Splint armour

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This article is about armors made from long metal strips. For armors made from embedded metal strips, see Splint mail.
German King Günther von Schwarzburg with splinted bracers and greaves
An antique Japanese (samurai) suit of armor, showing splinted vambraces

Splint armour, also referred to as splinted armour. Splint armour first appears in a Scythian grave from the 4th century BCE.[1]

Splint Armor[edit]

Limb armor consisting of strips of metal, or splints, which are attached to a fabric or leather backing or covering. The splints are narrow metal strips arranged longitudinally. The splints are pierced for riveting or sewing to a backing of straps, a foundation or a covering. Though no backing or covering survives, contemporary sources suggest they were made of either leather or sturdy fabric. The most common form of splint armour is for making greaves or vambraces. It appears in the Swedish Migration Era[2] and again in the 14th century as part of transitional armour. During the era of transitional armour splinted armour was used for the thighs (cuisses) and upper arms (rerebrace) as well.

Splint Mail/Splinted Mail[edit]

While there are limited examples of whole suits of armor from splints of wood/leather/bone, the common usage refers to the limb protections of crusader knights, under the Victorian neologism "Splinted Mail". Depictions typically show it on the limbs of a person wearing mail, scale armour, a coat of plates or other plate harness.

In rare cases, knights in effigy are depicted as having leg protection depicted as a matrix of disks with a diameter equal to the splints. This method appears on effigies for sabatons and alternated with splints on greaves. It may represent padded armor underneath the splints, or the rivets on brigandine.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Oakeshott: The Archaeology of Weapons, 67
  2. ^ Oakeshott: The Archaeology of Weapons, 124