Medieval Chain Mail Specimen
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Our Medieval Chain Mail rings come from the same 15th Century (CE) Medieval Chain Mail Tunic. Each individual Medieval Chain Mail ring ships with a small card with a brief explanation of the specimen.
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 chain mail garment, thousands 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. This relatively simple pattern was the standard in Europe for hundreds of years.
Chain mail garments were heavy. A coif, such as the hood pictured here, could weigh as 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 later being a sleeveless garment). Quilted jackets worn beneath the mail is referred to as a gambeson.
The specimen in the Mini Museum is a complete ring from a 15th century chain mail tunic acquired in private auction. This period is considered the sunset of chain mail in Europe, as advanced plate armor completely supplanted mail.