66 votes

How did knights who required glasses to see survive on the battlefield?

According to Wikipedia glasses were invented in 1268 by Roger Bacon. About a century later, the first wearable glasses appear on a painting by Thomasso da Modena in 1352. Glasses were rudimentary at ...
Jos's user avatar
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60 votes

How would a Spartan have held his shield?

SHORT ANSWER Most battles were short and thus the shield did not have to be held for long in combat. Also, Spartans who survived the training which began in early childhood were extremely tough both ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
50 votes

How would a Spartan have held his shield?

Lars' answer has addressed the fact that the shields (know as a hoplon) often didn't need to be held for long; I'd like to address the actual mechanics. Image showing the shield held close in to the ...
walrus's user avatar
  • 838
48 votes

After the fall of the Roman Empire, where did their armor go? Was it used by any dark ages forces?

I would dispute your claim that Roman armour was superior. Roman armour mostly consisted of a mail shirt of varying length and quality, not dissimilar to that of the germanic tribes that overran the ...
Paul Hutton's user avatar
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46 votes
Accepted

How did knights who required glasses to see survive on the battlefield?

They Didn't Wear Glasses and They were Probably Fine TL/DR: They didn't wear glasses and all but the blindest of knights were at no more a disadvantage than a guy who was slightly shorter or weaker or ...
Martin's user avatar
  • 876
44 votes

Why did the grip-centered viking shield fall out of use relative to the kite shields?

It's important to note that concrete information on how shields were used is scant, so a large part of any discussion on this subject is speculation and logic. That said, kite shields had an obvious ...
Semaphore's user avatar
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44 votes
Accepted

Why were helmets and other body armour not commonplace in the 1800s?

Looking at this slightly backwards, you could ask what are the factors that have enabled the supply of body armor to the modern infantry soldier? Modern ballistic materials, such as kevlar, are ...
Steve Bird's user avatar
  • 19.9k
36 votes

Why were helmets and other body armour not commonplace in the 1800s?

Quality of steel was not sufficient enough to be practicable for body armor and helmets Historically speaking, use of armor, shields and helmets declined with the advance of firearms. During the ...
rs.29's user avatar
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35 votes

After the fall of the Roman Empire, where did their armor go? Was it used by any dark ages forces?

Roman Empire did not fall suddenly. This was a slow process which lasted centuries. And there is no sharp edge between antiquity and dark ages. The period of decline was much longer than a normal ...
Alex's user avatar
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21 votes

What metallurgy advancement allowed the transition from mail hauberk to plate armor?

The emergence of late medieval full plate armour wasn't really prompted by any specific discovery or advancement in metallurgical tech. Partial plate armour, in principle, can be traced all the way ...
Semaphore's user avatar
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21 votes
Accepted

Why was there an Anglo-Saxon law banning sheepskin covered shields?

Because King Athelstan was concerned about the quality of soldiers' shields. Sheepskin was a cheap but poor quality option for covering shields. A key theme of Athelstan's Grately Codes is dealing ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
17 votes
Accepted

Why did only Anglo-Saxon kings wear helmets?

With all due respect to Dr McAdam, I don't think that is correct. To give just one example, we have depictions of Anglo Saxon cavalry wearing helmets on Pictish stones like the one in the churchyard ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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12 votes
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Was bronze ever used for chainmail?

"Was it ever?" Certainly. The style of armour evolved with swings of a pendulum as can be seen from the earliest bronze age up until now, with conspicuous heights found in the trench warfare ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

M4A1 sherman vs StuG III ausf. G — what were the odds in favor of the Sherman?

The low silhouette of the StuG III (7 feet high vs 9 feet) made it ideal for ambush tactics. Against the Americans it's likely going to be on the defense and well hidden. It will probably get one or ...
Schwern's user avatar
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12 votes

Is there any evidence that Celts produced chain mail?

There is extensive documentary and archeological evidence for Celtic chain mail; one Classical writer (Varro) even specifically named the Celts as the inventors of chain mail. You can take a look at ...
Peter Erwin's user avatar
  • 2,203
12 votes
Accepted

How did knights in full suits of armor eventually die in combat? What were the most common causes of death for soldiers in full-body plate armor?

