Brigandine

Inside view of a Brigandine, Italian (c1470).
Inside view of a Brigandine, Italian (c1470).
Modern reproduction of a 15th century brigandine . Similarly, the canvas is generally covered with a richer material, such as velvet, leather or, somewhat more modestly, fustian.

A brigandine, a form of body armour, is a cloth garment, generally canvas or leather, lined with small oblong steel plates riveted to the fabric. The form of the brigandine is essentially the same as the civilian doublet, though it is commonly sleeveless. However, depictions of brigandine armor with sleeves are known. Many brigandines appear to have had larger, somewhat 'L-shaped' plates over the lungs. The rivets, or nails, attaching the plates to the fabric are often decorated, being gilt or of latten and often embossed with a design.

Brigandines were essentially a refinement of the earlier coat of plates, which developed in the late 12th century and typically were of simpler construction and used larger plates. Brigandines first appeared towards the end of the 14th century, but survived beyond this transitional period between mail and plate, and came into wide use in the 15th century, remaining in use well into the 16th. 15th century brigandines are generally front-opening garments with the nails arranged in triangular groups of three, while 16th century brigandines generally have smaller plates with the rivets arranged in rows.

It was commonly worn over a gambeson and mail shirt and it was not long before this form of protection was commonly used by soldiers ranging in rank from archers to knights. It was most commonly used by Men-at-arms. These wore brigandine, along with plate arm and leg protection, as well as a helmet. However, even with the gambeson and the mail shirt, a wearer was not as protected as when wearing plate, which was typically more expensive. The brigandine filled this gap very well. Brigandine was simple enough in design for a soldier to make and repair his own armor without needing the high skill of an armorer. Perhaps due to this ease of repair and concealment, brigandine became a popular choice of protection for bandits and outlaws.[1]

The brigandine has been confused with the haubergeon, a similar form of body armour, as well as the brigantine, a swift small sea vessel. [2]

References

  1. ^ Edge and Paddock. Arms and Armour of the Medieval Knight. Saturn Books, London, 1996.
  2. ^ This article incorporates content from the 1728 Cyclopaedia, a publication in the public domain.

Most of Wikipedia's text and many of its images are licensed under the
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC BY-SA)

Return to Main Index