Armour Lexicon

Ailette: “Little wing”. A thick, flat, quadrangular piece of leather, cuir boulli, or wood attached to the shoulder with a silk or leather cord. Appeared in the 13th century and disappeared early in the 14th century.  Ailettes were usually decorated with heraldic designs.

Aketon: A quilted garment worn under armour to absorb shock and impact. 

Anima:  16th century armour similar to Lorica Segmentata (see below), employing sliding rivets between the plates.

Armet: A visored helmet that originated in Italy sometime before 1450 and remained in use through 15th and 16th centuries. The armet was lighter and more protective than the bascinet and had hinged cheek pieces. The weight of the armet was taken up by the gorget and the shoulders.

Arming Cap: A quilted cap worn beneath a helmet.

Arnis: An Italian expression (literally “harness”) for being “in armour”.

Arrêt: See Lance Rest.

Arrêt de Cuirasse: See Lance Rest.

Arrêt de Lance: See Grapper.

Aventail: Also known as a camail. A curtain of mail extending below a helmet to cover the neck and shoulders. Aventails appeared on bascinets in the 14th century, replacing the mail coif, completely replacing them by the late 15th century. Some aventails were attached to the helmet with small staples called vervelles and edged with brass or bronze links or had jagged edges.  

Banded mail: A composite armour derived from a combination of Roman lorica segmentata and splint mail. Banded mail armour is made of overlapping horizontal strips of laminated metal sewn over a backing of normal chain mail and soft leather backing.

Barbuta: See Barbute.

Barbute: Also known as a barbuta. An Italian helmet design of the mid-15th century. The barbute was close-fitting helmet and often had a “Y” or “T” shaped slot in the face to provide vision and ventilation, resembling ancient classical Greek helmets.

Bascinet: A basin-shaped helmet, which evolved out earlier metal skull-caps. The bascinet was originally open-faced, but later a variety of hinged visors were developed. Bascinets were in use from the mid-14th through the mid-15th centuries, and were still occasionally used by foot soldiers into the early 16th century.

Bases:  Used to describe:

  • ·         The richly embroidered fabric military skirts (often part of a doublet or jerkin) worn over the armour in the late 15th to early 16th century.  Started in Italy and then became fashionable in France. Bases were knee length and cartridge-pleated.; or
  • ·         The plate armour skirt later developed in imitation of cloth bases for supplemental upper-leg protection, worn by men-at-arms for foot combat. Appeared in the 16th century.  A detachable rear piece allowed the wearer to sit on his horse.

Baviere:  See Bevor.

Beavor: See Bevor.

Besagew: A large, sliding rondel, protecting a joint, such as the inside of the elbow or the armpit.

Bevor: Also known as a baviere or beavor. 15th century armour that protected the lower part of the face when worn with a sallet. It could be attached to the helmet or the breastplate, and was often hinged (see Visor).

Bochiero: See Buckler.

Boss : Also called an umbo. The round or cone-shaped metal plate at the center of a shield, protecting the hand.

Breaths: Holes in the visor or bevor faceplate of a helmet to provide ventilation.

Brigandine: A cloth garment, typically canvas or leather, lined with small overlapping steel plates riveted to the fabric.  Popular in the 15th and 16th centuries, the brigandine was usually worn over padding, but not mail. Brigandines were essentially a refinement of the earlier coat of plates, which developed in the late 12th century and typically were of simpler construction and used larger plates. Brigandines first appeared towards the end of the 14th century, came into wide use in the 15th century, remaining in use well into the 16th. Brigandines were commonly worn over a gambeson by common soldiers. The Indians called the brigandine “chihal’ta hazar masha” (“coat of ten thousand nails”).  The skirt of the Indian brigandine was split to the waist, making it possible for the wearer to ride a horse.  The Saracens also utilized brigandines which were often elaborately decorated.

Buckler: A small round shield (9 – 18″ in diameter), made of metal, wood, or metal trimmed wood, gripped in the hand with either a single handle, or two enarmes. The name is a corruption of the Old French “bocler” (“boss”), which refers to the boss or umbo at the center of the shield. Bucklers appeared in the Middle Ages. Some had long metal spikes on the front to attack with, or bars and hooks placed on the front to trap the point of an opponent’s rapier. The Italians called it the “rondash” or “bochiero.”

Buff-coat: A heavy coat of buff-leather, used as pikeman and gunner’s armour in the Renaissance, alone or under a breastplate. Buff-coats were also often worn as light protection when dueling with rapiers or swords.

