Splint armour

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, first appears in a Scythian grave from the 4th century BCE.[1]


Limb armor consisting of strips of metal ("splints") are attached to a fabric (cloth or leather) backing ("foundation"). The splints are narrow metal strips arranged longitudinally, pierced for riveting or sewing to the foundation. Splint armour is most commonly found as greaves or vambraces. It appears in the Swedish Migration Era[2] and again in the 14th century as part of transitional armour, where it was also used to form cuisses and rerebraces.

Splint mail/splinted mail

While a few complete suits of armour have been found made from splints of wood, leather, or bone, the Victorian neologism "splinted mail" usually refers to the limb protections of crusader knights. Depictions typically show it on the limbs of a person wearing mail (armour), scale armour, a coat of plates or other plate harness.

Knights in effigy are depicted with leg protection of a matrix of disks with a diameter equal to the splints. This style appears to depict sabatons and splints on greaves, or may represent padded armour underneath splints, or the rivets on brigandine.

See also


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


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