s Church. It appears from the king’s wardrobe account that a
sword was placed on the body by the king’s command. According to M.
Viollet le Duc, this innovation, the employment of ailettes, dates
from the end of the thirteenth century, but M. Victor Gay cites an
example of the employment of ailettes in 1274. There is, however, one
of a still earlier date, occurring in a MS. dated 1262, in which is
a figure of Georges de Niverlee. This manuscript does not say where
this figure is or was. There is an ailette on the right shoulder only,
and we may possibly infer that this piece was first used singly. A
very interesting example of this kind occurs on an illumination on the
psalter executed for Sir Geoffrey Loutterell, who died in 1345; and the
single ailette bears his arms, “azure,” a bend between six martlets
“argent.” We see from the roll of purchases made for the tournament
of Windsor Park (1278) that the ailettes specified for were to be of
leather and carda.[11] Ailettes were worn by Sir Roger de Trumpington
in the Windsor tournament, but these were of leather; and are figured
on his monumental brass rising from behind the shoulders. An incised
monumental slab in the church of St. Denis, Gotheim, Belgium, shows a
figure of Nenkinus de Gotheim (1296) with these appendages. These are
remarkable for their diagonal pose. If any device existed it has been
worn off. There is an example of another Gotheim (1307) charged with a
rose, and a couple in the Porte de Hal Museum, at Brussels, dated 1318
and 1331 respectively. A very elaborate pair of ailettes appears in
the inventory of Piers Gaveston (1313): “les alettes garniz et frettez
de perles.” There is a German example on the statue of Rudolph von
Hierstein at Bâle (died 1318).



Helms with horns were worn by the Vikings, and in all probability
the headpiece with these appendages dredged up with a shield in
the Thames, and now deposited in the British Museum, is of early
Scandinavian origin. Horned helms were probably originally emblematic
of the goddess Hathor or Isis, and came to Northern Europe through the
Greeks. A helm with horns, about B.C. 3750, found at Susa, has been
already referred to in Part I. We have an example of an Etruscan helm
with horns, and Meyrick says that such were worn by the Phrygians,
though rarely. Diodorus Siculus refers to this form as used by the
Belgic Gauls. There are instances of helms with horns as late as the
fourteenth and even fifteenth centuries. One occurs on the tomb of
Diether von Hael, at Borfe, in the Tyrol, near Moran. This helm has
ears as well as horns. The warrior died 1368. Other examples, one on
the effigy of Burkhard von Steenberg (died 1379), in the Museum at
Hildesheim, and another on that of Gottfried von Furstenberg (died
1341), in the Church of Hasbach; and there is a grotesque helmet in the
Tower of London, presented to Henry VIII. by the Emperor Maximilian,
with ram’s horns; and such appendages were sometimes used on chanfreins
of the sixteenth century--there are examples at Madrid and Berlin. The
early Anglo-Saxons wore four-cornered helms with a fluted comb-like

The great variety in mediæval and renaissance headgear is somewhat
bewildering, but it may all be brought down to a few types with
certain salient characteristics, which, however, greatly interweave.
The knights of chivalry, or their armour-smiths, seem to have given
as great a rein to their fancy and imagination as the constructors
of feminine headgear of all time; still the change and application
of weapons of attack played the most important part in the constant
modifications of warlike headpieces, as of other defensive armour.

Both Normans and Anglo-Saxons used the word “helm”[12] (of Gothic or
Scandinavian derivation) in the eleventh century, as applied to the
conical steel cap with the nasal then in use. The equivalent in French
was “heaume.” The word “helmet” is of course the diminutive of “helm,”
and is specially applied to the close-fitting casques, first used in
the fifteenth century, of which more anon. The seal of Henry I. shows
that monarch as wearing a conical helm.

The form of helm of the Bayeux tapestry is a quadrilateral pyramid with
a narrow strip of iron extending over the nose; but this nasal is but
rarely met with after the twelfth century, although it occurs in every
century up to the seventeenth. The Norman helm was probably wholly of
iron, and sometimes had a neckpiece.

The great helm or heaume, without a movable visor, is of English
origin. It first appeared about the middle of the twelfth century, and
was worn over a hood of mail, which was then found inadequate to resist
either the lance or a heavy blow from a battle-axe or mace, or even a
stroke from the then greatly improved sword. The helm had the effect
of distributing the force of the blow, and to a certain extent parried
it. The second seal of Richard I. shows him in a great helm, which is
either flat-topped or conical, with the nasal, and is obviously derived
from the antique. The cylindrical or flat-topped variety came into
vogue towards the end of the twelfth century. There is an example of
the conical form in the Museum of Artillery at Paris, and one of the
nearly flat-topped variety, rising very slightly towards the centre, in
the Tower of London. The great helm is often represented as a pillow
for the head in effigies.

The next form, which is in great variety, the knight’s early tilting
helm, was used pre-eminently for jousting; the visored bassinet being
worn generally in battle. It was introduced to resist the heavy lance
charge. This form was hemispherical, conical, or cylindrical, with
an aventail to cover the face,[13] and ocularia or slits for vision,
and sometimes a guard for the back of the neck. Breathing holes
first appear early in the reign of Henry III. It formed a very heavy
single structure, sometimes with bands of iron in front constituting
a cross; and in the earlier forms the head bore the whole weight; but
later it was constructed to rest on the shoulders, and the crossbands
disappeared. It was fastened to the saddle-bow when not in use. The
movable aventail appears on the second seal of Henry III. An excellent
example may be seen on the male effigy in Whitworth Churchyard, which
is described in the _Proceedings of the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Society
of Antiquaries_, vol. iv., p. 250. This monument shows two recumbent
figures--male and female. We are concerned with the male effigy, and
have the authority of Mr. Longstaffe that it represented a member of
the family of Humez of Brancepeth. The character of the armour would
indicate a date in the second quarter of the thirteenth century. The
helm is cylindrical and flat-topped. There are two other north-country
effigies of about the same date, one at Pittington, the helmet of which
is round-topped, and the other at Chester-le-Street (both in the county
of Durham). The round-topped helm appeared late in the thirteenth
century. A very early thirteenth century helm may be seen on an effigy
in Staunton Church, Nottingham, and a flat-topped cylindrical specimen
surmounts the figure on the curious water ewer shown in Plate XXII. of
_Archæologia Æliana_, vol. iv. (O.S.). There are instances of this form
as early as the last quarter of the twelfth century.

De Cosson gives drawings of several of these helms in his _resumé_
of the specimens exhibited in 1880 (for which see _Proceedings of
the Royal Archæological Institute_). That on the seal of Henry III.
has breathing holes, and that of Edward II. shows his helm to have
been cylindrical, with a grated aventail. Helms at this period were
sometimes made of brass. The helm formerly hanging over the tomb of Sir
Richard Pembridge, K.G., in the nave of Hereford Cathedral, and now in
the possession of Sir Noel Paton,[14] is a good example of the reign of
Edward III. This helm has been minutely described by De Cosson in his
catalogue of the helmets already referred to. The great jousting helm
of the fifteenth century will be described later. The bassinet, lined
with leather, basin-shaped as its name implies, was lighter and close
fitting; and in England usually provided with staples for a camail. It
was often used under a crested helm of large size, but, as mentioned
before, when the bassinet became visored it was worn heavier, and then
largely superseded the great helm. The bassinet was generally worn
in England in the fourteenth century and late in the preceding. This
helmet is more fully described later.

The chapel-de-fer is an iron helmet of the twelfth century, with or
without a broad brim. It was often holed for a camail, and was worn
sometimes under a hood of mail. The one without brim is often termed a
chapeline, and is, we take it, the small bassinet. Illustrations of two
great helms at the Zeughaus, Berlin, are given in Fig. 2.



It was late in the reign of Edward II. when considerable progress was
made in the direction of full “plain” armour in England, but, as
shown in the section headed “Chain-mail,” etc., the use of the standard
of mail survived until the beginning of the fifteenth century and even
later. It is, in fact, impossible to lay down any arbitrary dates, or
anything like a clear line of demarcation in respect to the relative
proportions of chain and plate armour in use by English men-at-arms
up to the beginning of the fifteenth century; but the fortunate
preservation in our churches of the remarkable series of effigies and
monumental brasses helps us greatly. There is, however, very little
evidence of this kind before the middle of the thirteenth century.
Breastplates, as distinguished from the old plastrons-de-fer, were to
be met with early in the reign of Edward II., but the general rule
was still a hauberk of mail, with épaulières, coudières of plate, and
some splint plates on the arms, all fastened with straps and buckles;
the legs were still generally encased in mail, with, of course,
genouillières at the knees.

[Illustration: Fig. 2.--Great Helms at Berlin.

  1250–1300.      1350–1400.

The long reign of Edward III. (1327–77) saw great strides towards the
general use of full plate armour. An illumination on the psalter of
Sir Geoffrey Loutterell (died 1345) furnishes an interesting example
of the time. The knight is on horseback, sheathed in plate; he wears
the pointed bassinet, a rectangular ailette on his right shoulder.
His coat-of-arms (“azure,” a bend between six martlets “argent”) is
repeated wherever possible: on the ailette, helm, pennon, shield,
and housings; and again on the dress of a lady who is handing up the
helm. Another lady holds the shield: her dress impales “azure,” a bend
“or,” a label “argent” for Scrope of Masham. The saddle is the “well,”
and the spurs rowelled. The lance-rest (an adjustable hook of iron
for supporting the lance shaft) was introduced about 1360. A brass
of Sir John Lowe, at Battle, Sussex, gives a good idea of the armour
prevailing late in the reign of Richard II. and in that of Henry IV.
The surcoat is omitted, so that in this instance the whole front
panoply is exposed to view, though the garment continues to appear
occasionally on monuments well into the fifteenth century, as shown
on the brass of Sir William de Tendering in Stoke-by-Nayland Church
(1408). The bassinet becomes less acutely pointed than on the effigy
of the Black Prince. Épaulières show articulations, and gauntlets are
articulated at the fingers. This is the case on the brass of Sir John
Lowe, where the armpits are protected by rondelles, and the now visible
taces of steel hoops form a skirt of from six to eight laminations. The
cuisse is articulated, and the sollerets are “à la poulaine,” though
not in the extreme form. The spurs are of the rowel type, and the
figure is armed with sword and dagger.

Full plate armour was used in Germany and Italy earlier than in
England. There is ample evidence of this, but care must be taken in
sifting the testimony of old “Chronicles.” In the “Tristan and Isolde”
MS., by Godfrey of Strasburg, of the second half of the thirteenth
century, the German men-at-arms are represented in “white” armour;
helms with the bevor attached to the cuirass, the upper part of the
face open, jambs of plate and sollerets “à la poulaine.” Their horses
appear with bards. A statute of Florence of the year 1315 is remarkable
for the following statement, viz.:--“Every knight to have a helm,
breastplate, gauntlets, cuisses, and jambs, all of iron!”

These manuscripts, however, must not be taken as conclusive. On the
contrary, they really represent what is now considered to be a late
stage of mixed armour. An Italian example figured in Hewitt (Plate
XXVII.) shows the statue of a knight in a church at Naples (1335). He
wears a hauberk of mail, with rondelles at the shoulders and elbows,
rounded plates strapped over the upper arm, and jambs of iron. The
sollerets are in chain-mail. The heavy horsemen of the “middle ages”
are often referred to as “knights,” but of course there could only be
a very small percentage of them enjoying that degree. Presumably many
were eligible for the honour of knighthood for marked bravery in the

       *       *       *       *       *

Before the use of gunpowder in warfare the baronial fortress was almost
impregnable, but cannon turned the tables on the feudal nobility,
dealing a severe blow at extreme feudalism, of which these castles were
the invariable centres.

The reason for the introduction of the cuirass proper was the
exceeding weight of the hauberk of chain-mail, in conjunction with
the heavy plates often riveted on to it, and the quilted gambeson,
etc., underneath; and also by reason of the inefficient protection it
afforded against the lance in full career, or strokes from the greatly
improved and heavier swords, or blows from the deadly battle-axe;
indeed, it often happened that a portion of the chain-mail itself
was driven into a wound. It was, however, far from uncommon early in
the fifteenth century for a hauberk of chain-mail to be worn under
the cuirass, with a gambeson next the body, and another between the
mail and the cuirass; but this multiplicity of garments was far too
heating, heavy and cumbersome, and at least one of them, and generally
two, were discarded on the full introduction of plate armour. These
cast-off garments were, however, utilised by the lighter troops. The
gambeson is a quilted tunic, often worn in battle in early times
without other armour, having been made tough enough to turn a sword
stroke; but when plate armour became general it was of quilted linen,
fortified with rings under the arms and breastplate. There is a most
interesting gambeson of the kind in the national museum at Munich, an
example of late fourteenth century date, and the only one known as
surviving; it also covers the legs, and is strengthened with mail over
the knees. There is a specimen at Munich, thought to be unique, of
the familiar horizontal belt one sees on effigies of the fourteenth
and early fifteenth centuries. The underclothing varied greatly at the
different periods, and there is often some confusion of terms among
the “Chroniclers” regarding these garments. Chaucer calls the gambeson
a “haketon,” the habergeon of his day being a shirt of chain-mail. He

   “Next his shirt an haketon,
    And over that an habergeon,
    And over that a fin hauberke,
    Full strong it was of plate.”

There is a fine specimen of a fifteenth century habergeon in the Porte
de Hal Museum, Brussels. A MS. of this period says that esquires were
not allowed a sautoir (stirrup) to their saddles. The order had a
distinct status, even to its costume. The esquire was the auxiliary and
companion of the knight. His duty consisted in carrying the knight’s
arms, breaking-in and seeing to his horses, and generally looking after
him; he fought at his side and guarded his prisoners. The spurs of the
knight were of gold, those of the esquire of silver. To “win his spurs”
and be dubbed a knight, he was required to have performed some valiant
deed. There was an intermediate grade between a knight and an esquire
in the pursuivant-at-arms. There was a varied and costly elaboration
of ornament used by the more courtly cavaliers of the fourteenth
century and later times. The figure of the Black Prince in Canterbury
Cathedral is highly decorated. The knightly belt has a blue enamel
ground, with bosses of gilt leopards’ heads. The bassinet bears a
coronet embellished with precious stones. The sword scabbard is inlaid
with lapis-lazuli, and the spurs are gilt. Inventories of the period
often divulge items such as rich velvet and embroideries, gold and
silver. Pearls and carbuncles among gems were especially affected for
decorative purposes. The inventory of Piers Gaveston (1313) has been
already referred to as mentioning “les alettes garniz et frettez de
perles.” Mr. Hewitt mentions the inventory of Louis Hutin, temp. 1316,
which has “Item, cote, bracières, houce d’escu, et chapel de veluyan,
et couvertures a cheval des armes du Roy, les fleurs de lys d’or de
Chypre broudées de pelles [pearls]. Item, picières et flanchières de
samit [satin] des armes le Roy, les fleurs de lys d’or de Chypre. Item,
uns gantelez couvers de velveil vermeil.” Such portable and valuable
adjuncts induced a deal of looting among the fallen champions after a
battle, and many wounded lost their lives from this cause who would
otherwise have been put to ransom. Stringent sumptuary laws were
very rife at this time, but these severe enactments were found very
difficult to enforce, and were much evaded; indeed, this has always
been the case. Single feathers were worn in the fourteenth century;
but in the fifteenth and sixteenth great plumes, drooping gracefully
behind, were the rule. The degradation of a knight under King René
d’Anjou was a very elaborate ceremony: he was stripped of his armour,
which was broken to pieces before him, and his spurs were thrown on a
dunghill; there was also much besides. In later times, the knight’s
spurs were hacked off by the king’s master-cook.

Early representations of bards are very rare; they probably originated
in the twelfth century, when they were most likely of fortified
leather. They did not become general in England until towards the
close of the thirteenth century. Wace says that the horse of William
Fitz-Osbert was housed in chain-mail at the battle of Hastings, but
this is incredible.

As already mentioned, German men-at-arms appear with barded horses
in the second half of the thirteenth century, but it was towards its
close, or at the beginning of the fourteenth, that they became common.
The earliest English official mention occurs in the statute of 27
Edward I., when bards were of chain-mail, leather, or quilted material.
In the inventory of the armour of Louis X. occurs, “item, a chanfrein.”
Nothing like a full equipment in steel plate for horses was attained
before the second quarter of the fifteenth century, when, according
to a picture in the imperial arsenal at Vienna, “Der Ritter sitzt auf
seinem, bis auf die Hufe, verdeckten Hengst.” The material differs very
much in the fifteenth century, being of full plate, fortified mail,
quilted cloth, or cuir-bouilli.

Bards comprised the chamfron or chanfrein, for the face, worn sometimes
with a crest; picière, breast; flanchière, flanks; croupière, hinder
parts; estivals, legs. The crinet, neck, appears first in England on
the seal of Henry V. The horses were gaily caparisoned. The emblazoned
housings were often made of costly material, such as satin embroidered
with gold or silver. Examples are given in Figs. 3 and 24.

The horsemen of late in the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth
centuries consisted of men-at-arms or heavy cavalry,[15] hobilers and
armati, or common horse troops. The infantry consisted of spear and
billmen,--that is, men armed with long-handled weapons,--crossbowmen
and archers. Hobilers were light cavalry taken from the better class of
yeomen. The “hobby” horse was a much lighter steed than that used by a
knight or man-at-arms, clad in his armour of proof. Part of the light
cavalry consisted of bowmen. The gynours had charge of the catapultæ,
ballistæ, and other siege engines.

Grose, in his _Military Antiquities_, vol. i., p. 278, cites an old
Latin MS., giving the numbers of the army of King Edward III. in
Normandy and before Calais, in the twentieth year of his reign, with
their several stipends, as follows, viz.:--

                                                      At per Diem.
                                                        £ s. d.

         My Lord the Prince                             1  0  0

         Bishop of Durham                               0  6  8

      13 Earls, each                                    0  6  8

      44 Barons and bannerets                           0  4  0

    1046 Knights                                        0  2  0

    4022 Esquires, constables, centenary, and leaders   0  1  0

    5104 Vintenars and archers on horseback             0  0  6

     335 Paunceners                                       ----

     500 Hoblers                                          ----

  15,480 Foot Archers                                   0  0  3

     314 Masons, carpenters, smiths, engineers,
           some at 12^{d.}, 10^{d.}, tent-makers,
           miners, armourers, gunners, and
           artillery men, 6^{d.} and 3^{d.} per diem

    4474 Welch foot, of whom 200 vintenars at           0  0  4
         the rest at                                    0  0  2

     700 Masters, constables, mariners, and
           pages                                          ----

     900 Ships, barges, balingers, and victuallers

         Sum total of the aforesaid men, besides
           Lords                                     31,000--294

  Of whom some men from Germany and France, each receive for their
  wages 15 florins a month.

It would appear from this “establishment” that King Edward’s main
force consisted of foot archers, and that the predominance of this
item largely accounts for the English victories of the time, against
greatly superior numbers on the side of the French. It will be observed
that gunners and artillerymen are mentioned in this MS., but they were
probably for serving siege-guns before Calais.

The institution of feudalism, which was in direct opposition to
the Roman system, exercised an immense influence on the form and
constitution of the armies of Northern and Central Europe during the
“middle ages” and later. The inauguration of the movement proceeded
mainly from the division of lands by Clovis among his followers; but
it was the policy of Charlemagne that gave it form and substance in
the direct creation of a martial and a sacerdotal aristocracy. Europe
then became dotted over with seigniories and strong places, erected
originally with a view to save the countries from being overrun and
enslaved by barbarous hordes; and by these means the invaders were
compelled to confine their depredations mainly to the sea-coast
regions, which they ravaged without mercy. Each vassal swore fealty to
his liege-lord in the ceremonial “homage-lige.” The vassal was bound
to fight under the banner of his liege-lord for a continuous term of
from twenty to sixty days when called upon, and to assist him in many
other ways; and as long as his duties were faithfully and diligently
performed he remained master of his fief, and was also permitted to
infeudate or sub-feudalise it. The seignior on his part extended his
protection to his vassals, and was bound to render them full justice;
and in cases of default an appeal to the suzerain of the seignior was
provided for. This was the theory, but the practice too often meant an
organised system for the oppression of the weaker classes, and so on
down to the lowest rung of the feudal ladder. The church itself united
in exercising a feudal as well as a spiritual jurisdiction, and bishops
wielded this double power over the seigniory in their bishoprics.

The rise of the third estate, and especially that of communal
government, brought about modifications of the system as time moved on.
These causes, with their influence on military matters, will be lightly
touched upon in these pages as they arise; but it must be borne in mind
that though feudalism was the same in principle everywhere, it differed
in its application in the various countries it dominated, according to
the characteristics and circumstances of the peoples.

The principle of the ban or feudal levy was that those holding land
should contribute to the king’s army in war time a certain fixed
proportion of retainers, according to the acreage of their holding;
but in cases of great national peril the levy, the arrière-ban, was
much larger, and there was often an arrangement under which actual
service might be compounded by a money payment called “scutage.” The
arrière-ban or the ban-fieffé dates from the sixth century. It summoned
the vassals, which the suzerain alone had a right to command. The
increasing number of mercenary troops employed steadily diminished the
importance of the ban, and “scutage” became more general.

The battle of Courtray, fought in 1302, was the turning point in the
greater estimation of the use of infantry combinations, when the French
chivalry was so completely routed by the Flemish guild-bands, armed
with the goedendag, which, whatever its form really was, then proved a
most effective weapon against a rush of horsemen. About six thousand
of the chevaliers were killed, a heavy blow struck at the nobility of
France. The object-lesson thus afforded showed, even at this early
period, that heavy horsemen charging with the lance, or striking with
the mace or battle-axe, had ceased to be “the strength of the battle.”
This experience was amply confirmed at a later period at the decisive
battles--Granson, Morat, and Nancy. After the death of Charles the
Bold at Nancy, in 1477, a victory won by the Swiss infantry with staff
weapons, the “chivalry” of battle became much discredited, and the
extreme feudalism which had hitherto dominated the military systems of
Europe underwent its first serious check in the diminished importance
of the mailed horseman, and the growing power of the third estate,
which henceforward became a more weighty factor in warlike tactics and
combinations. This process, which had been growing for some time in
the gradual enfranchisement of the communes, developed from the motley
swarms of yeomen and peasants at length into a communal militia. To
these were now added “condottieri” and other free companies, such as
stradiots, routiers, brabançons, and tard-venus, and with these more
stable elements of an army, tactics and generalship, which had hitherto
been of the most elementary character, soon made great strides. There
are, however, early instances of the addition of “mercenary bands”
to armies in the field. William the Conqueror’s army at Hastings
contained a large proportion of these troops, which were placed in
the first division during the battle. The Plantagenets also used them
very freely. Mercenary troops, however efficient in action, had many
drawbacks in campaigning. They were not unfrequently known to change
sides at a critical moment, such as on the eve of, or even during an
engagement. A notable instance of this may be cited in the case of the
battle of Pavia, in 1525, when Francis I. was made prisoner.

The growing power of the Hanseatic Bund did more than anything else
in Germany towards the enfranchisement of the towns from the galling
fetters of feudalism. This mighty organisation, in the heyday of
its power, consisted of over a hundred of the most important towns,
scattered over Germany and Northern Europe, and extending as far as
Wisby in the Gulf of Bothnia, and even to Novgorod in Russia. Its
power became so great that even the Emperor exercised but a nominal
supremacy over the German cities enrolled. Almost the entire commerce
and banking of the time in Northern Europe centred in this powerful
association, fenced in its walled towns. It supplied the sinews of war,
and the equipments for nearly every campaign; often indeed for both the
opposing armies. Its power and monopolies in England, where it had
stations, especially in London, were immense.[16] Feudalism thus became
greatly banished to the country districts, which constantly underwent a
depletion of able-bodied men by a rush of serfs towards freedom under
the syndics. Soon the standards and war-cries of the great seigniors
ceased to cause confusion in the ranks.

The equipment of each man-at-arms in the fifteenth century was two
archers with two mounted followers; and a little later a sixth man and
horse were added. An army of fifteen hundred “complete lances” required
a contingent of at least five thousand mounted archers.

It was not uncommon for armour to be imported from Italy during the
fourteenth century. Froissart states that Henry IV., when Duke of
Hereford, sent messengers to Milan asking Duke Galeazzo to forward him
a harness. The Duke complied with the request, sending four Italian
armourers with the suit.

Broadly, the period of full plate body armour is reached in England
early in the fifteenth century, when the mentonnière, rondelles,
cuirass, taces and tuilles, garde de reine, épaulières, gauntlets,
cuisse, genouillières, jambs and sollerets were all of plate. The
ingenious application of overlapping or lobster-tail plates, first
applied to the solleret and rerebrace, had now extended to the
shoulders and taces, and we find this system gradually developing
towards the fine ridged and escalloped armour, which originated in
Italy in the second quarter of the fifteenth century. Effigies of
the first quarter of the fifteenth century are characterised by the
bassinet, standard of mail, and beautiful fan-shaped coudières pointed
over the elbow-joint. The skirt of mail shows itself beneath the
taces, with an escalloped fringing. Articulated épaulières prevailed
until towards the middle of the century, when pauldrons began to
displace rondelles over the armpits; an early example of which may be
seen on a brass in Arkesdon Church, Essex. Pauldrons are, however,
exceptional until the “Maximilian” period. Examples of most of the
features of the period may be seen in the series of plates published
by Stothard, Hollis, Creeny, and others. We pass now out of the period
during which we have been mainly indebted to effigies, brasses, and
pictorial representations for our knowledge of armour, and enter on
much surer ground, when there are actual and contemporaneous specimens
to deal with. Still there is but too frequently ground for doubt and
perplexity, as comparatively few suits are quite homogeneous; in many
cases some of the parts are often restorations, faulty enough, as most
restorations are. Pieces sometimes belonged to other suits, and not
unfrequently to widely different periods. New tactics in battle had
to be parried by the armour-smith with changes and modifications in
armour; for instance, at the battle of Creçy the English men-at-arms
fought for the first time in foot formation, and they adopted the
same tactics at the battle of Poitiers on the 19th September, 1356.
This innovation having been copied by the French, the armourer had
to meet the occasion, and different harnesses began to be made for
foot-fighting and horseback; and somewhat later additional pieces
were added to screw on to the other armour, for further protection in
tilting and in battle. These pieces were devised for the protection of
the more vulnerable places, on the principle that energy always takes
the line of the least resistance. Besides this, at various periods
when defence was stronger than attack, improvements in the arms then
in use took place; and new weapons were devised with a view to the
attack of weak points in armour. Before the battle of Poitiers the
French men-at-arms were ordered to shorten their lances to five feet,
and to take off their spurs; and the lances were similarly shortened
at the battle of Auray in 1364. The great helm was now rarely used,
giving place to the visored bassinet, the visor to be raised or lowered
at pleasure. The bassinet was in its turn superseded by the sallad in
the first quarter of the fifteenth century, and the latter towards its
close by the armet, followed closely by the burgonet. A monument in the
cathedral at Posen gives a good idea of the armour in use in Germany
in the first half of the fifteenth century--it is a figure of Lucas
de Corta, who died in 1475. The armament consists of a mentonnière
of several laminated plates to be raised or lowered, cuirass with
rondelles, taces of five or more overlapping plates, going right
across the lower body, but no tuilles, cuisse with genouillières and
hinged jambs; laminated rerebraces, and large pointed coudières. The
fingers of the gauntlets are articulated, with a sharp gadling over
each knuckle, and sollerets “à la poulaine.” This monument doubtless
represents armour of the first half of the century. A brass in the
church at Altenberg gives a figure of Gerart, Duke of Gulich, who died
in 1475, with a similar armament excepting that he wears an early form
of armet, and the tuilles are attached to the taces. The armour of
this period, with its pretty shell-like ridgings, is both graceful and
practical, and also lithe and supple.

The armour of the second half of the fifteenth century, which is
usually styled “Gothic,” it is impossible to say why, is by far the
most graceful of all the periods, combining beauty of form and contour
with excellence of material and workmanship; together with an admirable
adaptability for defence against the then existing weapons of attack.
The main features of this remarkable period are the escalloped and
shell-like form of some of the pieces, and especially the presence of
tuilles. The coudières are excessively large, sometimes preposterously
so, and channelled with a view to the lance glancing off them. The
breastplate is rendered both stronger and more elastic by being made in
two and even three laminated plates. Sollerets are “à la poulaine.”
The helmet of this armour is the sallad with the mentonnière. An
excellent English example may be seen on the Beauchamp effigy at
Warwick (1454); and another on the brass of Sir Robert Staunton at
Castle Donnington (1458). There is a very instructive series of
monumental effigies at Meissen, engraved by Hollis, of successive dukes
of Saxony, showing the continuous advances in armour. Albert, who died
in 1500, wears the armet, pauldrons with pikeguards,[17] and broad
sollerets. Another duke, who died seventeen years later, shows tassets
of five lames, and “bear-paw” sollerets. The armour of Duke Frederick,
who died in 1539, shows mitten gauntlets of numerous narrow lames.

Gothic armour is the most perfect of all. It is more “mobile” than any
of the later schools, and was made to fit almost like a glove; and as
the details of suits are no longer obscured by the surcoat on effigies,
we have these representations to guide us, as well as actual specimens.
The steel, which looks as if it had an admixture of silver, is stronger
in texture, brighter and tougher than that of any other period. Sad
it is that there are so few perfect specimens of this armour left to
us, for most of the armour wrought up to the middle of the century has
become the prey of rust, the iconoclast, and the melting pot. The suits
at Sigmaringen, Munich, Nuremberg, Vienna, and Berlin are among the
most homogeneous the author has seen.

Armour made at Milan was already famous at the end of the fourteenth
century, and many suits were ordered there at that time for English
account; and later in Germany, for it took a considerable time before
the wave of the “renaissance” reached the more northern country.
The famous Milan armour-smiths, the Missaglias and Negrolis, and in
Germany, the Kolmans of Augsburg, Hans Grünewald of Nuremberg, and the
Seusenhofers of Innsbruck, all turned out work of the highest character
and finish; as also did many of the later masters, such as Anton
Peffenhauser of Augsburg, Lucio Piccinino of Milan, and Georgio Ghisi
of Mantua. Both armour and weapons of a high quality were produced
in other towns in Italy, such as Florence, Brescia, Lucca, Pisa, and
Pistoja. The work of the armour-smith, pure and simple, seems generally
to have reached its highest point of excellence during the second half
of the fifteenth century, the force of the “renaissance” expending
itself more on ornamentation.

Until comparatively recently very little was known concerning the great
armour-smiths and their coadjutors of the fifteenth, sixteenth, and
even seventeenth centuries; but much has now been accomplished in this
direction by Dr. Wendelin Boeheim in Vienna, and given to the world in
his work, _Der Waffenschmiede_, etc. Dr. Cornelius Gurlitt has also
thrown much light on the masters of Saxony in his booklet entitled
_Deutsche Turnier_, etc., of the sixteenth century. We owe much to
these savants for their arduous labours in rescuing the names, and much
besides, of so many of these great artists from an undeserved oblivion;
and also by the identification of their work in providing valuable and
reliable material for fixing the dates of armour within comparatively
narrow limits.

Scale armour is but very rarely found in the fifteenth century.

Monograms are not often seen on armour of English make, but they were
common in Germany towards the end of the fifteenth century, when
armour was occasionally inscribed with the year. The comparatively few
instances of dated armour are intensely valuable, as we have then no
inferences or doubtful ancestral legends, but the actual year of make.
Examples of both fifteenth and sixteenth centuries occur at Nuremberg
and Berlin. There is an idea generally prevailing that the stature
of the men of the middle ages was shorter than nowadays. After the
comparison of many suits, both at home and abroad, it is certain that
this is not the case, but the average development of the calf of the
leg is greater now. An ordinary-sized leg of to-day would not fit into
the average cuisse and jamb of the sixteenth century, but it must be
remembered that a very large proportion of the suits preserved, made in
the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, were for Italy, South Germany,
France, and Spain. The build and stature of these peoples were slighter
than that of the Englishman. The wearers spent such a large proportion
of their time on horseback, that the calves of their legs were
naturally like those of the “horsey” man of to-day.

From early in the sixteenth century the changes were greatly matters
of detail, the differences in suits being principally those of form.
The shell or tile-formed tuilles, after having been in use for nearly
a century, gave place to the more comprehensive tassets of overlapping
plates. Épaulières developed into pauldrons, which gradually increased
in size, covering both shoulders and upper-arm, and at length extended
over each breast, and then diminished again in size. Pikeguards were
introduced to protect the neck from pike thrusts, and there are
instances of these plates as early as the middle of the century.
Sometimes they are double on each shoulder--see the brass at Qui,
Cambridgeshire. In cases where a pikeguard appears on one shoulder
only, a close examination will generally reveal holes for the fixing
of its fellow. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, or a few
years later, the so-called “Maximilian” armour superseded that termed
“Gothic,” when a large proportion of this armour (the “Maximilian”) was
fluted everywhere except the jambs. It had pauldrons, with pikeguards,
and great “bear-paw” or “cow-mouth” shaped sollerets. This style
became _à la mode_, in imitation of the prevailing fashion in dress,
which was then largely puffed and slashed. It must be understood,
however, that fluted suits were in a majority of the armour made,
but not to the exclusion of plain armour. The cuirass is shorter
than in the later Gothic form; it is more globose, with the top cut
straight, and the breastplate is usually in one piece. The headpiece
is the armet and burgonet. Sliding rivets (Almayne) gave increased
elasticity to armour of this period. As may be seen from some notes in
_Archæologia_, vol. li., p. 168, written by Viscount Dillon, P.S.A.,
the term “Almayne rivets” was sometimes applied to complete harnesses;
for an order sent to Florence by Henry VIII., in 1512, runs: “The 2000
complete harness, called Almayne ryvettes, were to be alway a salet,
a gorget, a breastplate, a backplate, and a pair of splints (tassets)
for every complete harness at 16s. the set.” There is a sixteenth
century specimen of an armourer’s pincers, with claw and hammer head
for riveting armour, in the Rotunda collection at Woolwich. It was
soon found that arms of attack would not glance so well off fluted
suits, and smooth armour was again generally reverted to. Blackened
armour was not uncommon at this time; and a black, white, or coloured
tunic of stuff was often worn over bright. The first instance of black
armour that we have met with is mentioned by Froissart, under the
year 1359.[18] While in “Gothic” armour the taste of the period found
expression in beauty of outline, already in the fifteenth century
it had become fashionable to have armour engraved and otherwise
ornamented. Perhaps the only brass that is to be seen in Spain
represents a beautiful specimen of inlaid armour; the figure is of Don
Parafan, Duke of Alcola, who died in 1571. The pikeguard has ceased,
sollerets are the shape of the foot, and he wears a morion. The morion
and cabasset were late sixteenth and seventeenth century helmets,
while armets and burgonets were greatly worn early in the sixteenth.
Late in the fifteenth and during the sixteenth centuries there was
a description of armour called “penny-plate.” It consisted of round
pieces of steel riveted on to leather. There is a specimen of this kind
of armour at the Rotunda, Woolwich.

By the end of the fifteenth century heavy tilting-suits had attained
their greatest strength, and as the sixteenth century advanced so
did ornamentation. Under the Emperor Maximilian skirts or petticoats
of plate began to be worn--another illustration of the influence
exercised on armour by the prevailing fashion in dress, in fact
the form was reproduced in the surcoat before 1470; and indeed the
application of taces during the fourteenth and early in the fifteenth
centuries, before the introduction of tuilles, was also something in
the same fashion. These skirts were called bases or lamboys. There is
an example in the Tower of London, and another on the Hertford tomb
(1568). Another example is in the author’s collection, of which a
detailed description and drawing is given later in these pages (Fig.
25). These lamboys were specially designed for fighting on foot, but
there is often an arrangement by which a portion is detachable in
order to enable the wearer to sit on horseback. There is a style of
armour the Germans call “Pfeifenharnisch,” which has embossed pipings
in high relief like puffs. Such a harness was made by Hans Seusenhofer
for Prince Charles, later the Emperor Charles V. Visors of this period
were often wrought in the form of a grotesque face. There is more than
one example at Vienna, and indeed they were far from uncommon; the
author possesses a couple. Bards had become highly decorated, and with
the housings were sometimes designed in close imitation of the dress
fabrics of the period. Such a suit of bards on a charger, on which is
mounted a rider in a piped suit of the “Maximilian” type, may be
seen in the Kungl. Lifrustkammar, in Stockholm. An illustration is
given in Fig. 3.

[Illustration: Fig. 3.--Mounted Suit with Bards, in the Kungl.
Lifrustkammar Collection, Stockholm.]

Towards the end of this century (the sixteenth) defensive armour had
reached its highest point of development. Tassets gradually became
lowered to cover the knees in a series of lobster-shell plates, as on
a brass of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, that of Sir William Harper, in St.
Paul’s Church, Bedford. Examples of these elongated cuisses occur,
however, much earlier. Jambs and sollerets were at length laid aside
in favour of jackboots, and plate armour fell gradually into disuse,
mainly owing to the new tactics rendered necessary by the general use
of firearms, and the growing desirability of lightly-armed squadrons
and companies; indeed, before the accession of Elizabeth the use of
armour in campaigning had ceased to be a _sine qua non_, and, all
regulations notwithstanding, a constantly increasing proportion of
campaigners, especially among the infantry, insisted on discarding it.
It became at length more used for purposes of display rather than for
actual service, and hence armour became more and more decorative. There
is a scarcity of plate armour of the fourteenth century, and but little
remains of the fifteenth. This is not surprising, as the quantity
made in those days was strictly limited; but what does seem strange
is the scarcity of armour of the sixteenth century, and especially of
the first half, over which time such immense quantities were in use.
One explanation of this may be found in _Archæologia_, vol. li., p.
222, when Viscount Dillon gives examples of great quantities of armour
having been converted, during Elizabeth’s reign, into “targets” and
“jacks” for the navy.

       *       *       *       *       *

Now that the armour period has been roughly covered, the evolution
of each important piece will be followed to its decadence, when
hand-to-hand fighting was rarer, and strategy in masses more
developed, as the proud knight had at length become of minor importance
as against organised infantry, which was now “the strength of the
battle,” and when the use of various weapons of attack, especially
the harquebus, became general. Tactics in warfare were at a very low
ebb during the fourteenth century, and the military scandals of that
time were many. Agincourt is an example of confusion among the French
ranks that had many parallels at the time; but with the advent of the
fifteenth century, much systematic improvement was effected. It was
not before the reign of Elizabeth that any large body of troops could
advance in close column without breaking its formation. Armies in the
sixteenth century no longer consisted of mere feudal and communal
levies, but were organised into companies and regiments, the battalion
becoming the recognised unit for the infantry in the reign of James
I. Systematic tactics were introduced, and the proper proportions of
horse, foot, and artillery in the field determined. The effective
use of gunpowder in battle, and its influence on armour and tactics,
was very gradual, but during the sixteenth century it progressively
compassed great changes in both. Boys in the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries were taught the use and practice of arms at an early age. An
interesting group of boys’ harnesses, of various sizes and periods, may
be seen at the Dresden Museum. Numerous dints on the armour, some of
them heavy, show that very hard knocks had been exchanged.