Burgonet: An open-faced helmet with a crest and cheek-guards, used in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

Byrnie: A mail shirt, mid-thigh length, with elbow-length sleeves. This was the principal body defense for wealthy warriors until the early 11th century.

Camail : See Aventail.

Cap-a-pie: An Old French expression, meaning to be armed from head-to-foot.

Capeline: Originally a steel skullcap (called a “secrete” when worn under a hat), derived from the Turkish chickhak worn by the Ottomans. It was worn by archers and musketeers into the 17th century. It was popular with cavalry who wished to wear fashionable broad-brimmed hats but also retain some level of protection for the head. The most commonly known version was a cavalry helmet of Oliver Cromwell’s Ironside cavalry in the English Civil War, which was called a lobster tail pot.  This version has articulated check pieces, a forward projecting peak with a sliding nasal bar, or a hinged peak with 3 attached bars to protect the face.  Lobster pots had an articulated “tail” protecting the back of the head and neck, which is what gave the helmet its name. In Western Europe it was known as a harquebusier’s pot. In the Thirty Years War the capeline was known as the zischagge.  Sometimes older burgeonets or sallets were modified to make them into capelines.

Cervelliere: A round, close-fitting steel skull cap, worn as a helmet in the medieval period.

Chainmail:  See mail.

Chausses: Mail leggings, tied to the belt by leather thongs, and usually worn over quilted pants.

Close helm: A Medieval helmet, appearing in the late 15th century, having a visor that pivoted up and fully enclosed the head and neck area, unlike earlier helms such as the sallet and barbute, which sometimes may have left the wearer more exposed, or needed a bevor to be added to protect the chin and neck. According to Oakeshot[1] the close helm is a helm is very similar to an armet, but has a different method of opening. The main difference is that the bevor or visor of an armet is split in the middle, with the two halves hinged at the cheek, opening outwards. An armet has two cheekpieces.  The bevor of a close helm is in one piece and opens by swinging upwards on side pivots. Others do not make such distinctions. The close helm was used in battle but was also popular in jousting tournaments.  Close helms for jousting weighed about 12 pounds, where close helms for combat were about 8 pounds.

Coat-armour: An over-garment of the late Middle Ages, worn in tournaments, showing the wearer’s heraldry.

Coat-of-Plates: Steel, bone, or hardened leather plates riveted or sewn inside a leather or heavy fabric covering, to provide a flexible form of plate armour. In the late 13th and 14th centuries, the coat-of-plates would have been worn over a mail haubergeon.

Codpiece: From the Middle English term “cod” (“scrotum”). A covering flap or pouch that attaches to the front of the crotch of men’s trousers. Armour of the 16th century followed civilian fashion, and for a time armoured codpieces were a prominent addition to the best full harnesses of plate armor.

Coif : Also known as a mail coif. A hood of fabric or mail, worn under the helmet.

Corslet:  Also known as a corselet.  Bronze corslets called thorax were worn by the ancient Greeks. Corslets consist of two plates connected on the sides. By the 16th century the corslet was used as a light armour, consisting of a gorget, breastplate, back plate, and tassets, full arms and gauntlets. In the 17th century foot soldiers wore corslets while cavalry wore the cuirass (see Cuirass).

Couter: Plate armour protecting the elbow. Early couters were simply a curved piece of metal, but in later years became an articulated joint. Often fitted with a besagew.

Cuirass:  Pronounced “kwi-rass”. Known to the French as a cuirasse, derived from the Latin “coriaceus,” (a leather breastplate).  A cuirass consists of a breastplate, backplate, and sometimes, tassets. The 14th century cuirass was long enough to rest on the hips, relieving the wearer’s shoulders of the weight. By the middle of the 15th century the breastplate of the cuirass was made in two parts, with the lower part overlapping the upper, with a strap or sliding rivet. In the latter half of that century the breast place often had a vertical central ridge, called the tapul: this was called a peascod cuirass.

Cuirbouilli: Leather, hardened by boiling in water, used as a material for armour in the 13th and 14th centuries.

Cuisse: Thigh armour, originally simply quilted garments, like an aketon (see Aketon), but later made of plate armour.

Culet: Small, horizontal lamés (see Lamé) that protect the small of the back or the buttocks.

Disc Armour: See Mirror Armour.

Enarmes: Leather straps used to grip a shield or buckler.

Eyelet Doublet: See Ring Armour.