It's a common misconception that knights in full armor couldn't get up when they fell down. In real life they could, without much difficulty. Jumping and running was also not a problem. The could ...
Jos's user avatar
  • 22k
12 votes

After the fall of the Roman Empire, where did their armor go? Was it used by any dark ages forces?

Well maintained armor can last for a very long time. But within limits, due to normal wear and tear. I can't give you any particular length, but you can safely assume anything from 30 up to maybe 70 ...
Jos's user avatar
  • 22k
11 votes

Why were helmets and other body armour not commonplace in the 1800s?

Like you wrote in your question, there was a period of time when bullets and shrapnel would pierce right through armor, so there was little point in putting bulky armor on. In addition, armor was ...
Denis de Bernardy's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

Why was metal armor phased out after gun powder was weaponized?

As the Metropolitan museum's article on armor notes, it took several centuries from the first introduction of gunpowder on the battlefield to the elimination of armor for the infantry man. The ...
Steve Bird's user avatar
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9 votes

Why did only Anglo-Saxon kings wear helmets?

This is not true, certainly for the later period and probably for the earlier period too. Covering the early period (and bearing in mind that it is heroic fiction), we have references in Beowulf to ...
walrus's user avatar
  • 838
9 votes

Why were helmets and other body armour not commonplace in the 1800s?

Body armor was issued to heavy cavalry. They had their horses to help carry it, and they expected to fight with saber and lance. Cuirassiers are named for their armor.
o.m.'s user avatar
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8 votes
Accepted

Did armored cavalry have an advantage over unarmored cavalry in 18th/19th century?

The advantage of wearing cuirass was obviously protection. As you noted, it could deflect pistol shots, and in theory even muskets at distance. Perhaps the main benefit however, was in fact against ...
Semaphore's user avatar
  • 97.6k
8 votes

Why were helmets and other body armour not commonplace in the 1800s?

Nobody forgot about armor, and it never disappeared entirely, it was simply no longer worthwhile in their particular context. Armor is expensive to produce but it is also heavy, cumbersome, and ...
pluckedkiwi's user avatar
8 votes

In the 19th century, do we know how armor changed with respect to guns of the time?

I think your question missed it by about a century, give or take. The last generalized use of armor by Western armies is around the 16-17th century, with mostly breastplates and helmets. By the 18th,...
Italian Philosophers 4 Monica's user avatar
8 votes

How did knights who required glasses to see survive on the battlefield?

I haven't studied this at all. But common sense would lead someone to one of two conclusions. If your vision was enough of a problem that you had difficulty carrying out your knightly duties, either: ...
silverfox1948's user avatar
7 votes

Is the term "chainmail" historically accurate, or a modern invention?

It's a bit of both: The first attestations of the word mail are in Old French and Anglo-Norman: maille, maile, or male or other variants, which became mailye, maille, maile, male, or meile in Middle ...
Denis de Bernardy's user avatar
7 votes

Why were helmets and other body armour not commonplace in the 1800s?

It comes down to the existence of cavalry. Modern helmets are based around the assumption that soldiers are going to spread out and take advantage of whatever cover is present on the battlefield, ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 8,563
5 votes

Hunting in Armour in Medieval Europe?

Any hunting depicted in medieval art is likely to be by members of the nobility, regardless of whether they are wearing armor or not. The website of the Metropolitan Museum of Art describes the use of ...
Brian Z's user avatar
  • 20.8k
5 votes

Why was metal armor phased out after gun powder was weaponized?

Why wear it when you can ride it? Just look at all these lumbering hunks of armour on the battlefield: Source Source Over time, people began to realise that riding vehicles with armour served way ...
SMS von der Tann's user avatar
5 votes

Why was metal armor phased out after gun powder was weaponized?

I agree with the answer of Steve Bird, but I want to mention one more aspect of this. Body armor was not suddenly eliminated. It was still widely used in 17th century, and later. Here is the Polish ...
Alex's user avatar
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