The mode indicated of treating the subject will be clearer than
any attempt made at elaborate contemporary classification as a
whole. Representative suits, especially from local and foreign
collections, will now be taken more or less in detail, thus showing the
combinations of the various periods they represent, leaving separate
chapters for tilting suits, extra tilting pieces, and the tournament
generally, besides enriched armour and a slight sketch of prominent
armour-smiths, and some of the most important collections of arms and

A large proportion of the armour used in England continued to be
imported from Italy and Germany. Henry VIII. bought and received
in presents, harnesses, both for foot-fighting and horseback, from
these countries; indeed, the trade in armour and arms formed a not
inconsiderable item in the importations of the Hanseatic Bund already
mentioned, and the bulk of the armour in private collections of
fifteenth and sixteenth century make is of German or Italian origin.
Not only was armour imported, but foreign smiths and artificers,
principally of German nationality, known as Almayne armourers, were
introduced. Milan armourers were working at Greenwich in 1514.[19]
Exportation from England was not allowed without royal licence.

Although the matchless Beauchamp effigy (Fig. 16) was the work of an
Englishman, it is probable that most of the fine suits in English
collections, with the least possible pretensions to any historic
connection with this country, were principally of Italian or German
make, up to the meeting of Henry VIII. with the Emperor Maximilian; but
a good deal of English armour was turned out later in Henry’s reign,
and in that of Elizabeth, by the “Almayne” smiths, already referred
to, brought over from Germany and Italy. The Armourers’ Album at South
Kensington, with drawings of twenty-nine harnesses, throws much light
on the armour of the earlier Elizabethan period, and some of the suits
mentioned therein have been identified. It is certain, however, that
the influence exercised by the imported German and Italian smiths on
armour of English make was of comparatively short duration, for suits
made by armour-smiths in this country after the early portion of
Elizabeth’s reign were characterised by a vast inferiority in design,
execution, and material to those turned out by their German and Italian
confrères. With the exception of the fine specimens in the collection
at the Tower of London, it is in Germany where most of the Gothic and
Maximilian suits have been preserved, and a few are still to be met
with in Italy and Spain. It is a great pity that the armour possessed
by the nation should be scattered over so many places, instead of being
concentrated in one grand national collection. Could this be arranged,
we would possess an armoury worthy of the empire. The Wallace armour
is a great accession to our store, but this collection still remains
unpacked. The almost constant warfare, both in Germany and Italy,
during the middle ages naturally made the manufacture of armour more
of a speciality in these countries than in England, and the effect of
the Italian “renaissance” was especially seen in profuse and artistic
ornamentation, which at length came to be more regarded even than
strength itself--it was, in fact, a fine art. Much of the armour was
covered with embossed figures, engraved, chased, and damascened with
gold. The work of the Augsburg, Nuremberg, and Innsbruck armourers was
really, if not quite, equal, both in design and workmanship, to that of
Italy; and many historic suits until recently classed as Italian have
been since proved to be of German workmanship.

The counties of Northumberland, Cumberland, and Durham are not rich
in armour, especially in that of the sixteenth century, and the only
Gothic suit is, we believe, one in the author’s possession, and there
is no perfect harness of the “Maximilian” type in the district. As many
as possible of what may be termed north-country examples will be given
in these pages.

Military experts of the sixteenth and even seventeenth centuries
differ widely in their estimation of the value of steel armour in
battle, and many of them strove valiantly against its growing partial
abandonment. James I. is said to have made the remark that body-armour
was a double protection; for it secured the wearer from being injured,
and also prevented him from injuring others! It became impossible to
forge armour, for man and horse, proof against the improved musketry
fire; and little by little the old chivalry of battle had to give
way against overwhelming odds. The full effect of the movement was,
however, much retarded by various causes. The earlier firearms were
clumsy, dilatory, heavy to carry, and ineffective in practice; besides
new supports, formations and tactics took time to organise and develop
before firearms could reap the full benefit of their superiority, which
they eventually achieved with the musket, in conjunction with “covers”
of halbardiers, and especially pikemen, before these footmen’s weapons
were superseded by the bayonet. These causes, and the increasing
demand for lighter and more easily manœuvred troops, and newer tactics
demanding greater mobility and longer marches, brought about the
downfall of the man-at-arms, who was effective only on the level; and
with his disuse plate-armour had ceased to be generally worn.



_The Königliche Zeughaus at Berlin._

This museum is rich in staff weapons and firearms, and is rapidly
accumulating a very fine collection of armour, which has been greatly
enriched by the purchase of the remarkably fine series of suits and
weapons formerly belonging to Prince Carl of Prussia. The present
emperor takes a great interest in the place, and has himself added
several suits of armour.

_The Königliche Historische Museum at Dresden._

This is perhaps the best collection for the student to visit, and is
intensely valuable by reason of the strictly historic character of most
of the specimens. The only weak spot is in the absence of any complete
“Gothic” harness, but there are some fine pieces on exhibition. Next to
suits with the date inscribed, those that are known to have been worn
by historic personages provide valuable means of comparison for the
student, and define the features and details presented within narrow
limits as to time. The collection was, in a manner, begun by dukes
Georg and Heinrich of Saxony from 1471 to 1541, and continued under
the Kurfürsts. The first inventory was ordered by Kurfürst August,
1526–86, and then comprised twenty-eight mounted tournament suits
for “rennen,” with their accessories and reinforcing pieces, as well
as thirty-four tournament suits for “stechen.” Under the section in
this volume headed “Tournaments” will be found explanations regarding
the differences between “rennen” and “stechen.” The next inventory
taken, 1576–84, exhibits the addition of a number of enriched suits,
and between this time and 1611 many more were added. A large number
of these historic suits stand, so to speak, almost _in situ_. In 1893
many suits and weapons were secured by purchase from the collection of
Richard Zschille, and the gathering together of suits and arrangement
of the foot-tournament hall accomplished. The collection thus forms a
historic series of armament most unique and instructive, and at the
same time most decisive in its influence on the many questions of form
and opinion that have so agitated the minds of many writers on the
subject. The collection of weapons of the “renaissance” and later may
be described as unique in its beauty and arrangement. This section
was founded in 1730, and contains an immense number of the choicest
specimens, including many weapons for the chase. The collection of
tools used during the sixteenth century for armour-making is most
instructive and comprehensive. The catalogue by the curator, Direktor
Max von Ehrenthal, is an educational book of the first order.

_The Armeria Real, Madrid._

This collection has most in common with that at Vienna; and if not
actually founded by the Emperor Charles V., it contains a good deal of
his armour, and many weapons used by him. It was Philip II. who ordered
the arrangement of the collection then existing, and his successors
continually added to it; and when one considers how it has suffered
from the robberies of Napoleon, and the neglect consequent upon the
unsettled state of Spain for so many years, it is a matter of surprise
that it has survived in its present fine condition. The collection
comprises a number of most beautiful examples of armour, especially of
the reigns of Charles V. and the Philips II. and III. A harness made
by Koloman Helmschmied of Augsburg, for the emperor, is very notable.
It bears the armourer’s mark, in conjunction with the guild monogram
of the city; the suit has tuilles. There are many mounted suits, all
remarkable specimens of the armourer’s art; and with the bards of one
of them is a chanfrein with ram’s horns. Suits with lamboys are finely
represented; as also is enriched armour. The collection of helmets,
swords, shields, daggers, and separate pieces of armour and arms
generally, represents almost all schools and varieties. The “Catálogo”
prepared by Count Valencia is very fully and splendidly illustrated.

_Die Waffensammlung des Kaiserl. Hauses at Vienna._

This collection includes that of Ambras, and the range of examples,
especially armour, is even more complete and comprehensive than that
at Madrid. It is rich in the most important of all schools, viz., the
“Gothic”; and the general arrangement of the examples leaves little to
be desired. With Custos Wendelin Boeheim at its head, it has provided
the great educational agency in Europe in the determination of both
arms and armour of the different periods covered in this book.

_The Musée d’Armures at Brussels._

This collection has been placed in the Porte de Hal tower, an old
fortress built in 1381, and all there is remaining of the old
fortifications of the city. The museum is not in possession of a
complete “Gothic” suit, but “Maximilian” fluted armour is worthily
represented; and a later suit, with a tournament shield, is very
notable. Armour of late sixteenth and early seventeenth century is
there in quantity, and the collection of arms and cannon is very
important. The catalogue, compiled by the accomplished antiquary, the
late Hermann Van Duyse, leaves little to be desired.

_The Historische Vaabensamling at Copenhagen._

This collection is placed in the old historic Töjhus, built in the
reign of Christian IV. It is practically an arsenal. The collection
of arms is arranged under the reign of each king, this giving obvious
chronological data. A harness, with a tournament shield, reminds one
strongly of the work of Peter von Speyer; the leg armour is missing in
this case. Another suit in this collection is mentioned in our text.

_The Armeria Reale at Turin._

This collection is especially rich in weapons of the sixteenth century,
and is one of the most important in Europe.

_The Germanisches Museum at Nuremberg._

This is a worthy national collection, and one of the most important
and educational in Europe, by reason of the great range and excellence
of the specimens both of arms and armour. Gothic armour is well
represented. Examples are mentioned in our text.

_The National Museum at Munich._

This collection is large, excellent, and varied, containing many
important and historic examples of arms and armour. It possesses three
Gothic harnesses, and each period is fully represented. Examples occur
in our text.

_Kungliga Lifrust Kammaren, Stockholm._

This collection contains some very fine specimens, most of them
historic. One of the suits of armour is mentioned in our text (Fig. 3).
A fine set of drawings, with an interesting and very correct text, has
been given to the world by the curator, C. A. Ossbahr.

_The Musée d’Artillerie at Paris._

Many specimens in this museum have been alluded to in our text. The
collection has been exposed to frequent casualties, but it is worthy
of France. It is, however, regrettable that so many of the excellent
examples are incomplete. This collection deals more especially with the
sixteenth century, and is very rich in guns and artillery.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are important collections of arms and armour at Erbach,
Sigmaringen, St. Petersburg, Graz, Emden, Antwerp, and many other
cities of Europe.



The word is derived from the French “tournoyer,” to wheel round, and
the name in old French was “tournoiement.” Tournaments were first
instituted as training schools for the practice of arms, and were
later tempered by the rules of chivalry. Jousts or justs of peace
(_hastiludia pacifica_) were single combats, or a succession of such,
for a prize or trial of skill; while the tourney was troop against
troop. The term “passage of arms” is often used somewhat generally;
but, strictly interpreted, it was a combat where several knights on
each side were engaged, some fighting on foot, others on horseback. The
sword was often blunt and pointless, being of whalebone covered with
leather and silvered over. When actual swords were used no thrusting
was permitted, but striking only. The length of the lance proper was
usually about fourteen feet, the shaft being of ash; but there were
several varieties of the weapon for the different “courses”; and in
very early times, like the lance for battle, it was both thinner and
shorter. An ordinance of the thirteenth century provides that the
lance should be blunted, but this having been systematically evaded,
another ordinance of the century following required the lance-head
to be in the form of a coronal; and this law was for a time strictly
enforced. There are examples in the Tower of London, and specimens
exist in most museums abroad, notably at Dresden. The courses to be
run were generally three in number. “Joustes à outrance” were to the
death. Tournaments had their birth in Germany, in which country warlike
games, probably inherited from the Romans, prevailed as early as the
ninth century; indeed, there was an important “passage of arms” at
Strasburg in the year 842.[20] They continued very popular after the
breaking up of the Franco-Germanic empire, and formed the pastime of
the higher class up to the Thirty Years’ War. These early warlike
games, in spite of all precautions, were often attended with great loss
of life, and as many as sixty combatants have been put _hors de combat_
at one “passage of arms.” They were always popular in France, and held
there on a large scale; indeed, it is claimed that the “tournoiement,”
properly so called, had its birth in that country, where it is said
to have been instituted by Geoffrey de Preuilli, who died in 1066;
and these warlike games were very much in vogue during the reign of
Philip Augustus. The armour and weapons for the tournament at this time
were the same as those used for battle, and continued so until after
the reign of Edward III.; but the lighter form of lance was common
in France long after it had been discarded in the other countries
mentioned, and the French shaft was made of sycamore or fir. It was not
before the beginning of the twelfth century that jousting or fighting
with lance in rest became common; in fact, until then the lances in
use were unsuitable for that purpose. Much information regarding the
armament of combatants, the usages to be observed, and the regulations
as to heralds, pursuivants-at-arms, esquires, and varlets, besides
many interesting details, is contained in the _Statutum Armorum ad
Torniamenta_, written towards the end of the thirteenth century. New
and more stringent rules had become necessary, because of the frequency
of the “joust of peace” degenerating into one “à outrance.” This evil
had become so great that the Pope forbade the games in England, and
King Edward III. repeatedly issued fiats against them, and so also
did his successor; still the Crown frequently issued licences for
tournaments being held. An excellent description of the arms and
armour employed at a later age may be found in the Tourney Book of King
René d’Anjou (_Tournois du Roi René_), illuminated by himself, with a
most minute statement of the rules, ceremonial, and courses; and in it
is a graphic account of the combat between the Dukes of Brittany and
Bourbon. A miniature in this book exhibits a knight entering the lists
with great ceremony. The first regular tournament in England occurs
in the reign of Stephen, and another was held very early in that of
Henry II., but its consequences were of such a nature as to induce that
monarch, at the pressing instance of the priesthood, to forbid these
games. So great, however, was their popularity that they continued
to be held in spite of the king’s fiat, though it was not before the
reign of his heroic son that they became common, and were then kept in
strict bounds by royal ordinances. Henry III. charges his subjects that
“they offend not by tourneying,” and, as already mentioned, even as
late as 1299 edicts were issued against the games. There were only five
authorised centres for lists in England, and four of these were south
of the Trent. Tournaments in the northern counties required a special
licence. Earls competing were obliged to pay twenty marks to the king,
barons ten marks, and knight-bannerets and bachelors two to four marks,
according to estate. The plan of the earliest lists was circular with
palisades, but the form was afterwards changed to square rather longer
than broad, and the latest were often made oblong. They varied very
much in size, and were ornamented with tapestry and heraldic devices.
Permanent lists were often enclosed by a ditch or moat. Roofed-in
wooden erections, sometimes with sloping galleries for the spectators,
were usually placed at the sides of the lists, and were often highly
decorated. The marshals of the lists, heralds and pursuivants-at-arms,
were stationed within the enclosure to take note of the various
incidents taking place among the combatants, and it was the duty
of the first-named to see that the rules of chivalry were strictly
observed. Varlets were in attendance to assist the esquires in looking
after their masters, especially when unhorsed. Trumpets announced the
entry of each competitor, who was followed by his esquires into the
lists. Each knight usually bore on his person some token from his
lady-love, which was disposed on his helmet, lance, or shield. A prize
was bestowed after a tournament, and presented with great pomp and
ceremony. The arms and armament of the vanquished fell as spoil to the
victors, unless ransomed by a payment in money. This was, however, only
the case in jousts of courtesy, not in combats “à outrance.”

During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries an immense amount of
artistic skill was freely lavished on armour for the lists, as well
as on that for purposes of parade. It was common to hold a “passage
of arms” for three days; two of them for contending on horseback, and
the third on foot. Lances were used on the first day, swords and maces
on the second, and pole-axes on the third. Those open to all comers
were termed “joutes plenières.” Pluvinel, who wrote at the close of
the reign of James I., says: “There ought to be at each end of the
lists a little scaffold, the height of the stirrup, on which two or
three persons can stand, viz., the knight, the armourer to arm him
and his assistant, and hence he mounts his steed.” Froissart, writing
towards the end of the fourteenth century, gives a graphic account of
the tournament in his day. Judicial combats were common throughout
the century, and usually took place within the nearest lists. Trial
“by ordeal,” or the judgment of God, was a strange outcome of the
Christian faith as practised during the “dark ages” of our era. It
implied, of course, a strictly personal God, who specially interested
himself in the doings of every one, and a simple, child-like faith
that the Omnipotent would order victory to the just cause and protect
the innocent from injustice. The “ordeal” was by fire, hot iron,
boiling water, and by the sword. It was suppressed towards the end of
the twelfth century, and was followed by that of single combat, “God
shewing the right.” This method was in full accord with the chivalrous
spirit of the times. Old persons, women, and minors were represented
by “champion.” The combat might continue from noon to sundown, and if
it lasted as long the innocence of the accused was established and
proclaimed. This form of combat was only applied in the cases of crimes
punishable with death, and only when merely circumstantial evidence
was available. A figure of a judicial combat occurs in the _Conquêtes
de Charlemagne_, a manuscript of the fifteenth century in the National
Library at Paris. The combatants wore chain-mail, with genouillières
and coudières, the period represented being late thirteenth or early
fourteenth century. An angel superintends the duel.[21]

The custom of “judicial combats” fell into disuse in the fifteenth
century.----We must confess to a lively partiality for the history
of Sir Walter Scott, in spite of his facile imagination and palpable
inaccuracies, and think the graphic picture of “The Gentle and Joyous
Passage of Arms” at Ashby-de-la-Zouche, with “La Royne de la Beauté
et des Amours,” gives as delightful an account of a tournament in
the times of Richard Cœur-de-Lion as need be wished for. The gallant
knights are distinguished by their belts and gilded spurs.

   “The knights are dust
    And their good swords are rust,
    Their souls are with the saints, we trust.”

In the specification for arms and armour for the tournament of Windsor
Park (1278) we see of what each suit consisted, viz., “one coat of
fence, one surcoat, one pair of ailettes, two crests (one for the
horse), one shield (heraldically ensigned), one helm of leather
(gilded or silvered), and one sword made of whalebone.” The cost of
each armament varied in price from about ten to thirty shillings.
The shields were of wood, costing fivepence each. The total cost of
the combined thirty-eight armaments was about £80. Chaucer refers to
tournaments in the following lines:--

   “The heralds left their pricking up and down,
    Now ringen trumpets loud and clarion.
    There is no more to say, but east and west,
    In go the speares sadly in the rest,
    In goth the sharp spur into the side,
    There see men who can just, and who can ride;
    There shiver shaftes upon shieldes thick,
    He feeleth through the heart-spone the prick;
    Up springen speares, twenty feet in height,
    Out go the swordes to the silver bright,
    The helms they to-hewn and to-shred:
    Out burst the blood with stern streames red.”

The leading “courses” of the tourney are fully described later in the
paragraph devoted to German methods, which, though there were many more
varieties, were practically those of England, where there was also the
round-table game, etc. Matthew Paris mentions a “round table game” held
at the Abbey of Wallenden in 1252; and Earl Roger de Mortimer held one
at his castle of Kenilworth in 1280, and Edward III. another at Windsor
in 1344. This form of tournament seems to have been very popular in
England during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries; but there
is no clear definition of its peculiarities given by any of the few
chroniclers who mention the subject. The idea of the knights sitting
round the table seems to have been an assertion of the principle of
equality so as to avoid questions of precedence--one full of difficulty
in all ages.

Tilting was practised during the fourteenth century very much as in
the century following. A joust of about 1330 is figured on “The Codex
Balduin Treverenses,”--the horses bear housings, and the knights
mantles. The armament for jousting and battle began in this century to
show some difference from that of earlier times. The games continued in
unabated vigour throughout the middle ages and the “renaissance,” and
until the general use of firearms rendered such exercises no longer of
much practical value.

The necessary limits of this work will not admit of any detailed
description of the many and curious rules, usages, and limitations
which were absolutely necessary for carrying on these dangerous games
without great and unnecessary bloodshed and the loss of many valuable
lives, but much can be seen in a set of regulations prevailing under
Henry VIII. in the tournament roll preserved in the Heralds’ College.
Students of the subject will do well to read an able paper in the
_Archæological Journal_, vol. lv., No. 219, entitled “Tilting in Tudor
Times,” written by Viscount Dillon in 1898; and a most excellent and
comprehensive account of the German “turnier,” and weapons used, exists
in Herr Wendelin Boeheim’s work, _Handbuch der Waffenkunde_. This is a
veritable text-book.

Tournaments and tilting generally were, however, rendered less
dangerous than might have been expected by the addition of reinforcing
armour, which pieces were screwed on over the more vulnerable places,
on armour made for ordinary fighting purposes, and for some courses of
the tournament, mainly on the left side, which received most of the
blows; indeed, these extra pieces constituted a double defence of iron
for the head, chest, and left shoulder. This was obviously rendered
necessary when one considers the terrible impact of the lance in full
career with the breastplate or helmet. These extra tilting pieces made
their appearance in the reign of Edward IV., but they were known in
Germany several decades earlier. It was early when suits of armour
were made differently for battle and for tournaments, as William Lord
Bergavenny bequeathed to his son “the best sword and harness for justs
of peace and that which belong to war.”

Late in the fifteenth century there were complete tilting harnesses
of such immense weight that a knight once unhorsed lay on the ground
absolutely helpless, and often could not rise without the assistance
of his varlets. His movements when on horseback were very restricted.
These suits were of such resisting power as to give practical immunity
to the wearers so far as wounds were concerned, but they were far too
heavy to be used in the _mêlée_. A tilting harness with the Nuremberg
mark, in the splendid collection at that city, is of immense weight and
strength, and the example is specially valuable, as the date 1498 is
inscribed on the cuirass. The knight could barely move in the saddle,
and was able only to guide his horse and aim his lance. Armour made
specially for the tilt-yard will be described later in these pages, and
illustrations given.

There is an account of a tournament held in the reign of Henry VIII.,
in a tournament roll preserved in the Heralds’ College. The challenged
(Les Venantz) were nine in number. The armour worn was of the heavy
tilting class, with lamboys; and the horses were fully barbed, with
housings. It would appear from the barrier between which the knights
ride that this was the “Italian course,” known in Germany as the
“Welsche Gestech.” This barrier was first of cloth hung on a rope, but
afterwards of wood; and then the great knee-guard came into use to
protect the knee from being crushed against the barrier, the height of
which was usually about five, or even six feet. The meeting between
Henry and Francis on the Field of the Cloth of Gold, in 1520, was the
occasion of at least one tournament. The king himself was one of the
challengers. One of the drawings shows him as breaking a lance with his
opponent. It is certainly desirable at this point to give somewhat full
particulars of the leading modes of jousting as practised in Germany at
the end of the fifteenth, and during the sixteenth century, as it was
here where these games were most frequently practised, and the German
archives fortunately yield us very full particulars, which throw much
light on the subject generally.

The Emperor Maximilian and our Henry VIII. were great patrons of the
tournament, often taking part in it, and so were all the German princes
of the sixteenth century. We find very full particulars of Maximilian
tournaments, as held during the emperor’s reign, in the _Turnierbuch
des Kaisers Maximilian I._, a synopsis of which has been written by
Quirin von Leitner. This “Triumph of Maximilian,” dictated by the
emperor in 1512, affords much information on this subject; and in it
many of the forms of tourney are represented, with the various weapons
and armour used in the different courses. The _Turnierbuch of the
Emperor Maximilian I._ would have been both incomplete and inconclusive
without the masterly drawings by Hans Burgkmair, painter and engraver,
of Augsburg. This artist seems to have been closely associated with
the great master Lorenz Kolman, surnamed “Helmschmied,” and doubtless
did designing and engraving work for him. Courses of rather a later
period are described in _Hans Schwenkh’s Wappenmeistersbuch_, written
in Munich in 1554; besides which there are several “tournament books”
of the German courts giving not only general descriptions of the games,
with the rules and regulations practised, but also full accounts of
particular encounters concerning which we have the harnesses fought
in standing before us for reference to-day. There are also many
original prints preserved giving particular examples of these games.
Furthermore, Dr. Cornelius Gurlitt has given an excellent _resumé_ of
tournaments from the middle of the sixteenth century up to the Thirty
Years’ War, derived greatly from the archives at Dresden. Herr Wendelin
Boeheim, the curator of the imperial collection of Vienna, gives many
details in his great work, _Handbuch der Waffenkunde_. The author has
had the advantage of many personal hints concerning the German forms
of tournament from Max von Ehrenthal, the accomplished curator of the
Dresden collection, and he owes much information and several of the
illustrations given under this heading to this gentleman’s kindness
and liberality. Dr. von Ubisch, the director of the collection at the
Zeughaus, Berlin, has also assisted him greatly, especially concerning
ordinary fighting suits and other matters.

Tournaments of the sixteenth century were mostly for diversion and
practice, and it was very rarely that any great injury was sustained.
It will be seen from the descriptions here given that it was mainly
a question of concussion, in the splintering of lances, or being
rolled on the ground, the hardness of which was greatly modified by
a liberal covering of tanning refuse. The stunning effects from the
strokes of the sword and mace, as felt on the inside of the thick
defences used, must have been very trying, and one fails to understand
how so comparatively little damage to life and limb was experienced
in the riders being hurled from their steeds, encased in their heavy
panoply of more than two hundred pounds in weight; and what makes this
the more extraordinary is that the rider was helped on to his horse
again after a fall and ran again, and this sometimes happened several
times: but judging from the records preserved, and there are many, the
casualties in the tilt-yard of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries
were little, if at all more numerous and serious than those in the
hunting or football fields of to-day; or in the duels that were common
so recently at German universities; or for the matter of that in the
accidents arising from the use of the cycle. This comparative immunity
from serious injury in the tilt-yard was partly accounted for by the
assistance rendered by the varlets in helping the horse to keep his
feet, and the rider his seat after impact, and also in assisting in
breaking the fall of the rider.


This form is characterised by heavy lances “sharp,” as the name for
the course implies. The main object was “unhorsing,” and the saddle
was unprovided with front and rear supports; it was, in fact, quite
unlike the ordinary war-horse saddle--indeed, more resembling the
English saddle of to-day. The object of this was that there should be
nothing to impede the rider’s fall. The lances used in this course
were not expected to break or splinter, though they did so sometimes.
On the moment of impact each combatant dropped his lance to avoid
injury to the arm from splintering, and this was the case in the other
courses also. The consequence of a true impact was, as a rule, that
at least one rider was unhorsed; but sometimes both riders fell, and
occasionally both horses as well, so that all four combatants, for the
horses may be said to have fought also, bit the dust. In cases where
a rider was able to keep his saddle for a moment after impact and
swaying in the endeavour to retain his seat, his varlets rushed forward
to support him. Sometimes in case of lances slightly deflecting, or
missing altogether, one and even both horses have been known to fall
forward. There was a “rennen” between the Emperor Maximilian and Duke
John of Saxony at Innsbruck in 1498.

The tournaments held at the imperial and princely courts were strictly
games, the hosts often personally challenging their guests to a trial
of skill. Much depended naturally on the training of the horses, which
were sometimes ridden blindfold. The legs and feet of the competitors
were without armour, except the “diechlinge,” so that the rider could
sit firmly supported on the saddle. The “diechlinge” served as a
protection for the thigh and knee. Such a defence was necessary, owing
to the risk of these limbs of the combatants colliding. In the Dresden
Museum, in the “Turnierwaffen-Saal,” an interesting and very realistic
representation of a German “Sharfrennen” may be seen, the combatants
facing each other, fully armed, with lances in rest. The defences are
double throughout, each harness weighing about two hundred pounds. The
period is 1550–53, and most of the riders in the “Saal” have sat their
horses since the year 1591. The body-armour is engraved and fluted, and
the helmet is the sallad. The breastplate of the harness nearest the
entrance to the hall bears the monogram of the armour-smith Sigmund
Rockenberger of Wittenberg, the other was made by Hans Rosenberger of
Dresden. The grand-guard, volant-piece, and left shoulder-guard are
of wood, strengthened with plate, and covered with leather. A curved
plain shield is screwed on over the left shoulder, while an enormous
vamplate, or shield with a bouche, guards the right, and through this
the butt end of the lance rests.

The armour itself is of the heavy tilting kind, over which is a dress
of stuff with bases, a sort of petticoat like the civil dress of the
day. Stockings and slippers are worn, and there is no defence of plate
over them excepting at the knee, over which is the great “diechlinge”
already mentioned. The woollen stockings and slippers in these
instances are restorations; but there is an actual tilting shoe of the
period in one of the museum cases at Dresden. Spurs with long necks are
used. The horses are barded and fully housed. Housings reaching nearly
to the ground are usually highly and fancifully decorated, bearing the
“arms” or “cognizance” of the rider, and are often ornamented with
the figures of birds or animals. In the Royal Library at Dresden is a
representation on parchment of a “Sharfrennen” between Kurfürst August
of Saxony and Johann von Ratzenberg, and afterwards with Hans von
Schönfeld, in 1545, at Minden. It was drawn by Heinrich Goding, the
court painter in 1584. This combat was termed a “Gedritts,” signifying
that the victor, in order to gain the prize, had after the first
encounter still to dispose of a second antagonist--three were thus
engaged, and hence the term. A copy of this interesting record follows
in Fig. 4. An example of the armour worn in this course is given in
Fig. 5. It was made for Kurfürst August, by Sigmund Rockenberger of
Wittenberg in 1554. The form is graceful, and the ornamentation of a
chaste character. The details are clearly marked, such as the screw for
the volant-piece; the sharp-pointed, spearhead-like projection standing
forward from the centre of the breastplate, a fashion that only endured
for a few decades; the ponderous lance-rest, and heavy abdominal extra
plate,--all being characteristic of a suit used for “rennen.” The
elegant sallad differs materially from the earlier form, and is very
shapely. Only persons of noble birth or those subsequently granted
“arms” were permitted to take part in “rennen.”


Herr Wendelin Boeheim, in an article in the _Zeitschrift für
historische Waffenkunde_,[22] says that the “old German Gestech”
was far from having been introduced during the reign of the Emperor
Maximilian I., as has often been supposed, but is of much earlier
origin. This course depends much more on adroitness and skill than in
the Italian joust, when the knights tilt with a barrier between them,
and the rider gets no assistance from his charger, as the chanfrein
is without ocularia, and sometimes its ears were stopped with wool.
The lance, unlike that used in “rennen,” is tipped with a coronal.[23]
The “Stechtarsche,” or small ribbed shield which is tied to the left
shoulder by laces, affords grip to the coronal of the lance; and this
is the point aimed at. The saddle used for this course has an upright
front plate, but none behind, so that there was no impediment in
“unhorsing.” Later, the front plate disappeared. The horse bears no
bards beyond the chanfrein, but there is a cushion filled with straw
fastened over the horse’s breast, as a protection against collision.
There are several kinds of “Stechen,” but the rule in all is to have
no leg armour, and this was in order to give the rider greater command
over his seat: the lance hand bore no gauntlet. Quirin von Leitner
gives a figure of the Emperor Maximilian I. armed for the German

[Illustration: Fig. 4.--Sharfrennen at Minden, ran in 1545.]

[Illustration: Fig. 5.--Suit at Dresden for Sharfrennen, date 1554.]

Instead of the fifteenth century sallad, a “Stechhelm” was worn in the
sixteenth; and it was shaped something like a bucket. Brassards were
always used in this course, while jambs and sollerets were usually
dispensed with.

Early examples of armour made for this course may be seen in two very
fine suits on exhibition at Nuremberg. The ponderous lance-rest stands
free by reason of the cuirass being flattened on the right side.
The breastplate, which bears the date 1498 and the Nuremberg guild
monogram, is in two pieces, one of which is a reinforcing plate for
the extra protection of the lower body, and this is fastened on to
the main plate by large screws with very big heads. The lance-rest is
supplemented with a queue screwed on behind, and curving downwards to
hold the butt end of the lance. The right arm has heavy brassards;
while on the left the heavy vambrace and gauntlet are in one solid
piece, and quite plain. There is an immense rondelle on the right side,
with a bouche cut out of the lower part to make room for the lance.
The older of these suits has a sallad, while the one that is rather
later is provided with a “Stechhelm,” which is very heavy and in one
solid piece with the mentonnière, and strongly fastened on to the
breastplate by screws; while a permanent socket and screw attach it
to the backplate. The helm is thus immovable when fixed; it is roomy,
and permits the head to move about freely within. These suits are so
heavy and ponderous that the combatants could do little more than hold
their lances in position; and if unhorsed, lay like logs where they
fell, being unable to rise without the assistance of their varlets. In
arming, each piece required to be screwed on, one after the other. The
later of these suits is taken for illustration in Fig. 6, as it bears
the more characteristic “Stechhelm.”


This course first appeared in Germany about 1510, but it doubtless
originated in Italy, as its name implies, and the Italian name for
barrier is “pallia.” It was fought with lances tipped with a coronal,
the same as in “the German Gestech,” but the main difference between
that course and the others under discussion is the presence of a wooden
barrier about five feet high, along which the two riders charge, with
it between them. In this course the legs and feet were generally
armoured, though there were exceptions to the rule. There are
very full particulars in _Freydal_, the book in which the tournaments
of the reign of the Emperor Maximilian I. are drawn and described;
and this form of tournament is figured in the tournament roll of King
Henry VIII. preserved in the Heralds’ College. The knights in their
career had to hold their lances on the left side of the horse’s head.
Originally the main intention was to unhorse: still the splintering
of lances was of more frequent occurrence than in the before-named
courses, as the saddle here was furnished with high front and rear
supports, rendering it in fact “well” shaped, so that the riders sat
much more firmly in their seats than on the “renn” saddles, especially
those which were without supports. Soon after the middle of the
sixteenth century a change took place in the armour for tournaments;
and with this came a modification in the lances also, which became
lighter, so that they mostly splintered on impact, and in such cases
the riders were but rarely hurled from their saddles. For the later
Italian course harnesses were worn, as in Fig. 7.

[Illustration: Fig. 6.--Tilting Suit at Nuremberg, for the German

[Illustration: Fig. 7.--Tournament Suit for the Italian Course
(Welsches Gestech).]

[Illustration: Fig. 8.--An Italian Course at Augsburg in 1510 (Welsches

The helm for this course differs somewhat from that worn in the others
in being provided with a little opening or window on the right side
for fresh air. The cuirass is not flattened on that side, as in Fig.
6. There are other differences, all of which may be seen on a suit in
the Armeria Real de Madrid. In the old form of “Welsche Gestech” the
rider wore sometimes the armour used for the ordinary “Stechen” course.
In Leitner’s _Freydal_ an example is figured; and there is an actual
harness, by Wolf von Speyer of Annaberg, in the Turnierwaffen-Saal at

The illustration (Fig. 8) gives an excellent rendering of this course
as it was run between Duke Wilhelm IV. of Bavaria and the Pfalzgraf
Friedrich bei Rhein, at Augsburg, in 1510. It has been taken from Duke
Wilhelm’s tournament book.


This course received its name in contradistinction to the “Welsches
Gestech,” because it was run in the free field or lists, without any
barrier between the combatants. In this respect it resembled the old
German “Stechen,” and to a certain extent grew out of it. This form
however does not occur, under the name, before the second half of the
sixteenth century. The armour for the Freiturnier differs from that
of the “Welsches Gestech” (Italian Course) in the particulars that a
grand-guard was screwed on to the left shoulder and chest, instead of
the tournament shield used in the Italian course. To the left elbow was
screwed a garde-de-bras of larger dimensions than that used for the
Welsches Gestech. Armour for the tournament was now usually so arranged
that by the interchange of reinforcing plates the same suit could be
made available for both these forms of tournament. The lance and horse
furniture were exactly the same in both cases, and the body armour of
the rider very similar, subject to the interchange of the reinforcing
pieces already alluded to. The suit selected for illustrating the
armour used for this course (Fig. 9) forms part of the remarkable
collection at Dresden. It is a fine example in plain armour of about
1580. The breastplate, it will be observed, is the “peascod.”


This is the foot-tournament which originated in the sixteenth century,
and is very different from the courses on horseback. Full particulars
can be seen in the _Akten des Dresdener Oberhof-marshallamtes_, anno.
1614. An extract (in translation) from this work by Dr. Cornelius
Gurlitt runs as follows, viz.:--

  “The one who shivers the greatest number of lances in the most
  adroit manner shall have the lance prize; and he who in five
  courses strikes the bravest and strongest with the sword shall
  have the sword prize.”

This extract furnishes a sufficient outline of the game. Like the
“tourney,” it was troop against troop. Each combatant had to exchange
three charges with the lance across a sort of barrier; and five
strokes with the sword, all directed towards the head, not only with
one but with every opponent on the opposing side; and prizes were
awarded as set forth in the extract. No prize was awarded unless the
lance splintered, nor was any given in cases where a combatant had
stepped or been driven backwards in any way. Striking below the belt
was forbidden, for no leg armour was worn. The locking gauntlet was
expressly forbidden.

[Illustration: Fig. 9.--Armour for the Freiturnier at Dresden.]

It is very interesting to find that a suit used in a “fussturnier” by
Kurfürst Johann Georg I. of Saxony is now in the Dresden collection. It
is by Anton Peffenhauser of Augsburg. The harness used was the ordinary
fighting kind. The lance was held in both hands.


This is a variety that first appeared early in the fifteenth century.
It was a dual combat on horseback, and was not in vogue for more than
a century. The weapon used was a “baston,” a short wooden polygonally
cut mace, thickening towards the end. The helmet for this course was
heavy and round, with a strong grated front. The head did not touch the
helmet at all, for the “baston,” being made of very heavy wood, was a
dangerous weapon for striking. An example of the saddle used in this
course may be seen at the Nuremberg Museum. It is so constructed that
the rider cannot well fall off.

There were a number of other courses, but the differences were only
trifling, consisting mainly in humorous devices and fashions in
costume. During the closing twenty years of the sixteenth century, and
the first twenty in the following, the Hungarian tourney was much in
vogue. This course obtained its name solely from the dress worn--the
spurs used were very long.

Running at the ring can hardly be classed under the tournament
category. It was called “Ringelrennen” in Germany, and was much in
favour at the Saxon court from 1570 to the end of the seventeenth
century. The lance used was shorter and much lighter than that for
tournaments. There is a specimen at Dresden which is tipped with a
cone, to hold the ring when hit, and there is naturally no vamplate.


These may be divided into two classes, viz., those extra pieces
appertaining to purely tilting armour, made specially for the lists,
and those used to augment the strength of ordinary fighting suits
donned for the lists. The former class comprises the grand-guard and
volant-piece, often in one plate, but sometimes screwed together,
the latter piece being provided with an ocularium on the right side
only. These plates defend the breast and face. A small wooden shield,
plated and covered with leather for the left shoulder, screwed or tied
on. This piece is in some courses the objective of the lance. The
heavy elbow-guard which protects the elbow, and half-way up and down
the arm. The German tilting arm-guard and gauntlet was often in one
piece from the shoulder. The right side is further protected by an
enormous vamplate, which in the German form covered half the arm on
both sides of the elbow. There is also a large knee-plate, the Germans
call a “diechlinge,” which is sometimes fastened to the saddle, the
leg passing between it. This piece is more especially used in
“Sharfrennen.” Suits for “rennen” and “stechen” were usually made so
that they could be worn by any man of anything like medium height, and
it was quite common for one knight to borrow the harness of another.

[Illustration: Fig. 10. Reinforcing Pieces.

  No. 1 is the Breastplate for Tilting, and on it are the holes for the
      insertion of the screws of the Lance rest. It differs but little
      from the ordinary Fighting Breastplate with the suit.

  No. 2 is an extra protection for the left breast and shoulder. This
      is the Grandguard.

  No. 3 is the Volant-piece, a protection for breast, neck, and

  No. 4 is the Cabasset for the suit.

[Illustration: Fig. 11.--Reinforcing Pieces.

  No. 5, the Chanfrein for the horse’s head.

  No. 6, the Extra Shoulder-guard.

  No. 7, the Manifer or Tournament Gauntlet for the bridle hand.

  No. 8, the Elbow-guard, or Pass-guard.[25]

As to the reinforcing pieces for screwing on to ordinary armour,
drawings are given of a series of these plates, belonging to a splendid
suit at Munich that was worn by the Prince-Bishop of Salzburg (Wolf
Dietrich von Raitenau), illustrated in Fig. 35. The pieces are numbered
on the drawings for reference, one and upwards in Figs. 10 and 11.