Falling Buffe: 16th Century armour for the throat and lower face. It evolved from the bevor (see Bevor) and was composed of several lamés (see Lamé), retained in place by spring catches, which could be lowered for better ventilation and vision.

Faulds: Plate armour worn below a breastplate to protect the waist and hips. Faulds consist of bands of metal surrounding both legs and hips like a skirt or kilt.

Gambeson: A quilted and decorated coat-armour of the late 14th century, worn over the breastplate, or by itself.

Gardebras: A full arm-harness, comprised of the couter, vambrace and rerebrace.

Gauntlet: An armoured glove, often formed of a single plate for the back of the hand, and smaller overlapping plates for the fingers, enabling them to move easily.

Gorget:  A steel or leather collar to protect the throat, usually worn under the breastplate and backplate. Medieval gorgets supported the weight of the armour worn over it, and many were equipped with straps for attaching the heavier armour plates. Renaissance gorgets were worn over the clothing. In the 18th century the gorget became an ornamental part of military uniforms.

Gousset: Sections of mail covering parts of the body that were not protected by steel plate. Gousset came into use in the 14th century as plate began to replace mail. By the early 15th century, gousset was restricted to joints such as the hip, neck, armpits, and elbows. Gousset had nearly disappeared by 1450, but remained in German Gothic plate armour throughout most of the century.

Grapper: A grapper, also known as an arrêt de lance, was a ring of leather around the handle of a lance, placed behind the hand but before the armpit or lance rest (see Lance Rest), used to further secure the lance in its couched position.

Great Helm: A medieval helmet encompassing the entire head, usually made of four or five iron plates riveted together, and worn over a mail coif, and sometimes a small steel skull-cap. Great helms first appeared in the last decade of the 12th century, and came into common use in the 13th and early 14th centuries. The great helm was the most common form of tournament helmet into the Renaissance. After 1420, great helms came down to the shoulders and were bolted to the chest and back.

Greave: Armour for the shin and calf.

Guige: The strap which slings a shield from the shoulders or neck

Harness: A common Medieval expression for armour.

Harquebusier’s Pot:  See Capeline.

Haubergeon: A hauberk with the long skirts removed, so that it ended between crotch and mid-thigh length, usually with a dagged-hem. The mail coat was worn in this form in the 14th and 15th centuries, usually under some form of plate defense.

Hauberk: A long coat of mail, knee-length or longer, initially with half-sleeves, which by the 12th century, had extended to the wrist. Later, the hauberk sleeve became even closer fitting and ended in mail mittens called mufflers. The hauberk was the principle body armour of the 11th – 13th centuries.

Hounskull: This was the English name for a helmet which appeared in the middle of the 14th century. It was a form of bascinet with a visor covering the face.  It acquired this name due to the visor, which resembles the protruding muzzle of a dog.  The name may be derived from the German name for the helmet, hundsgugel, meaning “hound’s hood”. Victorian historians sometimes called it a “pig faced” helmet. This visor swung up to uncover the face. Central European versions often had a single hinge at the center top of the visor, called a klappviser.  The vision slots on the klappviser were usually elevated on mounts. In Southern, Western, and North Western Europe the visor typically pivoted on two bolts on either side of the visor at the temples. The vision slots on this version were flush with the visor.  Hounskulls usually had an aventail to protect the neck and later, plate armor. The aventail often had a decorative cloth cover. The Hounskull went out of fashion by the second decade of the 15th century, although Armagnac mercenaries in Switzerland in 1444 are depicted as wearing it.

Jack: Also known as a Jack of Plate.  A coat of fabric or leather, with small plates sandwiched and stitched between its layers. This type of armor was used by common medieval soldiers and the rebel peasants known as Jacquerie.  Jacks were often made from recycled pieces of older plate armor, including damaged brigandines and cuirasses cut into small squares. Jacks were in use as late as the 16th century. Although they were obsolete by the time of the English Civil War many were taken to the New World by the Pilgrims.

Jack of Plate: See Jack.

Jupon: A short, fitted surcoat, worn over armour in the 14th and early 15th centuries. Made of several thicknesses of fabric, the outer layer was often velvet or silk, with the owner’s heraldry embroidered or painted on.

Kettle hat: A plain iron hat with a broad brim, resembling the British WW1 army helmet. The kettle-hat was worn from the 12th through 15th centuries.

Lamé: A solid piece of sheet metal used as a component of a larger section of plate armour. Lamés are riveted or strapped together forming an articulated piece of armour.

