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Ancient Armor (Personal Armor Part II)

Updated on January 19, 2014

Ancient Armor Uses

Ancient armor is actually a pretty broad topic. We are looking into two famous types of armors in this article. Ancient armor can be different or the same with few addictions and was mostly used in combat to protect the body from external harm.

Such battles and wars were not uncommon during the middle ages and these armors would increase personal defense by a landslide. A person with armor was more protected and had higher chances of getting out alive than someone with no armor at all.

Scale Armor

Scale is like Lamellar in the fact that they are both made of many scale pieces and that these scales could have been made out of many different materials.

What makes Scale Armor different than Lamellar is that, instead of the scales just being laced together, the scales of Scale armor would be also attached to another material such as cloth or leather to give it shape.

The scales themselves did not have to be rectangular and often overlapped, giving the appearance of the skin of a fish or reptile or resembling a roof of a house. Scale Armor has been used for a very long time.

Early Use Of Scale Armor

The earliest possible use of Scale Armor was by the Chinese during the Shang, also known as Yin, dynasty. The first pieces of Scale Armor found near the Mediterranean was also in Assyria. Scale Armor have also been used by the Scythians possibly since 600 BCE. The Roman have have used Scale Armor in the form of Lorica Squamata. Lorica Squamata was often used instead of the mail armor Lorica Hamata due to its better protection against blunt attacks. Scale Armor has been used in many Eastern Empire by Cataphracts, who were heavily armored shock cavalry. It is not the rider that would just use it as the horse itself would be wearing it.

Mail Armor

Mail is armor made out of many rings linked together to form a protective mesh.

The first example of Mail Armor was by the Celts, also known as the Gauls, but there has been examples of mail pattern Etruscan lands since 4th century BCE.

It is possible that the invention of mail was inspired by Scale Armor.

Mail has been spread to many regions of the world including the rest of Europe, Central Asia, Northern Africa, and the Middle East. Mail is even continued to be used today, albeit not as armor in warfare.

An example of mail armor was in Rome in the form of Lorica Hamata.

Mail could be easily found after a battle on corpses until the 16th and 17th centuries.

In the Middle Ages, Mail would be used with many other types of armor such as the Gambeson, or defensive jacket, some Transitional Armor, armor that are considered proto-plate, and Plate itself.

Sometimes Mail would be even more expensive than Plate due to labor costs, especially after the Black Plague.


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