A projection called the queue, screwed on to the back plate, supports
the butt-end of the lance. The suit and all the pieces are richly
inlaid with gold, with the Bishop’s arms engraved on the breastplate.
There is a suit very similar in form and details of the pieces in the
Töjhus, Copenhagen, but the ornamentation of that suit is much bolder,
having the thistle for its theme throughout. It is of French make. As
in the Alnwick suit (Fig. 33), the cuisses are in two parts, the upper
being detachable, and the tassets bear evidence of missing detachable
portions. An interesting feature of this suit is that the lance-rest is
so adapted as to be capable of being either raised or lowered. Boeheim
states that he has not seen any examples of these reinforcing pieces
of an earlier date than about 1510. These pieces, with interchangeable
plates, were very numerous in some cases where expense was no object.
A suite made for the Archduke Ferdinand of Tyrol, by Jörg Seusenhofer,
consisting of a field-harness and a suit for foot-fighting, had
appertaining to the two suits as many as thirty-four interchangeable
and reinforcing pieces. They were made in 1547, and are now at Vienna.




The real great crested helm, so often seen pillowing the head in
effigies, dates from the last quarter of the thirteenth century, but it
was rarely used except in tournaments after the fourteenth. This helm
has been described in a previous section. It was replaced for fighting
purposes by the visored bassinet, the movable aventail being added
about the reign of Edward II. There is a perfect specimen of this helm
at Berlin; it was found near Bubad, in Pomerania. An illustration has
been given in Fig. 2.

The great jousting helm of the fifteenth century was made wide, very
strong, heavy, large, somewhat flat at the crown, and often in the
lighter tilting helm had an aperture on the side for speaking. It
was crested, and rested on the shoulders, being attached to the body
armour by screws front and rear, and was so large that the head of the
wearer did not touch it in any part; a cap was worn over the head. The
attachment to the cuirass was a new departure. The top is flatter, and
the ocularium, which is wider than in the older forms, can only be used
for sighting by lowering the head. The plates meet sharply in front,
producing a ridge, the higher end forming a beak-like projection. It
fell a good deal into disuse during the reign of Henry VIII. There are
two very fine tilting helms in the Rotunda collection, Woolwich, one of
which was formerly in the triforium of Westminster Abbey, and weighs
18 lb.; the other, which was acquired from the “Brocas” collection,
weighs 23 lb. A north-country example of the German “Stechhelm” (Fig.
12) is in the collection of W. D. Cruddas, Esq., M.P., of Haughton
Castle, Northumberland. The kolbenturnier helm is a variety specially
used for that course; the whole front is composed of transverse bars.
These helms were firmly screwed on to the breastplate and therefore
immovable, as may be seen on the tilting suit (Fig. 6).

[Illustration: Fig. 12.--Tilting Helm at Haughton Castle,


This helmet, the German “beckenhaube,” was round or conical, with a
pointed apex. The large bassinet of the thirteenth and fourteenth
centuries was very similar in all the countries of chivalry. It fitted
close to the head, and was covered by the great helm in tilting. An
example may be seen in Lincoln Cathedral. Before the visor appeared it
was often fitted with a detachable nasal. As soon as the helm became
visored, say in the first half of the fourteenth century (see an
example in Alvechurch, Worcester), it assumed a great variety of form,
and towards the end of the century often projected to a point like a
beak. Other forms were concave, convex, and angular. Most of these may
be seen in Stothard. There was also the small bassinet or cervelière,
sometimes called cerebrerium. It was often worn under the hood, with a
small quilted cap next the head. In the reign of Henry V. the bassinet
became more like the sallad. The effigy of the Black Prince shows
how the camail was attached to the bassinet by a silken lace through
staples. There are some fine examples of the visored bassinet in the
Johanneum at Dresden.


Visored sallads, with a peak behind and slits for vision, appear in
the reign of Henry VI. The form is a low obtuse oval ridged in the
middle; it replaced the bassinet, but was never used as an under
helmet. It was generally associated with armour of the second half
of the fifteenth century, and used with the mentonnière, which, when
fixed, afforded excellent protection for the face and throat. The
distinguishing feature is the peaked collar behind, which rests between
the shoulders, and the helmet was occasionally, in the earlier forms,
provided with a hinged nose-guard. It was worn at an angle, so that the
ocularium came in the direct line of vision, and had often a movable
visor. It measured in extreme cases as much as nineteen inches from
back to front. An example of the time of the Roses hangs in St Mary’s
Hall, Coventry, and there is another in the Priory Church at Hexham.
The earliest representation of this form of helmet in England, that
the author knows of, may be seen at Castle Donnington, Leicestershire,
on a brass of Sir Robert Staunton, who died in 1458. This sort of helm
is in several varieties, and a simple form was in use among the rank
and file, especially by archers. There are several of these helmets in
the “Rhodes” collection at the Rotunda, Woolwich, and actual specimens
of typical Italian and German forms are to be found in most of in
the German collections of armour; there are examples in the Tower.
Illustrations of sallads are given in Fig. 13.


This is the most perfect form of helmet and the most familiar, so much
so indeed as to render any description almost unnecessary. It may be
said to have been evolved from the sallad and mentonnière, in the
sense that the bavier took the place of the latter; but instead of
being slipped on over the head like the bassinet and sallad, it was
constructed to hinge over it, and strictly followed the outline of the
head and neck. Its form is globular, with a guard for the back of the
neck, and in front round the chin is the bevor or bavier. The space
between this piece and the rim of the crown-piece is filled in by a
movable visor, which is pierced with narrow openings for vision and
air. It thus consists of at least three pieces--the skull-piece, the
visor, and the bevor; the visor is usually in one piece. It is beaked,
and exhibits a series of ridges with air slits in the indentations.
The crown-piece is usually combed. During the second quarter of the
sixteenth century the visor was made in two plates, the upper closing
inside the lower--the upper plate could be lowered at pleasure,
without moving the one below. The Seusenhofer armet in the Tower is
a masterpiece of the kind, being composed of six pieces, working one
within the other. English armets date from the last decade of the
fifteenth century, perhaps a little later. They were to be met with in
Germany as early as the middle of that century. It is impossible to
make much distinction between the armet and close helmet, which latter
was the improved armet of the sixteenth century. A camail was sometimes
used with the earliest form of armet. Illustrations of this head-piece
may be seen on several of the suits given in this volume.

[Illustration: Fig. 13.--Sallads and an early Burgonet.]


This is a helmet of the sixteenth century of Burgundian origin, as
its name implies, with a hollow rim at the bottom, which fitted over
the projecting edge of the gorget. It was made in close imitation of
the head, and in either three or four parts. This helmet was designed
to meet a defect in the armet, for there was a weak place, where
the casque came in contact with the body armour. This arrangement
permitted the head to move freely to the right or left without leaving
the neck unguarded. There is a handsome specimen of the first half of
the sixteenth century at the Rotunda, Woolwich, weighing nearly eight
pounds, with a fluted crown-piece, and round the neck a wreath of roses
is engraved. There are holes in the crown for the wreath and mantling.
There are some important beaked varieties at Dresden and Berlin. The
more modern burgonet has neck-guard and oreillettes or ear-flaps of
steel. An illustration of an early burgonet is given in Fig. 13.


The morion first appeared in England in the reign of Henry VI., and
was introduced into Europe by the Spaniards, who got the design from
the Moors, as the word implies. It is an oval helmet, and has a high
comb-like crest and almost semicircular brim, peaked at both ends. The
cabasset is a helmet similar in character to the morion, and generally
peaked. Both varieties were worn for foot fighting, and are often
lighter than earlier helmets, and usually richly engraved. The Baron
de Cosson[26] says that “the cabasset first appears in an ‘ordonnance’
of Francis I., who orders that men-at-arms wear the armet, light horse
the sallad, and ‘les arquebusiers seulement le cabasset pour viser
mieux et avoir la tête plus délivre.’ The cabasset did not impede the
aim, and was therefore the proper headpiece of the musketeer.” Casques
are open helmets like the others, and of classical design. There are
illustrations of a cabasset in Fig. 11, and of bassinets, morions,
etc., in Fig. 49.


The mentonnière was used specially with the sallad, and the chin-piece
fulfils the same purpose with that helmet as the bavier does with the
armet; it fastens on to the breastplate by a staple and cusped catch,
or goes partly under that piece. The upper portion, to cover the mouth
and chin, is of laminated plates, which move up and down at pleasure,
but always from below. In conjunction with the sallad, it has this
advantage over the visored bassinet of allowing a free supply of air,
and only required to be closed just before an onset. This piece is
generally omitted in effigies, for obvious reasons; but there is an
example on a brass already referred to at Qui, Cambridgeshire, of a
date near the middle of the fifteenth century. The actual piece is,
of course, to be seen on almost any suit of the period. There is a
specimen at the Royal Artillery Institute. The portion going over the
chest is, of course, a sort of gorget; but the gorget proper is the
piece for the neck, going all round towards the shoulders and back,
closing with sliding rivets. This piece followed the mentonnière, and
was certainly not common before the beginning of the sixteenth century;
but there are much earlier examples, for instance, a gorget with a
turned-down collar at the throat is attributed to Albrecht Achilles of
Brandenburg, 1414–86. It is a piece closely connected with “Maximilian”
armour, and prevailed up to the decadence and after. We find an early
instance of the plate gorget on a brass of the D’Eresby family in
Spilsby Church, Lincolnshire, representing armour of a date very late
in the fourteenth century--this covers a gorget of chain-mail. A brass
of Sir John Fitzwaryn in Wantage Church, Berkshire, shows the plate
gorget pure and simple. The date of this monument is 1414. Towards
the end of the sixteenth century it was far from uncommon to find the
gorget joined on to the shoulder-pieces.


The cuirass consists of breastplate and backplate, which pieces are
usually fastened together by straps and buckles, but screws are
sometimes used, especially for tournament armour. It was probably
introduced into England in the reign of Henry V., and the form is
an excellent guide as to date. The word, or rather its prototype
“quirettæ,” occurs in a “Roll of Purchases” (1278) preserved in the
Tower of London. The armour for the breast was considered next in
importance to that for the head, and inventories of the fifteenth
century frequently refer to “pairs of plates, large, globose,” which
sufficiently indicate the period. Breastplates were used by the Franks
in the eighth century, and probably by the Norsemen about the same
time; that of the fourteenth century was without the salient ridge in
front called the tapul. The Rev. T. N. Roberts, vicar of Cornforth,
county Durham, to whom the author is indebted for several hints,
reminds him that it is difficult to say whether it is correct to
speak of the fourteenth century breastplate as a cuirass or not. In
effigies, brasses, and illuminations this part of the armour is always
concealed by the jupon. When the jupon disappeared (temp. Henry V.) the
breastplate is revealed always in two pieces; afterwards (temp. Edward
IV.) in only one piece, as a true cuirass. On a monument in Ash Church,
Kent (dating about 1335), where the lacing of the surcoat at the side
permits the body defences to be seen, “rectangular plates like tiles
riveted into a flexible garment” are discernible. The only remains of
an actual cuirass of fourteenth century date were found at the castle
of Tannenberg. The figure of St. George in the Cathedral square at
Prague has a flexible garment covered with very small rectangular
plates like tiles, and over this a breastplate--not a complete cuirass.
All this leads one to suppose that fourteenth century breastplates
were not cuirasses so much as additional plates of various shapes over
the hauberk, the skirts of which appear below the jupon on effigies,
etc., of the fourteenth century. Still, it must be remembered that an
effigy of the preceding century in the Temple Church exhibits both
front and back plates. The standard of mail is a feature of the close
of the fourteenth and beginning of the fifteenth centuries. It was
designed to protect the weak place between the gorget and top of the
cuirass--it grew, in fact, out of the camail. Almost all effigies
of the period exhibit these pieces. The tapul first appeared in the
fifteenth century; this ridge after being discontinued reappears later,
when it often swelled out to a hump, either over or below the navel.
This, indeed, was a decided feature of the second half of the sixteenth
century, when the cuirass had often one overlapping plate under the
arm. Occasionally it was provided with transverse bars, forming a
cross. The Gothic type is very beautiful, and is usually in two or
three plates, the second rising to a point in the middle of the breast,
and the third running nearly parallel with it and converging to a point
below it. At the top of the breast is a socket for attachment to the
mentonnière by a cusp-headed bolt. There are, however, exceptions to
this, as shown in examples at the Dresden Museum, where the top of the
breastplate projects in a piping. In one of these cases an open helmet
had been worn, and the suit probably used by the leader of a company.
A suit of which an illustration is given in Fig. 18, shows how the
mentonnière goes under the cuirass. The same would also be the case in
Fig. 19, but here the mentonnière is missing. The English form of the
fifteenth century is usually in two plates, as in the Redmarshal and
Downes effigies.[27] The first examples occur before the middle of the

The lance-rest is on the right breast, and on the left are screw
holes for a tilting shoulder-guard when this piece is used, or for
a grand-guard. The Maximilian form, which followed the Gothic, is
sometimes in one piece with the taces--that is to say, riveted with
them--and is more globular in character. In the sixteenth century
the cuirass is lower and flatter, and cut straight at the top, and
frequently had the tapul already mentioned. In the middle of the
century it tends to lengthen somewhat, and is provided with a ridge
along the top and round the arm-holes for turning a stroke, and has
often, as already mentioned, a single lamination round the arm-holes.
A feature of the breastplate about 1560 is the hump or projection over
the navel; while usually a little later we have the “peascod” form,
where the projection is found lower down. The “peascod” is obviously
copied from the doublet of the period, but whence the idea of the
middle hump sprang we cannot say. The cuirass made specially for
tilting is fully described under the heading of “tilting suits.” In the
seventeenth century the breastplate becomes very flat and very short.


It is not easy to follow the development of épaulières in the earlier
stages, as the shoulders on monumental effigies are usually draped by
the surcoat, but the principle of laminated or overlapping plates, so
early applied to sollerets, was not long in being extended to the upper
arm and shoulder, where special mobility for striking and parrying was
so needful--indeed, we have instances of articulated épaulières late
in the first quarter of the fourteenth century. These pieces at their
highest development were admirably adapted for giving great freedom
to the arm. Plates over the shoulders, as distinctive from ailettes,
first appeared in England late in the thirteenth or very early in
the fourteenth century, but they were merely rondelles or discs.
Articulations, as already mentioned, came a little later, and rondelles
protect the shoulder-pit and inner arm. A brass of a knight of the
Cuttes family in Arkesdon Church, Essex (1440), is a good example
of what may be termed the development of épaulières into pauldrons.
Pikeguards, generally applied to “Maximilian” armour, are to be found
occasionally much earlier--see example in Southerly Church (1479).[28]
The Beauchamp latten figure at Warwick (1454) shows these pieces.
Viscount Dillon mentions an example as early as 1424. Suits are often
seen with only one of these projections, but it will always be noticed
on examination that there are screw holes in the other pauldrons for
its fellow. They are guards against pike thrusts, and are occasionally
found double on each shoulder. These shoulder-guards are usually known
by English writers as pass-guards, but Viscount Dillon considers this
to be a mistake, as he thinks the real pass-guard to have been an extra
tilting-piece. The absence of these pieces is far from always implying
that they have been omitted, for in many cases a close examination will
reveal holes on the shoulders, showing that they have been originally
present. Pauldrons were usually attached to the cuirass by straps and
buckles, and consist of plates in successive lames over the shoulders
and upper arm. Sometimes the attachment is by a pin, as in Fig. 22.
In armour of the second half of the fifteenth century the upper plate
scarcely reached beyond the shoulder, while in “Maximilian” and later
armour they came well over the chest, assuming a resting wing-like
form before and behind. They were sometimes very large and uneven in
size, that for the right arm being the smaller, for using the lance.
There are many instances late in the sixteenth century where gorget and
pauldrons are joined together in one piece, and then elbow-gauntlets
are used. This is the case in armour called “allecret.” In the second
half of the sixteenth century pauldrons were often smaller and
wingless--indeed, more like the older épaulières, and then rondelles
reappear for the protection of the weak place, “defaut de la cuirasse.”


were plates attached to the armour, variously applied for the
shoulders or any weak places, later specially to defend the armpits,
where there was a vulnerable place called “vif de l’harnois,” and
later, “defaut de la cuirasse,” and leave the arms free to parry or
strike. These pieces assume various forms, and were not invariably
in pairs; in cases where they differ, that over the right armpit is
the smaller--an instance of this may be seen on a brass in Harpham
Church, Yorkshire (1420). In this instance the left rondelle is round,
while the other is scroll-shaped. There is a portion of a “Gothic”
suit at Dresden with an oblong rondelle on the right side, while a
projection on the épaulière, to a certain extent, protects the left
armpit. They appear very early, and may be seen freely and beautifully
applied on a figure in Alvechurch, Worcestershire, of the earlier
half of the fourteenth century. They vary very much in size, and in
armour of the next century were very handsome, being ridged throughout
with escalloped flutings, and often charged with a heraldic rose, and
sometimes spiked in the centre. They became very large in tilting
suits, little short of a foot in diameter. The earliest application of
these discs was to the elbow-guard. Rondelles for the armpits reappear
freely in the second half of the sixteenth century, as shown in
examples at Dresden and Berlin. They are frequently on the right side


These pieces are the armguards--the rerebrace for the upper arm, the
vambrace for the lower; they first appear in plate in the second
quarter of the fourteenth century, and became general a quarter
of a century later. Coudières for the elbows first appeared in
the thirteenth century in the disc form, about the same time as
genouillières for the knees; and these pieces exhibit one of the
earliest applications of plate to body armour. Both may be seen
on an effigy of William Longespee the younger (1233) in Salisbury
Cathedral. Coudières are elementary in the early stages, with rondelle,
then cup-formed and laminated both above and below the elbow, with
shell-like side expansions to protect the inner bend of the arm, and
later going all round the elbow joint. This was the completed form,
but all these improvements did not come at once. The De Bohun effigy
exhibits the second-mentioned form. The outer guard assumes many forms,
fan-shaped, bivalve, escalloped, etc., and is sometimes preposterously
large. The rerebrace and vambrace do not appear in England before
the fourteenth century. The effigy of the Black Prince at Canterbury
exhibits these pieces. The armour for the arm, that is the three pieces
dealt with, is termed brassards or brassarts. The garde-de-bras, an
additional protection for the left arm for tilting, attachable to the
elbow plate by a screw, was introduced in the fifteenth century.


The earliest form after chain-mail was of cuir-bouilli, both plain and
fortified with scale work, and such largely prevailed in the thirteenth
century, and even later. An example occurs on the tomb of Sir Richard
de Burlingthorpe, of about 1310. The earliest form of plate gauntlets
occurs in the middle of the fourteenth century, and shows articulated
fingers--see an example on a brass of Thomas Cheyne, Esq. (1368), at
Drayton Beauchamp, Bucks; after which mitten gauntlets of laminated
plates, with a separate thumb-guard and peaked cuffs, prevailed. Late
in the fourteenth century an attempt is made to copy the finger nails.
An example occurs on the monument of Sir Robert de Grey, at Rotherfield
Greys, Oxfordshire. Late in the fifteenth century, the earlier form,
with articulated fingers, was reverted to. Gadlings, or knuckle and
finger spikes, were in vogue throughout the century--a truly dangerous
weapon of offence for the _mêlée_. Again, later we have the fingers
covered with overlapping plates, very narrow and flexible. Another
common form, though late, is the elbow gauntlet. There is a pair in
the Castle of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and there are others at Naworth
Castle and in the author’s collection. A locking gauntlet was invented
in the latter part of the sixteenth century, the object of which was
to prevent the weapon from being knocked out of the hand, to which it
was fastened by a hook and staple. It is stated that this gauntlet was
often barred in single combats, it certainly was in foot-tournaments.
There is an example of this contrivance in a suit in the Tower of
London. Gauntlets were sometimes made of brass.


Taces were the laminated plates at the bottom of the cuirass, and
to these the tuilles or upper thigh guards were attached by straps
and buckles. It was common to wear mail below the taces, often with
escalloped edges, but the lower portion was often the bottom of a
shirt of mail still worn beneath the cuirass. The mail skirt appears
so late as 1578 on an effigy at Whitchurch, Denbigh. Taces usually
consisted of three, and sometimes of five, and even of eight lames, as
noticeable in the brass of Sir John Lysle (died 1407), whose armament
is entirely of plate; but early examples are in one piece, and indeed
late examples also. An early example, with taces only, is to be found
on the brass of Sir John Drayton, but part of the lower portion is
missing. Laminated taces first appear late in the fourteenth century;
the brass of Nicholas Hawberk (died 1406), at Cobham, is an example.
The introduction of “Almayne” rivets (sliding) gave great elasticity to
the armour. Tuilles are peculiar to armour dating from the second
quarter of the fifteenth century; the earlier form is short and square,
but later it becomes pointed and an escalloped shell or tile-like plate
in one piece, extended down so as to cover the top of the cuisse, and
was attached to the taces by straps and buckles as a guard against
an underthrust of the sword. There is an early example on the brass
of John Leventhorpe, in Sawbridgeworth Church, Hertfordshire (1433).
This, like all tuilles of its time, was small and attached by straps or
hinges to the lowest rim of the taces--indeed, it differed but little
in shape from the plate to which it was attached. It lingered long in
England, as shown in the Stanley and Lementhorp brasses in Westminster
Abbey and Great St. Helen’s Church, 1505 and 1510 respectively; and
there is a very late example on a suit of armour of the time of Philip
II. of Spain, but this may perhaps more properly be looked upon as a
solid tasset, the suit having been used for tilting. The Beauchamp
effigy shows four tuilles, two large and two small. Tassets followed on
these pieces, though they were for a time contemporaneous. They were
practically the same piece as the tuille in laminated plates, but were
generally attached directly to the bottom rim of the cuirass, taces
being then usually dispensed with, unless in one plate, forming the
connecting link. It was not uncommon to find them in two parts during
the second half of the sixteenth century, as shown in the Alnwick
example (Fig. 33), and there are also cases where they are in one solid
piece, as shown on a gilded suit in Windsor Castle, and in the other
example referred to. Tassets gradually increased in length as time went
on until they reached the knees, forming then the cuisse itself of
laminated plates. This was the last stage before the introduction of
the jackboot. The brayette or cod-piece is a hollow cap-like projecting
plate for fixing on to the bottom of the cuirass for the protection
of the fore-body. Fig. 14 represents this piece in chain-mail. We
are not aware of the existence of another specimen in chain-mail.
The fortunate possessor of this unique piece is Dr. Edgar von Ubisch
of Berlin, and we are indebted to his kindness for the illustration.
The garde-de-reine was a projecting piece attached to the rim of the
backplate; it was of overlapping plates, and protected the rump and
small of the back.

[Illustration: Fig. 14.--Brayette in Chain-mail, at Berlin.]


Up to the Conquest there was probably no leg armour in England other
than thongs, but there are early German examples. Chausses would
naturally suggest themselves after Hastings, as William bore them;
while Harold, who did not, was wounded in the leg. The term applied to
the upper leg armour, or breeches of mail, was chaussons. Soon after
the Conquest cuir-bouilli was largely used, and this was followed by
stockings of mail and sollerets of the same, as may be seen on the
seals of Richard I. Wace mentions iron chausses. Even up to the middle
of the fourteenth century it continued common in England to wear these
pieces in chain-mail with attachable genouillières. An example of
this kind may be seen on the effigy of Robert de Vere (died 1221) in
Hatfield Broad Oak Church.

The cuisse was the plate going round the front of the lower thigh,
fastened by strap and buckle. It first appeared in France and England
in the second quarter of the fourteenth century, and became general
towards the close. In armour of the latter half of the fifteenth
century it was often embellished by consecutive laminations at the top.
In the second half of the sixteenth century it was sometimes in two
detachable pieces, for foot fighting and horseback.

Genouillières (defences for the knee) were the first body pieces of
plate, except perhaps the plastron-de-fer or breastplate, and possibly
the coudière also. They were called poleyns, and first appear in the
thirteenth century; an example, about 1250, is figured in Plate XXX. of
Stothard. The side of the knee became further protected by rondelles
later in the century; and from that time these appendages became more
ornate and comprehensive. As soon as plate armour was completed,
genouillières became articulated both above and below the knee. In
armour of the second half of the fifteenth century they are specially
beautiful, assuming a shell-like form, often bivalve and butterfly
shape with escalloped edges and flutings. The chausse, or shin-piece,
was used in chain-mail, indeed earlier still in fortified leather, and
early in the fourteenth century it became plate and was termed jamb;
first only in front attached by strap and buckle, and later going round
the leg hinged, and fastened by sliding rivets. These pieces were also
called greaves. The inventory of Piers Gaveston (1313) catalogues
“three pairs of hinged jambs.” These pieces were generally plain. Both
they and sollerets disappeared with the advent of the jackboot.


Sollerets are a better guide as to date of armour even than gauntlets,
particularly after the fourteenth century, for reasons given under
the head of the last-named. The earlier sollerets of overlapping
plates were of extravagant length. This form followed the prevailing
fashion in shoes, and hence the name “à la poulaine” from “souliers
à la poulaine.” The long form was much modified during the last
quarter of the fourteenth century and well into the fifteenth, but it
became in vogue again later in the century with enormous tips, the
length from toe to heel being up to twenty-four inches. The instep
of chain-mail was not uncommon in the fourteenth century and even
later. The sollerets of the Black Prince were of enormous length. The
tips could, however, be disconnected at pleasure. The shorter form
was styled “demi-poulaine” or “ogivale lancette.” A variety called
“ogivale tiers-point” largely prevailed in the second half of the
fifteenth century. When ridged and escalloped armour was replaced by
“Maximilian,” sollerets were wide and short--in fact the shape of a
bear’s paw or cow’s mouth, spreading out at the sides, and requiring
very broad stirrups; but when fluted armour was discontinued the shape
became gradually narrower, and after the middle of the century more
like that of the foot; still there are very late instances of the
“bear-paw” form. This variety was styled “bec-de-cane,” which differs,
however, from the “tiers-point” of the fifteenth century. Sollerets
disappeared altogether with the jamb, the jackboot taking their
place.[29] These pieces in laminated plates are shown on the Daubernoun
brass, and continue to occur on such monuments.


This subject is too vast for more than a mere outline in these pages.
The kite-shaped, round, and triangular shield appears in the twelfth
century. The two first-named are long, and either bowed or flat. They
were held over the breast by a strap going round the nape of the
neck, called a “guige.” Shields of the thirteenth century were either
small and “heater” shaped, or larger and rounded. Pavises were very
large shields to be placed before the bowmen as a defence, and were
provided with an inner prop to hold them upright on the ground. As to
ordinary shields, most of the thirteenth century forms extended into
the fourteenth, when the bouche, or hole cut in the right corner as
a spear-rest, was introduced. They were pear-shaped, triangular,
heart-shaped, circular, oval, curved, and sometimes nearly square.
The round buckler was carried in the hand, while the larger shield
was borne on the arm. The material was generally of wood or leather,
or both combined--the latter often embossed. They were more or less
fortified or bossed, and sometimes partly or wholly of iron. For tyros,
basket-work was used. Shields generally bore a heraldic device, or
other cognizance, and were frequently curved, bossed, and spiked. The
usual shield of a knight of the fifteenth century had the bouche, was
convex, and about two and a half feet long by about a third of that
broad, and pointed at the bottom. In the sixteenth century ordinary
shields were seldom used, but an immense amount of fine artistic work
was lavished on the pageant shields of that period, an example of which
is given in Fig. 15. The tournament shield is described under the
heading devoted to these games.

[Illustration: Fig. 15.--Pageant Shield, formerly in the collection of
Prince Carl of Prussia.]


This, the Roman murex or tribulus, was a sharp point of iron standing
upright, fashioned like a crow’s foot. They were strewn broadcast on
the ground, for the purpose of maiming horses in a charge of cavalry,
or placed on a moat filled up with fascines, or on a breach to resist
an attempt at escalade. Knightly spurs have been known to have been
used for this purpose. The name is an abbreviation for cheval-trap.
There are some specimens in the Rotunda, Woolwich, varying in height
from 1.25 to 2.5 inches.[30]


These goads were used by the Romans, and the gilded spur was one of the
badges of the knight of mediæval times. The earlier are of the “goad”
type, and fastened by a single strap; they were probably first used
singly, and were called “prick spurs.” An example of the goad prick may
be seen in the Daubernoun brass (1277). We get the rowel prick late
in the thirteenth century. The D’Argentine brass (1382) furnishes an
example of a spur of the fourteenth century. The number of points or
pricks in specimens of the middle ages approximate the date. Early in
the fourteenth century there are usually eight, but in the fifteenth
as many as twelve points to the rowel, and spurs were long-necked.
Later, the fashion in style and form was “legion.” In heraldry the
knightly spur was a “goad” up to 1320, and called a “pryck-spur,” later
the “rouelle-spur.” The tournament spur of the sixteenth century was
straight and long in the neck. In the case of a knight’s degradation
his spurs were hacked off by the king’s master-cook. During the
fourteenth century it was usual, when orders were given to men-at-arms
to fight on foot, for their spurs to be taken off, so as not to impede
their movements; and these were then often used as caltrops. This was
notably the case at the battles of Courtray and Poitiers.



The “Gothic”[31] school, as it is termed, exhibits the highest
embodiment of artistic beauty as applied to defensive armour; and it
inaugurated a new epoch in warlike panoply. The armour-smith’s best
efforts were directed not only to give increased protection to the
limbs and make the armour light, flexible, and impenetrable; but the
flutings and escalloped edges were designed to produce beauty of form
and outline, as well as with a view to deflecting the weapon of attack
from vital points; and the armour was equally mobile for fighting on
foot or on horseback. We owe its initiation doubtless to Italy, in
which country, together with Germany, it reached its highest pitch
of excellence; but the style itself is really a reproduction of the
mediæval Florentine dress. Gothic armour is greatly associated with the
sallad, large mentonnière, tuilles, and sollerets “à la poulaine.” The
cuirass is decorative; the earlier form being somewhat short with many
taces, and the later with a longer breastplate and fewer taces, thus
exhibiting the evolution from the still earlier fashion. It has been
fully described under the heading devoted to this piece. There is an
English example of this style of armour shown on a brass in St. Mary’s
Church, Thame, Oxfordshire, about 1460; and another in the effigy
already mentioned of Sir Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, in St.
Mary’s Church, Warwick. There are only very few Gothic suits preserved
in this country, our practical people having used up so many as old
iron, just as they let the weather into our fine abbeys and churches by
tearing off the roofing lead for the melting pot.

A few suits are attributed to particular ancestors in some of the
castles of long-descended German families, but, in almost every case,
with but slender foundation in fact; the only specimens in England
that may be termed historic are those in the Rotunda at Woolwich, and
these are only fragments. Few of the “Gothic” suits in this country,
if indeed in any other, are quite homogeneous, and many of them are
more or less made up of odd pieces. This is the case with the “Gothic”
armour at Parham, which is said to have come from the Church of St.
Irene at Constantinople. Many of the details of this armour are of
the most exquisite and obviously authentic character, while pieces,
such as the sallads, apparently never went with the other armour.
Reliable armour of this period is very scarce, and difficult to buy.
Four thousand pounds was recently asked in London for a suit! Fashion
was as absolute regarding armour as in dress; and with the advent of
the “Maximilian” period the “Gothic” form was greatly laid aside,
for it could not be adapted, and therefore became obsolete. This is
the main cause why so few specimens have been preserved. A historic
example in the collection at Sigmaringen Castle, the cradle of the
Hohenzollerns, is described in detail, and an illustration given (Fig.
17). Another example may be seen on the brass of Sir Robert Staunton at
Castle Donnington (died 1458), on which the épaulières extend over the
armpits. This brass probably presents the earliest English instance of
the sallad. The “Beauchamp” effigy in latten, a “species of fine brass
metal,” affords a beautiful example of the earlier Gothic school. The
suit from which the models were taken is probably the work of Tomaso
da Missaglia of Milan. This effigy, and its probable origin, raises
the question as to which country we are indebted for the “Gothic” form
until comparatively recently freely attributed to Germany; but it is
tolerably certain that it originated with the Missaglias. There is
a further interesting point brought out by the effigy itself, which
was the work of an Englishman, viz.: that the smith who could copy
a suit so faithfully would probably be able to make real armour of
a high character. We read in Blore’s _Monumental Remains_ all about
the contracts for this truly magnificent monument, where it is stated
that Dugdale, the historian of Warwickshire, has very fortunately
preserved a recapitulation of the agreement between the executors of
the Earl and the artisans employed in its erection. This document
is given _in extenso_ in Blore’s work, and, as he says, it throws
considerable light, and affords some extremely important information,
on the construction of ancient monuments in general. The original was
found among the muniments of the bailiff and burgesses of Warwick, and
bears the date June 13, 32 Henry VI. The Earl died in 1439, so that the
contract for the monument was given out in 1454. Various subsidiary
agreements of an early date are included in the main contract. The
names of the contractors were John Essex, marbler; William Austin,
founder; and Thomas Stevyns, coppersmith. The clause of the contract
regarding the effigy runs as follows, viz.:--

“The said Will. Austin, xi. Feb., 28 Henry VI., doth covenant to cast
and make an image of a man armed of fine latten, garnished with certain
ornaments, viz., with sword and dagger; with a garter; with a helm and
crest under his head, and at his feet a bear musled, and a griffon,
perfectly made of the finest latten, according to patterns, all which
to be brought to Warwick, and layd on the tombe, at the perill of the
said Austin: the said executors paying for the image, perfectly made
and laid, and all the ornaments in good order, besides the cost of
the said workmen to Warwick, and working there to lay the image, and
besides the cost of the carriages, all which are to be born by the said
executors, in totall xl li.”

A further clause refers to the agreement made with Bartholomew
Lambespring, Dutchman, and goldsmyth of London, 23 Maii, 27 Hen. VI.,
who “covenanteth to repaire, whone, and pullish, and to make perfect
to the gilding, an image of latten of a man armed, that is in making,
to lye over the tombe, and all the apparell that belongeth thereunto,
as helme, crest, sword, &c., and beasts; the said executors paying
therefore xiii li.” The accounts of one of the executors show that
the monument took twenty-one years to erect and finish, and that the
total cost was £2481 4s. 7½d. Mr. Blore continues: “The monument of
Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, consists of an altar-tomb of grey
marble, in the finest preservation. Within canopies admirably wrought,
are whole-length sculptures of fourteen of the immediate relatives of
the deceased, executed in latten, which was a species of fine brass
metal, and richly gilt; these figures are disposed five on each side,
and two at either end of the tomb. Underneath every figure, in starred
quatrefoils, is a shield with armorial bearings enamelled on brass,
and between the larger canopies, alternately, a smaller, containing an
angel executed in similar metal with the portraiture of the mourners,
and holding in one hand a scroll, on which is engraven in Gothic letter,

           “Sit deo laus et gloria, defunctis misericordia.”

The image, excepting the hands and head, is in complete armour, with
the garter encircling the left leg. The head rests upon a helm,
surmounted by the family crest, and at the feet are a bear muzzled
and a griffin, badges of the ancient house of Warwick. The armour may
be considered as real, from the extreme care and exactness that have
been bestowed on it by the original artist. Mr. Charles Stothard had
the figure turned over, and found that the armour for the back was as
carefully and minutely finished as that on the front. The suit exhibits
the cuirass as shorter than we find it in later “Gothic,” while the
taces are correspondingly more extended, and consist of five lames.
The breastplate has a gracefully curved groove on either side, and a
catch for the mentonnière on the breast. The mentonnière is usually
omitted in effigies for obvious reasons. A remarkable feature of the
effigy is that there are four tuilles; the larger two do not converge
so abruptly to a point as they usually do rather later, but the smaller
ones are more sharply pointed. The coudières are of the beautiful
butterfly type, and very large; while the sollerets are far from
being extravagantly tipped. The most unusual feature of this effigy
is the early presence of pikeguards. The Earl died in 1439, so the
figure could not well be copied from any armour he left behind him,
for the general aspect of the suit would fix the date about 1450–60,
which would correspond with the date of the contract for the tomb.
As already stated, the figure was probably fashioned after models
supplied by Tomaso da Missaglia, and seems to represent his later work.
This impression is strengthened by the following comparisons with
two harnesses at Vienna, viz.: a suit by this master, made for the
Pfalzgraf Friedrich am Rhein, about the middle of the century, exhibits
points of contact with the Warwick figure, especially in respect to
the number of the taces; while another by Antonio da Missaglia, made
about thirty years later for the Count of Gajazzo (died 1487), shows a
relatively longer breastplate and fewer taces. The latter suit bears
pikeguards, which the earlier does not. One may perhaps deduce from
these examples that the Beauchamp effigy represents the later work of
Tomaso. The illustration given in Fig. 16 represents the effigy in an
upright position. It is a reproduction of that given in Blore.

[Illustration: Fig. 16.--Effigy of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick,
in St. Mary’s Church, Warwick.]

Tomaso and Antonio da Missaglia, the illustrious sire and son, were
the great Milan armour-smiths of from the end of the first quarter
to the close of the fifteenth century. To the first it seems certain
that we are indebted for the form called “Gothic,” which was, however,
merely a graceful improvement on the fashion immediately preceding it.
There was nothing very abrupt in the transition, as was the case in
the radical change from “Gothic” to “Maximilian.” The work of Tomaso
is conspicuous for purity of style and nobility of form, and, from an
artistic point of view, it has no rivals. Armour of his period was
generally plain, but the more pronounced passion for decoration of the
time found expression in the work of his son; an example of whose
skill may be seen in the case of a helmet in the Tower of London, and
at Vienna is the superb Gothic suit with pikeguards, already referred
to, made for the Count of Gajazzo. Tomaso was, it is believed, the
first master to use armourer’s marks. His monogram is the letter “M,”
surmounted by a crown. The Negrolis, who worked after the Missaglias,
seem to have been of the same family, and, as Boeheim points out, the
name “Missaglia,” like that of Ferrara, seems to have originated as a
“place” designation. Examples of the work of the Negrolis may be seen
both at Vienna and Madrid. Their work represents the full swing of the

Milan, where the Missaglias worked, is not the only town in Italy where
there is a Via degli Armorari and a Via degli Spadari, showing that
there were then separate guilds for armour- and sword-making in that


This beautiful “Gothic” suit, by Lorenz Kolman of Augsburg (Fig. 17),
is said to have belonged to one of the Counts of Hohenzollern-Eitel.
Demmin refers to it as being erroneously ascribed to Eitel Frederick
I. of the thirteenth century. The mistake is obvious, as there were no
Counts of Hohenzollern-Eitel then! There were two Eitel Fredericks in
the fifteenth century. On consulting the Stammbaum at Hohenzollern it
appears that

  Eitel Frederick I. reigned 1426–1439.
  Jost Nicolaus I.      ”    1439–1488.
  Eitel Frederick II.   ”    1488–1512.

And the character of the armour conforms closely to the early portion
of the reign of the last-named. There was no later “Eitel Frederick.”
A later suit, made for this Eitel Frederick about 1510, is now at
Vienna. It is “Maximilian” and partly fluted, and very possibly by the
same master; for we see by the Berne example, referred to somewhat
later in these pages, that Lorenz Kolman turned out Maximilian armour
after that fashion had superseded the “Gothic.”

[Illustration: Fig. 17.--Gothic Suit at Sigmaringen.]

