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May 16, 2011

Medieval Mondays: Maximilian armour

Just a short post today because I'm over at the blog of my publisher, Double Dragon, writing about holy wells. Hop on over to learn about this remarkable bit of folklore that's passed from generation to generation in Europe, changing all  the while.

This jaunty fellow is a suit of Maximilian armour. Named after the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, this style of armour was very popular in Germany in the early 16th century. As you can see it's highly stylized, with fluting on most parts and a high standard of craftsmanship throughout.

Maximilian armour is often considered the high point in European armour making. Produced at a time when early guns were making their appearance on the battlefield, this signified the final glorious period of armour making before such suits became useless.

The suit pictured here is actually rather plain compared with some. Some have entire scenes of battle and courtly love etched onto them, while others have helmets fitted with elaborate metal faces, complete with metal moustaches!

It's interesting that the cheaper, less attractive leather armour survived on the battlefield for longer. While it was not much good against bullets either, it was far cheaper than plate armour and did provide some protection against swords and pikes, making it worthwhile to continue wearing.

Thanks to Jürgen Howaldt for this fascinating photo.

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