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Evolution of the European Knight:

Armour is always in the intersection between technology, fashion and the predominant weapons of a battlefield. The historical arms race between weapon makers and armourers can be seen in the evolution of both.


This doc looks at historical background and changes of the ages. It showcases the development of armour over multiple centuries in small steps. Not with realistic drawings, but in a very stylized art style which is inviting, easily understandable and easily comparative for everyone.

history, armour, war, knights, medieval

Evolution of the European Knight:



Armour is always in the intersection between technology, fashion and the predominant weapons of a battlefield. The historical arms race between weapon makers and armourers can be seen in the evolution of both. If a weapon was created which would render armour less effective, armourers would come up with a creative solution which would be more effective at countering this weapon.

The era of the knight potentially started in the Carolingian Empire, where riders similar to the antique Cataphracts would be used and the invention of stirrups would eventually make mounted warriors much more effective. The era of knights theoretically ends with the end of the feudal system around 1500 and the uprising mercenary armies, but armour should be used on the battlefields for much longer. The thick half armours of 1620 would render the point in time, when guns finally would be strong and reliable enough to be completely devastating to armours and soon let them completely vanish from the battlefields.



The main idea behind creating this huge collection of historically correct „knights“ (I know that some are predecessors and successors) came out of the reality that the research behind many video games is very poor and despite using highly realistic 3D styles, they don‘t manage to achieve a realistic look, which is quite an interesting fact. One could argue in terms of believability, but that is very subjective, because the more you know about a subject, the less likely you are to believe certain things. I don‘t believe that you need realism (in terms of an artstyle) to create believability or accurateness, but knowledge.

Therefore I thought it‘d be a fun project to create a huge, HISTORICALLY ACCURATE chart which showcases the development of armour over multiple centuries in small steps. Not with realistic drawings, but in a very stylized art style which is inviting, easily understandable and easily comparative for everyone.

I used a wide variety of sources, first-hand museum material if I could get my hands on it, actual historical sources, if available or at at least guidance from books and pictures within them (also floating around in the internet if I couldn‘t get my hands on the books or sources) which were illustrated by historical illustrators.



Full disclosure upfront, I am not a historian myself, just someone who thoroughly enjoys looking at those things - an enthusiast.

Some examples were specifically researched by me for this project without any prior knowledge - so I would be glad if someone could point out who made / where the illustrations I used are featured



I spent 8 months on this project and it wouldn‘t have been possible without the research & hard work of those fantastic places & people whom I want to give my dearest gratitude:



________________



Hofjagd- & Rüstkammer in Vienna

https://www.khm.at/en/visit/collections/imperial-armoury/

Christian Beaufort Spontin & Matthias Pfaffenbichler

Meisterwerke der Hofjagd- und Rüstkammer

https://shop.khm.at/en/shop/detail/?shop%5BshowItem%5D=100000000028690-1560-0&shop%5Bfilter%5D%5BtagsFacet%5D=



Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

https://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-met/curatorial-departments/arms-and-armor

Bashford Dean

Helmets and Body Armor in Modern Warfare

https://archive.org/details/helmetsbodyarmor00deanuoft



Wallace Collection in London

https://www.wallacecollection.org/

Tobias Capwell

Armour of the English Knight 1400-1450

https://wallacecollectionshop.org/products/armour-of-the-english-knight-1400-1450



Marksburg bei Braubach

Karl Gimbel

https://www.marksburg.de/informationen/



People whose work additionally helped:

Christa Hook http://www.christahook.co.uk/

Angus McBride https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angus_McBride

Graham Turner https://www.studio88.co.uk/acatalog/Graham_Turner.html

Alex Astankoff https://www.deviantart.com/levaleur

Thom Atkinson https://www.thomatkinson.com/inventories

Ian LaSpina https://www.youtube.com/user/neosonic66/featured



Additional Sources:

https://www.facebook.com/kastenbrustdeutschland15tes/

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Frueh-Mittelalter-in-Deutschland-Early-medieval-in-Germany-996534083749596/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1020567588012912



Coat of Arms:

The motivation behind the coats of arms was to have a clear visual hint about the countries the warriors are from and their ethnicity.

My knowledge about Heraldry is about as enthusiastic as my knowledge about history. To be upfront due to the resolution sometimes I had to simplify or use coats of arms which are slightly out of time, but got the job within the restrictions done best.

Also Heraldry wasn‘t a thing in the earliest examples, so I did the same as medieval people and just used the coats of arms, they used back then posthumous to describe those countries. While not 100% accurate, I think this was the best way to go about this.