The sallad (Fig. 17) is very heavy, and of the usual German form. There
are traces of a leather lining, and besides the ocularium there are
two small holes above the forehead. The mentonnière is fastened to the
breastplate by a cusped clasp; the neck and chin-piece can be raised or
lowered at pleasure, and there is a spring catch for the purpose. The
cuirass is most elegant in shape, and being much longer than that on
the Beauchamp effigy brings out clearly its later date. It consists of
three plates, the two lower slightly overlapping, leaving decorative
margins, and they converge to points along the tapul at the breastbone
and below. The lower plates are riveted, and add both strength and
elasticity to the piece. There are holes on the right breast for
fixing a lance-rest, and on the left are two holes for fastening on a
grand-guard for tilting. The taces consist of three lames, and to these
the tuilles are attached by straps and buckles. The tuilles are very
graceful, with angular flutings, and terminate in a point. The cuisses
are decorative, while the genouillières are small, with bivalve guards.
The épaulières and rerebraces are laminated, the coudières pointed,
and held in their places by straps. The rondelles are unfortunately
missing. The gauntlets are articulated, with sharp gadlings over the
knuckles and first finger joints. The garde-de-reine consists of three
lames. The sollerets are “à la poulaine” in an extreme form, but the
tips can be disconnected at pleasure for foot fighting, like those on
the effigy of the Black Prince. The lower part of the body is protected
by a skirt of mail.

The Sigmaringen harness exhibits many points of contact with a
beautiful suit recently acquired by Prince Ernst of Windisch-Graetz,
which is a glorious specimen of the armourer’s art at his very best.
The tuilles of this example are not pointed, as is the case on the
Sigmaringen suit.

A “Gothic” suit from the collection of Prince Carl of Prussia now in
the Zeughaus at Berlin, of which an illustration is given in Fig. 18,
is very beautiful. The finely modelled breastplate has a fluted rim
across the upper chest, a feature that is uncommon in Gothic armour,
but of which other examples are given under the heading “The Cuirass.”
The rondelles are ornamented with curved radiating flutings, in the
matrix of which a projecting spike is fixed. The coudières are sharply
pointed at the elbow, while the tuilles are large, with a shape not
unlike that of the larger pair on the “Beauchamp” effigy, though
bevelled and pointed. The sollerets are “à la poulaine,” in the extreme

The remarkable armour-smith family of Kolman of Augsburg occupied a
similar position in Germany, during the reign of the Emperor Maximilian
I., to that held by Antonio da Missaglia in Italy. Lorenz, surnamed
Helmschmied, is perhaps best known to-day for the beautiful “Gothic”
harness, made about 1490 for the Emperor Max, which now adorns the
collection at Vienna. It resembles the Sigmaringen example somewhat
closely, the points of difference lying mainly in the form of the
sallad, the shape of the tuilles (square-cut at the bottom in the
Vienna example), and the Vienna harness has an extra plate on the
breastplate. That Lorenz Kolman was employed during the later portion
of his career as Court armour-smith to Maximilian in making fluted
armour, as he had been engaged earlier in turning out “Gothic,” is
shown by an early and interesting example of fluted “Maximilian” armour
at Berne. This harness compares closely with that represented in
Fig. 24, though the Swiss example shows pikeguards, which the other one
does not. The early character of both suits is shown by the swelling
out of the breastplate over the abdomen. The figure sits on horseback,
and the horse is fully barded contemporaneously with the figure. The
saddle has the deep seat of the “renaissance.” Lorenz Kolman died in
1515. The armourer’s mark of this family is a helmet surmounted by
a cross. The mark of Hans Grünewalt of Nuremberg has not been fully
determined, so that his work cannot be identified with absolute
certainty; but a breastplate that belonged to Philip the Fair, and a
shield at Vienna, have been attributed to him. They are of exquisite
workmanship, and the mark on these specimens is a stag on a shield,
which clearly refers to the “greenwood.” He was the great rival of
Tomaso da Missaglia, and died in 1503.

[Illustration: Fig. 18.--Gothic Suit at Berlin.]

The Gothic armour at the Rotunda, Woolwich, is especially valuable from
its direct association with the Knights of Rhodes. It is fragmentary in
character, consisting mainly of isolated plates and portions of plates.
There are several sallads of the Italian type, a beautiful breastplate
in two plates, a backplate, some gardes-de-reine, a cuisse with a
small butterfly genouillière guard, rounded flutings radiating from
the centre of the upper thigh, several broken gauntlets, besides other
fragments, and a tilting helm of the end of the fifteenth century, on
which fifteen of the staples remain; the helm is perforated on one side

The last Gothic suit given is one in the author’s collection, and an
illustration of it is here given (Fig. 19).


This suit, like so many of its period, is incomplete. The armet with
it, when acquired, never belonged to the suit, and there is no
mentonnière. The sallad, shown on the figure, was made recently to
give the general effect of the period. The suit is otherwise complete,
and of fine material, proportions, and workmanship. The steel of this
period is of excellent quality. The details, with a few exceptions,
somewhat closely resemble those of the Sigmaringen suit. There are
rondelles at the armpits on this suit which are ornamented with
radiations, and these, together with the elbow-guards, are beautifully
ridged and bevelled. The tuilles are larger and squarer than those
on the Sigmaringen suit, and the sollerets not so long in the tips.
The cuirass is in two plates, with a rim across the chest, as shown
on the Berlin suit (Fig. 18)--the mentonnière therefore went partly
below the cuirass. The general details greatly resemble those of a
suit at Vienna, attributed to Sigismund of Tyrol, which is also an
incomplete suit. As the gauntlets of this suit are distinctly typical,
it may be well perhaps to go somewhat into detail concerning them. They
are of fine workmanship and material, as well as light and graceful.
The surface of the steel is very hard. The cuff is sharply pointed,
and deep flutings run in parallel lines towards the extremity; while
similar perpendicular flutings join the lowest of these lines. Three
supple articulations lend flexibility to the gauntlet, and connect the
knuckle-plate with the cuff. The last-mentioned plate and four finger
plates all work in slots, and are beaten into ridges for fitting over
the knuckles and fingers. The thumb-guard is also articulated. An
illustration is given in Fig. 19.

Transitional Gothic, where laminated tassets replace tuilles and
merge into the next stage in various ways, is also very beautiful. In
both varieties you have lovely escalloped and fluted rondelles, often
charged with a heraldic rose. A fine example of this description may be
seen in the National Museum at Munich, and an illustration is given of
it (Frontispiece), because of the beautiful details. The rondelles
are especially fine, and the mentonnière and breastplate, which latter
is in two plates, are clearly shown.

[Illustration: Fig. 19.--Gothic Suit in the Author’s Collection.]



The strong military tone lent to this period by the bent and character
of the three great monarchs who then ruled the destinies of Europe, had
great influence on armour, civil dress, art, and display generally. The
tendency, as in architecture, was towards redundancy of detail, and
the abandonment of simpler and more truly artistic forms for something
more ornate. This tendency found expression more in the details and
ornamentation of armour than in the intrinsic beauty of the form
itself. The third estate emerged more and more from its long vassalage,
bringing trade and opulence in its train; besides a corresponding
diminution in the power and prestige of extreme feudalism. The
imagination was cultivated, as it had not been before, and luxury,
with the means of gratifying it, had correspondingly increased;
indeed, the society of the time had already passed the threshold of
the “renaissance”--one of those periods of revival, in long course of
incubation, suddenly bursting into life. Harnesses were more solid and
altogether less mobile than in the “Gothic” form.

The “Ehrenpforte” of Maximilian, supposed to have been decorated
from the designs of Albert Dürer, gives a vivid representation of
the meeting between Henry VIII. and Maximilian. This work, and much
literature with illuminations, filled in details of the times which are
invaluable to us now. These monarchs revelled in pomp and parade which
found expression greatly in the tilt-yard; and the influence exercised
on the arms and armour of the period was immense. Now the man-at-arms
was completely encased in plate. Immensely heavy “Gothic” suits of
armour already began to be laid aside in tournaments in favour of
harnesses made for battle, supplemented with reinforcing pieces.

Armour then underwent a great change about the end of the fifteenth
century, during the reign of the Emperor Maximilian (died 1519), when
fluted armour (_armatura spigolata_) came into fashion. The change was
radical and abrupt, being obviously suggested by the civil dress of
the period. The transition was so sharp as to convey the idea that the
change was by order. The beautiful Gothic lines, ridgings, and indented
outlines disappear, and the form becomes stiffer and less elegant in
every way. The breastplate is shorter and more globular, and fringed
at the top by a projecting piping; the more graceful épaulières change
into pauldrons, often of unequal size, and the pretty rondelles become
unnecessary for the time being; but they were resumed at a later
period. Coudières and genouillières are smaller, while tuilles are
replaced by tassets of laminated plates. Sollerets became very broad
and clumsy, in absolute contrast to the “souliers à la poulaine.” It
seems in every way probable that this style of armour, though like
the “Gothic,” so closely associated with Germany, may have had its
origin in Italy; for the Germans in contemporary writings call it
“Milanese.” Henry VIII. ordered many suits at Florence. The helmet, the
armet, and a little later the burgonet, are nearly as much associated
with “Maximilian” armour as the sallad is with the “Gothic”; and the
gorget proper replaces the mentonnière, or in other words, the bavier
of the armet took the place of the neck and chin-piece.[32] Another
prominent feature is the general use of pikeguards, which stand out at
the head of the pauldrons to protect the neck of the wearer from
pike thrusts. There are some fine suits of this armour in the Tower of
London, presented by the Emperor Maximilian to our Harry the Eighth. An
illustration is given in Fig. 20 of a typical suit in the collection
of Prince Carl of Prussia, now in the Zeughaus, Berlin. The details
are as follow, and bear out the general descriptions of the class
already given in these notes:--The suit is fluted throughout, except
the jambs, which are nearly always plain. The helmet is the armet, and
this example sufficiently indicates the date of the armour; both form
and workmanship are good. Instead of the large “Gothic” mentonnière,
there is a gorget and the bavier. The pauldrons, which are uneven in
size, are surmounted by pikeguards; the left pauldron is the larger.
These pieces consist of front and back plates, an innovation of the
sixteenth century. The cuirass is shorter than the later Gothic form,
more globular, and cut straight at the top with a rope-like rim. The
backplate terminates in a garde-de-reine of three lames. Gauntlets are
of the mitten type, with narrower lames than in the form immediately
preceding, and there is a twisted ridge across the knuckles. The
coudières are sharply rounded over the elbow joint with bivalve guards.
The taces are in four lames, and the tassets buckled on; there is the
usual arrangement in the centre for the insertion of the brayette or
cod-piece, which is missing. The armet-collar is laminated behind. The
sollerets are of the “bear-paw” form.

[Illustration: Fig. 20.--Fluted Maximilian Suit at Berlin.]

There is a remarkably fine suit of Maximilian armour in the Königl.
Bayer Armée Museum at Munich. It is not, however, quite such a
characteristic example as the ones already given, inasmuch as the
pauldrons, besides not being winged, are without pikeguards. The
armpits are protected by spiked rondelles. In all other respects this
suit is identical with the one preceding.

A suit at the National Museum, Munich, of which a drawing is given
in Fig. 21, is more shapely than the one preceding, and differs in
some rather essential particulars. The armet has a very projecting and
grated visor. The pauldrons are more comprehensive; the cuirass more
globose. The mitten gauntlets with fluted cuffs are very beautiful, and
the finger plates are wonderfully flexible. This is rather an early
form of the “Maximilian” gauntlet, and would date the suit between 1505
and 1510.

Armour was often worn at this period with helmets of a grotesque
character. A drawing is given in Fig. 22 of a suit at Nuremberg, badly
set up, with an armet of this character. The armour is fluted. There
are some of these grotesque helmets, of the same period, at Vienna, and
the author has a couple of a later time in his own collection.

Although armour of the Maximilian period is usually fluted this is
by no means always the case, and a smooth suit of that school in the
author’s collection is now described, and a drawing of it follows in
Fig. 23, which somewhat incongruously exhibits the knight as holding a
flamberge, which is a footman’s weapon.

[Illustration: Fig. 21.--Fluted Maximilian Suit at Munich.]

[Illustration: Fig. 22.--Fluted Maximilian Suit, with Grotesque Helmet.]

[Illustration: Fig. 23.--Plain Maximilian Suit, in the Author’s

Though not fluted, this suit belongs to the style and period of fluted
armour. It is of noble form and fine workmanship. The armet is graceful
in outline, with a twisted comb, and there are twin perforations on
each side of the crown-piece. The visor exhibits the series of ridges
so characteristic of the period, and there is a projecting peg on the
right side to work it, and a spring catch on the same side to close
it, while a similar catch connects the bavier with the crown-piece.
The collar terminates in a grooved rim, which is articulated behind.
The gorget is strengthened by an extra inner plate in the centre,
riveted on to the outer; and a lamination towards each shoulder lends
elasticity to the piece. The cuirass differs radically from the
Gothic form. It is globular without a tapul ridge, and is shorter in
the waist. The “movement” below the breastplate is a combination
of taces and tassets. The former consist of three lames over the
abdomen joined on to the rim of the cuirass; and the latter are in
five lames, being riveted on to the lowest rim of the former. The
breastplate is cut short at the top, along which runs a thick twisted
projecting rim, and just below this are two small perforations in the
centre. This rim is continued round the armpits on the outside edge
of a laminar plate attached to the breastplate. A lance-rest is on
the right side. The brassards are apparently of a somewhat later date
than the rest of the suit, the pauldrons being exactly the same in
form as those on a suit, of German origin, made for King Philip II.
of Spain about 1540. The gauntlets are of the mitten type, and finely
wrought. The knuckle-piece has a twisted ridge, and a smaller piping
decorates the edge of the cuff and the last plate over the fingers. The
cuffs are hinged, and clasp with a hole and peg. The cuisses have one
lamination at the top, on which is a narrow twisted rim, and below it a
very thick twisted ridge. The genouillières are small and “butterfly,”
while the sollerets are bear-paw, thickly ridged over the toes, and
very handsome. This suit presents many points of contact with a harness
made by Koloman Kolman for Count Andreas von Sonnenberg, about 1506.
There is another fine unfluted suit of about this period in the Tower
collection, said to have been made for Henry VIII. The visor of the
armet is grated, and the tapulled breastplate is rendered more mobile
by two laminated plates at the bottom. The taces and tassets are
riveted together, the former consisting of four lames, and the latter
of seven. The pauldrons are a pair, and there is only a pikeguard on
the left side, but whether the other shoulder was holed or not for a
fellow, as is generally the case when only one, the author does not
remember. Viscount Dillon states that the suit is composed of 235
interlocking pieces, and weighs about 93 pounds. It was specially made
for foot fighting.

We will close the “Maximilian” examples pure and simple by briefly
referring to a fine fluted suit on horseback formerly in the collection
at the Chateau De Heeswijk, near Bois-le-Duc. This suit (Fig. 24) is
almost identical with that already referred to in the Königl. Bayer
Armée Museum at Munich, and the figure carries a tournament lance, with
the coronal. The bards are contemporaneous with the armed figure, and
the same theme of repoussé ornamentation runs throughout the entire

[Illustration: Fig. 24.--Mounted Maximilian Suit, with Bards.]



As already mentioned, a very distinctive feature of this period, which
lasted only four, or at the very most six decades, is the skirt of
mail called “lamboys,” or in the language of the day, “bases,” which
resembles a full gathered or plain petticoat, or kilt of laminated
hoops, held together with “Almayne” rivets. A drawing is given of this
kind of armour from an example in the author’s collection (Fig. 25),
which is said to have come from an old castle in the Tyrol into the
family from whom he obtained it. The suit could only be traced back
some seventy or eighty years. Armour with long skirts was current
during the reign of Henry VI., but this description differed from the
“bases” of the reign of Henry VIII. in the plates being flexible in a
vertical direction; capable, as Viscount Dillon says in _Archæologia_,
vol. li., p. 258, of being lifted up like a Venetian blind. As shown
by the fine suit with lamboys or bases, by Conrad Seusenhofer, in
the Tower of London, which will be commented on somewhat later in
these pages, it is obvious that this style of armour was to the
fore during the later years of Maximilian’s reign, but it became
more _de rigueur_ in that of his successor. The general pose of the
suit (Fig. 25) is excellent and characteristic. The armet is fluted
and “Maximilian” in three pieces, and is a most perfect specimen and
graceful in outline. There is a small comb on the crown-piece, and
a plume-socket. The visor moves on rosettes of nine petals, and it
projects sharply forward to a point, the front consisting of four
deeply indented bevels, with two broad lights above them, and two
smaller slits in each bevel. There is a spring-catch for closing the
visor. The bevor is attachable to the crown-piece by a similar catch.
The helmet has a collar of three lames, and weighs five pounds. It is
almost identical in form with one catalogued No. 47 among the helmets
exhibited at the rooms of the Royal Archæological Institute in July
1880. The date given is 1515–30. In all probability the helmet on
Fig. 25 was made earlier than the date fixed upon for the suit, and
perhaps was not worn with it. The cuirass has a tapul with a projection
near the base, like the “peascod,” and this feature seems at first to
be indicative of a rather later date than 1550–60. The same form is
present, however, on a suit with lamboys in the Vienna collection, made
by Mathaus Frauenpreis of Augsburg in 1550. This armour, like the one
in the author’s collection, is for fighting on foot. The lamboys in
Fig. 25 consist of nine lames, the lowest much broader than the others,
with a band studded with rivets for an inner lining, terminating with
an ornamental string-like piping. These skirts are attached to the
lower rim of the cuirass by sliding adjustable screws, and each lame
is provided with a similar screw on both sides for attaching the back
and front portions together. The back of the lamboys is the same as the
front. These sliding rivets are believed to be the “Almayne” rivets
so often referred to in inventories of the reign of Henry VIII. They
are present also on the fine suit with lamboys in the Tower, made by
Conrad Seusenhofer of Innsbruck for Henry VIII. The Tower suit is
earlier than the one under discussion, has pikeguards, and the “base”
has a brass border, which was doubtless once gilded or silvered. The
pauldrons of the author’s suit are very large, and of equal size both
back and front, while the rerebrace is freely laminated. The coudières
are cup-formed, and go nearly round the elbow joints. The heart-shaped
guards, the tops of the pauldrons, and bottom of the rerebrace are
enriched by a small piping. The gauntlets are “mitten,” quite complete,
and of fine workmanship. The cuffs have their upper edges adorned with
a similar piping to that on the other pieces, and the same design is
repeated at the base of the last finger plate. Over the knuckles is
a bold twisted piping, and the laminated plates over the back of the
hand number five above the ridge, while those below are the same in
number. The gauntlet is of the type prevailing about 1535–40. The
cuisses and jambs have a ridge running down to the sollerets, while
the genouillières are ornamented with a double bevel in the centre.
The knee-guard is oval, and bevelled in the centre. The sollerets are
small, and of the “bec-de-cane” type.

[Illustration: Fig. 25.--Suit with Lamboys, in the Author’s Collection.]



The armour-smiths who stand out prominently during this period are
the Negrolis of Milan, who have already been referred to, the later
Kolmans of Augsburg, and the Seusenhofers of Innsbruck. An example by
Koloman Kolman, son of Lorenz, may be seen at the Armeria Real, Madrid
(Catálogo No. A65), in a harness made for Charles V. Tuilles are here
replaced by tassets, and the figure has a “stechtarche” or tournament
shield at the shoulder. Another example, in a noble unfluted suit, is
at Vienna. It was made for Count Andreas von Sonnenberg about 1506,
and has been already referred to. Desiderius, son of Koloman, also
turned out work of the highest character. A specimen of his handiwork
is in the Madrid collection. The Kolman’s mark is an armet surmounted
by a cross, with the Augsburg armour-smiths’ guild badge. Very little
is known concerning the work of Hans Seusenhofer of Innsbruck, beyond
the curious “piped” harness at Vienna, made for the Emperor Charles V.
when a youth. We have an example of that of his brother Conrad in the
exquisite mounted suit, with lamboys, in the Tower of London, made by
order of the Emperor Maximilian I., and presented by him to Henry VIII.
The date is 1514, and it is chastely engraved with the cognizances of
the king, and of his consort Katharine of Arragon. The general theme
of the ornamentation throughout is the legend of St. George. The suit
is referred to by Viscount Dillon in the _Archæologia_, vol. li. The
armourer’s mark is on the helmet, and the suit has been originally
silvered over. Jörg Seusenhofer, son of Hans, worthily closes the
line; specimens of his work are at the Musée d’Artillerie, Paris,
and there is a splendidly enriched harness at Vienna made for the
Archduke Ferdinand of Tyrol, about 1547. The collection at the Königl.
Zeughaus, Berlin, is in possession of a fine example by this master
in a suit made for Francis I. of France. It is engraved and gilded
in the French style, evidently in compliment to the King, or by his
orders. The breastplate exhibits an early instance of the “peascod.”
The leg armour and sollerets are palpable “restorations.” Other
examples by this master are given under the heading “Enriched Armour.”
The engraving for this suit was done by Hans Perckhamer. Another
celebrated armour-smith, who worked under the Emperor Maximilian II.,
is M. Frauenpreis of Augsburg, of whose work an admirable specimen with
lamboys, which has been already referred to, exists at Vienna.



Defensive armour experienced another change a little before the
middle of the sixteenth century, viz., in the casting aside of fluted
armour, for the reasons already stated, and the resumption of plain
steel. Suits became generally lighter, and the form of the breastplate
changed, with a hump over the stomach or the abdomen. During the
second half of the century the cuisse and tasset tend to combine in
a series of laminated plates to the knee, and sollerets were smaller
and more the shape of the foot; indeed, greaves and sollerets began
to be replaced by leather boots. This period was specially remarkable
for profuse and artistic ornamentation. Armour was engraved by hand
and manipulated with aquafortis, as well as embossed and damascened
with gold, in a manner that has never been surpassed in any work of
the kind whatever. There is a very fine suit of the period, 1550–60,
at the Königliche Zeughaus, Berlin, made by the elder von Speyer; and
though the armour is enriched, it has been described in this section
by way of showing a typical harness of the period in its order. It was
undoubtedly made by Peter von Speyer in 1560 for the Kurfürst Joachim
II. of Brandenburg, and is thus historic. The letters P. V. S., with
the year, appear several times on the armour, and the Brandenburg
arms decorate the breast. The helmet is the burgonet, the cuirass is
shorter than the fashion immediately preceding, while the rim of
the breastplate stands out sharply beyond the tassets. The breastplate
projects a little below the centre, and the shoulder-pieces and general
pose, with the before-mentioned features, are all characteristic of
the year of make. The ornamentation in repoussé work is very fine.
This suit has been fully and ably described by Dr. Edgar von Ubisch
in the _Hohenzollern Jahrbuch_ of 1899. (See illustration, Fig.
26.) Descriptions in detail and illustrations are given of various
suits of the second half of the sixteenth century. During this half
century (sixteenth) defensive armour may be said in some respects to
have reached its highest point of excellence; but towards its close
unmistakable signs of decadence began to appear, and cap-à-pie suits
fell gradually into disuse. This was caused by the inability of the
armour to resist the then more penetrating firearms, or perhaps even
still more, because the newer tactics demanded lighter cavalry and
fighting more in masses, and less from individual efforts hand-to-hand.
A style of demi-armour, called the “Allecret,” largely prevailed during
the second half of the sixteenth century. The name is a corruption of
“allekraft” (all strength). The peculiarities of this fashion will be
shown in an example from the author’s collection (Fig. 27), which will
be fully described later in these pages. This half-armour was often
worn by light horsemen, household troops, and leaders of companies.
It is very common to find, especially in family collections, some
particular suit or suits ascribed to a great ancestor, but this is
nearly always romance. It is an uncommon advantage to find a harness
dated with the year, as some few are. There is a suit of this kind in
the National Museum, Munich, with the date 1597 inscribed, and others
at Nuremberg and Berlin. The more that is seen of armour, 1560–1600,
the greater is the difficulty in many cases of fixing any approximate
date, or arriving at any standard for suits covered by the period.
Many suits were restored again and again, and this naturally gives
rise to great perplexity. With this period closes the pre-eminence in
the field of the knightly order, as such.

[Illustration: Fig. 26.--Suit by Peter von Speyer of Annaberg, dated

The decline of armour may be said to have already commenced
contemporaneously with the period of its greatest elaboration, in the
sense that half-armour began to be freely worn early in the second half
of the sixteenth century, indeed, a figure of a Swiss halbardier, given
in Holbein’s “Costumes Suisses,” of the first half of the century wears
merely a light sallad, with cuirass and taces; and the rank and file of
pikemen, billmen, and harquebusiers generally bore a similar equipment.
Even the “Allecret” description, which is half-armour, was greatly
used by the leaders of companies and mercenaries generally; while what
might constitute a battalion or combined body of troops was often under
the command of a captain belonging to the knightly order, still armed
cap-à-pie. The fact is, that full armour could not be constantly worn
during a long campaign as then conducted without injury to health,
and its use became more and more restricted to the knightly order and
men-at-arms, who were not generally exposed to the same hardships as
the common soldier. The man-at-arms of the sixteenth century became the
pistolier and cuirassier of the seventeenth, and then wore half-armour.
The example of demi-armour (Fig. 27), sometimes called “Allecret,”
dates from late in Queen Elizabeth’s reign; but a demi-harness, with
other details, was worn much earlier, and notably by the German
Landsknecht and the Swiss. The main features of this suit are that
there are elbow gauntlets, a fashion adopted from the Asiatics; and
that the gorget and épaulières are riveted together. The specimen under
discussion is probably of English make. A shirt of mail was possibly
worn beneath it, but this defence was generally dispensed with by the
end of the sixteenth century. The “Triumph of Maximilian” shows
leaders of footmen wearing half-armour. Black and white demi-armour
was very common at this time, and an interesting example of this
description is given in Fig. 28. Its general characteristics are as
follows:--The burgonet is open, and the gorget, which is riveted to
the épaulières, has two laminations at the neck, around the highest
of which is a corded rim. The breastplate is short, with a projection
over the navel. The taces are riveted to the tassets, which descend to
the knee. There are no brassards, but short elbow gauntlets protect
the hands and lower arms. The figure has jackboots, and is of early
seventeenth century date.

[Illustration: Fig. 27.--Plain Demi-suit, in the Author’s Collection.]

[Illustration: Fig. 28.--Black and White Demi-Suit, in the Author’s

[Illustration: Fig. 29.--Late Suit at Munich, 1590–1620.]

Cap-à-pie harnesses tended to become lighter as time wore on, and in
the last quarter of the century the tasset and cuisse became combined
in a series of light overlapping plates, directly attached to the
cuirass and riveted on to the genouillières; which in their turn become
attachable to the jambs by an adjustable screw. A representation is
given of a late suit of armour of this description in Fig. 29, where
the helmet is the collared burgonet, which is characteristic of the
end of the sixteenth and early in the seventeenth century. The cuirass
has three horizontal laminations over the abdomen, while the upper
leg and thigh armour is the combination already referred to. The
elbow gauntlets of the suit are very characteristic of the period.
The harness dates from very late in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, or
possibly even later.

Many writers lay far too much stress on the use of firearms as the
main cause of the gradual disuse of armour. Coming easy to hand, it
was eagerly adopted by many writers on the subject, but like most
generalisations it is misleading. That it was a potent factor in this
direction is certain, but it was only one of the many causes which
have been already touched upon in these pages. The general demand for
cap-à-pie armour languished from the end of the sixteenth century
forward, and with it vanished the taste and skill of making and
decorating it; for we have very little more of the exquisite work of
the “renaissance,” the vigour and force of which had spent itself.
Here and there a fine suit is met with, usually made for royalty, but
always lacking finish in the details; the majority are sadly inferior
in material, workmanship, and decoration--indeed, the character of the
work is coarse in every particular, and became more so as time moved
on. The change in armour during the first half of the seventeenth
century was very great. The breastplate became flat and very short, and
open helms were much worn. The representation (Fig. 30) of a very early
seventeenth century suit is from the armoury at Brancepeth Castle,
Durham. This suit probably dates from very early in the seventeenth
century. The helmet has an umbril over the eyes. Immediately under the
peak is the ocularium of two very broad slits--the visor is grated. The
suit is freely studded over with rather large-headed rivets, the gorget
is pointed, cuirass short with lance-rest, but no garde-de-reine. To
a broad rim at the bottom, tassets, consisting of nine lames, are
attached by straps and buckles. The coudières are sharply pointed at
the elbow. The most remarkable and distinctive feature in connection
with this suit is the protection given to the inner arm by a series
of small and very mobile laminated plates, attached to the rerebrace
and vambrace by rivets; another example with a similar arrangement may
be seen in the Tower. Cuisse and jamb have a high ridge running down
the centre in front, the genouillières having a thicker projection,
bevelled at the sides, in a line with the ridge on the other two pieces.

Plate armour fell into discredit during the seventeenth century and
gradually disappeared, the pikeman being the last of the foot soldiers
to use it. The cuirass was the last piece generally worn, and this in
time gave place, except in the case of the cuirassiers, to the buff
coat and jerkin.

[Illustration: Fig. 30.--Late Suit at Brancepeth Castle.]

Among the great armour-smiths who worked from 1540 to the end of the
century may be mentioned Kunz Lochner of Nuremberg, who was perhaps
the greatest artist in steel of the German “renaissance.” A suit made
for Duke Johann Wilhelm of Weimar about 1560–65, at Dresden, is very
typical of his time. The comb of the burgonet is high, the neck-piece
consists of three lames; the breastplate is short and “peascod”; while
the cuisses exhibit an early instance of coming to the knees. This suit
is referred to under the heading “Enriched Armour.” Anton Peffenhauser
of Augsburg began somewhat later, and worked up to the end of the
century. A notable example of this master may be seen at Madrid, in an
enriched harness made for Don Sebastian of Portugal in 1576 (Fig. 39);
and there are others at Dresden. Sigmund Rockenberger of Wittenberg;
the von Speyers of Annaberg in Saxony, and the two Wilhelms von Worms,
and Heinrich Knopf of Nuremberg; Giovanni Battista Serabagio, and Lucio
Piccinino of Milan, were all great artists of their time; and examples
of their work may be seen at Vienna, Dresden, and Berlin. Mention of
the work of Jakob Topf of Innsbruck first appears about 1575, and an
attempt has been made to identify this armour-smith with the “Jacobe”
of the South Kensington Album, but with very slender foundation in
point of evidence, as it seems to us. Some further sifting of the
matter would be interesting.



This class of armour was more for parade purposes than for actual
service in the field, and it was much used in the lists. Most suits of
the kind were provided with a set of reinforcing pieces for jousts and
tourneying. These pieces have already been fully described under “The
Tournament” heading, and illustrated in Figs. 10 and 11. The amount
of artistic skill of the very highest order that was lavished on the
ornamentation of armour in the later “middle ages,” and especially
during the “renaissance,” was a remarkable feature of the times, and
artists of the greatest repute found constant and lucrative employment
in designing for this purpose. Suits were finely and delicately chased,
engraved, russeted, and enriched with gold, embossed, damascened,
appliqued, and decorated with repoussé work.

[Illustration: Fig. 31.--Suits by Jörg Seusenhofer of Innsbruck.]

Italy and Germany were the workshops for the finest specimens, and
Milan, Brescia, Nuremberg, Augsburg, Innsbruck, Venice, Florence,
besides other places, vied with one another in the production of
specimens of consummate skill and elegance. French examples were
coarser and less artistic in every way, while there was but little
of knightly armour made in England, and that little, excepting for a
very brief period, was of a vastly inferior description. The number
of artists and craftsmen, in widely different branches of art and
manufacture, who were employed to design, turn out, and finish a suit
of armour, or a weapon for war or for the chase, was simply legion;
and, of course, in the case of enriched suits, or arms, still more
were brought into requisition. There is the designer, modeller, steel,
silver and gold smiths, carvers, enamellers, inlayers, engravers,
repoussé or workers in hammered work, damasceners, polishers, and
hosts of other craftsmen, each contributing his quota of industry and
skill to one complete whole. Artists of the very highest celebrity,
such as Donatello,[33] Michael Angelo, Albrecht Dürer, Leonardo da
Vinci, Benvenuto Cellini, and Hans Holbein, had no higher ideal than
in designing for this kind of work, and some of them were engaged
in engraving also. It is well known that many armour-smiths employed
other artists for designing and ornamentation, while others, like Kunz
Lochner of Nuremberg, did their own embellishing as well as the smith’s
work. An illustration is given in Fig. 31 of two very fine suits by
Jörg Seusenhofer of Innsbruck. They are both tastefully engraved, and
appear to be of a somewhat earlier make than the archducal suit by the
same master, referred to in a previous chapter, and differ from it, as
well as from each other, in some rather important features, especially
in the form of the cuirasses and tassets. Only one of the three has
pikeguards. These suits were made about 1540.

[Illustration: Fig. 32.--Cuirass and Tassets, at Dresden.]

There is a chastely enriched harness in the Kriegswaffen-Saal at
Dresden attributed to Wilhelm von Worms. A drawing is given in Fig.
32 of the cuirass and tassets. On the left side of the breastplate is
engraved a figure of a knight kneeling before the crucified Christ on
the cross. The top of the breastplate is tastefully ornamented with
a shield, with foliations on either side. This example is specially
valuable, as it bears the date of make--1539.

An example in black and white may be seen at Berlin, the bright spaces
being engraved. The breastplate is adorned with an engraved figure of
Christ on the cross, and the gorget bears the legend: SOLVS SPES MEA
CHRISTVS. A rondelle protects the right armpit. The left pauldron is a
restoration. The suit dates about 1570.

There is a remarkable harness at Berlin, dating from about the
middle of the sixteenth century. The cuirass, taces, and tassets
are banded with an ornamentation of chevrons, which are bright and
black alternately. Each row is defined with lines of brass, probably
originally gilded. The cuisses are bright on the upper portions, which
are enriched alternately with piping and small overlapping plates like
shillings; the lower portions are black, and so also are the jambs.
The sollerets are small and “bear-paw,” the extremities adorned with
alternate bright and black flutings; the pauldrons are treated in the
same manner. The rerebraces are ornamented with thick, circular coils
to resemble puffs; there are no coudières, but the joint is rendered
mobile by eleven narrow lames. There is a boy’s harness of similar
make at Vienna, by Hans Seusenhofer, dating about 1511. This suit is
obviously a copy of the civil dress of the time.


This is a very chaste and elegant Italian suit (Fig. 33), dating
from the last quarter of the sixteenth century. It is ornamented in
the banded Italian style; the ground of repoussé work, with its rich
minute foliations in low relief, is gilded, while the rest of the steel
remains bright. The general style of the ornamentation is alternate
chevrons of bright steel and minute repoussé work. The decorative
work on the pauldrons and genouillières is, however, much bolder in
character than on the rest of the armour. A very similar style of
ornamentation may be seen on a tilting suit given in Skelton, vol.
i., Plate VIII., and dated by him 1543. The Alnwick harness is freely
studded with brass-headed rivets which have been gilded.

The helmet is in four pieces, and highly characteristic of the Italian
school of the period.

The gorget is comparatively modern, but conveys the idea that it was
copied from the original piece owing to dilapidation, and but for the
ornamentation it would pass even with close observers when the suit is
set up.

[Illustration: Fig. 33.--Suit at Alnwick Castle, Northumberland.]

The pauldrons are very beautiful, and laminated at the shoulders
and upper arm. The rerebrace and vambrace are finely formed and
ornamented; the former is laminated.

The coudières are pointed at the elbows, with side-guards which
continue round the arms.

The gauntlets are articulated, with thumb-plates, and a salient ridge
runs across the knuckles. One of them, like the gorget, is of a more
recent date than the main portion of the suit.

The cuirass is specially long and handsome. A broad piping borders the
top and arm-holes. A tapul runs down the centre, projecting in a hump
towards the middle. On the right side is a lance-rest, and on the left
are holes for affixing a grand-guard. The lower portion of the cuirass
consists of three narrow laminated plates, running almost horizontally,
and fastened together by brass-headed rivets, which were originally
gilded. The tassets are riveted to the bottom rim of the cuirass. These
pieces consist of ten lames, with gilded rivets. A special feature is
that the tassets can be shortened or lengthened at pleasure, the last
four lames being detachable--clearly an arrangement for fighting on
foot or on horseback. Other examples of this kind have already been
given. The upper section is complete in itself with an ornamental rim,
as is the lower one. This is a contrivance often met with in the second
half of the sixteenth century. The attachment is accomplished by a
screw catch and sliding rivet.

The backplate, which terminates in a garde-de-reine, has a piped border
round the top and shoulders, and there are two lames at the bottom.

The cuisse, like the tasset, is in two sections, with similar means of
attachment. The genouillières are attachable to the jambs by catch and
sliding rivets. The knee-guards are small. The jambs are banded down
the centre, in a line with the genouillières and cuisses. The sollerets
are the variety styled “bec-de-cane,” being almost the shape of the
foot. Both jambs and sollerets must be classed with the gorget and
one gauntlet as restorations; they are all most beautifully done. Some
details will be clearly seen in Fig. 34.

[Illustration: Fig. 34.--Some details of the Suit at Alnwick Castle.]

The harness already referred to as having been worn by the
Prince-Bishop of Salzburg about the year 1600, and illustrated in Fig.
35, is a beautiful suit by the celebrated Milan armour-smith, Lucio
Piccinino. It is profusely inlaid with gold, and the ornamentation is
most elegant. The sumptuous and elaborate decoration, which is in the
banded Italian style in repoussé or hammered work, with arabesqued
foliations, is interspersed with medallions encircling male and female
figures. The helmet and suit throughout is closely in touch with the
elegant Italian school of the end of the sixteenth century, which,
however, already erred on the side of redundancy in ornamentation.
The close of all great periods culminates with this great fault,
sharply marking the beginning of the end; the waning vigour of the
theme eked out by a profusion of detail. The prince-bishop’s arms are
engraved on the cuirass, and the historic character of the suit invests
it with special interest and importance. The series of reinforcing
plates belonging to it may be referred to in Figs. 10 and 11. Lucio
Piccinino’s style marked the last stage before the decline of art. He
came of a family of artists; his father was the celebrated sword-smith,
Antonio Piccinino. Other examples of Lucio’s handiwork may be seen in a
richly decorated helmet and shield at Vienna.

[Illustration: Fig. 35.--Suit by Lucio Piccinino, of Milan.]


This suit is very rich and handsome, being freely engraved and
inlaid with gold--the gilding has, however, greatly worn off. The
ornamentation is somewhat rude, both in character and in execution, and
vastly inferior to either Italian or German work. The cuirass is
ornamented with a “George” badge on either side, indicating a knight
of the Garter, the execution of which is good. The genouillières are
attachable to the jambs by reversible catches, which pass through the
plate--they are the same catches as shown on the Osuna harness. There
is a tapul and garde-de-reine. The sollerets are square-toed, but very
narrow, not “bear-paw” like the “Maximilian.” The Earl of Carlisle
suggests the possibility that the harness may have belonged to the last
Lord Dacre, who died in 1566. This would, of course, point to an even
earlier date of make, but this seems incompatible with the general
aspect of the suit, which would appear to date from late in the reign
of Queen Elizabeth.

[Illustration: Fig. 36.--Repoussé Armour at Berlin.]


This beautiful suit (Fig. 36), decorated in repoussé work in very
high relief, dates about the close of the sixteenth century, and the
ornamentation is instructive as well as artistic in the classical
battle-scene and details it depicts. The mitten gauntlet, with expanded
cuff, is very fine. The ridge over the knuckles is bold, and smaller
ridges continue to the finger tips.


