A brigandine is a form of body armour from the Middle Ages. It is a cloth garment, generally canvas or leather, lined with small oblong steel plates riveted to the fabric.

The form of the brigandine is essentially the same as the civilian doublet, though it is commonly sleeveless. However, depictions of brigandine armour with sleeves are known. Many brigandines appear to have had larger, somewhat 'L-shaped' plates over the lungs. The rivets, or nails, attaching the plates to the fabric are often decorated, being gilt or of latten and often embossed with a design.

Modern flak jackets and ballistic vests are based on the same principle: a protective cloth vest containing metal plates.



Saint Michael and the Dragon with sword & buckler, wearing brigandine with plate armour for hand and legs

Brigandines were essentially a refinement of the earlier coat of plates, which developed in the late 12th century and typically were of simpler construction and used larger plates. The Asian-originated armour reached Europe after the Mongol invasion in 1240 that destroyed the Kievan Rus' and generated extensive damage to the Kingdom of Hungary in 1241. The new armour became very popular first in Eastern Europe, especially in Hungary, towards the end of the 13th century and after having proved effective was adopted by the medieval states from West Europe several decades later.[1]

Brigandines first appeared towards the end of the 14th century, but survived beyond this transitional period between mail and plate, and came into wide use in the 15th century, remaining in use well into the 16th. 15th century brigandines are generally front-opening garments with the nails arranged in triangular groups of three, while 16th century brigandines generally have smaller plates with the rivets arranged in rows.

The brigandine has been confused with the haubergeon, while the name is often confused with the brigantine, a swift small sea vessel.[2]


Inside view of a Brigandine, Italian (c1470).

It was commonly worn over a gambeson and mail shirt and it was not long before this form of protection was commonly used by soldiers ranging in rank from archers to knights. It was most commonly used by Men-at-arms. These wore brigandine, along with plate arm and leg protection, as well as a helmet. However, even with the gambeson and the mail shirt, a wearer was not as protected as when wearing plate armor, which was typically much more expensive. The brigandine filled this gap very well.

Brigandine was simple enough in design for a soldier to make and repair his own armor without needing the high skill of an armorer.

A common myth is that brigandines were so-named because they were a popular choice of protection for bandits and outlaws.[3] This is untrue. Originally the term "brigand" referred to a foot soldier. A brigandine was simply a type of armour worn by a foot soldier. It had nothing to do with its alleged ability to be concealed by bandits. In fact, brigandines were highly fashionable and were ostentatiously displayed by wealthy aristocrats both in European and in Asian courts.

Similar types

European jack of plates

Jack of plates, English, c1580-90

A similar type of armor was the jack of plates or coat of plates, commonly referred to simply as a "jack" (although this could also refer to any outer garment). This type of armor was used by common Medieval European soldiers and the rebel peasants known as Jacquerie.[4]

Jack of plates, English or Scottish, c1590

Like the brigandine, the jack was made of small iron plates between layers of felt and canvas. The main difference is in the method of construction: a brigandine is riveted whereas a jack is sewn. Jacks were often made from recycled pieces of older plate armor, including damaged brigandines and cuirasses cut into small squares.[5]

Jack remained in use as late as the 16th century and was often worn by Scottish Border Reivers. Although they were obsolete by the time of the English Civil War many were taken to the New World by the Pilgrim Fathers as they provided excellent protection from Indian arrows; one dating back to 1607 was recently found at Jamestown.[6]

Indian "coat of ten thousand nails"

Indian brigandine enforced by mirror plates

The Indian equivalent of the Brigandine was the Chihal'Ta Hazar Masha, or "Coat of ten thousand nails": a padded leather jacket covered in velvet and containing steel plates which was used until the early 19th century.[7] The skirt was split to the waist, allowing the soldier to ride a horse. Matching vambraces and boots containing metal plates were also used. It was derived from Islamic armor used by the Saracen armies. These were often elaborately decorated with gold lace, silk and satin and are highly-prized by European collectors.

Tipu Sultan wore armor of this type during his wars against the East India Company. The Turks used similar armor during the Russo-Turkish Wars.

