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Coat of Plates
Time Period: 13th-14th century
Location: Europe
Common Construction: Iron or steel plates riveted onto a canvas or leather backing

The coat of plates is a series of overlapping iron or steel plates riveted to the inside of a canvas or leather backing. It protects the torso only, it does not have sleeves nor does it extend down to the waist in order to allow the wearer to ride a horse.

The coat of plates was part of an integrated system of armor that protected the wearer from as many types of attacks as possible. It was worn with a hauberk (some illustrations tell us under the hauberk, but other sources indicate it was worn over the hauberk) to protect against arrows and other stabbing attacks. Hauberks were very good at deflecting slashing attacks and cushioning the wearer from crushing blows, but a highly focused attack from a spear or arrow could find its way between the links and burst through. The coat of plates attempted to cover that weakness.

As chain mail was supplanted by plated armor in the 14th century, the coat of plates concept evolved into brigandine.

Armor, CE 13th Century, CE 14th Century, History, Medieval Europe, Torso


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