This is highly characteristic of the period it represents. The armour
is freely ornamented in repoussé or hammered work, and bears traces
of gilding. The suit was probably made in Italy, is very handsome,
and has seen much service. Being well authenticated, it has a special
interest. The suit belonged to Don Pedro Fellez de Giron, Duke of
Osuna and Infantado, Knight of the Black Eagle Order, etc., Viceroy
of Sicily about 1600, and later of Naples (about 1610). It was saved
from the fire at the old De Giron family seat in Belgium--the castle of
Beauraing, in the Province of Namur, not far from Dinant. The place was
burnt on the 3rd December, 1890.


The whole suit (Fig. 37) is freely ornamented with arabesqued
foliations on a ground of fine vertical lines, banded in the Italian
style, interspersed with human heads, some of them grotesque, and
enclosed in medallions; and a series of armed figures, which would
richly repay a close examination. The helmet is a remarkable piece of
workmanship, and forged in a single piece; it weighs seven pounds. It
is an Italian casque of a most graceful and classic form. The repoussé
ornamentation on it is banded like the rest of the armour. The comb
is very high, and fluted all over the crest. There are remains of a
leather lining inside, fastened all round with gilded rivets. The
plume socket has two holes for adjustment, and there is another hole
in the comb for firmly securing the plume of feathers. The oreillettes
are provided with six holes on one side, and three on the other, for
hearing; and have each a round projecting eye, with fluted edges,
presumably an attachment for keeping the flaps up when not required,
or for fastening them across the throat. Both peaks are of overlapping
plates, with fluted borders. A very similar helmet, formerly in the
possession of Baron de Cosson, was ascribed by him to 1530–40. He
writes concerning it: “Many rich suits had one of these light open
helmets as well as a close helmet,” a fact proved by existing examples
at Madrid and elsewhere. We have already quoted an example in the
description of the suit of the Prince-Bishop of Salzburg, which has
a close helmet and a cabasset. The cuirass has a tapul, with
a projection near the bottom; this particular form was termed the
“peascod” in England. Both these pieces are bordered round the chest
and arms with a thick ridged piping. This piping was a contrivance to
stop a stroke from penetrating beneath the gorget. The tassets consist
of six lames, and are attached to the tace, which is in one piece, by
straps and buckles; all the rivets have gilded heads. The lower body
is protected by chain-mail. The left pauldron is the larger; both have
free laminations at the shoulder and upper arm. The coudières are
cup-formed over the elbows, and go round the arm. The gauntlets have
highly-rounded articulations for the fingers, with a separate thumb
plate. Both leg armour and sollerets are freely decorated in “banded”
ornamentations, with enclosed medallions, besides gilded rivets. A
sharp ridge runs down the front of the cuisse, genouillière, and
jamb. The genouillières are fastened round the back of the knee by
straps, and on to the jambs by a reversible turning pin on the latter,
passing through a hole in the former; and a turn of the screw secures
the attachment. Jambs, which are hinged, and sollerets are riveted
together, with lames above the ankle. The sollerets are “bear-paw.” All
these pieces are held together by gilded rivets. The suit was probably
made in the third quarter of the sixteenth century, or possibly as late
as the fourth quarter, though the shape of the sollerets would point to
a somewhat earlier period. Fig. 38 exhibits some details of the suit.
The stand on which the armour is hung is very old, and has probably
stood in the armoury of the castle of Beauraing for centuries; and the
face is very possibly a portrait of the Duke d’Osuna.

[Illustration: Fig. 37.--Suit of the Duc D’Osuna.]

[Illustration: Fig. 38.--Some details of the Osuna Suit.]

The beautifully embossed harness at Vienna, made for the Archduke
Ferdinand of Tyrol, about 1560, is the work of the Milanese master,
Battista Serabaglio. The casque is of classic form.

An embossed suit (Fig. 39), made by Anton Peffenhauser of Augsburg,
about 1570, for Don Sebastian of Portugal, is in the Armeria Real at
Madrid (Catálogo, page 94, No. A290); it is a notable example of the

The collection in the hall set apart for enriched armour at Dresden
is especially valuable in exhibiting a remarkable series of fourteen
historic suits, blazing with ornamentation, and covering a period
of from something like the second quarter of the sixteenth to the
end of the first quarter in the seventeenth century. All these suits
are royal specimens of their school. The earliest is the harness of
Kurfürst Moritz of Saxony, 1521–53. The rider sits on horseback in
his field-harness, which is freely decorated with gold arabesques
on blue bands. The Kurfürst bore this armour on his entry into the
conquered city of Magdeburg in 1551. The bards are enriched in the
same manner as the armour borne by the Kurfürst. Another suit is that
of Duke (afterwards Kurfürst) August, 1526–86. It is fluted and richly
ornamented, bearing the Saxon arms inlaid. This harness was the gift
of the Archduke Ferdinand of Tyrol, and is probably the work of Jörg
Seusenhofer of Innsbruck. The figure holds a field-marshal’s baton in
the right hand. The legend, “Semper suave,” is inlaid on the bards.
Another suit of this Duke’s is a specimen of blackened harness with
white bands; a description much worn in campaigning in the second half
of the sixteenth century and later, because it was easily kept clean
in all weathers. It is a fine piece of work, and is inscribed with the
date 1546. The Duke bore this suit at the battle of Mühlberg in the
year following. A harness of Duke Johann Wilhelm of Weimar, bearing
the mark of Kunz Lochner of Nuremberg, date about 1560. A suit for man
and horse of Kurfürst Christian I., 1560–91. Tournament reinforcing
pieces stand by it--a tilting helm, grand-guard, garde-de-bras, etc.
The harness for man and horse of Kurfürst Christian II. (1583–1611),
a masterpiece of the armour-smith’s art, is by Heinrich Knopf of
Nuremberg, and cost £1,750. The ornamentation consists of arabesques
on a gold ground with enclosed medallions. A rapier by Andreis Munsten
of Solingen is with the suit. There is a second suit that belonged to
this prince--the ground is a dull green, with chasings. This harness,
according to an inventory of 1606, was bought at Augsburg in 1602--it
bears no mark. The latest harness of the series is that of Kurfürst
Johann Georg I., and the date is 1622; it is the work of Hieronymus
Ringler of Augsburg, and though very richly decorated exhibits
unmistakable signs of the decline of art.

[Illustration: Fig. 39.--Suit by Anton Peffenhauser, at Madrid.]

This remarkable series is as valuable from an educational as from
an æsthetic point of view; still, though the differences in points
of detail, over the various periods, stand before you, it must not
be forgotten that fashions were far from being contemporaneous over
northern and central Europe, and that new departures of fashion
in armour, as in dress, took long to travel and get generally
assimilated--far longer in the sixteenth century than to-day,--hence
one or two salient features cannot always date a suit, even within a
couple of decades. There is a fine series of plain gilded suits at
Dresden, which were worn with boots.

To give a completer series of examples of late sixteenth and early
seventeenth century forms and fashions would make this work far too
voluminous. Examples of pikemen’s later suits, etc., would make the
chain more complete, but the varieties are so very numerous that it
would be impossible reasonably to cover them without largely extending
the size and scope of the work. Practically the illustrations close
with the end of the sixteenth century; after which the general use
of armour, from causes already referred to, rapidly declined. The
interest in the later forms is comparatively far less to the student
or collector, whether looked at from an artistic or historic point of
view, than the grand period which has been imperfectly covered here.





Dion Cassius refers to the armament of the Caledonians as being a
buckler, dagger, and lance; while Tacitus says that the Britons used
large blunt swords and small bucklers.

Excepting for a few specimens found in peat mosses and burial mounds,
we are indebted to monkish chronicles for all our knowledge regarding
the weapons of the “dark ages” of our era, together with a few glimpses
and suggestions obtained from the “Sagas” handed down, partly _vivâ
voce_, from generation to generation. There are many errors in the
best classifications of arms, and many weapons in museums and private
collections scheduled as belonging to the “iron age” are really of
mediæval origin; still, this state of things has vastly improved of
late years, and some of the newer museum catalogues leave but little to
be desired, having been compiled by men who have made a close study of
the subject, and who have had the advantages of ample opportunities for
comparison in their surroundings.

Procopius, the secretary of Belisarius, gives some account of the arms
of the Franks of the sixth century, whose weapons were the sword, the
axe or francisca, and the spear. The ordinary battering-ram and the
testudo, which was a movable shed containing a ram, were in use in
this century, as well as a machine for boring walls.

The sources of information available from the seventh to the end of
the tenth century are very scanty as far as Britain and the Germanic
peoples are concerned; but more has been preserved relating to the
Franks, a race also of Germanic origin, whose country, more than any
other during the “dark ages,” seems to have been imbued with the
continuity of Roman methods and traditions. This was indeed a barbarous
nation, with the corrupt remnants of the Roman Empire grafted on to
it; and the Frankish kingdom only became consolidated some time after
the introduction of Christianity, which provided a much needed common
platform in the teachings and example of the monastic orders. The monks
wrote and preserved the manuscripts, without which the “dark ages” of
our era would have left but little trace behind them.

Double axes and the lance or javelin appear in the seventh century, and
indeed up to the age of chivalry the weapons of the ruling class of the
more civilised nations of Europe continued to be the axe, the lance,
and above all, the sword; while those of the yeomanry or peasantry were
the bow, the sling, and the fustibal or staff sling. The axes differed
in shape and length, some blades curving like a halbard, of which it is
evidently the prototype, while others were long and narrow. The form of
the lance or javelin varied greatly, and some were barbed. Two kinds of
swords prevailed--the true sword and a shorter weapon. The true sword
was worn by leaders only; it was flat, double-edged and sharp, two and
a half to three feet in length, with an obtusely pointed blade. The
shorter sword was in general use, also the battle-axe and a dagger.

The Anglo-Saxon thane carried a sword, then solely a horseman’s weapon;
while the footman was armed with a spear, an axe, a shield, and a
dagger. The Anglo-Saxon spear was long in the blade, and the pole-axe
narrow bladed and single edged.

Among the valuable Anglo-Saxon records we have, the Ælfric MS., which
is profusely illuminated, and contains a good deal of information
about swords, mentions the tri-lobed hilt; but the richest mine of
contemporary history, for delineation of the weapons of the eleventh
century, is undoubtedly the Bayeux tapestry. The arms given in that
invaluable record are the lance, the sword, the mace, the axe, and the
bow. This bow is shorter than the weapon known as the English longbow,
which was not used in battle much before the reign of Edward I. Some of
the Anglo-Saxons appear with javelins.

The weapons used by the Normans at Hastings still retained traces of
their Scandinavian origin. Their army was rich in cavalry and archers,
while their Anglo-Saxon adversaries were but ill-provided in these

The sword was used in conjunction with the dagger as early as the
reign of Edward I. As the great advantages of the use of infantry
became more apparent, the yeomanry began to play a much more important
part in the warlike combinations of the age; while even the peasantry
had now become indispensable in all campaigning on a large scale. It
was mostly, however, the freedman who went to the wars, while the
serf remained at home to till the soil. This it was which brought
the bow and other footman’s weapons so much to the fore. Bills and
scythe-knives[34] appear to have been in use early in the eleventh
century, indeed probably long before, as this was the class of weapons
most easily extemporised from the implements of husbandry. The
goedendag, the weapon of the guilds and boors of Flanders, and later
of the lower orders in France, is by some considered to have been a
ploughshare mounted on a pole or staff; but this is a question which
will be dealt with in the more detailed descriptions of the various
weapons covered by these notes. The flail also, with its military
adaptations, contributed its quota at a very early period towards the
armament of the masses; and the English longbow was the arbiter of
victory in many a stricken field, and was the main factor in breaking
down the inordinate power and oppression of the English, or perhaps
more properly speaking, of the Norman barons. English archers carried
stakes pointed at both ends as part of their equipment. When driven
into the ground with their points towards the enemy they formed an
efficient stockade against a charge of horsemen, as the horses impaled
themselves upon them. The mace and its kindred weapons, with their
common prehistoric ancestor the club, and the long line of the more
rudimentary axes, from the remotest times, all played their part in the
wars of the earlier “middle ages.”

The weapons of the fourteenth century differed but little in form
from those of the thirteenth, and it was not before the fifteenth
century that organised infantry became an indispensable contingent
of the “establishment” of every army in the field; by which time
halbards, pikes, partizans, and their kindred weapons were all in
use. These weapons, with the glaive, voulge, holywater-sprinklers,
and morning-star, continued more or less in vogue until the beginning
of the eighteenth century. It is frequently affirmed that gunpowder
was known to the Chinese before the Christian era began, and the
embrasures in the Great Wall, erected 200 B.C., are often cited as
proof that artillery of some sort or other was used in China at a
very early date. However this may be, it is certain that there must
be an extraordinary wealth of facts and suggestions lying buried deep
under the soil of that “old world empire” and Japan. In this age,
so hungry for new developments, it will probably not be many years
before some enthusiastic antiquary begins to look more closely into the
possibilities of this virgin soil by digging investigation.

The honour of the invention of gunpowder is claimed, however, by
several of the European nations. It is often stated to have been
a fortuitous discovery in 1320 by Bartholdus Schwartz, a monk of
Friburg; but there is a recipe for its production as far back as the
ninth century of our era, the component parts then being six parts
of sulphur to two each of saltpetre and charcoal,[35] but this acted
by fusing and not by detonation, and was probably a form of Greek
fire. The properties of gunpowder were thus more or less known long
before its application as a motive force for projectiles. This did
not take place, however, before the fourteenth century. It is often
stated that gunpowder was not made in England before the reign of
Queen Elizabeth. Henry VIII. bought gunpowder largely in Spain, but
as he also purchased saltpetre and sulphur it seems certain that
gunpowder was made in England during his reign. There are records at
this time of payments for gunpowder to people with English names; and
Carlo Capello, the Venetian, writes in 1532 that Henry made powder in
the Tower then. Its adoption for application to projectile warfare
gradually revolutionised both the armament and tactics of the middle
ages and of the “renaissance,” especially in the direction of gradually
discrediting the use of the bow in all its forms. The introduction of
the epoch-making bombard and hand-gun changed the face of history.

Weapons may be divided into two classes, those made for the rank and
file being plain and coarse; while an immense amount of artistic
skill, frequently of the very highest order, was lavished during the
later middle ages and the “renaissance” on the decoration of swords,
daggers, crossbows, and staff weapons generally, as well as on armour
of proof, for leaders and the higher classes. The hilts of both swords
and daggers were richly chased and decorated in high relief with
mouldings and even statuettes, while the blades were often inlaid as
well as engraved. Even artists like Holbein and Albert Dürer exercised
their utmost skill in designing for such work. A beautiful example is
given in Fig. 40 of a sword that belonged to the Archduke Ferdinand of

[Illustration: Fig. 40.--Enriched Sword, second half Sixteenth Century.]

The pageant weapons of a prince’s guard, though formed like those
used in actual warfare, were especially rich in this respect; and the
stocks of crossbows, which afforded great scope for ornamentation,
were not only beautifully inlaid with bleached stag’s horn, ivory,
and mother-of-pearl, but often adorned with mythological, historic,
or biblical legends, carried out with rare elegance and finish. The
great German smiths--Hans, Jörg, and Conrad Seusenhofer, Brockberger,
Lorenz Kolman, Conrad Lochner, Swartz, Jörg Endorfer, Klemens Horn,
Peter Munich, Wilhelm Wirsberg, etc., etc.; and the Italians--Antonio
and Tomaso da Missaglia, Philippo Ciro, Giacomo and Francesco Nigroli,
Ghinelli, Spacino, Antonio and Lucio Piccinino, and many others,
vied with each other in the production of consummate creations of
workmanship and art, some of them in armour of proof, others in
offensive weapons, and many in both; and if the palm of excellence may
perchance be awarded to the latter nation for originality and delicacy
in design and finish, surely the Germans were but little if anything
behind their confrères beyond the Alps in all these respects. The
swords of Bordeaux and Poitiers were now far behind those of Toledo in
renown, and the great Spanish masters, such as Antonio Ruiz, 1520; Juan
de Almau, 1550; Francisco Ruiz, 1617; Tomas de Ayala, 1605; Sebastian
Hermandez, 1637; and hosts of others rendered their cities and
country illustrious by the excellence and beauty of their workmanship.
Still, strangely enough, quantities of Solingen blades were imported
into Spain during these centuries; for it will be noticed that the
majority of rapiers picked up by collectors in that country have these
German blades. The marks used by these smiths and many others may be
found in the _Catálogo de la Armeria de Madrid_, and in a work by
the learned curator of the Imperial collection at Vienna, entitled,
_Meister der Waffenschmiedekunst von xiv. bis xvii. Jahrhundert_,
and in the excellent catalogue of the Königl. Historische Museum at
Dresden, compiled by Herr Max von Ehrenthal, the accomplished curator.

[Illustration: Fig. 41.--Hand-guns, Renaissance Work.]

During the “renaissance” the gunsmith and his coadjutors lavished all
manner of ornamentation on pageant hand-guns and their accessories.
Barrels were chastely engraved, and stocks inlaid with bleached stag
horn, silver, gold, steel, brass, stained wood, and mother-of-pearl;
but these highly decorated weapons were not so much for real
campaigning as for the use of body-guards, palace troops, and purposes
of display generally, and especially for the hunting-field. Fig. 41
represents three of these enriched weapons, inlaid with bleached stag’s
horn. They are late sixteenth or early seventeenth century work.

The weapon of the Harquebusier and Musketeer was much plainer; and the
matchlock was preferred to the wheel-lock by reason of its greater
rapidity of discharge. There were, however, corps, especially cavalry,
armed with wheel-lock weapons. The use of the longbow, which had for so
many centuries played a predominant part in the combinations of English
campaigning, had gradually languished with the greater mobility and
precision of firearms; and the bayonet was soon destined to add new
lustre to the British name. An order in Council of 26th October, 1595,
ordains that the bows of the trained bands were to be handed into
store, and calivers and muskets issued in their stead. In the year 1638
the stock of bows and arrows was omitted altogether from inventories of
arms, thus showing that the weapon had become obsolete.



The sword has always been the most universal of weapons among
almost all nations and ages. It is alike the symbol of honour and
the vindicator of justice; though often, alas, the instrument of
oppression. The history of the sword is almost that of humanity
itself, and supernatural attributes have often been ascribed to it.
There is something about an ancient sword that appeals to the dullest
imagination--it is so suggestive of historic memories, both in
heroism and treason. It is typical of the force behind the law; but
the living sword of our forefathers is now but a memory. It would be
fascinating to follow its forms, traditions, and ramifications from the
“stone age,” and from Menes to Julius Cæsar and Charlemagne--in fact,
something like such an enterprise was begun by Sir Richard F. Burton.
His book is indeed “A Romance of the Sword,” but the priceless stores
of information he has collaborated, and his fine florid imagination,
help us but little in the present quest: sad it is that his researches
stop at such an early stage.

The sword, and its diminutive of which it is doubtless an extension,
forms a distinct class of arms, in contradistinction to the numerous
family of hacking, clubbing, and staff weapons generally. It is
difficult to draw any very arbitrary line between the sword and the
dagger--the hilt is often the same in form, but some swords are short
and some daggers long. Perhaps the best definition of difference is
that the dagger is roughly under two feet in length, and was used
rather as an auxiliary to the sword, for thrusting only; besides being
more capable of concealment, and more efficient at close quarters than
the larger weapon. Writers differ in their method of imagining the
position of a sword for descriptive purposes--that is to say, whether
it be held downwards or upwards. It will here be regarded as being held
in the right hand, point uppermost.

Bronze swords were deficient in hardness, so that they could not be
adequately tempered; they were narrow and leaf-shaped, and this was the
characteristic form everywhere. That recorded on Assyrian monuments is
straight, narrow, and like the Greek, more for thrusting than cutting.
The Roman type was longer, though still not of much use for parrying;
and the leaf form became less accentuated.

The true sword had its birth early in the “iron age,” which arbitrary
period, though usually classified to close with the fifth century,
might reasonably be prolonged to the dawning of the middle ages. It
is during this interval that we have but little accurate information,
still it may be taken generally that the weapon became both longer
and broader after the fall of the Roman empire, when it was straight,
double-edged, and of varying length.

The sword of Chilperic of Soissons (died 584) was found in his tomb
at Tournay in 1653, and is now in the Louvre. The weapon has short
straight quillons, and the pommel is also cruciform; it bears strong
evidences of Oriental influence. Procopius describes the Frankish sword
of his day as a short, straight, broad-bladed, and double-edged weapon,
somewhat obtusely pointed, and usually about thirty to thirty-two
inches long, just about the standard length of the modern small sword;
while Agathias, his successor as a chronicler, records it as just the
length of a man’s thigh. To judge from the few specimens on record, it
has both a cross-guard and pommel, but was by no means uniform either
in form or size. Its extremity was rather rounded. A sword found in a
grave on Chessel Down, in the Isle of Wight, answers very closely to
that of the Franks, as described by Procopius.

The Scandinavian sword of the fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries was
long, straight, and double-edged; while the Anglo-Saxon weapon of the
eleventh century was about three feet long, cruciform, and rounded at
the end. No one under the rank of thane was allowed to carry a sword,
which accounts for so few specimens having been found.

The earlier Anglo-Saxon sword is, as far as can be ascertained, without
cross-guard, but it has a small pommel. A MS. in the British Museum of
the tenth century gives an illustration of a sword of this kind, which
is only two feet long.

We read in “Sagas” that the swords of heroes were often endowed with
names or titles, such as the “Hrunting” of Beowulf, the “Excalibur” of
Arthur, the “Tizona” of the Cid.

The component parts of the sword are of course the blade and the hilt.
The tang is a piece of wrought iron welded into the shoulder of the
blade, and inserted in the grip or handle, at the bottom of which is
the pommel. The pieces or guards which pass across between the hilt
and the blade are the quillons. Proving the blade was accomplished in
various ways: an early method was by a heavy blow on a block of iron,
first the flat, then the edge, and lastly the back; then bending the
blade flatwise. The operation concluded by driving the point through
a thin iron plate, which was called the “Toledo” test. A machine for
testing swords was invented in England towards the end of the last
century by Matthew Bolton, in which the blade was forced into a curve,
reducing from 36 inches to 29 inches.

The Frankish sword of the eighth and ninth centuries is cruciform,
with a pommel, which is itself sometimes surmounted with a cross. This
may be seen in the Codex Aureus of St. Gall. The weapon of this period
is, however, far from being uniform in shape, length, or breadth.
The knightly weapon of the Bayeux tapestry is cruciform with a long,
straight, two-edged blade, coming somewhat abruptly to a point, and
a ridge running up the centre. The hilts are heavy and strong, with
pommels. A Norman sword on the tapestry shows the pommel to curve on
the grip. There is an actual specimen of this period in the Museum of
Artillery, Paris. The blade of the footman’s weapon is much narrower
than that of the knight. The sword of William Rufus is shown on a
miniature in the Canterbury bible. The point is obtuse, the blade
widens towards the quillons, the ends of which curve upwards, while the
grip is short, and the pommel round.

There is not much change in the twelfth century, when swords vary a
good deal in form; as also does the shape of the pommel. A specimen
of the reign of the Emperor Frederic Barbarossa is in the museum at

The cultellus or coustel is a short sword or long dagger. The weapon
is mentioned in a statute of William of Scotland, 1165–1214. From this
time forward we have in military brasses and effigies figures of the
knightly sword brought before us as it actually was.

The sword of the thirteenth century is more distinctly pointed, and has
the cross-guard either straight or curving more or less towards the
blade; the grip is rather short, and the weapon is usually about two
feet six inches to over three feet long, and there is a large heavy
pommel of various shapes. A good example may be seen on the Daubernoun
brass. Some of the German swords of the century, actual specimens of
which may be seen at Dresden, are, however, very much longer. The
short handle could be rigidly gripped, so that the entire force came
more from the arm and shoulder.

The sword blades of Damascus, India, and Persia were equal, if not
superior, in temper, finish, and decoration to any made by the
sword-smiths of Europe, but the Eastern smiths devoted much more care
to the edge than to the point. In the main, they were curved blades.
There is a good deal of romance in old Japan about the sword, and some
very remarkable weapons have been turned out by their craftsmen. There
were numerous distinct varieties of Asiatic swords and daggers; but to
give even the merest outline of these would make the present notes far
too long. Single-handed swords of Europe consisted of curved weapons
like the scimitar or falchion, the dusack, cutlass and sabre, and those
with a straight, double-edged blade.

The scimitar is of Persian origin, and was introduced into Europe
during the first crusade; it did not, however, come very much into
vogue before the middle of the fifteenth century. Like most swords of
Asiatic origin, it is specially devised for cutting; and its curved
blade, and the setting of the hilt, in relation to it, is well adapted
for the delivery of a highly penetrating stroke. This weapon, the blade
of which is short and single-edged, has probably its prototype in the
“Acinace” of the Romans, a representation of which may be seen on that
instructive monument of contemporary history, the column of Trajan.
Possibly the Romans themselves derived it, like so much besides, from
an Eastern source. The falchion, or fauchon, which is a smaller type of
scimitar, appears in England early in the thirteenth century, and is
mentioned in the fourteenth century romance of _Richard Cœur de Lion_,
“broad fawchons and fawchons kene.” It is in two varieties--a broad
blade widening towards the point, with a concave back and sharp edge;
and the other with a straight back. The curious tenure falchion of
the Conyers is an example of the latter kind. This weapon is figured
in _Archæologia Æliana_, vol. xv.; and is also referred to in Blount’s
_Antient Tenures_. Sir Edward W. Blackett, Bart., in a communication
to the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne,[36] says that
this weapon measures two feet eleven inches in length; on one side
of the pommel are three lions, the arms of England, with remains of
red enamel in the ground; and on the other an eagle with outspread
wings, which Mr. Longstaffe considered to relate to Richard, King of
the Romans, brother of Henry III. This statement would point to its
being a weapon of the thirteenth century, which it undoubtedly is. The
tenure is given in the inquest of Sir John Conyers in 1396. The Baron
de Cosson mentions two examples somewhat similar, one in the Musée de
Cluny, Paris; the other in the Brera at Milan. He compares the Conyers
falchion with one given on the drawing from the Painted Chamber,
Westminster, attributed by Mr. John Hewitt to the second half of the
thirteenth century. The forms are certainly almost identical. The
Conyers weapon has a nearly round pommel, with the quillons slightly
curved towards the point at the extremities. The Paris falchion has
a very large circular pommel, with the quillons on a sharp curve in
the same direction. The guard of the Milan specimen is straight and
the pommel a large oval, with small square side projections. The
blades of all three falchions are similar in form, the Milan example
being the largest. Drawings of the three falchions may be seen in
the _Proceedings_ (vol. v., p. 42) of the Society of Antiquaries of
Newcastle-on-Tyne. _The True Tragedy of Richard of Yorke_ (1595) says:
“With purple fawchon painted to the hilts.” Another local tenure
sword, mentioned in Blount’s _Antient Tenures_, is that under which
the Umfravilles held their lordship of Redesdale in Northumberland.
An instance of the application of the “tenure” principle in a humbler
form and modern date, occurs in an agreement with the sword-smiths of
Shotley Bridge, County of Durham, concerning rent for houses occupied
by them. The rent is supplemented by an annual sword of their own make.

The sabre, which is a near relative of the scimitar, is of two kinds,
both straight and curved; the latter form was in vogue as early as the
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and of course later.

An interesting example of the curved form, which is attributed to
Charlemagne (771–814), is preserved in the Treasury at Vienna. The form
betrays its direct Eastern origin, and the tradition is too vague to
base any inferences on it. The sword is about thirty inches long, by
over three-quarters of an inch broad, and would appear to date about
the fourteenth century.

The sword of the fourteenth century continues cruciform, with the
quillons either straight or curving towards the blade. The shape of the
pommel varies greatly, being trefoiled, conical, circular, etc., and
sometimes it is also charged with a cross. It was not uncommon for a
ring to be fixed to the pommel for attachment to a chain connecting it
with a mamillière. Examples of this kind may be seen on an effigy in
the church at Ebersberg, temp. 1371; another at Borfe, in the Tyrol;
and one is given by Hewitt in his _Ancient Armour_, vol. ii., Plate XV.
The sword is fastened at the left side by a broad straight belt, called
a “bawdric.”

Blades of this century, though far from uniform, become generally more
ornate and longer than in the century preceding, sometimes attaining
the length of four feet, and there are even longer examples.

Sword sheaths were usually of leather. The knight’s sword-belt was
greatly embellished in this century by quatrefoils, jewels, and
enriched pendants.

The grip of the sword proper rather lengthens in the fifteenth
century, and the tendency of the pommel is to become lighter, and is
oftenest round or pear-shaped; there is still the plain cross-guard.
The straight double-edged blade is long, and sometimes grooved. The
pas d’ane guard is found in this century, though rarely. This guard
projects over the base of the blade, its object being to protect the
back of the hand, which it did but inadequately. It has often been
assumed to have made its appearance first in the sixteenth century, but
this is not the case, as a picture of the early part of the fifteenth
century in a church at Mondoneda shows swords with this guard.[37]
It forms, however, as a rule, an excellent guide as to date, and its
presence would, under ordinary circumstances, indicate a weapon of the
sixteenth century. There are some fine swords of this century (the
fifteenth) in the Munich Museum, in excellent preservation, some with
the original sheaths.

The knuckle-bow, called the finger-guard by some writers, is
comparatively rare towards the end of the fifteenth century, but
becomes common in the following. Mr. John Hewitt, in one of his
contributions towards the _History of Mediæval Weapons_, mentions an
instance as early as the reign of Charles the Bold of Burgundy. It
was long before this guard became united to the pommel. It clearly
developed from the counter-curved quillons, one of which seems to have
reached the pommel by stages. In Holbein’s “Costumes Suisses” is a
figure of a Swiss halbardier of the first half of the sixteenth century
with a sword, the knuckle-bow of which unites the quillons and pommel.

The executioner’s sword is broad in the blade. A German example in the
author’s collection is 39 inches in length. The pommel is circular,
very heavy and flat, and engraved with an eagle; the quillons solid
and plain, curving slightly towards the blade, which has a groove
running up the centre. The blade is two and a half inches broad, and
is inscribed with a cross, cross-bones, and a crown. Quillons are, of
course, unnecessary on these weapons, and are unusual except in the
case of German examples.

The sword used in the foot tournament was heavier and shorter than that
for war.

The two-handed sword was introduced late in the fourteenth or early in
the fifteenth century, and became a favourite weapon in the sixteenth,
after which it was greatly superseded by the rapier. This long and very
heavy two-handed weapon is a footman’s sword, and was much used by the
hardy mountaineers of Switzerland in battle, while the less robust
Germans and Burgundians applied it more in the defence of fortified
places. It was introduced into England early in the sixteenth century,
when it was a favourite weapon of Henry VIII., and continued much
prized there up to its close, when the rapier came into vogue. The
handle is very long for both hands to grasp the hilt. The total length
of the sword is up to five feet eight inches, and even more. This
sword is the true espadon. Two-handed swords were usually worn without
scabbard, but had a piece of leather permanently fixed on the blade
above the quillons; they were rarely met with after the close of the
sixteenth century. A variety with a wavy blade is called “flamberge.”
An example from the Meyrick collection is in the author’s possession,
and shown somewhat incongruously in Fig. 23. This being a footman’s
weapon, ought not to be in the hands of a man-at-arms. Great strength
of arms and supple wrists were necessary for cutting with these
weapons; the point was rarely used. The true claymore is a two-handed
sword. Some fine examples of two-handed swords and flamberges are given
in Fig. 42. The thumb-ring appears in the fifteenth century, possibly a
little earlier, and it was common in the sixteenth.

[Illustration: Fig. 42.--Two-handed Swords, Flamberges, and Daggers.]

The anelace was a very common weapon of the fifteenth century. It is
a short, broad sword or dagger, tapering to a point. The blade is
usually about twenty inches long, by four broad, and double-edged. The
weapon, called in Italy the cinquedea, is of Verona origin, and was
styled oxenzunge by the Germans, and braquamart or épée de passot by
the French. It is a very similar weapon to that carried by the ancient
Greeks and Romans on the left side, called the parazonium, a late
specimen of which was found at Sesto-Calende, and is now at Milan.

The dusack is a sword of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, with a
blade like that of the curved sabre, while the hilt consists either of
a hole in the rounded base of the blade for the hand to grip, or is a
rounded continuation of the blade at the shoulder, forming a circular
hole. The length is about 39 inches. The swordsman wore an iron or
leather gauntlet reaching to the elbow.

Swords tended to become more ornate as the fifteenth century advanced,
and towards the end and early in the sixteenth both pommels and
quillons varied greatly in form and in size, the former being round,
square, cusped, truncated, crescent-shaped, etc., while the latter
tended both downwards and upwards, sometimes counter-curved, and curled
at the extremities, but this feature became more pronounced later. The
play of sword and buckler is very ancient, and was displaced in England
by the rapier and dagger in the second half of the sixteenth century.
The sword was of medium size and double-edged, while the buckler was
about fourteen inches in diameter.

The usual form of the sword up to the middle of the sixteenth century
is still cruciform, with or without the pas d’ane guard, a broad
two-edged blade about three feet and a half long, and a large and
frequently circular pommel; the quillons straight or slightly bent
towards the blade, which tends to become narrower and lighter. There
are, however, many examples of a greater elaboration of guards at
an earlier period, when the guard formed like the letter S was not
uncommon. An example of a sword by Ambrosius Gemlich, about 1530,
is given in Fig. 44. There is a calendar on the blade. The simple
cross-guard disappears with the commencement of the second half of
the century, and the pas d’ane guard becomes common. The sword-hand
now becomes adequately guarded, and you get the counter-guard, which
later becomes amplified into one or more branches for encircling the
back of the hand, while the quillons more generally assume curved
forms and eventually merge into the knuckle-bow or finger-guard;
and it was during the second half of the sixteenth century that
the rapier hilt became completely developed. It was no longer the
rule to wear the steel gauntlet; such guards had therefore become
more necessary, and they were gradually evolved by reason of new
developments in fencing strokes. Swordsmanship had now reached the
point when the weapon, besides being for attack, was used more in
a defensive sense. The term “shield” is applied to the flat piece
of steel sometimes found at the base of the hilt, while the “shell”
refers to a semicircular hilt. The growth of what are but inadequately
described as counter-guards consists in a more or less complex system
of perpendicular and horizontally curved and interlacing bars and hoops
gradually evolving the S guard, cross and side ring, cross and finger
loop, cross finger loop and half ring at the side, double branches,
etc., which crystallised, so to speak, in certain classes of swords
into the basket-hilt and the shell or cup. The practice and progress
of the art of fencing had induced upward cuts and other movements that
necessitated additional protection for the hand and wrist.

[Illustration: Fig. 44.--Sword of the Emperor Charles V., about 1530.]

The lansquenette appears in the sixteenth century. It is a weapon about
two and a half feet long, by two inches broad. The blade is broad and
double-edged, and the grip thick and surmounted by a pommel. There
is usually a counter-guard of two rings.



Fig. 45.--Rapiers.]

The mediæval estoc is a long, narrow stabbing sword of French origin.
It was often used in tournaments, and is sometimes two-handed like the
real claymore; it is a horseman’s weapon.

The English broadsword appears in the reign of Edward VI.; both it and
the cutlass are somewhat heavy and unwieldy.

Fencing is a purely European invention, and the time had now arrived
when it had become more of a fine art, though still in its early
stage; and this cause, more than anything else, brought about the
general use of the rapier and small sword. The rapier is a sword with
a great variety of guards, or with the basket hilt, either solid or
perforated, and straight or curved quillons; it was introduced into
England by Philip II., but appeared in Spain in the complex form during
the preceding reign. This weapon has sharp edges, is grooved, and
sometimes strengthened by a sharp central ridge. It was used mostly for
thrusting, but not to the complete exclusion of cutting. The two-edged
rapier is a military sword, but not useful for the _mêlée_, being more
suitable for single combat in any form. Duels were sometimes fought
with the rapier alone, but oftener with the rapier and main-gauche, the
latter held in the left hand. Why the main-gauche should be specially
named as left-handed is impossible to understand. Another form was
with the rapier and a cloak, the latter being held in the dagger-hand.
Examples of German, Spanish, and Italian rapiers are given in Fig. 45.

Sir Frederick Pollock, Bart., in his admirable monograph, _The Forms
and History of the Sword_, quotes George Silver (1599), the father of
English broadsword play, who speaks of “that mischievous and imperfect
weapon (the rapier) which serves to kill our friends in peace, but
cannot much hurt our foes in war.”

The small sword came into general use towards the close of the
seventeenth century, and it had almost entirely superseded the
two-edged lengthier and heavier rapier when the eighteenth century was
in its second quarter.

The duelling sword and rapier are often confounded with each other,
but the former was used mostly for thrusting only, while the latter
was more adapted for a cutting stroke, although still a weapon more
for thrusting than cutting. The elaborate Spanish hilts were followed
in the seventeenth century by the shell guard for duelling, and a hilt
much lighter than before for military purposes.

The swords made at Toledo have a reputation which still endures; and
the well-known name of Ferrara is derived from a Venetian family of the
sixteenth century. The Ferrara blades are broad and of splendid temper,
but the name was used by many smiths as a sort of “standard” mark.
Andrea Ferrara or Ferara was established in business, in partnership
with his brother Giovan Donato, at the town of Belluno, in the Venetian
province of Friuli, in 1585. The _Trattato Militare_, published at
Venice in 1583, mentions the brothers as the celebrated sword-makers
of that day. Ferara blades, inscribed with the name, were, however,
in existence much earlier than this; but whether all or part of these
were made in Spain, where there are several towns of the name, is far
from clear. The question, then, as to which city or country gave its
name to the great master is not yet absolutely determined. Andrea was
probably born between 1550 and 1560,[38] and his master, Giovanni
Battista, some of whose blades were marked “Zandona,” was called the
“Barcelonian,” which circumstance might suggest the possibility that
the brothers were emigrants from Spain; but it is much more probable
that they came of an Italian family which had been domiciled in Italy
for generations, as there are blades of a considerably earlier date
than the “Andrea” span, bearing the names of Cosmo and Piero Ferara,
both of which Christian names are undoubtedly Italian. A tradition
exists in Scotland that Andrea Ferara, or Ferrara, came there as a
fugitive from justice, and made swords there in great numbers, but
there is no evidence whatever of this being the case. There are swords
bearing the brand “Andrewea Ferrara” with a St. Andrew’s Cross,
which clearly discloses their Scottish origin, or at all events is
suggestive of their having been made in or for Scotland. Indeed, almost
all Scottish blades bearing the name of Ferara, with variations, are
of seventeenth century make, some even later. We know that it was a
common practice of many of the German smiths during the “renaissance”
to inscribe their blades with the names of Italian makers; and while
Ferara blades are to be met with all over Europe, strangely enough
very few are to be found in Italy. The practice of using the marks of
celebrated sword-smiths by others less renowned cannot be looked upon
as a deliberate forgery, unless perhaps in the earlier instances, when
marks were taken possession of by one town or country from another,
proceeding, doubtless, from the importation of craftsmen; but even
in such cases it was not uncommon for the maker to give his own name
or mark in conjunction with such as those of Ferara, the running
wolf, etc. Marks like the bishop’s head, moor’s head, Sahagun, Ayala,
Piccinino,[39] were often used by others, though probably rarely in
the sense of piracy. This is shown by the annexation of the Wolf of
Passau by the Solingen makers, and that of Ferara by the Scotch. Mere
legends, like the domicilisation of Andrea Ferara in Scotland, or that
of Jakob Topf in London, require some more direct evidence for serious
attention, which is certainly not forthcoming in these cases, though
the probability is greater in the case of the latter than in the
former. Excellent rapier blades were also made at Seville, Valladolid,
and Solingen. The Solingen blades are stouter and more suitable for
military purposes than those forged in Spain; they bore the stamp of
the running wolf, but the mark came originally from Passau. A Passau
sword of an early date, with the wolf-mark inscribed on the blade, is
in the museum at Dresden. The general aspect would indicate a date in
the second half of the fourteenth century. The wolf-mark of the Passau
sword-smiths was borrowed from the city arms, which consist of “Or, a
wolf-figure, statant gardant.” Later, and especially in the sixteenth
century, this mark was adopted in other places, and especially by
Solingen smiths. These blades were known as “foxes” in England,
doubtless from the “wolf” inscription, which might well be taken as a
representation of the fox. The term constantly crops up in Elizabethan
literature. This mark, like that of “Ferrara,” was freely used by
sword-makers up to the end of the last century; indeed, this was the
case near Newcastle, where swords forged on the banks of the Derwent,
in the county of Durham, bore the mark. The smiths came originally from
Bavaria, and brought the brand with them. There are still descendants
of these people living in the neighbourhood; and there is a specimen of
their handiwork in the Black Gate Museum, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

The spadroon is adapted for cutting and thrusting, but is lighter than
the sabre.

