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Brigandine
Time Period: 14th-16th century
Location: Europe
Common Construction: Steel plates sewn on the inside of a garment

Brigandine consists of a typical garment with metal plates sewn to the inside. In the accompanying picture, the metal plates normally hidden under the garment are highlighted.

Brigandine had two main uses. When combined with a chain mail shirt, the protection approached that of plated armor for less expense. It was worn by footsoldiers named "brigands". The modern meaning of the word refers to a robber or outlaw, but during the time period when this armor was worn, brigand was a type of soldier. This is the source of confusion that leads video games and other fantasy media to portray Brigandine as armor used by bandits and highwaymen because from a distance the armor looked like regular clothing.

The other use of Brigandine was for court dress. A doublet or jack could have metal plates sewn inside of it for protection while still giving the wearer the appearance of nobility. While there exists the romantic notion of political intrigue and the need to be protected at the royal court, the rivets are a dead giveaway and in reality the brigandine was more often a fashion statement of the day. The more elaborate the armor, the better a wealthy nobleman could show off in front of his peers.

Armor, England, France, Germany, History, Italy, Torso


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