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  • Body Armor for Medieval Knights

    Posted on April 28th, 2011 admin No comments

    Medieval HelmetTemplar Chainmail Shirt

    You’ve likely seen pictures depicting the body armor worn by knights during medieval times. They wore chain mail and plate metal armor. They also wore padded clothing as protection underneath. They needed all the protection they could get while in battle. However, the very best in body armor was the most expensive available–much like today. (Some things never change.) Outfitting yourself with armor for battle was costly for a knight. Thus, a knight of means had an advantage as he could more fully protect his body prior to battle. This definitely gave the knight the upper hand. Plate armor was constructed of large metal plates. Plate body armor was less flexible than chain mail, however, it guarded against both slashing blows as well as stabbing. It was practically invulnerable to swords altogether. The knight had far greater protection while battling it out. This certainly gave him a psychological edge as well.

    Chain mail is designed as hundreds of tiny metal rings hooked together to create a mesh-like covering for the knight. Knights did not refer to it as "chain mail." That term came into use much later. Knights referred to it as "mail." Chain mail was effective, but how effective depended upon the material used to construct it, how tightly woven it was, the thickness of the material and weave, and lastly the method used to hook or weave the metal rings together. Although chain mail was more flexible and provided some effective protection, it could be penetrated by a stabbing blow. Slashing blows were not much of a match, but a stabbing action could certainly penetrate the rings. As a result, many knights of means opted to don both plate armor and chain metal, thus effectively doubling their protection. Plate armor looks heavy, but it was surprisingly light. The reason is that the distribution of weight was spread evenly over one’s body. We’ve all seen the caricatures of knights having to be lifted onto their horses due to their plate armor, but that is a myth. In fact, even the plate armor worn for jousting–which was much heavier than battle armor–would not have required a knight to be lifted onto their horse. Jousting armor was heavier to avoid dying from an injury during a game. But it was not used during battle, when different skill sets were needed, including speed.

    Knights wore helmets, which were arguably one of the most important pieces of their ensemble. Knights worse differently designed helmets over the course of history. Depending on the time period, he might be wearing one design or another. For example, in the very early days, a knight’s helmet looked a bit like a cap. It had a piece of chain mail attached to it. But later on, helmets were made of plate armor. The face was protected by a visor, that was somewhat frightening to gaze upon. This may have also served as psychological edge. No knight was completely outfitted without his shield. Their shields were wooden underneath a piece of animal hide and rimmed with a piece of metal. This helped the knight to protect himself from incoming arrows, sword thrusts, and other weapons.

  • Medieval Knights of Templar

    Posted on January 12th, 2011 admin No comments

    The Knights of Templar were a Western Christian military organization created to guide pilgrims safely to the Holy Land. This treacherous journey was littered with criminals awaiting their chances to take advantage of unsuspecting travelers. At first, this organization held few members since each individual of the Templar was required to take an oath of chastity, poverty and obedience.  
    The Knights of Templar was formed after the First Crusade took possession of Jerusalem, the Holy Land for many Christians.  Two veterans of this Crusade, Hugues de Payens and Godfrey de Saint-Omer proposed the idea of creating a group of knights who would protect people making the pilgrimage to the Holy Land. King Baldwin II of Jerusalem agreed to this idea and gave the Knights a location for their headquarters on Temple Mount. At first, the Templar had only nine members and was nearly always in extreme poverty, but as their numbers and popularity grew, so did their wealth. In 1139 at the Council of Troyes, the military order was endorsed by the church. This offered them a nearly unending supply of money, land, able-men and businesses. Most everyone associated with the church was willing to give to such a noble cause as the defense of the Holy Land Pilgrimage.
    While individual men of the Knights of Templar were required to remain in poverty, the organization itself flourished. It set up one of the first banking systems, helping pilgrims make their journey safer. A pilgrim could entrust their money or assets with the Order before their journey. The Order would write out what the worth of the money and assets was, and upon arrival in the Holy Land, the individual could cash in their note for money. This sort of system was a predecessor to banks and checking. This system helped protect the people while they made their journey as they were less desirable to thieves.
    The Order also developed road systems, built schools and other public buildings with their vast funding. They helped to create a more organized society. The Knights would manage farms throughout Europe and the Middle East. They were even involved in manufacturing, importing and exporting across the Holy Land pilgrimage. They created their own society amongst many societies and for a long time, they thrived.
    Throughout many battles over many years, the Knights of Templar lost their secured role in the Holy Land and society. Other Christian Military societies grew and fought the Knights of Templar for control. Jerusalem was lost to King Saladin, and so the Templar headquarters had to be moved. The Templar network of homes, business and banking remained intact for quite some time; until European monarchies decided the Knights had too much control.

    On Friday, October 13, 1307 King Philip IV of France, already in great debt to the Templar, arrested many Templar Knights, under what are thought to be false accusations. It is said they were arrested for being enemies of Christianity. The Knights were accused of spitting at the cross and going against their strict oaths. Most Knights, under extreme torture, confessed to whatever accusations were thrown at them.

    King Philip IV convinced Pope Clement V to issue a mandatory arrest of all Templar Knights and seizure of their assets. Most Templar Knights throughout Europe were arrested and subjected to torture. The majority confessed to the allegations, no matter how false, against them. Dozens were burned at the stake as a result of their forced confessions.

    The Grand Master of the Templar organization, Jacques de Molay, confessed to his allegations under torture, but later retracted his statements. He was sentenced to be burned alive outside the Notre Dame Cathedral. To the end he remained dignified.

    The rest of the Templar Knights were either arrested, most without conviction, spread throughout other military organizations or allowed to leave their military duties. The Order was dissolved as a result of the Vox in excelso, created by Pope Clement. Although it is still known today as one of the strongest, most loyal Christian military organizations, its end was full of drama, lies and deceit.

    Relive the life of a Templar Knight and wear the "Armor of God" with the markings of a Templar cross become a legend of history with one of our chainmail shirts!

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