Spanish swords enjoyed a very early celebrity, the Romans having
adopted them after the Carthagenian War, for they were never able to
forge weapons of equal temper. The best early Spanish swords were
made at Bilbilis on the Jalon, and the poet Martial writes of the
excellence of the waters of that river for tempering them; indeed, it
was universally believed that the fine temper depended on the virtues
of a particular river. Probably the steel produced from fine Spanish
ores, so free from deleterious ingredients like sulphur and phosphorus,
had most to do with the super-excellence of the blades. These weapons
are mentioned temp. Julius Cæsar, when the poet Gracio Falisco adds his
testimony to their admirability.

[Illustration: Fig. 46.--Schiavona, in the Author’s Collection.]

The schiavona is a Venetian sword of the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries, with a flattened elliptical form of basket-hilt forming
a complete protection to the hand, which can still move freely. In
this hilt the first finger was always passed over the quillon, and
the superadded guard to protect it gives the hilt an elongated form.
It derives its name from the “Schiavoni,” the Doge’s guards. The
illustration of this weapon here given (Fig. 46) is of a sword in the
author’s collection.

Scottish broadswords with practically this hilt, although there
are intermediate stages, are often erroneously called “claymores,”
while, as a matter of fact, the Scottish weapon so called was a long
two-handed sword, with quillons usually tending diagonally upwards,
that is towards the blade; and, indeed, it is considered questionable
by some authorities whether any basket-hilted sword whatever was in
general use in Scotland long before the eighteenth century began. Mr.
Parker Brewis, in an able paper[40] on “Four Basket-hilted Swords in
the collection at the Castle, Newcastle-upon-Tyne,” writes as follows,
viz.:--“This type of sword is commonly known as ‘Claymore,’ which is
the English phonetic of two Celtic words, meaning ‘Great Sword.’ It was
originally applied to the great two-handed swords of Scotland, but when
the true claymore was gradually superseded by the basket-hilted weapon,
the old name, as conveying the idea of a Highland sword, was retained,
owing to long habit, notwithstanding that it was inappropriate.” The
“mortuary” hilt, so named from a number of swords with this basket-hilt
having been made in memory of King Charles I., was the broadsword of
the Commonwealth, and the Scottish form is obviously an amalgamation of
the schiavona with the mortuary. The basket-hilted sword was certainly
common in England in the second quarter of the seventeenth century,
and there is no reason why it should not have crossed the border long
before the eighteenth century, and that it had done so is certain from
the fact that mortuary hilts were largely made in the island of Islay.
The ordinary Scottish basket-hilted broadsword blades bearing the
name Andrea Ferara, with numerous variations, were certainly not made
by the great master of Belluno, but most of these were forged in the
seventeenth century. Of course, it is often the case that blade and
hilt are not contemporaneous, and old Ferara and even claymore blades
were frequently adapted to the newer fashion, and these cases give rise
to some difficulty.

The colichemarde is a late seventeenth century fencing sword, with
a blade very broad at the “fort,” and exceedingly narrow at the
“foible”--the change from one to the other is very sudden. This
sword was only in use for a brief period. Some of the swords of the
seventeenth century were very long. The cutlass or hanger of this
period is usually without quillons, but has a counter-guard.

After the commencement of the seventeenth century, it becomes more
difficult to fix approximate dates for swords with any precision, and
many weapons are freely attributed to that century which really belong
to the eighteenth. It is the blade that bears the stamp, and many
blades were transferred to other hilts; besides, the armourer was often
permitted to give considerable rein to his fancy, and not unfrequently
reverted to older forms. As in armour, it is an uncommon advantage
to meet with weapons with the date inscribed, although, of course,
many armourers’ marks serve this purpose, when they can still be
deciphered; still, their presence is rarely conclusive without general
characteristics being also taken into account.

The complete transformation of the sword may be said to have been
effected during the eighteenth century, since which time it cannot be
said to have advanced either in balance or general efficiency. Very
little is known as to the early history of sword-making in England,
but Sheffield was a very early centre for the industry. It was not
until towards the end of the last century that English-made swords
established their reputation as the best in Europe, when in an order
for the East India Company, 2,650 English swords were tested in the
machine already referred to in these pages, and only four failed to
bear the test; while out of 1,428 German swords as many as twenty-eight
were rejected.



The dagger is a short sword in great variety of form; it is a weapon
for thrusting only. We meet with it in the ages of “stone” and
“bronze,” and it was in use among almost all the great nations of

The scramasax, a short two-handed sword or dagger, is an ancient
Germanic weapon of varying length. In form it resembles a single-edged
cutlass. There are examples in some of the German museums; one was
found in a barrow near Andernach.

Mr. John Hewitt, in his work on _Ancient Armour and Weapons_, refers
to a dagger preserved in Durham Cathedral, which was supposed to have
belonged to Bishop Anthony Bek in 1283, bearing the inscription “Anton
Eps Dunholm.” This is doubtless the dagger now at Auckland, which was
exhibited to the members of the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Society at the
Castle on the 28th December, 1892. The blade, which seems originally
to have been longer, is now eighteen inches in length; while the haft
measures five inches. The quillons do not project far beyond the blade,
and curl slightly upwards at one extremity, and downwards on the other.
The authenticity of this weapon is more than doubtful, and Baron de
Cosson even suspects who the forger was, and when it first appeared at
Auckland. The forgery is one of the clumsiest, for it is so obvious
what the hilt originally was, viz., portions of a Scotch basket-hilt.

There are representations of figures armed with the dagger in the
thirteenth century, when the quillons turn up towards the blade, as is
the case with most of the swords of the period. It does not appear in
effigies before late in the first quarter of the fourteenth century.
An anelace dagger may be seen on the effigy of William Wenemaer, died
1325; and another on that of the second Baron Berkeley, figured in
Gough, vol. i., p. 44.

[Illustration: Fig. 43.--Anelace at Berlin.]

The anelace dagger, which is of Italian origin, is about sixteen inches
long, and derives its name from the ring which was originally attached
to it, and which was connected by a light chain with a mamillière. A
somewhat similar weapon was used as a dart, and often attached to the
end of a staff, and then called “langue-de-bœuf.” An actual specimen,
with the ring, was found among the _débris_ at Tannenberg. This dagger
is double-edged, broad in the blade, which narrows towards the point.
Chaucer mentions the weapon. The larger anelace is mentioned in the
notes on swords, and an illustration is given in Fig. 43; the only
distinction, if there be one, is that of length.

The form of the dagger is often that of the sword in miniature, and the
guards, as is the case in the larger weapon, are naturally an excellent
guide as to date. The guard of two knobs and the wheel-guard appear in
the fourteenth century.

The poniard, with its numerous family, is shorter than the ordinary

The misericorde, an example of which is recorded as early as 1221, and
which appears on the De Bohun effigy, was worn on the right side, and
hooked to one of the taces. Like the stiletto, it is a short, narrow
poniard; the former was used, as its name implies, by men-at-arms to
give the _coup de grace_ to fallen adversaries; and it was always
present in jousts à outrance. The guard of the fifteenth century was
usually two round knobs, but the weapon is often without any guard,
and the narrow triangular blade was most effective in piercing through
interstices in armour. The thumb-ring, which is above the quillons, is
often met with in the fifteenth century.

The cultellus, or coutelas, as its name implies, served the
purpose of both a knife and a dagger. It was the progenitor of the
cutlass--coutel-hache, coutel-axe, curtle-axe, coutelace, and cutlass.

The baselard, or baudelaire, is an ornamental dagger of the fifteenth
century, worn by civilians in front of their persons. An example occurs
on the brass of a civilian at King’s Sombourne, in Hampshire (died
1380). Priests were expressly forbidden to wear the weapon.

The main gauche is an early sixteenth century weapon, and was used in
conjunction with the rapier. This is the dagger that was supplied to
the “schoppen” or “scabini” for the execution of the decrees of the
Holy Vehme, or Vehmegericht, the secret tribunal of the middle ages
prevailing in Swabia, Franconia, etc. The blade of this dagger was
sometimes perforated with indentations for catching opponents’ swords.
Another variety was provided with a spring, which when pressed set free
two extra blades, one on each side of the main blade.

The Highland dirk is in great variety of form, and usually without any

It was not uncommon for dagger and sheaths to be fitted with a small
knife like some of the Indian swords. During Elizabeth’s reign it was
common for a combatant to parry with a dagger in the left hand, when
fencing with the rapier. Some representations of daggers are given in
Fig. 42.



The longbow is a weapon of great antiquity; an example may be seen on
a bas-relief in the Louvre, dated about 700 B.C. It was used by the
Egyptians, Chaldæans, and Greeks; and was probably introduced into
Britain by the Romans. The bow of Pandarus is related to have been
made of ibex-horn, and strung with sinews. The following lines from
the _Iliad_ are very graphic, and descriptive of this bow and its

   “Straight he uncased his polished bow, his spoil
    Won from a mountain ibex, which himself,
    In ambush lurking, through the breast had shot
    True to his aim, as from behind a crag
    He came in sight, prone on the rock he fell;
    With horns of sixteen palms his head was crowned;
    These deftly wrought, a skilful workman’s hand
    Had polished smooth, and tipped the ends with gold.
    He bent, and resting on the ground his bow,
    Strung it anew.
    His quiver then withdrawing from its case,
    With care a shaft he chose ne’er shot before,
    Well-feathered messenger of pangs and death.
    The stinging arrow fitted to the string,
    At once the sinew and the notch he drew:
    The sinew to his breast, and to the bow
    The iron head: then, when the mighty bow
    Was to a circle strained, sharp rang the horn
    And loud the sinew twanged, as toward the crowd
    With deadly speed the eager arrow sprang.”

                        --_Iliad_, iv. 119.

An antique Greek drawing of the time of Theseus has been already
referred to, whereon is an Amazon with a drawn bow, the arrow-head
being barbed. Agathias, writing in the seventh century, says that the
Franks did not use this weapon in war, but it is mentioned in the
capitularies of Charlemagne, and there is evidence that it was not
uncommon among both Anglo-Saxons and Danes. It was pre-eminently an
English weapon of war, though used also in the chase in that and other
countries, and was remarkable for range and sureness of aim, as well as
for penetrative force. The Germanic nations applied it mainly in the
chase, the Saxons especially using a short bow. An illustration occurs
in a MS. in the Cotton Library.[41] The English archer became justly
famous under the Norman kings, and it was first under them that the bow
assumed great importance as a weapon of war. Bowmen in England at this
time wore a leathern jacket, which was afterwards adopted by the French
and called a “jacque d’Anglois.” On the Bayeux tapestry only one single
bowman appears among the Saxon array, while there are several shown
among the Norman ranks; these bows are short and thick, and arrows with
barbed tips. Harold’s eye was pierced by an arrow, and but for this the
Normans would hardly have won the battle. Richard I. was himself an
adept in the use of the longbow, and it was the leading weapon of our
armies at Creçy and Agincourt; and indeed continued to be so well into
the “renaissance.” It will be remembered that at Flodden the Scottish
king was killed by an arrow, and this battle may be said to have been
the latest won mainly by the longbow.

The proper length of the English longbow was about the archer’s height,
say between five feet six inches to six feet, with a bend of nine
inches; and those made from the bough of a yew were preferred; but
as yew trees were scarce, bowyers were enjoined by Act of Parliament
to make four bows of “witch-hazel,” ash or elm, to one of yew; and no
persons under seventeen years of age, with certain exceptions, were
permitted to shoot with a yew bow, under a penalty of six shillings and
eightpence. This Act of Parliament was repealed in Elizabeth’s reign.
The string was either of silk or hemp, twisted or plaited, but always
round where the notch of the arrow was placed. The shaft was drawn by
two or sometimes three fingers to the head, and always towards the ear,
when shot at short marks; but towards the breast when used at long
ranges. The archer kept both eyes open, and looked only at the object
aimed at, holding his weapon perpendicularly. Part of the light cavalry
in the thirteenth century consisted of mounted archers. During the
reign of Henry VIII. hand-guns had greatly superseded the use of the
longbow, but the king himself was a skilful archer. The archer carried
his sheaf of arrows, consisting of twenty-four, in his belt; the length
was a clothyard shaft, feathered or plain at the base, and tipped
usually with a sharp, but sometimes barbed head. These heads were of
iron, pointed with steel. The archer wore a leathern wrist-guard,
called a bracer, to avoid hurt by the recoil of the string. The arrow
with feathers from a goose’s wing was the “broad arrow,” first used as
a regal badge by King Richard I. The plain pile, without feathers, was
considered to penetrate better. Henry V. enacted that the Sheriffs of
Counties were to take six wing feathers from every goose for feathering
arrows. Arrows of ash were preferred. They were about thirty-two inches
long, and usually tipped with a sharp unbarbed head.

Any ordinary English archer would rarely miss an object the size of
a man at 250 yards; and he could discharge his weapon twelve times a
minute. The extreme range of a bow was “from sixteen to twenty score
yards;” in fact, a “bow-shot” seems to have been used to express a
distance of 400 yards, and the minimum range for archery contests was
usually 220 yards.

It was the first duty of the archers in battle to send clouds of arrows
against charges of cavalry, so as to disorganise their formation by
killing or wounding as many of the horses of the opposing host as
possible, thus causing confusion in the enemy’s ranks by rendering
many riders _hors de combat_, and though rarely able to pierce a
harness of proof, the arrows often found an interstice in the armour.
Since the thirteenth century the armies of England maintained large
numbers of mounted archers in their ranks, the complement of bowmen to
a corps of fifteen hundred fully equipped lancers being from three to
five thousand, while each lancer’s equipment was five or six mounted
soldiers, at least two of whom were archers.

German and Italian bows rarely exceeded five feet in length. The
shape of their arrow tips varied exceedingly. An ordinance of Henry
I. provides that when archers were practising and any one had the
misfortune to be killed or wounded by accident, it was merely to be
regarded as a misadventure.

The form of the longbow of the fourteenth century was thick in the
middle, narrowing towards the ends, and it was sometimes coated with

The price of longbows was fixed by statute in the reign of Edward IV.
at a maximum price of three shillings and fourpence each; and in order
to increase the number available, every merchant vessel carrying goods
to London was compelled to bring a certain number of bows in proportion
to the weight of the cargo. A statute of Philip and Mary ordains that
all temporal persons having estates of a thousand a year and upwards
are required to furnish to the State thirty longbows and thirty sheaves
of arrows.

Archers carried one or two pointed stakes as part of their equipment,
for planting before them in the ground to resist cavalry; also
a lead-headed mallet, to drive them in, which was also used for
despatching the enemy’s wounded.

Specimens of the English longbow are of the greatest rarity. The
unfortunate loss of an English war vessel, the _Mary Rose_, which sank
off Spithead during the reign of Henry VIII., in 1545, furnished us
with some actual specimens of the period. The whereabouts of the wreck
was known, and in 1843 divers recovered several bows, a couple of which
are preserved in the Tower of London; they are six feet four and a half
inches long, and are made of yew.

There was a Northumberland English longbow still to the fore early in
the present century, and the late Mr. Matthew Culley of Akeld, in a
letter to the Newcastle Society, dated Nov. 26, 1814, wrote concerning
it: “This bow had long been used by the hereditary bowmen of Wark
Castle. It is described as having been formed of various coloured wood
inlaid together, and of great length and strength. From the joining of
different sorts of wood very valuable properties are derived, which are
well known to mechanics, and more especially to ship-builders. This
weapon, so dreadful in the hands of its ancient possessors, being no
longer in request, was consigned to the children as a plaything.” There
is an English longbow at Dover Castle.

The longbow continued in use long after the introduction of firearms,
but was practically superseded by the harquebus in the sixteenth
century. Though used at the siege of Rochelle in 1627, its reputation
had sunk so low in the reign of Charles I. that that king granted two
commissions under the great seal for enforcing its use, and another to
prohibit the enclosure of fields near London, which would have had the
effect of interfering with the practice of archery. A curious fact in
connection with the longbow is that Benjamin Franklin proposed in 1776
to equip the colonial forces with the weapon.



The Latin equivalent is _arcus balistarius_ or _balista manualis_.
The weapon does not appear on the Bayeux tapestry, but the Princess
Anna Comnena, who calls it “tzangara,” mentions it as forming part of
the armament of the Crusaders, late in the eleventh century; and that
it was in use by English and French soldiers in the twelfth century
is shown by a bull of Pope Innocent II. in 1139, which fulminates
against its barbarity, and only sanctions its use in warfare with the
infidel, meaning thereby all nations still unconverted to Christianity.
Such prohibitions were, however, soon brushed aside, like others
of a similar character both before and since. Guillaume Guiart,
writing towards the end of the thirteenth century in the _Branche des
Royaux Leguages_, mentions the weapon as being in use at the battle
of “Haringues” in 1297. The first form was a simple hand crossbow,
which consisted of a steel bow let into a stock which was strung for
use by the action of the left foot and right hand, and discharged
by a trigger, which probably gave rise to the lock of the hand-gun.
During the second half of the thirteenth century various mechanical
contrivances were adopted, which, while materially increasing the
projective power, rendered the weapon much more unwieldy. The crossbow
was in constant use during the fourteenth century, when the Genoese
made it a speciality, and the services of these mercenaries were in
great request in the wars of the period; it was, however, never a
favourite weapon in England. At the battle of Creçy the English army
used the longbow, while the French king had a body of six thousand
Genoese crossbowmen in his pay, but these were unavailable by reason
of the rain. The English archer could shoot twelve arrows while the
crossbowman discharged his three quarrels, for it took so long to
wind up the “moulinet”; the crossbow had, however, the advantage of
a lower trajectory; moreover, the longbow was much lighter and more
portable, besides being more easily preserved from the action of damp,
than its crossbow confrère. It does not seem that the extreme range of
the crossbow has been accurately determined, but it certainly did not
exceed three hundred yards. Part of the light cavalry of the thirteenth
and fourteenth centuries consisted of mounted crossbowmen.

The introduction of the pavise, a large shield kept propped up before
the archer, was a great protection against missiles; and a miniature
from Froissart, in the Bibl. Nat. de Paris, shows crossbowmen shielded
in this manner. According to a manuscript in the British Museum, the
Genoese crossbowman wore a jacket with long sleeves, an iron helm,
brassards, and greaves.

The steel used in the construction of crossbows was of the strongest
and most elastic kind. An enactment in the reign of Henry VII. forbade
the use of the crossbow under severe penalties, and in the sixteenth
century crossbows were mostly used for the defence of fortresses, and
on warships.

The windlass crossbow, called _à tour_ by the French, was largely used
at Agincourt, and the form of that time continued practically the same
for centuries; indeed, up to early in the seventeenth, bows on this
model were made at Malines, in Belgium, by a “confrérie de tir.” The
author has one of these bows in his possession, and it is, he believes,
the exact counterpart of the Agincourt bow.

[Illustration: Fig. 47.--Crossbows and Quarrels.]

The projectiles are usually called quarrels, and are in great
variety of form, but shorter and thicker than arrows for the longbow;
several specimens were found at Tannenberg, dismantled in 1399, and
the complement for a crossbowman was fifty. Quarrels for the arbelest
were called “muschettæ,” hence the word musket; but there is some doubt
whether it was not the missiles of the “scorpion” that were termed thus.

A picture in the National Gallery shows how the common stirrup crossbow
was bent _ad unum pedem_: the bowman places his foot in the stirrup,
a cord is then fixed to the butt of the stock, the other end being
attached to the waistbelt; the cord runs on a pulley, and the bow
is bent by raising the body. The crossbowman wore a “brigandine” or
stuff tunic, lined with strips of steel, besides his “half plates.”
Illustrations of most of the varieties of the crossbow are given in
Fig. 47.


This bow is bent by a lever of two branches, called the goatsfoot, one
of which is provided with forks, which grasp the string, while the
other pulls it back. It was used by horsemen.


This kind, which is very heavy, was used specially in the defence of
fortified places. It probably got its name from the trigger, which is
formed like a latch, and is manipulated by a cog-wheel, and a notched
bar called a cric. This bar has hooks at the top which grasp the
string, and a handle turned by the hand of the archer winds up the
“moulinet” or winch, drawing the string which bends the bow, and the
tackle is slipped on to the stock from the bottom, which passes through
a thick hemp or iron loop. This variety was much used by the Germans,
and is probably the “latch,” although it is far from certain that the
term did not apply to the “cranequin.” There are also barrel crossbows,
and some with a pistol in combination.


This bow is furnished with double cordage and a set of pulleys near the
bottom of the stock, and another set placed just below the bowstring;
strong cords run along the pulleys, and these are drawn taut by a small
detachable windlass, which is adjustable to the bottom end of the
stock, while hooks connected with the top pulleys grasp the bowstring.
As soon as the bow has been bent by the action of the windlass, the
tackle is removed. The top end of the stock is furnished with an iron
stirrup, through which the archer thrusts his foot in order to obtain
the necessary purchase for bending the bow. This type of bow was
used at Agincourt, and it was greatly depended on in the defence of
beleaguered places. It was also called “Arbalete à tour,” because the
part to be fixed to the stock was often embattled like a tower, and the
windlass was named “la clef” or “cranequin.” This bow has a much longer
catch than the “goatsfoot.”


This bow is light, and was used mostly in the chase. It shot
principally pebbles, but also bullets. The French called it “arbalete à
jalet.” A small prodd in the author’s possession was used for shooting
game, and would seem to date from late in the sixteenth or early in the
seventeenth century. It takes its name from two upright pins of iron,
across the top of which a thread is drawn with a bead in the centre,
which required to be brought into line with the notch observable on
the top of the adjustable arch placed above the trigger for sighting
purposes. The cord of this bow is double, and is kept taut by beads
placed there for the purpose of leaving a cavity in which to place the
pebble or bullet for discharge. A vast amount of artistic skill was
often applied in the decoration of crossbows, which has been specially
alluded to in the opening remarks. The prodd was often used by women.



The missile-casting engines of the eleventh and twelfth centuries are
as follow, viz.:--


named from its shape, is a machine about which there is but little
reliable information; but what there is indicates it to have been a
huge crossbow, the bowstring being bent on the cog principle.


Their prototype was the “tormentum” of the Romans.[42] The two machines
are often confounded with each other. The catapulta was used for
throwing heavy darts, while the ancient ballista threw stones only,
but the mediæval variety was often arranged for both quarrels and
rocks. Some ballistæ threw stones three hundred pounds in weight.
The difference in the construction of these military engines from
those made on the ordinary principle of the bow consisted in the
addition of a mechanical force. There were also small catapultæ used
like hand-guns. Remains of ballistæ were found among the _débris_ of
the castle of Russikon in Switzerland, which was burnt down in the
thirteenth century.

Vitruvius and other writers give a full account of these machines, but
the copyist, as has usually happened in all ages, made such mistakes
as to render the descriptions well-nigh unintelligible, so there is
still a good deal of uncertainty concerning them. In chronicles of the
twelfth century crossbows are always termed “ballistæ.”

The principle applied in the ballista was that of the bow, but instead
of the usual arc, with its simple directive force, a kind of double
action was achieved by providing the machine with a strong rectangular
frame of wood, constructed in three compartments, firmly fixed on to
a stand, which was made of strong and hard wood, consisting of two
uprights connected horizontally by a double crossbeam. Instead then of
applying the entire arc, as in the crossbow or scorpion, and assuming
such arc or bow to have been divided into four quarters, only the two
end quarters were used; and in each of the outer compartments of the
frame two very strong strands of twisted sinews were fixed, and through
these the inner ends of the two pieces were firmly held, the bending of
which gave much more elasticity and propulsive force, thus producing
a recoil strong and forcible enough to project heavy missiles to a
distance of as far as 250 yards. The engine was fitted with an iron
groove. In sighting the machine for the discharge of a heavy stone,
pieces of clay were used to keep the projectile at the necessary angle
before discharge. There are four stone shot at Woolwich 15, 16, and 18
inches in diameter, supposed to be catapult balls.

The above explanation will make apparent how very difficult it is to
describe even the simplest machine in mere language; besides, you have
the difficulties of translation to contend with. Fig. 48, from a MS.
in the National Library of Paris, No. 17,339, explains the principle at
a glance.

Besides these machines, there are others constructed on the sling
principle, like the mangona and mangonet, from which the word “gun,”
originally “gon,” is probably derived. There are two stone balls at the
Rotunda, Woolwich, which are said to have been thrown from a mangonel
used in the defence of Kenilworth Castle in 1266. The onager or onagre
is thought by some writers to be merely the old French name for the
catapulta, while Grose gives a figure representing the onagre as a
machine for slinging rocks. The trebuchet is a machine constructed on
this principle (the swing and weighted lever), both for hurling and
swinging a heavy stone against a rampart, breaching or breaking it
down; it also threw barrels of Greek fire. Matthew Paris mentions this
machine as peculiarly effective. This engine seems to be the mangonel
under another name. The tolleno was used in siege operations to lift
soldiers up on to a wall. During the centuries immediately preceding
the introduction of firearms there were many machines invented for the
hurling of darts and stones, used both on land and sea--the robinet,
the espringal, ribandequin, a large crossbow, etc. The missile-casting
engines used on ships of war were mounted on raised platforms. The late
Emperor Napoleon III. had a trebuchet constructed after an ancient
inscription, and this machine is now at Vincennes.

Another called the warwolf is mentioned by several of the early
writers, but they all differ considerably concerning it. Procopius
describes it as a machine of the harrow family, for the defence of a
gate; it seems to have been rather similar to the herse, used as a
second defence after the portcullis had been forced.

The falarica was for throwing fiery darts. It was used by the
Saguntines, when the shaft was wrapped round with tow steeped in oil
and smeared with sulphur and resin. This was ignited and the missile
launched against the “pluteus,” a machine which was the prototype of
the mediæval “sow” or “cat.”

Many of these machines continued in use long after the introduction of
firearms. A common feature in most ancient MSS. is that fancy names are
freely applied to most of them, thus giving rise to much difficulty in
their identification.



The castle of the middle ages up to the invention of the bombard was
practically that of the ancient “castellum,” as far as defence was
concerned, with outworks frequently of wood; and the means of attack
lay in escalade, sapping and mining, the use of the battering-ram, or
by a blockade.

We now touch upon the machines used in attacks on fortified places,
most of which have their prototypes during ancient times in the
testudo, pluteus, tenebra, etc.

The battering-ram, the tenebra of the Romans, used both on land and
sea, was a heavy oak beam tapering towards the head, which was shod
with iron with a point at the extremity. It was exactly the same in
the middle ages as in Roman times. There is a Roman specimen in the
Germanische Museum at Nuremberg, which is about a foot in diameter at
the base, and about eleven feet in length. It is still shod with iron.

Sometimes in the middle ages this machine was made available for the
united energies of many men, by means of beams joined together and
suspended in a sling or massive trestle, whereby its force could be
enormously increased. It was sometimes impelled on rollers or wheels
and rapidly run forward to batter a wall. An engine similar to this is
figured at Nineveh. The besieged did their best to deaden its effect by
means of woolsacks or bags of hair let down from the parapet.

The “sow” or “cat,” the vinea of the Romans, is a shed on wheels,
covered with raw hides, used as a cover for preparing the way for the
use of movable towers and other engines. This machine is the ancient

The testudo (_testa_, a shell), the more modern “tortoise,” was also
a movable shed like the cat, but it contained a battering-ram for
attacking a rampart.

The berefreid, beffroi or belfrey, is a movable tower used for scaling
walls. It was constructed in several storeys, with intercommunications
by means of ladders or staircases, and high enough to overtop the
parapet of the fortress assailed; provided with a drawbridge for an
assault in force, and was often rolled on wheels to the point of
attack. A machine of this kind, built by order of Simon de Montfort,
was used at the siege of Toulouse, and, according to the ballad of the
“Albigéois,” was adapted to contain five hundred men. The last of these
engines was constructed as late as the reign of Charles I., and it was
taken by the parliamentary forces.

Mantlets stuck in the ground provided shelter for the archers, and
other combatants, beneath the walls, against “Greek fire,” showers of
rocks, and other missiles, hurled from the battlements by the defenders.

“Greek fire” was used both in attack and defence. This was a Greek
invention, as its name implies, and the secret of its composition was
most jealously guarded. It was known in the east of Europe as early as
673, and was for a long time regarded as supernatural by the northern
nations in the “dark ages,” but the secret was discovered by the
Crusaders--in fact, Philip of France brought some of it from Acre, and
used it for setting fire to the English ships at the siege of Dieppe.
Jesuit Petavius states on the authority of Nicetas, Theophanes, and
Cedrenus, that it was invented about the year 660.[43] Anna Comnena
gives the ingredients as bitumen, sulphur, and naphtha; and states that
the Emperor Alexius discharged it at the enemy from his galleys. Others
add pitch and gum to these ingredients. It was used in many ways, but
its most fatal and irresistible form of application was in setting fire
to fortified towns, where the wooden houses of mediæval times afforded
it free scope, when inadequately guarded against by a sufficient
application of raw hides to the roofs, and other means of protection.
A mixture of vinegar, sand, and urine was used to put out its flames.
Barrels of “Greek fire” were fired into these towns from the ancient
“trebuchet,” and also by a kind of mortar; it was also freely used
by the besieged for the destruction of movable towers and engines of
war. Froissart, in his account of the attack by the Black Prince on
the castle of Romorantin on the Sandre, mentions an engine he calls an
“aqueraux” to fire “le feu gregois.”



These rude missile-casting weapons, with the longbow, were greatly
used by the peasantry and yeomanry of the early “middle ages.” The
first-named is too familiar to need much description, and its very
ancient character is universally known. The Spaniards employed it with
great effect at the battle of Navarete, where, Froissart says, “they
broke many helmets and skullcaps, so that they wounded and unhorsed
many of their opponents.” At the Rotunda, Woolwich, are twelve sling
stones of two sizes, viz., 2.35 and 1.7 inches in diameter. These
stones came from Rhodes--they are pebbles covered with lead. A single
slinger appears on the margin of the Bayeux tapestry; the weapon is
being used by a peasant aiming at a bird.

The fustibal, or staff-sling, consists of a long pole, four feet
in length, with a sling in the middle. An example is recorded in a
MS., which is attributed to Matthew Paris, in Benet College Library,
Cambridge, C. 5, xvi. It was wielded by both hands to cast large stones
against an enemy, and was in use as late as the sixteenth century for
hurling grenades. The ordinary sling was still to the fore in the
fourteenth century--indeed, it was sometimes used in warfare even in
the sixteenth; Grose gives an instance at the siege of Sancerre in
1572. The author saw it in Egypt, used by boys for frightening birds
from the bean fields.




This family of weapons is somewhat extensive, and of very great
antiquity. The earliest forms were often used as missiles, and have
been briefly alluded to in the introductory remarks. We have the
authority of Procopius that the Frankish darts had barbed iron heads,
and were used for both cutting and thrusting. Agathias refers to
double axes and argones (spears). The Anglo-Saxon spear was a narrow,
long-bladed weapon, while their javelin differed from that of the
Normans in being shorter. The Bayeux tapestry shows Anglo-Saxons with
bundles of barbed javelins in their hands. The Norman cavalry was armed
with long lances, as well as swords, at the battle of Hastings.

Up to the end of the eleventh century, the lance continued of a
comparatively uniform thickness about twelve feet in length, and the
knight’s pennon waved from it, as shown on the Bayeux tapestry, while
the head was lozenge- or leaf-shape, and sometimes barbed--all these
forms appear on the tapestry. The Daubernoun brass (1277) furnishes a
good example of a thirteenth century lance; it is five feet long, and
bears an emblazoned pennon.

The tilting-lance was from twelve to fifteen feet in its extreme
length, first of uniform girth, but later thicker at the base,
gradually tapering towards the point, and the swell at the grip does
not occur before the fourteenth century. Ash was preferred for the
shaft. The early tournament lance was required to be blunted, but
owing to the many evasions of this rule an ordinance of the fourteenth
century enjoined that the head be furnished with a tip in the form of a

The length of the lance was often much reduced in the fourteenth
century, and was then sometimes used as a dart, but this was considered
so dangerous to the king’s peace that its use in this manner was
forbidden by statute. The tilting-lance of late in the fourteenth and
during the fifteenth century was often made hollow, so that it was
more apt to shiver at the moment of impact, and the shaft was grooved;
it differs at this time in form and bulk for the different courses.
Those that were used with a view to “unhorsing” were stronger, heavier,
and thicker in the stem than those made with the object of being
splintered; the former were provided with a pointed head, while the
latter often bore a coronal. The lance used for running at the ring was
shorter and much lighter than the two first-named, and was tipped with
a cone; there are specimens of most of these varieties at the Tower.
Froissart mentions a spear with a hook or spur at the base of the
blade, used for the purpose of dragging an adversary from his saddle,
but this feature might refer to one of the other weapons otherwise
enumerated. A good example of the lance of the second half of the
fifteenth century may be seen on “The Tapestry of Berne.”

It was common for knights fighting on foot, or those dismounted by any
accident, to cut down the lance to a length of five feet, for use as a
spear; this was done at the battle of Poitiers.

The vamplate, a steel plate for keeping the lance in position, began
as a small rondelle, but attained larger dimensions in the fourteenth
century, becoming very large in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries;
the German tilting vamplate covered the shoulder and half of the arm.

The importance of the lance in battle became greatly reduced in the
sixteenth century, and even earlier.


The mace is a very ancient weapon in its simple form, its use and shape
having been evidently suggested by the club, and it was probably a
sceptre before it became a fighting club of metal.

The type of the Bayeux tapestry, which was only used by the Saxons,
is elementary and club-like, and the shape did not alter much before
the beginning of the fifteenth century, when we have round, oval,
cog-wheel, and dentated forms; it was sometimes provided with a short
spear, welded into the top, but this was rather a French than an
English form. The mace and battle-axe were the great weapons of the
Plantagenets. The mace (temp. Edward I.) assumed the form of a slightly
projecting cog-wheel, which became somewhat more pronounced in the
next reign, as may be seen on one of the sleeping figures in Lincoln
Cathedral; and the weapon was sometimes made of lead. The shape did not
alter much before the beginning of the fifteenth century, when we have
the round, oval, cog-wheel, and dentated forms much more pronounced
than under Edward I.

Asiatic specimens are generally round in the knob, and are much lighter
than European weapons. The mace hung at the saddle-bow, being passed
through a socket which was attached to the saddle, and the weapon was
used in the lists as well as in battle.

It survived as the weapon of the sergeant-at-arms, and fell into disuse
as a weapon of war in the reign of Queen Elizabeth; after which it
became a processional emblem, and was made of silver or copper-gilt,
and ornamented with a crown, globe, and cross.

The small variety of mace was termed the “mazuelle.” The baston (German
streitkolben) is a heavy mace of hard wood, bluntly pointed, polygonal
in form, thickening towards the head, while the pommel is round, and it
was used in tournaments.

The martel-de-fer or pole-hammer is of ancient origin. That it was in
use in the eighth century is shown by the sobriquet “Charles Martel.”
It was a popular weapon in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries for
both horse and foot. The Lucerne hammer is only another name for the
same weapon; it is both long and short handled, while the head is
either a simple war-hammer, or has a small halbard-shaped blade with a
plain or dentated hammer at the opposite side, and a longer or shorter
spear at the extremity.


The battle-axe or francisca was a leading weapon of the Franks during
the Merovingian period, and it was then often used as a missile. The
francisca of Childeric (457–481) was found in his tomb at Tournay,
and is now in the Louvre. Procopius refers to the francisca of the
sixth century as having a broad blade, sometimes double-edged, with a
short haft. Roughly, the battle-axe is short in the handle, while the
pole-axe, as its name implies, is long in the shaft. The former is a
knightly weapon, while the latter was wielded by footmen only.

The battle-axe was greatly used by the Normans of the twelfth century.
It is a weapon of the Bayeux tapestry; indeed, William the Conqueror
was armed with it at Hastings--the form of the blade resembled that of
an ordinary hatchet, with a curved blade.

The Anglo-Saxons used an axe, narrow-bladed and single-edged, from four
to five feet long in the shaft, with great success in the battle. They
first darted their javelins, and then attacked the foe with the deadly

The blade assumes later a great variety of forms--cleaver, cusped,
etc., and the top was sometimes garnished with a hook or spear.

The pole-axe was a favourite weapon of the fifteenth century, and
one of the varieties of the period combines a hatchet, a pike, and a
serrated hammer: this weapon is first cousin to the halbard, and often
classified as such.

The Jeddart staff is a long-shafted axe with a half-circular blade and
a side spike. It is more a halbard than an axe.

The Lochaber axe, used with such telling effect at the battle of
Culloden, is long-shafted; the blade and setting closely resemble
that of a voulge, with its hook at the head of the staff. This hook,
however, is generally absent in the voulge used in the field, and
this is sometimes the case with the Jeddart staff also. There are two
fine specimens of the Lochaber axe in the collection in the Castle of

The pole-axe, called the bardiche, is a Russian and Scandinavian weapon
with a long, narrow, crescent-formed blade attached to the top of a
pole by a ringed haft, while the lower end of the blade is fastened on
to the pole farther down.

The addition of a wheel-lock pistol was a feature of the pole-axe early
in the reign of James I. The battle-axe, according to George Silver in
his _Paradoxes of Defence_, was at the end of the sixteenth century
from five to six feet long.


The late Mr. John Hewitt, in one of his contributions to the _History
of Mediæval Weapons and Military Appliances in Europe_, refers to
the goedendag as being a foot soldier’s weapon of the thirteenth and
fourteenth centuries; and he gives a drawing of a foot soldier armed
with a long-shafted weapon thickening towards the head, which is
surmounted by a short iron spear, firmly and thickly socketed on to the

This figure, with others, is stated by M. Felix de Vigne, in his
_Recherches Historiques sur les Costumes des Gildes, etc._, published
in 1846, to have been reproduced on a drawing by himself from a fresco
that had long been plastered over on a wall in an old building in
Ghent, since pulled down. The soldier wears a bassinet, with camail
of banded-mail overlying the surcoat, and the general aspect of the
figure is that of an armed member of one of the Flemish guilds of
the beginning of the fourteenth century or thereabouts. M. de Vigne
claims to have established the form of the true goedendag in the weapon
carried by the soldier.

The late Mr. Hermann Van Duyse in his brochure, _Le Goedendag arme
Flamande sa Légende et son Histoire_, refers to the old building in
which the fresco was found as by tradition a chapel of the guild of
the weavers of Ghent, known as the “Leugemiete.” The town records and
archives of the Abbaye of St. Bavon both afford confirmatory evidence
that a chapel was built very early in the fourteenth century on or near
the site where the “Leugemiete” stood.