Lammellar: A semi-rigid form of armour consisting of short metal plates pierced, overlapped, and laced together. Lammellar was found in Eastern Europe and occasionally in Scandinavia and Sicily.

Lance Rest: Also known as an arrêt de cuirasse or an arrêt. A metal flange attached to the right side of a breastplate, just under the armpit. It appeared in the late 14th century, remaining in use until plate armor went out of use. The lance rest was used to brace the lance to prevent rearward movement on impact, spreading the impact of a blow through the breastplate to the torso of the wearer, thus redirecting the force of the blow away from the hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder. A grapper or arrêt de lance, a ring of leather around the handle of the lance, placed behind the hand but before the armpit or lance rest, was used to further secure the lance in its couched position. The lance rest is hinged so that it can be folded upward to prevent an obstruction of the wearer’s sword arm.

Lobster Tail:  See Capeline.

Lorica Hamata: Mail used by the armies of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. It consisted of iron or bronze rings running horizontally. The shoulders of the lorica hamata had flaps that were similar to the Greek ‘Linothorax’ which ran from about mid-back to the front of the torso, and were connected by brass or iron hooks which connected to studs riveted through the ends of the flaps. Up to 30,000 rings would have gone into one lorica hamata.

Lorica Segmentata: Segmented armour used by the Roman Legions. This Latin name is actually the 16th century name for it: the ancient name is unknown, although it is possible that the Romans referred to the armour as “lorica laminata“. The armour consists of broad, overlapping, horizontal iron strips fastened to internal leather straps.  One overlapping layer formed the front, another layer the back. The upper body and shoulders were protected by additional strips and breast and back plates. The fittings (buckles, lobate hinges, hinged straps, tie-hooks, tie-rings, etc.) were, made of brass.

Mail: Armour consisting of small metal rings linked together in a pattern to form a mesh. Prior to the 1700s it was simply referred to as “mail”, “mayle” or “chain”.  The French called it “maille”, the Spanish “malla”, the Portuguese “malha”, and the Flemish and Dutch “maliën”. These names are all derived from the Italian name for mail, “maglia”, which comes from the Latin “macula” (“net”). The Welsh name for mail, “lluric”, comes from the Roman army name for it, “lorica”. Chainmail is a Victorian name for mail. 

The different lengths of mail shirts have different names:

  • ·         Hauberk: Knee length
  • ·         Haubergon: Mid thigh length
  • ·         Byrnie: waist length
  • ·         Jazzeraint: Mail shirt interwoven between two layers of fabric.

Mail leggings are called chausses, a mail hood is a coif, and mail mittens mitons. A mail collar hanging from a helmet is camail or aventail. A mail collar worn strapped around the neck was called a pixane or standard.

The earliest appearance of mail was the 3rd century BC in Slovakia and a Celtic chieftain’s burial located in Ciumeşti, Romania. The Romans are believed to have borrowed this idea from the Celts, making a form of mail called lorica hamata through the Imperial period. Mail was commonly used throughout the Dark Ages, High Middle Ages and Renaissance.  By the 13th century mail covered the whole body. During the 14th century, plate armour was commonly used to supplement mail. From this point on plate armour replaced mail, but mail remained in use by common soldiers.

The Japanese called mail kusari, and it first appeared in Japan during the Nambokucho period (1336–1392). Two primary weave methods were used: a square 4-in-1 pattern (so gusari) and a hexagonal 6-in-1 pattern (hana gusari). The rings from which kusari was made were much smaller than European mail.  Kusari was used to link together plates and to drape over vulnerable areas such as the underarm. Kusari rings were not welded or riveted: some rings had two or more turns similar to modern split rings. Kusari was lacquered to prevent rusting, and was always stitched onto a backing of cloth or leather.  Mail coats (kusari katabira) appeared in the Edo period. Kusari hoods, gloves, vests, shin and thigh guards, and tabi socks were used. An entire mail suit was called a kusari gusoku.

A hauberk weighs roughly 10 kg and contains 15,000–45,000 rings. The weight falls mainly on the shoulders, but wearing a belt can relieve some of this for the wearer. Mail is effectively rustproof and self-polishing; the motion of the rings against each other keeps them scoured.

