Armor has been used since the beginning of armed conflict to protect soldiers from the effects of weapons. Among the most famous armor include the plate armor or chain armor used in the Middle Ages. The animals used in the fighting were also partially armored, such as horses, elephants or even dogs.


The history of armor

Early period:

The early peoples still made their armor from natural materials because they were not yet familiar with metalworking. So they used substances such as tree barks, skins, bones or horn parts. By the combination of the individual parts they were later able to protect larger areas of their body. With the advent of metalworking, these compounds consisted of metal rings.

Some examples of early armor:
- Tree bark armor with hornscale coating
(found at the Bugi near Indonesia)
- Warrior skirts made of cotton
(found in parts of Africa)
- cotton wool
(Used by the Latin American peoples like the Aztecs
Finds in Sudan from the material rattan)
- Braided tanks
(found on the north coast of New Guinea)
- Chopsticks
(found in Asia and North America)



Armament of the Tlingit Indians from wooden records or osseous records and rods


Armor made of natural materials of a warrior from the Micronesian island of Nauru





Already around 1000 BC the Egyptian soldiers were equipped with armor shirts, bronze arm and leg rails. The processing of the tank shells with armored shed was later also used by the armies of the Parthians, Persians and Sarmatians. The Greeks developed these tank shirts a bit further and forged the breast and back panels in one piece and connected them. Thus, the soldiers were also protected against back-to-back attacks.



Breast tank of a Roman legionary


Roman legionary




At the beginning of the Roman legionaries they were equipped with a scale armor. Next to them, they wore a leg splint on the leg in combat. The heavy riders of the Legion were also equipped with a scale armor at the time, but this was in contrast to that of the infantry reaching to the hands and feet.
In the later course of the Roman Empire, the scale armor was replaced by chain or ring armor or by forged breast plates.

The dress in Resilient battle armor in the Teutons took place in the course of the 4th century, when the tribes looked this kind of the eastern peoples.




Middle Ages:

A heyday of armor came during the Middle Ages. This had begun in the early Middle Ages with the Franconian and German infantrymen and knights who wore armored jackets made of upholstered canvas or leather. From this came also the designation for the Frankish armored riders. From the 13th century, these armored jackets were reinforced with sewn-on rings, chains, metal plates or thick, riveted nail heads.

At first, the early armored jackets only reached over the shoulders to the hips, and these were gradually extended into the 10th century, until they reached the elbow, then the hand and knees or even over.

From the 11th century appeared also the first mesh or chainmail shirts. Since the production at the beginning was still quite costly, only nobles or wealthy knights could afford this protection. With the invention of wire drawing 1306 by Rudolf of Nuremberg, the tanks were cheaper and could continue to spread.



Coat of chain mail


Stripes armour




In the course of the 13th century, the original Lentner, which had been used as a throw-over, developed a transitional armor from the later plate armor to the middle of the 14th century, due to falling iron rails or plates riveted on with nail heads.





Plate armour




However, with the advent of firearms, armaments gradually lost their importance until the 16th century, as they offered little resistance to the projectiles. Thus, the armies were in the subsequent course only equipped with uniforms of ordinary fabrics.





There was a proliferation of new lifejackets first in the American Civil War when there the so-called U.S. Civil War Vest (protective vest of the American Civil War) were used from 1861. These were armor plates, which were inserted into hollowed cotton vests of the Union Army of the Northern States and should thus provide resistance to projectiles. A widespread use of this vest was still denied because the disadvantages were too large. On the one hand, the vest was quite heavy, on the other hand, it did not hold off all the bullets, especially in the case of the frequently occurring minié bullets the armor completely failed.

During the first and second world war armor plates which protect against projectiles were also spread, albeit to a very small extent.

Only with the development of new materials in the middle of the 20th century, the protective vests were much easier to carry more pleasant and offered against current caliber sufficient protection. Today, most modern armed forces and police units are equipped with protective vests.



German soldiers with splinter protection waistcoat


Policeman with protection waistcoat






You can find the right literature here:


Arms And Armour of the Imperial Roman Soldier

Arms And Armour of the Imperial Roman Soldier: From Marius to Commodus Hardcover – October 9, 2009

From the Latin warriors on the Palatine Hill in the age of Romulus, to the last defenders of Constantinople in 1453 AD, the weaponry of the Roman Army was constantly evolving. Through glory and defeat, the Roman warrior adapted to the changing face of warfare. Due to the immense size of the Roman Empire, which reached from the British Isles to the Arabian Gulf, the equipment of the Roman soldier varied greatly from region to region. Through the use of materials such as leather, linen and felt, the army was able to adjust its equipment to these varied climates.

Arms and Armour of the Imperial Roman Soldier sheds new light on the many different types of armour used by the Roman soldier, and combines written and artistic sources with the analysis of old and new archaeological finds. With a huge wealth of plates and illustrations, which include ancient paintings, mosaics, sculptures and coin depictions, this book gives the reader an unparalleled visual record of this fascinating period of military history.

This book, the first of three volumes, examines the period from Marius to Commodus. Volume II will cover the period from Commodus to Justinian, and Volume III will look at the period from Romulus to Marius.

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Arms and Armour of the Joust

Arms and Armour of the Joust Paperback – May 15, 2018

Jousting is the most iconic form of mounted combat. For more than five hundred years, the sport itself, and the chivalric culture that surrounded it, took on almost mythical qualities. Here, Tobias Capwell explains the glitz and glamour of a sport that attracted enormous popular audiences throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Though he deals almost exclusively with weapons and warriors, Capwell tells a story not of war and destruction, but of pageantry and valor. This is the story of the armor of peace.

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Samurai Arms, Armour & the Tactics of Warfare

Samurai Arms, Armour & the Tactics of Warfare: The Collected Scrolls of Natori-Ryu (Book of Samurai) Hardcover – October 23, 2018

Part of the acclaimed Book of Samurai series, which presents for the first time the translated scrolls of the historical Natori-Ryū samurai school of war, this volume offers an exceptional insight into the weaponry and armour of the samurai era, as well as tactical advice for use on and off the battlefield.

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Techniques Of Medieval Armour Reproduction

Techniques Of Medieval Armour Reproduction: The 14th Century Paperback – September 1, 2000

Few historical icons can match the evocative power of the medieval suit of armour, and this epic new book is a complete course in the tools and techniques of the modern armourer’s art. Through more than 1,000 detailed photos and clear instruction, Brian Price presents a working handbook for aspiring and active armourers who want to develop their skills in the production of medieval armour in the style of the 14th century. The book is divided into four sections: a sweeping history of armour and its production from its medieval roots to its modern revival; a practical introduction to all the tools and supplies necessary to equip a modern workshop; a thorough review of key techniques; and a series of actual courses in constructing armoured defenses for the head, body, arm, hand and leg. Taking the reader through the construction of an authentic medieval harness from conception to completion, Techniques of Medieval Armour Reproduction is a vital addition to the libraries of serious craftsmen, historians, collectors and researchers.

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