Two complete suits of armor are preserved in the Hermitage Museum, Leningrad.[8]

Japanese kikko armour

Japanese (samurai) Edo period vest manchira with hardened leather hexagonal armor plates kikko sewn to cloth and hidden by another layer of cloth.
Japanese (samurai) Edo period vest manchira with hardened leather hexagonal armor plates kikko sewn to cloth and hidden by another layer of cloth

Kikko is the Japanese form of brigandine.[9] Kikko are hexagonal plates made from iron or hardened leather and sewn to cloth.[10] Kikko can be hidden by a layer of cloth over the kikko [11] or the kikko can be left exposed. Kikko were used only relatively recently, during the 16th Century.[10]

Kikko comes in many forms including, coats, vests, gloves, arm and thigh protectors and helmet neck guards. Kikko armor was worn as a stand alone defense or under other types of armor as additional protection.

See also


  1. ^ Kriskó Gyula. Az Árpád-kor háborúi. Bp. Zrínyi Katonai Kiadó 1986
  2. ^  This article incorporates content from the 1728 Cyclopaedia, a publication in the public domain.
  3. ^ Edge and Paddock. Arms and Armour of the Medieval Knight. Saturn Books, London, 1996.
  4. ^ Barbara Tuchman. A Distant Mirror. Alfred A. Knopf, NY (1978). p. 155ff. 
  5. ^ Jack of plates: Evidence of recycling
  6. ^ Archaeologists uncover jack of plate at Jamestown
  7. ^ Rajput armor
  8. ^ H. Russell Robinson (1 March 2002). Oriental Armour. Courier Dover Publications. pp. 103–. ISBN 9780486418186. Retrieved 20 February 2011. 
  9. ^ Anthony J. Bryant; Angus McBride (1989). The samurai: warriors of medieval Japan, 940–1600. Osprey Publishing. pp. 53–. ISBN 9780850458978. Retrieved 20 February 2011. 
  10. ^ a b George Cameron Stone (2 July 1999). A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor: In All Countries and in All Times. Courier Dover Publications. pp. 246–. ISBN 9780486407265. Retrieved 20 February 2011. 
  11. ^ Japanese arms & armor. Crown Publishers. 1969. Retrieved 20 February 2011. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

См. также в других словарях:

  • brigandine — [ brigɑ̃din ] n. f. • XVe; de brigand, au sens anc. de « soldat à pied » ♦ Anciennt Corselet d acier en usage aux XVe et XVIe s. ● brigandine nom féminin (de brigand) Armure légère, de plates rivées sur cuir ou sur tissu. ● brigandine ( …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Brigandine — Brig an*dine, n. [F. brigandine (cf. It. brigantina), fr. OF. brigant. See {Brigand}.] A coast of armor for the body, consisting of scales or plates, sometimes overlapping each other, generally of metal, and sewed to linen or other material. It… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • brigandine — Brigandine, f. penac. Est une espece d armure de fer dont les brigans estoient armez, faite à lames estroites, qui consent aux courbeures et plieures du corps de l homme qui en est armé, ce que ne fait le corcelet, Lorica laminata, ferreis… …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • brigandine — index panoply Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • brigandine — [brig′ən dēn΄] n. [LME < MFr < OIt brigantina < brigare: see BRIGADE] a flexible coat of armor made by fastening small metal scales or rings between two plies of linen, leather, etc …   English World dictionary

  • Brigandine — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Brigandine (homonymie). interieur d une brigandine vers le …   Wikipédia en Français

  • brigandine — (bri gan di n ) s. f. Armure ancienne en forme de cotte de mailles. HISTORIQUE    XVe s. •   Arbalestriers à pied armez de bonnes brigandines, salades et arbalestes bien garnies de viretons, JUVÉNAL DES URSINS Hist. de Ch. VI, 1416, p. 333, dans… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • brigandine — /brig euhn deen , duyn /, n. Armor. a flexible body armor of overlapping steel plates with an exterior covering of linen, velvet, leather, etc. [1425 75; late ME brigandyn < MF brigandine. See BRIGAND, INE2] * * * …   Universalium

  • brigandine — noun A coat of armor for the body, consisting of scales or plates, sometimes overlapping each other, generally of metal, and sewn to linen or other material. It was worn in the Middle Ages. The brigandine takes its name from the troops, by which… …   Wiktionary

  • Brigandine — 1) Metal splints sewed upon canvas, linen, or leather and covered with similar materials; a material used in making light armour. A pair of brigandines is a body coat of this material, in two pieces. (Davis, H.W. C. (ed.) Medieval England, 615)… …   Medieval glossary

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