The figure mentioned by Hewitt formed one of a troop preceded by
crossbowmen. The leader wears a visored bassinet, and bears a standard
emblazoned with two triangular shields and five crosses argent. His
sword is long and broad, with quillons curving towards the blade. The
details of the drawing point clearly to the end of the thirteenth
or beginning of the fourteenth century. M. Viollet le Duc, in his
_Dictionnaire du Mobilier_, defines the weapon as a variety of the
voulge or fauchard, while M. Van Malderghem considers it to be a
ploughshare mounted on a staff, or a sort of bill.

In a poem by W. Guiart, written in the French of the period, in the
_Branche des Royaux Leguages_, descriptive of the battle of “Haringues”
in 1297, the goedendag mentioned affords many points of resemblance to
the staff weapon shown on the De Vigne fresco; indeed, it can be no

The goedendag, whatever its form, was used with great effect at the
battle of Courtray in 1302, and is called “goudendar” and “godendar” in
an account of the battle in the _Grandes Chroniques_. Guiart mentions
the goedendag as having been used in this battle in concert with the
lance and guisarme, and the weapon is mentioned in French chronicles
late in the thirteenth century.

Tradition says that the goedendag is the weapon of the fresco and
poem, but garnished with spikes over the thicker portion of the staff
towards the head; and there are several such weapons surviving, though
this is probably a rather later variety of the weapon than that shown
on the fresco, the only difference being the addition of the side
spikes. Froissart mentions the weapon as being used at the battle
of “Rosebecque” in 1383. Probably the true form of the goedendag is
that of the poem and fresco, with or without side spikes. As to the
etymology of the word itself, that is given in Guiart’s poem, where it
says that it means “good day.”[45] The name doubtless took its rise
from a brutal jest, as in the case of the holy-water sprinkler. The
goedendag in the author’s possession has a staff seventy-five inches
long, with a spike a little over seven inches at the end, and twelve
short spikes dispersed in four rows round the head, projecting about
one and a quarter inches from the staff, which bears the brand Z. I.
In the Rotunda, Woolwich, are four similar goedendags, classed in the
catalogues as “morgensterns” or “holy-water sprinklers”!


This class of weapons is often confounded with the gisarme, because
they sometimes have a spur at the base. All have their prototype in the
scythe of agriculture.

The bill occurs in the poem of Beowulf as part of the armament of a
ship of war, and it is often mentioned in Anglo-Saxon chronicles, but
it must be borne in mind that old chronicles used the phrase “bills
and bows” in the sense that the former word applies generally to all
long-shafted weapons. According to Silver, the bill ought not to exceed
six feet in length.

Bills were in general use by footmen in the eleventh century, and
indeed continued to be so until the advent of the pike. This class of
weapons was largely superseded in the fifteenth century by halbards,
partizans, and pikes, but the bill survived long in England. There are
some particulars of this weapon in the _Brief Discourse on Warre_,
written by Sir Roger Williams in 1590, in which the proper proportion
of bills to pikes in battle-array is set forth as one to five. The
length of the bill-shaft should not exceed six feet.

The glaive has a much larger blade than the bill. It has its edge on
the outside curve, and has side branches of various sizes. The term
“glaive” was often applied to the lance, and in France “le fer de
glaive” denoted the sword of chivalry, as well as the headman’s blade.

The pageant glaive is a large, heavy, and usually highly decorated
weapon, doubtless greatly used in processions.


This class of weapon, like several others, had its inception among the
implements of husbandry; and it owes its name, like the goedendag,
doubtless to a brutal jest. It is stated by Whitacre that the
agricultural flail was introduced into Italy about the time of the
Roman conquest of Britain. The Anglo-Saxons called it “Therscol,” or
thrasher. This terrible weapon consists of a shaft of wood, garnished
with iron, attached to which is a flail of iron, moving on a ring; or a
chain or chains connecting the head of the shaft with a wooden or iron
ball or balls at the extremity. The balls are usually garnished with
iron spikes, but this is not always the case. The holy-water sprinkler
is often confounded with the “morning star,” which is a spiked mace,
described under that heading.

It would appear from the Tower Survey of 1547, that the “Holy Water
Sprinkler” was at that time in two varieties, viz., with long and short
shafts. The above record catalogues “Holly Water Sprincles with gonnes
in th’ ende. Little holly water sprincles.” Perhaps what was called the
long variety was the goedendag. The author has two with short shafts,
and chains at the ends, to which are attached spiked wooden balls. The
MS. of Matthew Paris at Benet College, Cambridge, furnishes us with an
example of the simple form.


This weapon is a spiked mace, and was greatly used in Germany and
Switzerland. There are both long and short shafted kinds; the latter,
made of iron, is mentioned in the eleventh century, and was much
used by horsemen in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. They
were sometimes supplemented with hand-guns. This variety was called
“Schiesspringel.” Several writers confound the “Morning Star” with the
“Holy Water Sprinkler,” but the latter is a weapon of the flail family.
The heads vary in shape, being round, square, and a half oval narrowing
towards the shaft, and all are spiked.


The gisarme is a scythe-shaped weapon, fixed on a long shaft. It is
double-edged, and provided with a hook and spurs. It is often mentioned
in early chronicles of the thirteenth century, and is specially alluded
to by Froissart in the next century. The voulge has a broad blade,
pointed at the head, and is generally square at the edge. It was
usually forged with two strong iron rings, through which the head of a
pole is passed. This weapon was often carried by archers. The pageant
voulge is shaped very like a Lochaber axe, with its curved, pointed,
hook-like spear at the head of the shaft.


These forked, trident-like weapons, of prongs of unequal length, are
mentioned in records of the eleventh century. They were much used in
the fourteenth century. The weapon appears in the Sloane MS., No. 346.


The first mention of this weapon occurs in the fourteenth century. It
was used by footmen only, and is somewhat varied in form. It usually
has a somewhat square or crescent-shaped blade, with a sharp hook-like
projection or forks on the back, and sometimes a spike from the face,
but always a spear at the top. In the fifteenth century the nearly
straight form prevailed, with a spur behind, while the crescent-shaped
blade appeared early in the sixteenth; and the hinder spur became
broader and more blade-like, and with a downward curve, while the spear
at the point became much longer.

Double-bladed halbards were not uncommon.

The length at the end of the sixteenth century was about five feet,
and being shorter than the pike was better adapted for hand-to-hand
fighting. Silver says the length ought not to exceed five or six feet.

The halbardiers had charge of the standard.

The halbard and the partizan were the great infantry weapons before the
pike came into general use. They were still to the fore in the reign of
George I.

The pageant halbard is usually perforated, engraved, and otherwise

Hewitt gives a figure, from Holbein’s “Costumes Suisses,” of a Swiss
halbardier of the first half of the sixteenth century.


The pike is a footman’s weapon used greatly in conjunction with the
halbard and harquebus; and these three were pre-eminently the weapons
of the infantry of the later “middle ages” and the “renaissance.”

It was probably introduced into England in the reign of Edward III.,
being mentioned by Froissart, anno 1342, and did not fall into disuse
much before the time of Charles II., when a writer in 1703 refers to
it as a weapon “formerly” in use, the bayonet having superseded it.
Viscount Dillon states in _Archæologia_, vol. li., p. 221, that “In
1515, Pasqualigo, the Venetian, writes that he had seen in the Tower
pikes for 40,000 infantry, and that they have a like store at Calais,
a place near Scotland!” The pike has a narrow lance-formed head, to
which long strips of iron four feet in length are attached, which are
screwed down the sides of a long wooden pole, the end of which is shod
with iron, for fixing into the ground, to resist a charge of horsemen.
There is a tassel along the shaft for easing the shoulder when the
weapon is carried at the “port,” and also for preventing the rain from
running down the shaft.

The earlier length of the pike was ten feet, but Sutcliffe, in his
_Practice of Arms_, speaks of it as up to twenty-two feet in length. A
statute of 1662 fixes the length at sixteen feet. During Elizabeth’s
reign the cost of a pike was three shillings and eightpence, and it was
“fifteene foote long besides the head.” The usual length, however, was
about ten feet.

It was the bayonet that deposed the pike.

The partizan, like the pike, was introduced in the reign of Edward
III. The blade is long, broad, and double-edged, with hatchet-like or
pointed branches at the base. It was greatly used as a pageant weapon,
and much skill and taste were expended in chasing it and inlaying it
with gold. The spetum is narrower and lighter, a long spear at the
point, and narrow curved side branches.

The ranseur is very similar to the partizan, with a long broad blade
in the centre, and projecting shorter blades on each side. It was much
used in the reign of Edward IV.

The spontoon is a half pike, or something between the pike and
partizan, and was carried by infantry officers.

A selection of staff and club weapons are represented in Fig. 49, and
most of the weapons referred to are there given.



It is stated that some sort of cannon was known to the Moors very
early, and that artillery was used in Spain during the second half
of the thirteenth century in the defence of fortified places; but this
is believed to be merely traditional, and that the piece of ordnance
stated to be mentioned in the Archives of Ghent[46] as being in
possession of that town in 1313, was probably a very rough weapon and
highly tentative in character. Without wishing to cast doubt on this
statement, occurring in a work published in 1843, we may remark that
frequent efforts have since been made to find the passage, but without

[Illustration: Fig. 48.--Principle of the Ballista.]

[Illustration: Fig. 49.--Staff and Club Weapons, etc.]

The earliest firearms were only adapted for throwing fire into
fortified places by means of a hollow tube, such as those described
by the Princess Anna Comnena in the _Alexiad_, “tubes fixed to the
prows of the Emperor’s galleys for throwing Greek fire,” and cannon
discharging missiles by the agency of detonating gunpowder were
probably not invented before the fourteenth century. All guns made in
this century were of the crudest description, fastened on to blocks
of wood, and were of wrought iron, loaded at the breech, and used
principally in sieges.

There is frequent mention of firearms in German and Italian
“chronicles” late in the first half of the fourteenth century, but
these references are invariably characterised by extreme vagueness.
Froissart frequently alludes to cannon, and says that these weapons
were used by the besieged at Cambray in 1339;[47] his remarks
concerning them are quite casual, and convey the impression that he
attached very little importance to them. A French MS. of about 1338,
in the Republican Library at Paris, mentions ordnance. This occurs in
an account of the war treasurers, “To Henri de Vaumechon for buying
powder and other necessaries for cannon;” and a year later reference
is made to cannon in the Archives of Bruges, “niewen enginen di men
heet ribaude.” The statement of Villani, so often repeated, that
artillery was in operation at the battle of Creçy, in 1346, is open
to very considerable question, as it is tolerably certain that there
were no field-pieces so early, or indeed any cannon whatever that could
be moved about to any useful purpose in a battle. Froissart makes no
mention of any used in campaigning; but he refers to a bombard at the
siege of Oudenarde, “the noise of its discharge could be heard five
leagues away,” and he also states that bombards and cannon were in
operation at the siege of Quesnoy in 1340--“Those of Quesnoy let them
hear their cannon,” when huge bolts were used as missiles; and that
artillery was in use at the siege of Vannes, both by the besieged and
the attacking English.[48] What gave rise to the tradition, if it be
one, is probably the fact that Edward III. had established an ordnance
factory, for siege guns, two years before the battle. Artillery of
this date was quite unsuitable for field operations, and was only
employed with other engines, as these examples show, in the reduction
of fortified places. Demmin gives a drawing of a breech-loading cannon,
open at both ends, strengthened by iron coils, which he states came
from the field of Creçy, but we know not on what authority. This weapon
was of forged iron, like all the earlier ordnance. Grose, in his
_History of the English Army_,[49] cites a MS., which has already been
referred to in these pages, giving the force constituting the English
army in Normandy and before Calais, in the twentieth year of the reign
of Edward III., in which items appear for payments to gunners and
artillerymen; but it would seem that their duty consisted in serving
siege guns before Calais. Still, why should there be mention of what
would appear to be two classes of gunners?

There was a gun foundry in France in 1346, Germany in 1378, in
Switzerland in 1371. The first mention of any guns cast in England
was, we believe, in 1521, when, according to Stone, brass cannon were
first “cast” there; the founder’s name was Hugget, of Uckfield, in
Sussex, and there are some specimens of about this date at Woolwich.
Early cannon were fired by a live coal; later, by a slow match. There
is nothing to indicate the date of the wooden cannon strengthened
with iron coils, brought from Cochin China, and now in the Musée des
Invalides at Paris. There is a mortar in the arsenal at Vienna, made
in several layers of coiled hempen rope, with an outside covering
of leather, which is said to have been captured from the Turks.
There are also mortars made of paper, covered with leather, in the
arsenal at Malta, but without any reliable record concerning their
origin--doubtless they also came from the East. In Johnes’s version of
_Froissart_, vol. ii., p. 252, is an account of a sea-fight between
the English and Spanish fleets off Calais, King Edward commanding in
person. It is there stated that the Spanish ships were amply provided
with artillery, and a later passage specially mentions “cannon,”--this
was probably the year after the battle of Creçy;[50] but in 1340 these
weapons are referred to in connection with the naval battle of Sluys.

In 1372 some of the French ships undoubtedly carried ordnance at the
battle of Rhodes; and the Venetians used bombards a few years later at
the battle before Chioggia, when some of the guns burst on the first
discharge; one of these weapons, which is made of leather, is still
preserved at the Vienna arsenal. Leathern cannon were also used at the
siege of Hohensalzburg in 1525, and by Gustavus Adolphus in 1631. We
may take it that some time before this both artillery and hand-guns
were regularly used in battle, but side by side with catapultæ and
other engines of war, thus clearly showing that they were at this time
largely experimental. They were still but sparingly found at sea in the
middle of the fifteenth century, when an English war vessel sometimes
carried only one gun, and the largest ships never more than eight;
and each piece of ordnance was then only provided with thirty rounds
of ammunition for a month’s cruise. After this time, however, the
progress was rapid, and some of the Mediterranean galleys of late in
the sixteenth century were armed with as many as two hundred guns. In
1377, Thomas Norbury was directed by King Richard II. to provide “two
great and two less engines called cannon,” to be sent to the castle of
Bristol. The first reliable mention of field guns is on the occasion of
a battle between the forces of Bruges and Ghent in 1382.

The first piece of ordnance was probably a mortar, the earliest form
of which was a hollow tube, like an inverted cone, the butt-end being
blocked with wood--they were short pieces of large bore.

The earliest artillery was breech-loading and called bombards, and
some of these, towards the end of the century (the fourteenth), were
capable of throwing two hundredweight shot, describing a parabolic
curve of a radius of only three hundred yards, showing that the powder
must have been very weak. In 1388, a stone shot, weighing 195 pounds,
was discharged from a bombard called the “Trevisan.”[51] Drawings
of these engines may be seen in MSS. 851 and 852 in the Nat. Lib.,
Paris. One is on a flat wooden stand, the other on a low platform
with small solid wheels. Fig. 50 exhibits one of these weapons. These
guns, at first without trunnions, were made of bars of wrought iron,
in overlapping coils or sections, welded together on a mandrel, and
then hooped--in fact, similar in principle to the “Armstrong” gun.
There is a breech-block in which the charge was previously laid, and
fitted into the body of the piece by means of a wedge, but no apparent
arrangement for sustaining the recoil. The Scottish cannon, “Mons Meg,”
is forged in this fashion, and a rent near the breech is instructive
in laying bare the system of construction. It is of fifteenth century
date, and is said to have been wrought at Mons in Flanders, but there
is no evidence of this being the case--indeed, it was probably made in
Scotland about the middle of the century. The calibre is 20 inches, and
length 13 feet 6 inches. The projectiles used were stone shot, weighing
330 lb. The powder-chamber is less in diameter than the barrel.

Culverins were long pieces, whose projectiles were usually of lead.

Bronze bombards were made by Aran of Augsburg as early as 1378; but it
was considerably later before these pieces began to be cast in iron.
A very early iron specimen may be seen in the Rotunda collection at

Breech-loading cannon were pieces of small calibre, and were followed
by those constructed on the movable chamber system, and after that
by muzzle-loaders. There is an interesting piece preserved at the
Artillery Museum, St. Petersburg, dating from the end of the fourteenth
or beginning of the fifteenth century; it is strengthened with coils:
also some good fifteenth century specimens. To judge from the quantity
of old arms of all sorts found in Belgium, that country must have been
as much the cockpit of Europe during the middle ages as it was in much
more recent times. At the Porte de Hal Museum at Brussels are pieces of
artillery of the fifteenth century, including some very early examples
of considerable interest, and among these is a breech-loading cannon,
mounted on a carriage with wooden wheels which are encircled by studded
iron hoops. The weapon is of wrought iron, clasped round with thick
iron coils--length, 0.74. There is another of similar construction
and date--calibre, 0.135; length, 0.77. The carriages have been
reconstructed. A bombardelle, the calibre of which is 0.13, and length,

The muzzle-loading crapeaudeau of the first half of the fifteenth
century is a small iron tube, mounted in a thick piece of wood,
which stands on a small square block, with side handles for
transportation--calibre, 32 mm.; it is a model executed from an
old MS. A small culverin, the progenitor of the early petronel and
later blunderbuss--length with mount, 1.80; barrel, 1.15; calibre,
25 mm. A breech-loading culverin of the first half of the fifteenth
century--calibre, 0.065; length, 1.97. This weapon was found at
Luxemburg during the demolition of part of the ramparts; it has a ring
for hoisting.

There is a serpentin forged on the “Mons Meg” principle, the carriage
of which is constructed from an ancient MS. (Fig. 50). A ship falconet
(Fig. 50), early sixteenth century, breech-loader; turning on a
pivot--calibre, 0.035; length, 1.31. The collection of early ordnance
at the Königl. Zeughaus at Berlin contains some interesting specimens.
Among them is an example of the short early bombard, dating from the
close of the fourteenth century; and a long serpent cannon, shooting
a projectile of two and a half pounds weight, of the year 1419 (these
two weapons have been constructed after contemporary drawings); two
cannon, eighty-pounders; a seven-pounder bombard used by Charles the
Bold, and taken by the Swiss at the battle of Nancy. There are also
many others similar in character to specimens described in these pages.
An interesting series of drawings of late fifteenth century artillery
exists in the ordnance books of the Emperor Maximilian I., where you
have examples of the bombard, serpentin, snakes, falconets, mortar,
and orgue. The lighter guns are mounted on rude carriages, with heavy
wooden wheels encircled with iron-hooping.

[Illustration: Fig. 50.--Early Artillery.]

The elbow bombard, used in Italy early in the fifteenth century, was a
tube fixed at right angles on to a carriage--the angle was capable of
manipulation by a prop, and the breech-block is inserted in the side.

The orgue, the prototype of the modern mitrailleuse, was invented
early in the fifteenth century--examples are mentioned with as many as
thirty and forty barrels, and even more. There is an early specimen
in the museum at Sigmaringen; and one dating from the beginning of
the sixteenth century, with forty barrels, in the Imperial collection
at Vienna. Another with five barrels, dating from about the end
of the fifteenth century, and one a century later with sixty-four
barrels; both in the collection of the Königl. Zeughaus at Berlin. A
breech-loading gun of the fifteenth century may be seen in Fig. 50.

The connecting link between artillery and hand-guns has been mentioned
in an example at the Porte de Hal Museum, Brussels, and there are
many other specimens there, called bâton à feu. Among them is a
harquebus-mitrailleuse; this weapon, which is only twenty-five inches
long, has nine barrels, moves on a pivot, and is fired by a wheel-lock.

The transport of the heavy and cumbrous guns of the fourteenth century
was found to be attended with so much difficulty and expense that
lighter cannon were introduced in the century following for field use,
and rude carriages on wheels drawn by oxen were added. The bombard thus
mounted was called “cerbotana ambulatoria.” Gun carriages were vastly
improved during the reign of Henry VIII., when horses were employed
to draw them. Means of sighting and convenience for trajectory had
to be thought of, and trunnions were invented towards the middle of
the fifteenth century. There was another contrivance for raising and
depressing by means of a long thin prolongation, a sort of tail in
fact, attached to the piece behind, and a fork was sometimes used for
holding up the breech. There is a specimen with this adjustment at the
Musée d’Artillerie at Paris, with an inscription bearing the date 1490.
Projectiles of iron did not become common until a little later, but
there was nothing specially new in a metal projectile, for such had
long been used for early war engines, throwing balls both cold and hot.

The English army before Orleans in 1428 had a train of fifteen
breech-loading mortars. Valturio, an Italian, writing in 1472 describes
the engines of war then in use, including cannon.

Specimens of ancient ordnance are not very numerous in England. There
is a very interesting wrought-iron bombard in the collection at the
Rotunda, Woolwich, dating from the commencement of the fifteenth
century, or possibly somewhat earlier. It is lined with cast-iron,[52]
has a calibre of 15.1 inches; interior diameter of chamber, 14
inches; capacity of chamber, about 3.5 lb.; length of chase, 34
inches; present weight, 6 cwts. Also a wrought-iron cannon of about
the same date--length, 24 inches; original calibre about 2 inches,
without trunnions or cascabel, but provided with a couple of rings for

Double cannon, strengthened with coils, were common at this period,
with the breech in the centre, and barrels running in two opposite
directions. There are specimens at Woolwich, and at the Porte de Hal
Museum, Brussels. There are several wrought-iron pieces at Woolwich,
of the reign of Henry VI., and among them a serpent gun 8 feet 6
inches long, without trunnions, but provided with two rings for
lifting--calibre, 4.25 inches; weight, about 9 cwts. A wrought-iron
breech-loading gun with carriage was recovered from the wreck of the
_Mary Rose_, sunk off Spithead in 1545, which is now at Woolwich;
original calibre about 8 inches; the gun is a tube 9 feet 8 inches
long, strengthened by a succession of heavy hoops, and is fixed by iron
bolts to a beam of wood. The breech-block being removed for loading and
charge inserted, the block is replaced and wedged, and the recoil was
sustained by an upright piece of wood. There is no arrangement visible
for raising or lowering the gun for taking aim. Similar guns may be
seen at the Tower.

During the early days of artillery guns were constantly taken and
retaken in battle after a first discharge, the process of reloading
being so protracted that cavalry, or even infantry, were upon them long
before the operation could be completed.

The fourteenth or early fifteenth century bombardier was clad in
chain-mail, when stone shot was fired. He ignited his charge with a hot
iron, guarding his face with his left hand from the sparks thrown off
by the old-fashioned powder.

During the fifteenth century cannon were usually entrusted to the
care of foreign mercenaries who were better disciplined than mere
feudal or communal levies, and much less liable to panic. John Jedd
was appointed Master of Ordnance in England, 1483, and the office was
not abolished before 1852. Hand-grenades appear in 1536. Each gun was
known by a special name, of which “Mons Meg” is a familiar example. The
general estimation of the use of cannon in campaigning was for long
discredited by reason of the manifold imperfections of the weapons,
the frequency of their capture by the enemy, and the dangers attending
their discharge; they were for long employed simultaneously with the
more ancient projectile engines, and the latter were preferred by many
commanders to the former; but the dawn of the sixteenth century saw
such manifest improvements that artillery then began to take the first
place among projectile weapons. The petard was an invention of the
Flemings in the sixteenth century.

Ordnance of the sixteenth century varies very much in size, cannon
throwing a projectile of from thirty to forty pounds; culverins,
bastard-culverins, falcons, falconets, and many other varieties
discharging balls from sixteen pounds down to a single pound.

Mortars were greatly used in the middle of the sixteenth century, and
howitzers for throwing hollow balls a little later.

Gunpowder first became granulated during the second half of the
fifteenth century, up to which time the powder was of a fine dust, and
divided from the stone projectile by a wooden wad. There were coarse
and fine granulations made for charging and priming respectively. That
made in the seventeenth century had become much more powerful, and a
proportionate amount of metal had to be allowed in the construction of
cannon. Mr. John Hewitt quotes the author of _Pallas Armata_, which
states “that a culverin that shot 16 pounds of iron had but a hundred
pound of metal allowed for every pound of her shot, and so she weighed
then but 1,600 pounds; but now and long before this she weighs 4,300
pounds, and consequently hath the allowance of near 270 pounds of metal
for every pound of shot.”

All the gunlocks we are accustomed to associate with hand-guns were
used with ordnance; they were fixed to the vent-field by pins passing
laterally through it, or by side screws.

The first mention of bombs occurs in 1588.

Artillery had now become an important and independent arm in all
campaigning, and it will be seen how numerous cannon had become when it
is stated that the train of guns attached to the army of the Emperor
Ferdinand in 1556 consisted of fifty-four heavy and one hundred and
twenty-seven light pieces of artillery.

Rifled cannon, the principle of which was first applied to hand-arms in
Germany, were introduced in this century; examples of which may be seen
in the arsenal at Berlin, and in the museums of Nuremberg and the Hague.

Viscount Dillon, P.S.A., writing in _Archæologia_, vol. li., quotes
Lord Herbert of Cherbury, who consulted the records for the compilation
of his history of the reign of Henry VIII. Lord Herbert writes that
“great brass ordnance, as cannons and culverins, were first cast in
England by one John Owen in 1535; and that about 1544 iron pieces and
grenades were first cast.” Viscount Dillon remarks “that the facts as
to time and place seem to be different, for in September 1516 there
occurs a payment of £33 6s. 8d. to John Rutter of London, for “hurts
and damages by him sustained in a tenement to him belonging wherein the
king’s great gun called the ‘Basiliscus’ was cast, and for rent.” In
1532 Carlo Capello, the Venetian, writes that Henry “visited the Tower
daily to hasten the works then going on there, and was founding cannon
and heavy gunpowder made.” This was in anticipation of the Scottish war.

A valuable account of the guns in the Tower, numbering 64 of brass
and 351 of iron, of which follow some abridged extracts, may be seen
in some notes by Viscount Dillon, appearing in _Archæologia_, vol.
li., pp. 223–225. He states “that there are two bronze guns, octagonal
externally, with bores 2½ and 2¾ inches, corresponding in form with
types of 1500–1530, presumably of Venetian make. The ‘Brode Fawcon,
shooting iij shotte,’ is rectangular externally, has three bores side
by side, and the three spaces for placing the three chambers, as in
early breech-loading cannon. The ‘French gonnes of Brasse’ may have
been part of the spoils of Boulogne in 1554, or else the work of the
same Peter Bawde who cast brass guns for King Henry at Houndsditch
as early as 1525.” His lordship is of opinion that the seventeen
“Scottishe gonnes of Brasse” would include some of the pieces taken at
Flodden, which, according to Hall, consisted of “5 great curtalls, 2
great culverynges, 4 sacres (hawks), and 5 serpentynes, etc.” Viscount
Dillon mentions in his notes that the Scotch made cannon in 1460,
and that the iron guns in the Tower comprise eleven of the numerous
varieties in use in Henry VIII.’s time, and he gives the names of
makers of that period, both English and foreign. These notes, of which
this is but a very imperfect outline, should be read _in extenso_ by
all specially interested in the subject.



The invention, or at all events the first application of these weapons
for the purposes of warfare, in the sense of the use of detonating
gunpowder for the discharge of projectiles, in contradistinction
to those applied merely for setting fire to buildings, is probably
due to the Flemings or Italians, but the approximate date of their
introduction is very difficult to trace, as early writers on the
subject so often confound hand-guns with cannon, and _vice versâ_;
besides, some of the earlier guns were innocent of any projectile
whatever, being simply used for frightening horses, an office at that
time far from being contemptible in repelling an onset of men-at-arms.
The earliest mention of hand-guns occurs in connection with Perugia
as early as 1364,[53] and an inventory of Nuremberg, of 1388, refers
to forty-eight of these weapons as being in the possession of that
city. There are other examples of the use of what would appear to be
hand-guns occurring in Italian, French, and German manuscripts of the
last quarter of the century, but it is rarely absolutely clear whether
artillery or hand-guns are meant, especially when the word “bombard”
or “bombarde” is used, unless, as in the case of Perugia, where the
dimensions are given. In German MSS. the use of the word “handbüchsen”
is, of course, conclusive; and such a case occurs in connection with
Ratisbon in 1379. These early “handbüchsen” or “handbombards” could
not be very heavy, as there exist several “illuminations” at Vienna,
where one of the two gunners who served the piece holds the weapon
with his right hand, with the round thin stock against his breast; his
colleague stands apart with the ramrod in his hand, apparently after
having loaded the piece. One of these “illuminations” shows that the
charge is being ignited near the mouth of the piece, which might go
to show that the gun was innocent of projectile. These pictures would
seem to date very early, probably not later than 1350–60. Juvenal des
Ursins mentions a hand-gun as being in use in 1414. A Florentine writer
states that these weapons were used at the siege of Lucca, in 1430; and
what is still more to the point is that an actual and early specimen,
made of brass, was found among the _débris_ at Tannenberg, a castle
besieged and demolished in 1399: this weapon was probably of as early
make as the Nuremberg guns. It was only with great difficulty that the
early rough hand-guns made their way at all against those weapons where
manual or mechanical force was used. Both the longbow and crossbow
were infinitely superior to the clumsy tube stuck on to the end of a
stick, not only in regard to precision of aim, but also in the number
of missiles that could be discharged within a given time, and it was
principally on this account that these firearms are so rarely mentioned
by mediæval writers. Actual specimens preserved are few and far
between, and this is not surprising when one considers how very soon
the weapons became obsolete in the rapid improvements that took place.

There is a connecting link between early artillery and hand-guns in
various weapons from the small elementary semi-portable cannon fixed
to the end of a long wooden shaft, and fired from a forked support or
from a wall; and later, large models of guns of the harquebus type
manipulated in the same manner. The latter form was the “arquebus à
croc,” weighing up to sixty pounds, and was from five to six feet
long. This class of weapon was much used in sieges, and they were
sufficiently portable to be carried and worked by three or four men.
Most national collections contain specimens of these firearms.

Mr. John Hewitt figures an early hand-gun, taken from the Burney
MS., which is simply a replica of the weapon found at Tannenberg.
Hand-cannon were being made at Augsburg in 1381. An early weapon of
this kind is figured on a piece of tapestry in the church of Notre-Dame
de Nantilly, Saumur. The piece is served by two soldiers, one holding
it with both hands, while his comrade applies a hot coal. The form of
the visored bassinet worn by these soldiers would fix the date as being
late in the fourteenth century, and actual specimens of this time may
be seen at the Historische Museum at Berne, and at the Germanische
National Museum at Nuremberg.

In the collection at the Königl. Zeughaus, Berlin, is a hand-gun
dating from late in the fourteenth century or early in the fifteenth,
consisting of a stock and barrel. The former is rudely cut for the
shoulder, like the butt of a crossbow, while the latter is a tube
between three and four feet in length, with a touch-hole on the right
side; calibre, 16mm. Some drawings of about 1430 in the Hauslab Library
show similar pieces. This weapon is to all intents and purposes the
prototype of the modern hand-gun, and is, in fact, a very early form
of “Hakenbüchse,” one of the many names for the harquebus.

Late in the fourteenth, or early in the following century, hand-guns
like small culverins, with a touch-hole on the right side, were in use
and discharged from the shoulder. The weapon was fired by applying a
match to the touch-hole, and the soldier had to find his way to it
while he took aim. Like the Berlin example, this class of weapon was
rudely fashioned to the shoulder. The hand-cannon consists of a small
bombard fixed to a wooden shaft, and fired by means of a match. The
following items occur in a roll of purchases of the Castle of Holy
Island, in Northumberland, for the year 1446:--

  “Bought ij hand-gunnes de ere  iiijs.
   Item, gonepowder              iiijs.”

Demmin gives a drawing from a manuscript dated 1472, and Herr
Wendelin Boeheim that of a petronel (_poitrine_, the chest), a kind
of hand-bombard, fired by a horseman from a forked rest fixed on to
the saddle. The author has a specimen of this kind of support in his
possession, which is hollow, and combines a long dagger screwed in
at the top; but this accessory points to a rather later period than
that of the hand-gun in question. It is an early form of linstock. The
hand-gun when not in use hung suspended from the rider’s neck; it was
attached by a ring to a necklace, and fired from the breast, and the
left arm sustained the petronel, while the right hand manipulated the
match-cord. The character of the armour on the figure would indicate a
date in the second half of the century (the fifteenth), and the weapon
is the prototype of the modern blunderbuss. The figure is taken from
Victor Gay’s work. A still earlier example, but very similar, appears
in one of a series of “notes” of great ability and industry, by Major
Sixl in the _Zeitschrift für historische Waffenkunde_, and the features
of both correspond very closely. The hand-gun of the earlier example
is provided with a “hac” or spur; the horse on which the gunner is
seated is unbarded, excepting for a crinet with a long spear springing
from between the ears like a unicorn, while the horse of the later
figure is barded, and the bassinet visored.

The first person of note that we hear of as having been killed by a
hand-gun was the Earl of Shrewsbury at Châtillon in 1453.[54]

The type of weapon used by a contingent of three hundred Flemings in
the ranks of the army of Edward IV. in 1471 was the hand-culverin; and
the English Yeomen of the Guard were armed with it in 1485, as also
was the Swiss contingent of six thousand men at the battle of Morat in
1476. These hand-culverins were each served by two men, one for holding
the gun, and the other for applying the match, etc.; they were fired by
a fuse-cord.

By the end of the fifteenth century the priming was held in a pan at
the side of the barrel, and the pan was protected by a lid, which
moved on a pivot. The next improvement was the attachment of the pan
to the plate, and the stock was more bent. These weapons, the length
and weight of which varied greatly, were in general use; the bore was
usually about half an inch. Examples may be seen at the Musée des
Invalides, Paris, and in many other national collections. A hand-gun
of the harquebus type is figured in “The Triumph of Maximilian”; the
stock is straight, and almost square. The figure bearing it wears a
bandolier collar! A similar weapon, with a primitive form of serpentin,
is figured in one of the books of Maximilian I., about 1500.

These early hand-guns were full of drawbacks and imperfections; an
uncertain aim and form of ignition, whereby the weapons often missed
fire; the long time required for loading; the cumbersome accessories,
such as bullets, rest, and match; besides one granulation of powder for
charging and another for priming, all combined to discredit the value
of these weapons as against bills and bows; the effect of which was
much more rapid in action. So much so was this the case, that owing
to their dilatory habit both hand-guns and ordnance were frequently
captured in battle after a first discharge, and their servers rendered
_hors de combat_. They had practically nothing with which to defend
themselves. The long dagger screwed into the butt of the rest was no
match at all as against long-handled weapons, such as the gisarme,
halbard, and bill. All this taxed the ingenuity of the time for the
production of a surer and more reliable weapon with more simplicity of
action. Here, as in the case of early crossbows, mechanical appliances
came to the aid of the human arms and fingers, making the manipulation
of hand firearms somewhat less cumbersome and dilatory.

The hakenbüchse, hagbut, hackbutt, hackenbuse, hequebutte, arquebus,
and harquebus, are all names for the same kind of weapon, which is
merely a development from the ruder forms, with a smaller calibre than
the hand-culverin; but the great distinction generally observable
between it and older forms is the presence of a pair of movable
nippers called “serpentin,” the prototype of the “cock,” a primitive
example of which has been already referred to. Hand-guns of this type,
however, existed before the appearance of the serpentin; and the word
“haken,” with variations, as a matter of fact refers to the “hac or
haken,” which is a projecting spur of iron placed on the bottom side
of the stock, near the head; the object of which was to deaden the
recoil by placing the spur against a stone rampart. There are many
examples in the Königl. Historische Museum at Dresden. A very early
instance of the use of the “hac” occurs on a hand-gun preserved at
Berne, and there are drawings in the University Library at Heidelberg
of several examples of the harquebus of the fourth quarter of the
fifteenth century, with the “hac,” but of course without serpentin.
The oscillatory movement made in applying fire with the hand naturally
caused the weapon to swerve, thus interfering greatly with the
accuracy of aim; and at length the earliest form of lock called the
serpentin was invented, the object of which was to let down the match
mechanically. Thus we have the earliest form of matchlock, and the
stock became shaped for the shoulder. Harquebuses with the serpentin
gave victory to the Spaniards at the battle of Pavia. Philip de
Commines mentions the weapon towards the end of the fifteenth century
as a new invention.

The serpentin is adjusted on a pivot through the stock, and forms
a lever for the fingers beyond it. Then, holding a match, it is
brought into contact with a slow match in a holder on the barrel and
ignited; then by raising the lever, it is forced into the flashpan and
touch-hole, where the priming is placed, and the gun discharged. This
movement is in three varieties: the earliest moves towards the pan from
the stock, while later it was fixed in the opposite direction; in the
third it is propelled by a snap. First manipulated by the hand, then
with a lever, and afterwards by a crank in connection with the trigger.
The idea of the serpentin goes back to the fourteenth century, for the
Froissart preserved in the town library at Breslau shows a drawing of
a hand-bombard with an elementary form of triggered serpentin; and the
same adjustment occurs in representations of these primitive weapons on
a drawing preserved in the Hofbibliothek at Vienna. The mainspring was
a further simplification of procedure in lending a more direct action
to the serpentin, which fell with greater force, and obviated the
necessity for blowing on the match.

The harquebus was of several kinds and sizes, some fired from a
rest, others from the shoulder or breast. There was also the heavy
semi-portable weapon already referred to, served by three or four
men; used both for field and fortress work. The length of the hand
harquebus ranged from two and a half feet and upwards; barrels are
both muzzle and breech-loaders; bores are of various sizes, sometimes
very wide and bell-mouthed. The great disadvantage of the matchlock
was the trouble and uncertainty experienced in retaining fire, and
in it being necessary always to have a lighted match, or means of
striking a light. This was especially felt in the chase, and the
wheel-lock, which is said to have been invented by Johann Kiefuss of
Nuremberg, in 1517, provided a much needed improvement on the older
method; there is, however, at least one earlier example of this lock
with the date inscribed. It did not, however, displace the matchlock
for war purposes, owing to the greater cheapness and simplicity of the
latter, which continued in use up to the eighteenth century. There is
an example of a regimental matchlock musket at the Rotunda, Woolwich,
dating about 1700--barrel, 46 inches long; calibre, 0.540 inch; steel
mounts. The main principle of the wheel-lock is to generate the spark
which is to ignite the powder for firing the shot in a self-acting
manner, in contradistinction to the principle of the matchlock, where
the ignition was served by a match which required to be kept constantly

The costliness of the wheel-lock, which was made in as many as ten
separate pieces, greatly restricted its use as regards hand-guns,
but it was applied generally to pistols, and pieces for the hunting
field. Cavalry used weapons with this lock, as it was very inconvenient
to manage the match-cord on horseback, especially as it required
regulating with every shot fired. Ignition was accomplished by sparks
which were caused by the friction of a steel wheel, notched long and
crosswise, rubbing against a flint, or by the striking of the wheel
against a cube of solid pyrites. The lock was wound up by a spanner,
which hung at the soldier’s belt. The main details of this lock are as
follow, viz.:--A serrated wheel, connected to the backplate by a chain
and spring, forming with the backplate the bottom of the flashpan, and
wound up by a spanner. With the wheel-barrel is connected one end of a
strong spring, by a chain, which winds round the barrel when the wheel
is turned, tightening the spring until the catch of a bar drops into a
corresponding notch of the wheel, thus holding spring and wheel cocked.
After winding up, the trigger is pressed, releasing the wheel, which
revolves round with great energy, by means of the accumulated force
lent it by the winding, and coming into contact with the pyrites in
the cock produces the sparks that ignite the priming in the flashpan
trough, and fires the piece. Various improvements in the mechanism of
this lock took place from time to time.