Mail armour protects against slashing blows by an edged weapon and penetration by thrusting and piercing weapons, but a good sword blow perpendicular to the surface could cut through the links.  If the mail was not riveted, a well placed thrust from a spear or thin sword could penetrate.  A poleaxe or halberd blow could break through mail. Special arrows, known as bodkins, were able to penetrate light mail through the loops of the chain. Mail does not protect against the blows themselves: Such blows could cause serious bruising or fractures.  This is why the warrior would wear padded garments like the gambeson underneath mail, to protect against blows by weapons such as maces and war hammers. 

Mirror armour:  Also known as disc armour or by its Persian name, chahar-ainé.  Originally it consisted of metal rondels worn over other armour, such as mail.  It was polished to create a mirror surface as this was believed to provide some protection from supernatural influence. Early mirror armour consisted of a round mirror attached to the body with a few leather laces. This armour appeared in the Middle East, Central Asia, India, Russia, Siberia, Mongolia, Indochina and China. Late mirror armour took the form of a mirror cuirass, helmet, greaves, and bracers worn with mail. There were two alternative constructions of mirror cuirass:

  • ·         With discs: Two large round mirrors surrounded by smaller mirror plates.
  • ·         Without discs: Usually four mirror plates (frontplate, backplate, and two sideplates)  joined by hinges or laces.

A mirror cuirass with discs was popular in Turkey and Russia, while that without discs was popular in Persia, Central Asia and India.

Morion: A helmet with a strongly curved brim and high “comb” on top circa 1570 – 1650. This is the helmet popularly believed to be worn by Spanish Conquistadores, but it was actually developed after Spain’s initial conquests in the Americas.

Nasal Helmet: A helmet with a domed or raised centre, usually a basic skull-cap design, with a single protruding strip that extended down over the nose to provide additional facial protection. Nasal helmets appeared throughout Europe late in the 9th century, replacing the previous pudding-bowl design, and the Vendel-style spectical helm. Nasal helmets were replaced towards the end of the 12th century by helmets that provided more facial protection, although the nasal helm was still seen amongst archers, to whom a wide field of vision was crucial. Nasal helmets have been found of both one-piece and Spangenhelm construction, with the later period helmets being made of a single, smooth raised dome.

Occularium: See sights.

Pair of Plates: Armour similar to a standard coat-of-plates, but still not a solid breastplate.

Pauldron: Plate armour for the shoulders, devised of several, overlapped and articulated plates.

Peascod: See Cuirass.

Pixane: Also called a standard. A mail collar worn strapped around the neck.

Placcard: See Plackart.

Placcate: See Plackart.

Plackart: Also called a placcard, planckart, or placcate. Plate armour that covers the lower half of the front torso, reinforcing the breastplate. Appeared in the 15th century. Sometimes the cuirass was sheathed in embroidered cloth, with the plackart below bare metal. The plackart stopped above the groin, and a skirt of metal plates, called a fauld, was attached to the bottom of the plackart. German gothic plackarts were often fluted and decorated.

Plankart: See Plackart.

Plated mail: Also known as splinted mail. A type of mail with embedded plates, used in the Middle East, Central Asia, India, Eastern Europe, and by the Moors. There were three types:

  • ·         Small horizontal plates in vertical rows without gaps, joined by rings, embedded in mail. The Persians called it behter, the Russians behterets.
  • ·         Long horizontal plates embedded in mail resembling laminar armour.  The Persians called this jawshan, the Russians yushman.
  • ·         Square plates embedded in mail.  The Russians called it kalantar, the Japanese tatami-do. Tatami-do is sown to a cloth backing, kalantar is not. The lacquered iron plates of tatami-do were connected with kusari (see mail). Tatami helmets were called kabuto.

Plated mail first appeared in Iran in the first half of the 15th century. From the end of the 15th Century plate mail began to fully replace lamellar armours. The main difference between eastern European (Russian and Polish) and Oriental plate mail is that eastern European versions usually do not have sleeves, while Oriental versions have sleeves, with the forearms were protected by vambraces. 

Poleyn: Plate armour for the knee.

Rerebrace: Armour for the upper arm.

Ring Armour: Closely related to scale armour, but providing less protection and more flexible. Ring armour consists of small metal rings sewn onto leather or textile clothing. Unlike mail, the rings are not physically interlocked. It was called broigne maclée in Carolingian France. A Renaissance a form of ring armour was called an “eyelet doublet”. It was known as a “schiessjoppe” in Germany.

Rondash: See Buckler.