I will add the region / further specify the motivations behind the coats of arms in the description of each sprite.



Weaponry:

On the one hand I wanted to show a wide range of diversive weaponry, on the other hand I also wanted to show off the evolution of it. A lot of weapons have been used on the battlefields and sometimes there seems to be no definitive answer when in time which exact spearhead was used in the biggest quantity.

I mainly wanted to equip the warriors with lances and pole-weapons due to this being the main arms on the battlefield, and use swords and daggers as sidearms. In case there were very minute steps or more iconic weaponry I used this instead.

All high nobles (Maximilian I, Edward of Woodstock, Henry VIII, Maximilian II) use a single handed sword for its symbolic reason.



For the pole weapons I used Bashford Deans charts as a rough timely evaluation, but if statues or museum reconstructions were available, gave them this weapon instead. So there is a chance that some of the pole weapons are regionally not 100% accurate. In terms of their respective timeframe however they should be.



Lancerests:

For readability reasons I left out all the lancerests on all armours. Considering that some of them were detachable or some of them got lost it’s hard to say if a given harness had one and how it looked.

They wouldn‘t really have looked great at the low resolution, so I just left them out.



Daggers:

For simplification reasons none of the knights is armed with an additional dagger, despite most of them would have had one next to their sword as a sidearm.



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Descriptions:



888 – Carolingian Warrior

Predecessor of the Medieval Knights. Heavy armoured Cavalrymen who were elite troops of the Carolingian Empire.

This is mostly based on Karl Gimbel‘s Reconstruction of 1902 / Also found in Bashfords Dean Illustrations. Figurine displayed in the Marksburg bei Braubach.

https://www.facebook.com/996534083749596/photos/a.1020567588012912/1020793791323625/?type=3&theater

The coat of arms design is based on coat of arms which were used in later medieval times for the Carolingian Empire.



950 – Frankish Warrior




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1000 – Late Frankish Warrior


I couldn‘t find out who made the illustrations on the facebook page (Fruehmittelalter in Deutschland) – So I will gladly add the correct sources and get the book.

Coat of arms of lower Saxony



1165 – Early Templar Knight

1170 – Early Templar Knight with Coat

1200 – Templar Knight


Those are based on Illustrations, which in terms of style seem to be from the same book as the Carolingian/Frankish Warriors. I also couldn’t possibly find out the source and really would like to know.

Coat of arms based on the Templar Coat of arms

1244 – Knight of Jerusalem

Inspired by the Inventory photographies of Thomas Atkinson

https://www.thomatkinson.com/inventories

Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Jerusalem



1250 – English Knight

Based on the work of Alex Astankoff

https://www.deviantart.com/levaleur/art/Armour-evolution-421878469

Coat of arms of England



1250 – Teutonic Knight

Coat of arms of the Teutonic Knight Order



1330 – French Knight

Based on the Knight evolution chart of Alex Astankoff

https://www.deviantart.com/levaleur/art/Armour-evolution-421878469

Coat of arms of France



1346 – Edward of Woodstock, the Black Prince

Based on the physical remains of the armour showcased in Canterbury Cathedral and all imagery tied to this.

https://myarmoury.com/feature_mow_bp.html

Coat of arms of England

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1400 – English Knight

Based on the Armour displayed in the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, Tobias Capwell‘s Book and Ian LaSpinas Re-Enactment interpretation

https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/29.154.3/

The 1920s reconstruction eventually is NOT Italian.

Coat of arms of England



1410 – English Knight

Based on Tobias Capwell‘s Book and on Graham Turner‘s Painting of the Battle of Agincourt

https://www.studio88.co.uk/acatalog/The_Battle_of_Agincourt_print.html

Coat of arms of England



1415 – French Knight

Based on a historical Illustration of the Battle of Agincourt, another contemporary Illustration I couldn‘t find out the author/book of and Graham Turner‘s Work


Coat of arms of France



________________



1420 - English Knight

Wearing a venetian style great bascinet.

Based on Tobias Capwell‘s Book

https://myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.15681.html

Coat of arms of England



1430 - English Knight

Based on Tobias Capwell‘s Book and another contemporary Illustration I couldn‘t find out the author/book.


Coat of arms of England

1435 - Early German HRE Knight

Based on an altar painting of Konrad Witz 1435


1440 – English Knight

This armour is based on the suit Tobias Capwell let made for himself and he showcases in his book.


Coat of arms of England

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Evolution of the European Knight:
Info
Tags History, Armour, War, Knights, Medieval
Type Google Doc
Published 17/10/2020, 11:09:19

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