There are examples of wheel-lock weapons in the Tower of London dating
from about the middle of the sixteenth century; a breech-loading
harquebus, with a lock of something like the same date, is in the Musée
d’Artillerie at Paris. A harquebus revolver, with seven barrels, may
be seen in the Hohenzollern collection at Sigmaringen, and there are
countless examples existing among the museums of Europe, and notably at

During the sixteenth century, and especially in the later half, the
footman wore half-armour, and usually discharged his weapon from a prop.

In a matchlock the match is lit at both ends.

The air-gun was invented in Germany in 1560. In this weapon the bellows
are wound up against a spring, which is released by pulling the
trigger; the receiver is in the stock, and filled by a pump.

The principle of rifling barrels was certainly applied as early as
1510, and there are very early examples of revolvers. There is one in
the Tower of London with a matchlock, dating from about the middle of
the sixteenth century. A patent for rifling barrels was taken out
in London in 1635. It is said that the invention of grooved arms is
due to Gaspard Kollner of Vienna, in 1498; other writers attribute it
to August Kollner of Nuremberg, early in the sixteenth century; but
whether the grooves were straight or spiral, or when they became the
latter, is not so obvious; at all events, the principle was not much
adopted for military arms before the seventeenth century.

The caliver is a harquebus or light musket of a standard calibre,
introduced into England during Elizabeth’s reign; it was four feet ten
inches long, discharged without a rest, and the fire was much more
rapid than that of its predecessors, and had the great advantage of
uniformity of projectile. Edmund Yorke, writing in Queen Elizabeth’s
reign, says: “Before the battle of Mounguntur, the princes of the
religion caused several thousand harquebusses to be made, all of one
‘calibre,’ which was called ‘Harquebuse de calibre de Monsieur le

Hand-grenades of the sixteenth century were made of very coarse glass,
almost slag or pottery; they were nearly three and a half inches in
diameter, holding from three to seven ounces of powder.

The snaphance was the immediate precursor of the flintlock, and was
a German invention of the second half of the sixteenth century,
fired through the medium of sulphurous pyrites. This lock forms the
connecting link between the wheel-lock and flintlock, there being a
hammer instead of a wheel; the pan is the same, but the cover was
moved back by a spring, leaving the powder clear for the action of the
sparks. A fine collection of these weapons may be seen in the Dresden

The method of extracting fire by means of flint and steel is an ancient
one, being mentioned by both Virgil and Pliny. The credit of the
invention of the familiar flintlock is claimed by France, anno 1640,
but an actual specimen in the Tower armoury, dated 1614, effectually
disposes of this pretension. The French claim that the improvements of
the screw-plate, “à miqulet,” led to the mechanism of the flintlock;
but it was long before the system displaced that of the old matchlock.
The musketeer continued to carry his matchlock gun up to the beginning
of the seventeenth century, and even later, while the flintlock
continued in use until long after Waterloo; indeed, matchlock,
wheel-lock, and flintlock weapons were all to the fore together for a
part of the seventeenth century.

Wheel-lock pistols formed part of the equipment of the Reiters or
Pistoliers of the second half of the sixteenth century. Hefner says
pistols were common in Germany in 1512, before the invention of the
wheel-lock. The pistol of the Reiters, who usually wore blackened
demi-armour, are very easily recognisable by the round pommel.

The pistol was often combined with other weapons, both for battle and
for the chase, and such combinations are often met with in the axe,
mace, and even sword; while there are instances of pistols with two
and even three locks. The introduction of these weapons produced great
changes in warlike tactics. The etymology of the word is uncertain,
some maintaining that the name arose from the weapon having been
invented in Pistoja; others believe that the word originated from a
coin of the time, the pistole, from the fact, if it be one, that the
bore of the weapon had the same diameter as the coin.

Hand-guns of the later middle ages and the “renaissance” may be divided
into plain weapons for the ordinary soldiers, and decorated guns for
leaders and parade, besides hunting purposes. Brescia was a great
centre for their manufacture. Numbers of these guns were fired without
touching the shoulder, the recoil being provided for by placing the
thumb firmly against the nose.

The musket (muchite, so named from the sparrow-hawk), which was longer
and more powerful than the harquebus, though similar in construction
and mechanism, appears in the third quarter of the sixteenth century,
and St. Remy refers to it as being in use about the end of the
seventeenth century. It was first fired from the breast, then from a
long-forked rest, furnished with a spike at the end for sticking into
the ground; but this fell into desuetude in the seventeenth century. It
was found very difficult to keep the powder dry in the bandoliers,[56]
which were cases of wood or tin, each containing a charge of powder,
and strung round the neck; and powder flasks began to be used about
1540, the bullet-bag being carried on the soldier’s right hip.

Powder flasks appear very early in the sixteenth century, with the
well-known arrangement for the measured charge; early examples are
given in the arsenal books of Maximilian I. They were first very small,
but gradually increased in size as the century wore on, mostly circular
in form, but later they are often three-cornered, and frequently made
of horn, wholly or in part. Cartridges superseded their use about the
middle of the seventeenth century, and the bayonet is first mentioned
about the same time.

Arrows or quarrels were often used as projectiles for the musket, but
this happened mostly at sea.

The harquebusier of the seventeenth century carried a weapon two and a
half feet long.

The carbine or caraben is a gun with a wide bore, first used in Queen
Elizabeth’s reign.

The decoration of many of the hand-guns of the sixteenth century was
of a most artistic character, the barrels being often enriched with
chasings, fine metal incrustations, or damascened, while the stocks
were curiously and delicately carved and inlaid. It is generally
assumed that the material usually used for inlaying is ivory, but it is
really bleached stagshorn, and inlaying with tortoise-shell was also
not uncommon.

A great amount of decorative skill was also expended on powder flasks.

There were several diminutives and combinations of the leading
hand-guns referred to. Examples of early hand-guns are given in Fig. 51.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is well to furbish up bygone things and ages, and to remember now
and then what we owe to cumulative history. Master Wace, the chronicler
of the Norman Conquest, says in his retrospections: “All things hasten
to decay; all fall; all perish; all come to an end. Man dieth, iron
consumeth, wood decayeth, towers crumble, strong walls fall down, the
rose withereth away, the war-horse waxeth feeble, gay trappings grow
old, all the works of men perish. Thus we are taught that all die, both
clerk and lay; and short would be the fame of any after death if their
history did not endure by being written in the book of the clerk.”

[Illustration: Fig. 51.--Early Hand-guns.]


[1] Dalstrom’s _Illustreret Verdenshistorie_, vol. i., p. 122.

[2] A similar fragment was found at Cataractonium (see _Archæological
Journal_, vol. iii., p. 296).

[3] _Proc. Soc. Antiq. Newc._ (O.S.), p. 155.

[4] In old German “Brunne.”

[5] _Zeitschrift für historische Waffenkunde_, vol. i., p. 288.

[6] Where the rings have been hammered flat a decidedly double
appearance is given to the mail.

[7] Demmin.

[8] These two figures are given in Hewitt.

[9] Since writing the above, I see from Mr. J. Starkie Gardner’s work
that Mr. J. G. Waller, F.S.A., considers the insertion of the thong to
constitute what is known as “banded mail,” and this would quite account
for the appearance it presents on effigies. If this be so, there is an
actual specimen at Woolwich, which has already been mentioned.

[10] On the brass of William de Aldeburgh, in Aldborough Church,

[11] A kind of cloth.

[12] The words “helm” and “var-helm” appear repeatedly in the epic poem
of Beowulf.

[13] The first attempt at a movable visor seems to have occurred in
France, during the reign of Louis le Gros.

[14] This helm was given to Sir S. Rush Meyrick by the Dean: a flagrant
instance of how such trust property was treated in his day.

[15] The term “men-at-arms” was often applied to knights on foot or
on horseback, but its early significance was heavy-armed infantry.
The grades mentioned in the army of Philip Augustus were: bannerets,
knights, squires, and “men-at-arms.”

[16] “Notes on the Hanseatic League,” by the writer. _Proceedings of
the Society of Antiquaries, Newcastle-upon-Tyne_, 1893–94.

[17] These pieces will be referred to fully under the section
“Maximilian Armour.”

[18] Johnes’s _Froissart_, vol. iii., p. 23.

[19] _Archæologia_, vol. li., p. 250.

[20] Nithard, the nephew of Charlemagne. Book III.

[21] The illustration occurs in “Paul Lacroix.”

[22] Vol. i., p. 169.

[23] The lance of the thirteenth century was always sharp, and, as
mentioned more particularly earlier in this chapter, the coronal was
a contrivance of the fourteenth century. The word “stechen” means to
pierce, so its very designation carries the course back possibly to the
thirteenth century.

[24] Very often the Grandguard and Volant-piece are screwed together.

[25] The piece usually called Pass-guard is the projecting guard over
the shoulders for stopping pike-thrusts, but we have Viscount Dillon’s
authority that the Tilting Elbow-guard is really the Pass-guard.

[26] _Helmets and Mail_, p. 84.

[27] The Redmarshal effigy is in the County of Durham, and the Downes
effigy is in the North Choir Aisle of Macclesfield Church, in Yorkshire.

[28] Hewitt.

[29] Like many classifications of the kind, this is rather arbitrary,
as we have many late instances of “bear-paw” sollerets.

[30] Caylus figures a Roman caltrop (_Recueil_ iv., Pl. 98).

[31] The designation “Gothisch” (Gothic) seems as ridiculous and
inappropriate when applied to armour as to architecture.

[32] The mentonnière is throughout referred to as the combined piece of
gorget and chin-piece as used with the sallad.

[33] A specimen of the work of this great artist may be seen on a
sword-hilt in the Armeria Reale, Turin.

[34] In the early chronicles “bills and bows” are often mentioned. It
must be borne in mind, however, that the word “bills” often covered all
long-handled weapons.

[35] In the Republican Library at Paris, a MS. written by Marcus
Græcus, called “Liber Ignium.” It is dated 846.

[36] _Proceedings_, vol. v., p. 26.

[37] Demmin.

[38] Boeheim of Vienna says that he was born in 1530, and died about

[39] The father of Lucio, the great armour-smith.

[40] _Archæologia Æliana_, vol. xxii., pp. 1 _et seq._

[41] Greener on the Gun, p. 3.

[42] This class of machine was termed “tormenta,” from the twisting of
the ropes which supplied the propelling force.

[43] _Encyclopædia Britannica_, under “Fire.”

[44] Others in the author’s collection are stated to have been used by
the Town Guard of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

[45] See _Proceedings of Newcastle-upon-Tyne Society of Antiquaries_,
vol. ix., in a paper by the writer.

[46] Rénard, Liège.

[47] Johnes’s _Froissart_, vol. i., p. 145.

[48] Johnes’s _Froissart_, vol. i., p. 190.

[49] Vol. i., p. 278.

[50] This occurs in a part taken from two MSS. in the Hafod Library,
“not in any of the printed copies.”

[51] Meyrick.

[52] The rough projectiles of this period would doubtless soon cause
damage to the interior of cannon, necessitating its frequent renewal.

[53] The archives run: “Il nostre comune di Perugia fece fare ... 500
bombarde, una spanne lunghe,” etc. General Kohler mentions this in his

[54] Hollinshed.

[55] Maitland’s _History of London_.

[56] Small cases for holding measured charges of powder ready for



  Accolade, 35

  Acinace, 162

  Agathias, 159, 179, 193

  Ages--Stone, Bronze, and Iron, 15

  Ailettes, 42, 49

  Air-gun, 224

  _Akten des Dresdener Oberhof-marshallamtes_, 92

  _Alexiad_, 205

  Allecret armour, 135

  Almau, Juan de, 156

  Almayne rivets, 65, 108, 131

  Almayne armourers, 69

  Anelace, 166, 176

  Angelo, Michael, 140

  Anglo-Saxon arms, 26, 152, 197

  Arbelest, 185

  Archers, 55, 59, 182

  Armament of the Caledonians, 151

  Armati, 54

  Armet, 98

  Armorial bearings, 27, 28

  Arms and armour as mortuaries, 20

  Armeria Real de Madrid, 73, 91, 132, 148

  Armeria Reale, Turin, 74, 140

  Armourers’ Album, South Kensington, 69, 139

  Armourers’ pincers, 65

  Armour, Gothic, at Parham, 115;
    at Sigmaringen, 116;
    at Vienna, 119

  Armour from Rhodes, 98, 115

  Armour for boys, 68

  Armour-smiths, 114, 119, 120, 132, 149, 156

  Arms of the Franks, 151, 152

  Army, fourteenth century, 55

  Arrière-ban or ban-fieffé, 57

  Arrow, the broad, 180;
    the plain pile, 180

  Artillery, the earliest, 208;
    at the Porte de Hal Museum, 209;
    the serpentin, 210;
    the bombard, 210;
    the harquebus-mitrailleuse, 211;
    the orgue, 211;
    the elbow bombard, 211;
    bombard at Woolwich, 212

  Artists and craftsmen, 140

  Aventail, 47

  Ayala, Tomas de, 156


  Bachelle, 34

  Bachelor, 34

  Ballad of the “Albigéois,” 191

  Ballista, 54, 187

  Ban, 24, 57

  Banded mail, 36

  Bandoliers, 227

  Banner, 34

  Banneret, 34

  Bards, 53, 54, 66, 88, 89

  Barriers for lists, 90

  Baselard or badelaire, 177

  Bases, 34, 66

  Bas-relief in the Louvre, B.C. 700, 178

  Bassinet, 48, 97

  Baston, 196

  Battle of Poitiers (anno 732), 23;
    of Courtray, 57, 114;
    Granson, 57;
    Morat, 57, 220;
    Nancy, 57;
    Hastings, 58, 193;
    Pavia, 58, 222;
    Creçy, 60, 179, 184, 206, 207;
    Poitiers, 60, 114, 195;
    Auray, 60;
    Agincourt, 68, 179, 184;
    Flodden, 179;
    “Haringues,” 183;
    Navarete, 192;
    Culloden, 197;
    “Rosebecque,” 199;
    Rhodes, 207;
    Choggia, 207;
    Sluys, 207;
    Mounguntur, 225

  Battle-axe, 196

  Battering-ram, 151

  Bavier, 98

  Bawdric, 164

  Bayeux tapestry, 25, 27, 46, 161, 179, 193, 194, 197

  Bayonet, 204

  Beowulf, poem of, 21, 200

  Bequest of Guy de Beauchamp, 40;
    of William Lord Bergavenny, 83

  Berefreid, beffroi, or belfrey, 191

  Berne tapestry, 195

  Bill, 200

  Blackened armour, 65

  Black and white armour, 137

  Blore’s _Monumental Remains_, 116

  Blount’s _Antient Tenures_, 163

  Boeheim, Wendelin, 63, 85, 95, 219

  Bombard, 155, 210, 211

  Bombard, bronze, 209

  Bombardelle, 210

  Bombardier of fourteenth century, 213

  Boutel, 19

  Bow of Pandarus, 178

  Bows, German and Italian, 181

  Bows, order in Council, anno 1595, concerning, 157

  Bowyers, 180

  Brabançons, 58

  Brassards, 39, 89, 106

  Brasses, English, 18

    Beauchamp, 18;
    Daubernoun, 18, 19, 28, 30, 32, 37, 38, 112, 161, 194;
    Great Chart, 18;
    D’Argentine, 31, 33, 38, 39, 114;
    Thomas Cheyne, Esquire, 31, 107;
    Sir John Say, 33;
    Minster Church, Sheppey, 36;
    Thomas Lord Berkeley, Wotton-under-Edge Church, 39;
    William de Aldeburgh, 39;
    Porte de Hal, Brussels, 40;
    Martin de Visch, 41;
    Trumpington, 44;
    Sir John Lowe, 50;
    Sir William de Tendering, 50;
    Arkesdon Church, 60, 104;
    Gerart, Duke of Gulich, Altenberg, 61;
    Sir Robert Staunton, 62, 98, 116;
    Qui, 64, 101;
    Sir William Harper, 67;
    Spilsby Church, 101;
    Sir John Fitzwaryn, 101;
    Sir John Lysle, 108;
    Harpham Church, 106;
    Sir John Drayton, 108;
    Nicholas Hawberk, 108;
    John Leventhorpe, 109;
    Lementhorp, 109;
    St. Mary’s Church, Thame, 115;
    King’s Sombourne, 177

  Brasses, German, French, and Spanish, 19, 65

  Brayette or cod-piece, 108

  Braquamart, 167

  _Branche des Royaux Leguages_, 183, 199

  Breastplates, 49

  Brewis Parker on swords, 173

  _Brief Discourse on Warre_ (Sir Roger Williams), 200

  Brigandine, 185

  Broadsword, 169

  Brockberger, 156

  Burton, Sir Richard F., on the sword, 158

  Burgkmair, Hans, 84

  Burgonet, 99

  Byrnie, 22


  Cabasset, 66, 100

  Caliver, 225

  Caltrop, 113

  Camail, 38

  Canterbury Bible, 161

  Cannon, rifled, 215

  Cannon, wood, hemp, paper, 207

  Cannon in the Königl. Zeughaus, Berlin, 210

  Cap of maintenance, 38

  Carbine, 227

  Carda, 44

  Cartridges, 227

  Casque, 100

  Catapulta, 54, 187

  _Catálogo de la Armeria de Madrid_, 157

  Cellini, Benvenuto, 140

  Cerebrerium, 97

  Cervelière, 97

  Chain-mail, 20;
    oriental, 23;
    double-ringed, 23

  Chanfrein, 45

  Chapel-de-fer, 48

  Chapeline, 48

  Charlemagne, 23

  Chausses, 26, 29, 31, 110

  Chaussons, 39, 110

  Chaucer, 32, 37, 52, 81, 176

  Childeric, 196

  Chilperic, sword of, 159

  Chivalry, 24

  Cinquedea, 167

  Ciro, Philippo, 156

  Claymore, 173

  Coats of arms, 28

  Coif de mailles, 30

  Colichemarde, 174

  Column of Trajan, 20, 162

  Combined weapons, 186, 226

  Comnena, Princess Anna (_Alexiad_), 24, 25, 183, 205

  Condottieri, 58

  Continuous hoods, 30

  Contracts for the Beauchamp effigy, 117

  Coronal of the lance, 76, 89, 90

  Cosson, Baron de, 146, 163, 176

  Coudières, 106

  Coutes, 31

  Crapeaudeau, 210

  Creeny, 19

  Crinet, 54

  Crossbows, 183

  Crusades, 28, 41

  Cuir-bouille, 37, 107

  Cuirass, 51, 101, 138;
    Gothic form, 103

  Cuisse, 31, 110

  Cultellus or coustel, 161, 177

  Culverins, 209

  Cutlass, 174

  Cyclas, 33


  Dagger guards, 176

  Das Deutsche Stechen, 88

  Decline of armour, 136

  Defaut de la cuirasse, 105

  Degradation of a knight, 53

  Demi-armour, 135

  Demmin, 206

  _Dictionnaire du Mobilier_ (V. le Duc), 199

  Diechlinge, 87, 94

  Dillon, Viscount, 105, 129, 130, 203, (Guns in the Tower) 215

  Dirk, 177

  Discs, 105

  Donatello, 140

  Dresden Museum, 87, 148

  Duel, judicial, 80

  Duelling, 169, 170

  Dürer, Albrecht, 125, 140, 156

  Dusack, 167


  Early seventeenth century armour, 138

  Edicts against tournaments, 78

    Beauchamp, 19, 62, 69, 105, 109, 115, 116;
    Robert de Vere, 28, 110;
    Haseley Church, 28;
    Johan le Botiler, 28;
    G. de Mandeville, 29;
    William Longespee, 30, 107;
    in the Temple Church, 30;
    Jean de Dreux, 30;
    Walkerne Church, 30;
    Norton Church, 32;
    Whitworth, 33, 47;
    Black Prince, 33, 38, 52, 97, 107, 121;
    Sir John Pechey, 33;
    Ogle, 33;
    Otto von Piengenau, 35;
    Alb. von Hohenlohe, 35;
    Berengar von Berlichingen, 35;
    Conrad von Seinsheim, 35;
    St. Peter’s Church, Sandwich, 35;
    Tewkesbury Abbey Church, 36;
    Alvechurch, 36, 97, 106;
    Ash Church, 37, 43, 102;
    Willem Wenemaer, 40, 176;
    Wilhelm de Ryther, 37;
    Brian Lord Fitz Alan, 37;
    Humphrey de Bohun, 38, 107;
    Newton Solney Church, 38;
    Sir Richard Pembridge, K.G., 38, 48;
    Sir Robert Harcourt, K.G., 39;
    Gunther von Schwarzburg, 40;
    Peter le Marechal, 43;
    Clehongre, 43;
    Tew, 43;
    Porte de Hal, Brussels, 44;
    Rudolph von Hierstein, Bâle, 44;
    Diether von Hael, 45;
    Burkhard von Steenberg, 45;
    G. von Furstenberg, 45;
    Staunton Church, 47;
    Naples, 50;
    Lucas de Corta, 61;
    at Meissen, 62;
    Hertford, 66;
    Southerly Church, 105;
    Sir Richard de Burlingthorpe, 107;
    Sir Robert Grey, 107;
    Whitchurch, 108;
    Redmarshal, 103;
    Downes, Macclesfield Church, 103;
    the second Baron Berkeley, 176;
    Ebersberg, 164;
    Borfe, 164

  Egypt, 15

  Ehrenpforte of Maximilian, 33, 125

  Ehrenthal, Max von, 73, 85, 157

  Endorfer, Jörg, 156

  Enrichment of armour in fourteenth century, 52

  Enriched armour at Dresden, 148

  Épaulières, 49, 104

  Épée de passot, 167

  Equipment of men-at-arms, 59

  Espadon, 166

  Espringal, 189

  Esquire, 34, 52, 77

  Estoc, 169

  Extra tilting pieces, 83


  Falarica, 189

  Falchion or fauchon, 162

  Falchion, the Conyers, 163

  Falconet, 210

  Feathers and plumes, 53

  Fencing, 169

  Ferrara, Andrea, 170

  Feudalism, 51, 55, 57

  Field of the Cloth of Gold, 84

  Firearms, early, 71

  Flail, military, 201

  Flamberge, 166

  Flintlock, 226

  Fluted Maximilian suit at Berne, 122

  Fork, military, 202

  Francisca, 151

  Frauenpreis, Mathaus, 131, 134

  Free companies, 58

  Freiturnier, 92

  Freydal, 91

  Froissart, 25, 59, 79, 192, 194, 202, 203, 205, 207, 222

  Fussturnier, 92

  Fustibal, or staff sling, 192


  Gads or gadlings, 39

  Gambeson, 51

  Garde-de-bras, 92, 107

  Garde-de-reine, 108

  Garter insignia, 34

  Gauntlets, 31, 107, 132

  Gedritts, 88

  Gemlich, Ambrosius, 168

  Gennet, order of the, 34

  Genoese crossbowmen, 183

  Genouillières, 31, 110

  Germanisches Museum, Nuremberg, 75

  Ghinelli, 156

  Ghisi, Georgio, 63

  Gisarme, 202

  Glaive, 200

  _Gloss du Droit_, 34

  Gloves of mail, 30

  Goatsfoot crossbow, 185

  Goedendag, 198

  _Goedendag, Le arme Flamande sa Légende, etc._, 198

  Gorget, 40, 100, 101

  “Gothic” armour, 61, 114

  Gothic suit in the author’s collection, 123

  Gothic, transitional, 124

  Gothic armour at the Rotunda, Woolwich, 123

  Gothic armour at Parham, 115

  Gothic armour, 1440–1500, 114

  Gothic suit at Sigmaringen, 120

  Gothic suit, formerly part of the collection of Prince Carl of
            Prussia, 122

  Gradual disuse of armour, 136, 138

  Greek fire, 189, 205;
    ingredients of, 192

  Grenades, 193

  Grose, _History of the English Army_, 206

  Grotesque visors, 66

  Grünewalt, Hans, 63, 123

  Gudrun, epic poem of, 26

  Gunpowder, invention of, 155

  Gunpowder, 51, 154, 214

  Gunners and artillerymen, 55

  Gunlocks, 214, 222;
    matchlock, 222;
    wheel-lock, 223;
    snaphance, 225;
    flintlock, 225

  Gurlitt, Cornelius, 63, 85, 92

  Gynours, 54


  Habergeon, 52

  Haketon, 52

  Halbard, 202

  _Handbuch der Waffenkunde_, 82

  Hand-bombard, 219

  Hand-culverin, 220

  Hand-guns, earliest mention of, 216

  Hand-guns, 180, 216

  Hand-guns in the Königl. Hist. Museum, Dresden, 221

  Hand-grenades, 225

  Hanseatic Bund, 58

  Harquebus, 68, 221

  Harquebusiers, 227

  Hastiludes, 76

  Hauberks, 29, 51, 52

  Heaume, 46

  Hefner’s _Trachten_, 19

  Helm, great, 36, 96

  Helm, great jousting, 96

  Helms with horns, 44

  Helmet, close, 98

  _Helmets and Mail_ (De Cosson), 100

  Helmets, grotesque, 128

  Heralds, 77

  Herald’s tabard, 33

  Hermandes, Sebastian, 156

  Hewitt’s _Hist. of Mediæval Weapons, etc._, 165

  Hexham water ewer, 31

  Historische Vaabensamling, Copenhagen, 74

  Hobby horse, 54

  Hobilers, 54

  _Hohenzollern Jahrbuch_, 135

  Holy-water sprinkler, 201

  Holbein, Hans, 140, 156

  Holbein’s “Costumes Suisses,” 136, 165

  Hood of mail, 29

  Horsemen, twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries, 54

  Horn, Klemens, 156

  Housings, 54, 88

  Howitzers, 214

  Hungarian tourney, 94


  Imperial collection at Vienna, 73

  Importation of armour into England, 59, 126

  Incised monumental slab at Gotheim, 44

  Infantry of twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries, 54

  Inventories, 52

    Piers Gaveston, 37, 44, 53, 111;
    Humphrey de Bohun, 38;
    Louis Hutin, 53;
    of the arsenal at Nuremberg, 1338, 216


  Jackboots, 149

  Jamb, 31, 110

  Javelin, 193

  Jazerant armour, 24, 26

  Jeddart staff, 197

  Joust of peace, 76

  Joust à outrance, 76

  Judicial combat, 79

  Jupon, 102


  Knight-bachelor, 34

  Knight-banneret, 34

  Knighthood, orders of, 34

  Knightly belt, 30, 52

  Knightly mantles, 34

  Knight Templars, 30

  Knopf, Heinrich, 139, 149

  Knuckle-bow or finger-guard, 165

  Königl. Hist. Museum, Dresden, 72

  Königl. Zeughaus, Berlin, 71, 133, 134

  Kolman, Lorenz, 84, 120, 123, 156

  Kolman, Koloman, 129, 132

  Kolman, Desiderius, 133

  Kolmans of Augsburg, 62, 122, 132

  Kolbenturnier, 93

  Kriegswaffen-Saal, Dresden, 141

  Kungl. Lifrustkammar, Stockholm, 67, 75


  Lamboys, or bases, 66, 130

  Lambrequin, or mantling, 38

  Langue-de-bœuf, 176

  Lansquenette, 168

  Lance, 193;
    lance-rest, 49;
    with coronal, 194

  Latch crossbow, 185

  Leitner, Quirin von, 89

  Licences for tournaments, 77

  Linstock, 219

    plan and decoration, 78;
    authorised lists in England, 78

  Lochaber axe, 197

  Lochner, Conrad, 156

  Lochner, Kunz, 139, 141

  Locking gauntlet, 108

  Longbow, the, 178

  Longbow at Wark Castle, 182;
    at Dover, 182

  Loutterell psalter, 28, 44, 49

  Lucerne hammer, 196


  Mace, 195

  Main-gauche, 177

  Mamillières, 35, 36

  Mangonel, mangona, or mangonet, 189

  Mantling, 38

  Man-at-arms, equipment of, 59

  Manuscripts, 24, 26, 27, 44, 50, 80, 82, 88, 153, 155, 160, 161,
            179, 189, 193, 199, 201, 202, 205, 207, 208, 219

  Marshals of the lists, 78

  Martel-de-fer, 195

  _Mary Rose_, wreck of the, 182

  Match-cord, 219, 224

  Maximilian armour, 64, 125

  Maximilian suits:
    at the Tower of London, 127;
    at the Zeughaus, Berlin, 127;
    at Munich (Army Museum), 127;
    at Nat. Museum, Munich, 127;
    at Nuremberg, 128;
    in the author’s collection (plain), 128;
    on horseback with bards, 130

  Max or meix, 34

  Mazuelle, 196

  _Meister der Waffenschmiedekunst, etc._, 157

  Mentonnière, 100

  Mercenary bands, 58

  Meyrick, 24

  Milan armourers, 69

  Military forks, 202

  Misericorde, 177

  Missaglias, the, 62, 156

  Missaglia, Tomaso da, 116

  Missaglia, Antonio da, 119, 122

  Mixed armour, 40

  Mons Meg, 209

  Monograms, 63

  Morion, 66, 100

  Mortality in battle, 41

  Mortar, 208

  Morning Star, 201

  Munich, Peter, 156

  Munsten, Andreis, 149

  Musée d’Armures, Brussels, 74

  Musée d’Artillerie, Paris, 75, 133

  Musket, 227


  Nasal, 27, 46

  National Museum, Munich, 75, 124, 135

  Negrolis, 62, 120, 132, 156


  Ocularium, 38, 98

  Onager, 189

  Ordnance of sixteenth century, 214

  Ordinances of Francis I., 100

  Oreillettes, 146

  Orgue, 211

  Ornamentation of armour, fourteenth century, 52, 53

  Oxenzunge, 167


  Pageant weapons, 156

  Palettes, 105

  Parazonium, 167

  Paris, Matthew, 189

  Partizans, 203

  Passages of arms, 76

  Pas d’ane guard, 165

  Pauldrons, 104

  Pavises, 112

  Payment of troops, fourteenth century, 55

  Peascod breastplate, 92, 104, 133

  Peffenhauser, Anton, 63, 93, 139, 148

  Penny plate, 66

  Pennon, 34

  Perckhamer, Hans, 134

  Persepolis, sculptures of, 16

  Petards, 214

  Petronel, 219

  Pfeifenharnisch (piped armour), 66

  Piccinino, Lucio, 63, 139, 144, 156

  Piccinino, Antonio, 144, 156

  Pikeguards, 64, 104, 126

  Pike, 203

  Pistols, 226

  Plain pile, 180

  Plastron-de-fer, 31, 35, 110

  Pluteus, 190, 191

  Pluvinel, 79

  Poleyns, 111

  Pole-axe, 196

  Poniard, 177

  Pourpoint, 32, 33

  Powder flasks, 227

  _Practice of Arms_ (Sutcliffe), 204

  Procopius, 151, 159, 189, 193, 196

  Prodd crossbow, 186

  Psalter (Loutterell), 28, 44, 49

  Pursuivant-at-arms, 35, 52, 77


  Quarrels, 184

  Queue for lance, 95


  Ranseur, 203

  Rapier, 169, 170

  _Recherches Historiques sur les Costumes des Gildes, etc._, 198

  Reinforcing pieces, 41, 94, 148

  Religious military orders, 41

  “Renaissance” ornamentation, 157

  René d’Anjou, 78

  “Rennen” at Innsbruck in 1498, 86

  Rerebrace, 106

  Ribaudequin, 189

  Rifled cannon, 215

  Rifling barrels, 224

  Ringler, Hieronymus, 149

  Ringlerennen, 94

  Robinet, 189

  Rockenberger, Sigmund, 87, 139

  Roll of purchases, Windsor tournament, 42, 44

  Roll of purchases at Holy Island, Northumberland, anno 1446, 219

  Romans, 16, 17

  Roman influence, 17

  Rondelles, 105

  Rosenberger, Hans, 87

  Rotunda collection, Woolwich, 98, 115

  Round table game, 81

  Routiers, 58

  Ruiz, Antonio and Francisca, 156

  Running at the ring, 94

  Rustred mail, 27


  Sabre, 164

  Saddles, 89, 91, 93

  Sallad, 97

  Sautoir, 52

  Scale armour, 31, 35, 37, 63

  Scale work, 107

  Schiavona, 173

  Schiesspringle, 202

  Schwarz, 156

  _Schwenkh’s Hans Wappenmeistersbuch_, 84

  Scimitar, 162

  Scorpion, 188

  Scottish basket-hilted swords, 173

  Scramasax, 175

  Scutage, 57

  Scythe-knife, 200

    William the Conqueror, 26;
    Henry I., 27;
    Henry II., 27;
    Richard I., 27;
    Henry III., 28;
    John, 32;
    Edward II., 48

  Serabagio, Giovanni Battista, 139, 147

  Seusenhofer, Conrad, 130, 132

  Seusenhofer, Hans, 66, 133

  Seusenhofer, Jörg, 95, 133, 141

  Seusenhofers, the, 63, 132, 156

  Sharfrennen, 86, 88

  Shields, 25, 26, 27, 112, 113

  Shirt of mail, 52

    Rochelle, 182;
    Romorantin, 192;
    Sancerre, 193;
    Cambray, 205;
    Vannes, 206;
    Oudenarde, 206;
    Quesnoy, 206;
    Calais, 207;
    Hohensalzburg, 207;
    Orleans, 212;
    Lucca, 217

  Silver’s _Paradox of Defence_, 198

  Silver, George, 169

  Sixl, Major, writing in _Zeitschrift für hist. Waffenkunde_, 219

  Sleeping figures in Lincoln Cathedral, 195

  Sling stones, 193

  Solidified iron rings found at Nineveh, 21;
    at Chester-le-Street, 20;
    at South Shields, 21

  Solingen blades, 172

  Sollerets, 31, 111

  Sow or cat, 190, 191

  Spacino, 156

  Spadroon, 172

  Spanish sword-blades, 172

  Spanner for wheel-lock, 224

  Spear, 193

  Spetum, 203

  Speyer, Peter von, 134;
    Wolf von, 91

  Splint armour, 37

  Spontoon, 203

  Spurs, 52, 87, 113

  Stammbaum of the Hohenzollerns, 120

  Standard of mail, 39, 49, 102

  Statue of St. George at Prague, 102

  Stature of men in the Middle Ages, 64

  Statute of Florence, anno 1315, 50

  _Statutum Armorum ad Torniamenta_, 77

  Stechen (Das Deutsche), 88

  Stechtarche, 89, 133

  Stechhelm, 89

  Stirrups, 52

  Stiletto, 177

  Stone shot, 189

  Stradiots, 58

  Strutt, 24

  Studded armour, 40

  Studded mail, 39

  Suits of armour at Dresden (plain gilded), 149

  Suit at Berlin by Peter von Speyer (1550–60), 134

  Suit at Berne (Maximilian), 122

  Suit in the possession of Prince Ernest of Windisch-Graetz, 122

  Suit with lamboys, 130

  Suit with lamboys in the Tower of London, 132

  Sumptuary laws, 53

  Surcoats, 30, 32, 39, 50

  Surtees’s _History of Durham_, 32

  Swords of Bordeaux and Poitiers, 156;
    of Toledo, 156, 170

  _Sword, The Forms and History of the_ (Pollock), 169

  Sword, the small, 169, 170

  Sword marks, 171

  Sword and buckler, 167

  Sword guards, 168, 170

  Sword sheaths, 164

  Sword, executioner’s, 165

  Sword, two-handed, 166

  Sword-guard (thumb-ring), 166

  Swords, mortuary, 173

    the scabbard, 52;
    bronze, Assyrian, Greek, and Roman, 159;
    of Chilperic, 159;
    often endowed with names or titles, 160;
    component parts, 160;
    proving, 160;
    Indian swords, 162;
    Conyers falchion, 163;
    S guard, 168;
    rapier, 169;
    swords of fourteenth century, 164;
    sword-smiths, 156;
    swords of fifteenth century, 167;
    duelling sword, 170


  Tabard of arms, 33

  Tactics in warfare, 68

  Taces, 108

  Tapestry at Saumur, 218;
    at Berne, 195

  Tapul, 103

  Tard-venus, 58

  Tarsche, 89

  Tassets, 108

  Tassets to the knee, 67

  Tenebra, 190

  Tenures, 163, 164

  Testudo, 151, 191

  Thumb-ring, 177

  “Tilting in Tudor Times,” by Viscount Dillon, 82

  Tilting harness, 83, 88, 90, 91, 92, 93

  Töjhus, Copenhagen, 95

  Tolleno, 189

  Topf, Jakob, 139, 171

  Tournaments, 76;
    Sharfrennen, 86;
    German Gestech, 88;
    Welsches Gestech, 90;
    Freiturnier, 92;
    Fussturnier, 92;
    Kolbenturnier, 93

  Tournament roll, Henry VIII., in Heralds’ College, 82, 83, 91

  Tournament armour and weapons, 77

  Tournament of Windsor Park, anno 1278, 81

  Tournament at Ashby-de-la-Zouche, 80

  Tourney, Hungarian, 94;
    Baston course, 93

  Towers, movable, 191

  _Trattato Militaire_, 170

  Trebuchet, 189

  Trial by ordeal, 79

  Tribulus, 113

  Trunnions, 211

  Tuilles, 108

  Tunic, Phrygian, 23, 65

  _Turnierbuch des Kaisers Maximilian I._, 84;
    of Wilhelm IV. of Bavaria, 91

  _Turnois du Roi René_, 78


  Ubisch, Edgar von, 85, 110, 135

  Umbo, 26

  Upper pourpoint, 33


  Vambrace, 106

  Vamplate, 87, 195

  Varlets, 77, 79, 86

  Vehmegericht, 177

  _Vif de l’harnois_, 41

  Vinci, Leonardo da, 140

  Vinea, 191

  Visors, 99, 101

  Vitruvius, 188

  Voulge, 202


  Wace, 53, 228

  Waffensammlung des Kaiserl. Hauses, Vienna, 73

  Wages, soldiers’, reign of Edward III., 55

  “Wallace” armour, 70

  Welsches Gestech, 83, 90;
    old form, 91

  Wheel-lock pistols, 198, 226

  Will of Odo de Rossilion, 32

  Windlass crossbow, 184, 186

  Wire-drawing, 23

  Wirsberg, 156

  Wood-carving in Bamberg Cathedral, 35

  Workshops for armour, 140

  Worms, Wilhelm von, 139, 141


  _Zeitschrift für hist. Waffenkunde_, 88

  Zeughaus, Berlin, 48, 71, 85


Transcriber’s Notes

Simple typographical errors were corrected.

Inconsistent hyphenation was not changed. Ambiguous hyphens at the ends
of lines were removed only when other, mid-line examples were found in
the text. One Index entry was changed to match the page it referenced.

Illustrations in this eBook have been positioned between paragraphs
and outside quotations. In versions of this eBook that support
hyperlinks, the page references in the List of Illustrations lead to
the corresponding illustrations.

Superscripts are represented like this: 12^{d.} Italic text is enclosed
in _underscores_.

The index was not checked for proper alphabetization or correct page

Figure 43 is out-of-sequence, as indicated in the original List of

Page 80: “Beauté” was misprinted as “Beaulte”; changed here.

Page 123: “Grünewalt” was printed as “Gruenwalt” on this page, but as
“Grünewalt” in the Index. Using the umlaut seems to be the correct

Footnotes orignally were at the bottoms of pages, but in this eBook,
they have been sequentially renumbered, collected, and placed just
before the Index.

Footnote 46, originally on page 205: “Liège” was misprinted as “Liége”;
changed here.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Defensive Armour and the Weapons and Engines of War of Mediæval Times, and of the "Renaissance."" ***

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