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Thread: History of Plate Armor

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    Vernah's Avatar Signifer
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    Default History of Plate Armor

    Hey all,

    so this is a topic that I've been trying to find and figure out, and that is, the history of plate armor. I know the origin of plate armor, but all these online sources or even books seem to talk about is milanese, gothic and maximillian plate armor in the mid-late 15th century. What was armour elsewhere in europe like, what was the general sense of plate armour called when it first began to appear, surely all the plate armour didn't just pop out of Italy and southern Germany?

    So my question is basically on the regards of plate armor, its appearence on when it came, the types of plate armor in regions, and what it looked like. If there are any specific books that you'd like to share I'd appretiate it and try to find it so I myself can drool over the information, thanks!

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    King Siegfried's Avatar Centurio
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    Default Re: History of Plate Armor

    If you're talking about the full suits of plate armor that fully-armored knights are most known for wearing, then yes, all the plate armor DID pop out of Italy and Germany. There were guilds of armor smiths dedicated solely to making plate armor, and during the 15th century, there were pretty much two distinct styles that were very popular: gothic armor and milanese armor. Maximilian was also present, but that seemed to be a fad among nobles (much like those HUGE pointy sabatons of the early 1400s[?] ). At that point, it became a statement of wealth and power to own a suit of armor made by these smiths, and that is why the wealthy, powerful kingdoms of Western Europe wore them so much.

    Over time, the German and Italian styles of armor evolved into a form more like what many people think of when they think late medieval knight: similar to that of Henry V of Spain/Germany. Then the Renaissance period saw armor evolve more into this form, which soon saw the widespread use of half- and three-quarters plate.

    Before the German and Italian guilds and their products became popular, plate was mostly limited to forms similar to the Partial Plate seen in M2TW. At least that's as far as I know. www.myarmoury.com is a VERY good website with lots of very educated people updating it, and they always have many references. If I didn't answer your questions, they may be able to.

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    Caesar Clivus's Avatar SS Forum Moderator
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    Default Re: History of Plate Armor

    Hehe. I was about to post the link to myarmoury.com. It is a fantastic site and a recommend it to everyone.

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    Vernah's Avatar Signifer
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    Default Re: History of Plate Armor

    So the powers of England, France and Spain didn't even bother to make full sets of plate armor? Thats what I find mind blowing haha.

    So basically, depending on the blacksmith, all armor simply varied slightly in the gothic and milanese armor? I remember reading somewhere that there was a mass produced plate armor set that was simlpy cheaper and not as high quality as the above, and was used by common men-at-arm companies (Surely they all cant afford a gorgeous set of gothic plate!)

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    Default Re: History of Plate Armor

    Cool post Siegfried, i learned something today
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    Point Blank's Avatar Tribunus
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    Default Re: History of Plate Armor

    Quote Originally Posted by Vernah View Post
    So the powers of England, France and Spain didn't even bother to make full sets of plate armor? Thats what I find mind blowing haha.

    So basically, depending on the blacksmith, all armor simply varied slightly in the gothic and milanese armor? I remember reading somewhere that there was a mass produced plate armor set that was simlpy cheaper and not as high quality as the above, and was used by common men-at-arm companies (Surely they all cant afford a gorgeous set of gothic plate!)
    Much of their best armor was imported, but some states begain their own traditions , eg English 'Greenwich' armour is regarded as of very fine quality.

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    The_Nord's Avatar Hastatas Prior
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    Default Re: History of Plate Armor

    Quote Originally Posted by Vernah View Post
    So basically, depending on the blacksmith, all armor simply varied slightly in the gothic and milanese armor? I remember reading somewhere that there was a mass produced plate armor set that was simlpy cheaper and not as high quality as the above, and was used by common men-at-arm companies (Surely they all cant afford a gorgeous set of gothic plate!)
    Do you by any chance mean munitions-grade armour?

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    King Siegfried's Avatar Centurio
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    Default Re: History of Plate Armor

    Quote Originally Posted by Vernah View Post
    So the powers of England, France and Spain didn't even bother to make full sets of plate armor? Thats what I find mind blowing haha.

    So basically, depending on the blacksmith, all armor simply varied slightly in the gothic and milanese armor? I remember reading somewhere that there was a mass produced plate armor set that was simlpy cheaper and not as high quality as the above, and was used by common men-at-arm companies (Surely they all cant afford a gorgeous set of gothic plate!)
    No, it's just those armor smiths were so popular that most nobles wanted armor made by them so they could be fashionable, too. Gothic and Milanese plate styles were the most common in the early eras of full plate, but other, more complete, suits of German and Italian style popped up as well. It's just most nobles spent the money to get the armor from Germany and Italy instead of having their own smiths make the stuff. After all, all the guilds did were make these suits, so they were the best quality. And since Germany and Italy were both considered the centers of the medieval Catholic world, I'm sure shipping wasn't too expensive!

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    Point Blank's Avatar Tribunus
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    Default Re: History of Plate Armor

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Nord View Post
    Do you by any chance mean munitions-grade armour?
    Yes that term applies to just average-quality metallurgy, mass-produced armor usually.

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