Cape of Mail


Not on view

From about the third century B.C. through the early fourteenth century A.D., mail, also called chain mail, was the predominant and most effective type of body armor known in Europe. From about the mid-fifteenth century onward, mail was used in conjunction with full plate armor to fill the gaps between plates.

Separate mail sleeves were made to be worn with a cuirass (breastplate and backplate); shaped panels of mail called gussets, covered the armpits or the crooks of the elbows and were attached to arming jackets, garments specially tailored to be worn under armor; and mail breeches, called brayettes or pairs of paunces, could be worn by men fighting on foot.

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