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Medieval Chain Mail Specimen

Medieval Chain Mail Specimen

Above: Front of the Specimen Card

This authentic, four-in-one medieval chain mail set includes five (5) connected rings, as assembled hundreds of years ago by medieval craft workers. This relatively simple pattern was the standard in Europe for hundreds of years.

The set is enclosed in a specimen jar with a removable top which arrives in a handsome, glass-topped riker box case measuring 4 1/2" x 3 1/2".  A small informational card is also included.

Medieval Chain Mail made its first appearance in the Second Edition of the Mini Museum. The rings come from the fragments of several ruined garments, all dating to the 15th Century (CE). This period is considered the sunset of chain mail in Europe, as advanced plate armor completely supplanted mail. As you might expect, each garment has a unique braid and all the rings were forged and assembled by hand.  So there will be variations in size, color, and texture.

About Medieval Chain Mail

"When we made the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, most of us wore imitation chain-mail made out of knitted wool, which was uncomfortable enough, but Graham Chapman, as King Arthur, wore a genuine metal chain mail coif and found the weight of it unbearable for more than short periods." ~ Terry Jones

Valued for flexibility in combat, chain mail was the primary defensive armor in Europe for more than one thousand years.

To create a 'chainmail' or 'maille' garment, thousands of rings would be punched out whole or riveted from strands of wire. A blacksmith would weave the rings into sheets using a pattern of interlocking rings. Patterns varied by region, dictated by armaments and fighting styles. Given the labor-intensive process of weaving, chain mail garments were very costly to purchase but relatively simple to repair.

While the design of chain mail provided good protection from edged blades, it did little to ease the force of the blow. For this reason, knights would also wear quilted jackets beneath and over the mail.

The earliest chain mail dates to the Etruscans, but the Celts are usually credited with creating the industry of chain mail in the 5th century with their 4-in-1 pattern.

Chain mail garments were heavy. A coif, such as the hood pictured here, could weigh as much as 11kg (25lbs) and mailshirts in excess of 27kg (60lbs).

In European armor, there are two main types of mailshirts: the hauberk and the haburgeon (the latter being a sleeveless garment). Quilted jackets worn beneath the mail is referred to as a gambeson.


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