Rondel: A circular piece of metal used for protection, as part of a harness of plate armour, or attached to a helmet, breastplate, couter or gauntlet. Rondels are commonly used to cover the wearer’s armpit; such rondels are known as besagews. They also were used on the back of armets, probably to protect straps. Less common applications include covering the metacarpal part of gauntlets, the side of the head, and the point of the elbow.

Rondella: See Targe.

Sabaton: Articulated, steel foot armour.

Salade/Sallet: A helmet of the 15th and 16th centuries, often with a small, hinged visor, and a long, articulated tail, to protect the back of the neck.

Scale armour: Multiple small scales of bronze, iron, rawhide, leather, or horn, attached to a backing material of either leather or cloth. It is similar to lamellar armour but distinguished by the presence of the backing material and being more flexible than lamellar. The Roman army called it lorica squamata when it had a leather backing, or lorica plumata if it was attached to mail. Lorica squamata was typically worn by standard bearers, musicians, centurions, cavalry, and auxiliaries.  Scale armour was worn in Persia and Byzantium, where the scales were round and bowl shaped.

Schiessjoppe: See Ring Armour.

Schynbalds: Metal plates strapped over chausses, an early form of plate armour for the lower leg. Schynbalds covered the front and outside of the shin but did not enclose the lower leg like greaves. They first appeared during the late 13th century and remained in use during the 14th and 15th centuries. In 15th century gothic armour they were strapped to fastenings on a padded undergarment. By the early 15th century greaves had supplanted schynbalds in white armour.

Secrete: See Capeline.

Shield: Shields come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and may be constructed of leather-covered wood or metal, and hung from the arm by a series of straps, or gripped by a handle.

Sights: Also called an occularium. The ‘eye slot’ in a helmet’s visor.

Spangenhelm: A type of nasal helmet (see Nasal Helmet). The Spangenhelm was a popular German helmet design of the early Middle Ages.  “Spangen” refers to the metal strips which form the framework for the helmet and could be translated as “clips.” The strips connect 3 to 6 steel or bronze plates in a conical design that curves with the shape of the head and culminates in a point. The front of the helmet may include a nose protector (nasal). Older spangenhelms often include metal or leather cheek flaps. Spangenhelms may incorporate mail as neck protection, forming a partial aventail (see Aventail).  Some spangenhelms include eye protection in a shape that resembles modern eyeglass frames.  Some spangenhelms include a full face mask.

Spaulders: Armoured plates worn on the upper arms and shoulders in a suit of plate armour. Appeared during the Middle Ages and declined during the Renaissance. Unlike pauldrons, spaulders do not cover the arm holes when worn with a cuirass. The gaps may be covered by besagews, or left to expose the mail beneath.

Standard: See Pixane.

Studded and Splinted Armour: 14th century armour in which a variety of rigid materials were riveted in strips or plates to the inside of heavy fabric or leather coverings.

Surcoat: A long, tunic-like, cloth garment worn over the armour, from the 1170s to the 1420s. The early surcoat was almost heel length, and progressively became shorter and tighter-fitting. Surcoats served a variety of purposes. Firstly they kept a certain amount of rain and dirt off of the armour. Secondly, they provided a screen to keep the metal armour from the sun’s heat. Third, they became a means of displaying heraldry.

Tabard: A simple garment, similar to a surcoat, slit down the sides, with the front and back held together by ties which could be drawn tight or left loose. Tabards were used in tournaments to display the knights’ heraldry in the late 15th century.

Tapul: Raised ridge on a cuirass (See Cuirass).

Targa: See Targe.

 Targe: Also known as a targa.  The Italians called it the rondella. A small wooden shield with a leather cover and leather or metal trim. Some later Renaissance targes were made entirely of steel. Targes were usually flat rather than convex. The name “targe” actually comes from small “targets” placed on archery practice dummies.

Target:  A round shield 30 – 36” in diameter, made of wood originally, but in the Renaissance, a smaller (24” diameter), steel version became popular.

Tassets: Overlapping plates that cover the juncture of hip and thigh in a full suit of plate armour.

Umbo: See Boss.

Vambrace: Plate armour guarding the forearm.

Visor: A hinged piece of steel with holes for vision and breathing (see Breaths) which was attached to a helmet to protect the wearer’s face.  One common type was called the bevor (see Bevor).

Zischagge: See Capeline.


[1] Ewart Oakeshott “European Weapons and Armour. From Renaissance to the Industrial Revolution” ISBN 0 85115 789 0, page 121 in edition of 2000 by The Boydell Press, Woolbridge

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