What was the weight of medieval armor?: Information Roundup
The weight of the armor worn in the Middle Ages ranged from 25 to more than 100 pounds. In the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York there is a suit of chain mail, including head, body and leg defenses, that weighs only 31 pounds. The same collection contains a specimen of fifteenth-century Gothic armor weighing 49 pounds, while a specimen in Paris weighs 53, and another in Vienna 85. About 1690 Pedro II of Portugal wore a 43-pound suit of mail. The average weight of plate armor was probably about 55 pounds. In the Tower of London there is a complete suit of plate armor which is supposed to have belonged to Henry VIII of England and which weighs 84 [page 72] pounds. In the same collection there is a 106-pound suit of jousting armor. The weight of the armor in the time of William the Cpq. queror is indicated by an old picture portraying some of his men carrying armor to their ships. Each body piece is borne by two men on a pole thrust through the arm openings. The heaviest plate armor was worn during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when fire. arms were already pretty well developed. A suit of such armor in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is composed of 219 steel plates held together by 1,400 rivets and 85 straps. If an armored knight of that period fell down he could rise only with great difficulty. Horses were also heavily clad in armor. A fall was often fatal to both horse and rider. King James I of England advocated the use of such armor because, he is reputed to have said, it not only protected the wearer but also prevented him from hurting anybody else. It is popularly supposed that the heavy armor of the Middle Ages was worn only by unusually large men, but experts say modern soldiers of average size find it impossible to get into the suits of heavy medieval armor preserved in museums.