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The Armor and Weapons used by the Knights of the Middle Ages

Updated on May 22, 2016

The Knight and his Horse

By OpenlipartVectors CCO Public Domain
By OpenlipartVectors CCO Public Domain | Source

Armor, weapons and warhorse were very important to a medieval knight. Even in the Middle Ages they were all very expensive, and this meant only wealthy men usually became knights. Some of the knights thought they could recover some of the costs by plundering the towns they captured.

During the Middle ages, the knight's armor was made out of metal. Some knights preferred to wear chain mail armor because it was lighter and others preferred plate armor even though it was heavier.

Armor of the Knight

stronytwaichmaryn CCO Public Domain
stronytwaichmaryn CCO Public Domain | Source

Thousands of rings made up chain mail armor. A popular chain mail armor was a long cloak known as a hauberk. The hauberk was very heavy, so the knights would wear a padded cloak under it so they could carry the weight. Sometimes a chain mail hauberk would weigh 30 pounds or more.

The chain mail afforded very good protection, and it was flexible, but it could be pierced by a thin sword or arrow. There were the knights that wore chain that wore chain mail that would put metal plates over parts of their body for more protection. After awhile their body was covered with the metal plate, so they no longer wore the chain mail armor.

Knight's Armor

By Gillinger CCO Public Domain
By Gillinger CCO Public Domain | Source

The knights were wearing full plate armor by the 1400s. The plate armor gave them better protection. The drawback was that it was not very flexible and weighed more than chain mail armor. If the knight wore a full set of plate armor, it would weigh about 60 pounds. Some of the pieces of armor had unique names.

The Breastplate

OpenCClipartvictors CCO Public Domain
OpenCClipartvictors CCO Public Domain | Source

The greaves protected the calves and ankles, and the Sabatons protected the feet. The poleyns protected the knees, and the Cuisses protected the thighs. Gauntlets were worn to protect the hands, and the vambrace protected the lower arms. The shoulders were protected by Pauldron and the chest by the Breastplate. The upper arms were protected by the Rerebrace and the helmet protected the head.

The Knight's Spear

ClkerfFreeVectorimage CCO Public Dmain
ClkerfFreeVectorimage CCO Public Dmain | Source

Many types of weapons were used by the Middle Age knights. They used a long wooden pole that had a metal tip and hand guards that was called a lance. The knights used the long lance to attack from horseback. The knights preferred the sword when they were on the ground. The knights also used a club with a steel head called a Mace. The Longbow was considered a coward's weapon by many knights. The longbow did become very popular because you could attack from a distance.

The Warhorse

By christo 1960 CCO Public Domain
By christo 1960 CCO Public Domain | Source

The Warhorse was very important to a knight. The Warhorse was trained for battle. A good war horse could mean life or death for a knight. Sine War horses were call destriers. A Warhorse would also wear armor. They wore metal plates on their head, neck and sides, and their rump was covered with a heavy pad.


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    • norlawrence profile imageAUTHOR

      Norma Lawrence 

      2 years ago from California

      I do not believe the knights on horseback used bows. It would have been difficult. The spear was easier. Thanks for comment it is the first one I have received on this article.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      2 years ago

      Interesting article. Was the belief the longbow was unmanly the reason the knights didn't normally shoot arrows on horseback as eastern horsemen did?


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