'Avant' Milanese Legs


Plate armour had already been in use in Roman times, but the knowledge and skill to make it was lost when Rome fell. For almost a millennium combatants resorted to mail and sometimes armor made of small pieces of iron. Eventually armour began to transition back to plate and finally the 15th C. was the “Great period” of full plate armour. The Italian style of armour was rounded in appearance and generally tended to be constructed of large single plates, and not as intricate and articulated as the German style.

“Avant” armour is the oldest near-complete armour in the world. It hails originally from the celebrated Churburg Castle and is dated to around 1445. The armour, made by the Corio workshop in Milan, gets its name - meaning 'Forward!' - from the inscription on the breastplate. The armour is typically northern Italian: robust with large smooth surfaces which would help to deflect weapons and missiles. The Avant armour is the epitome of Milanese armour technology and design, combined to create pieces both aesthetically pleasing as well as functional. The Avant Armour is the closest surviving example to the armour we see in Il Fior di Battaglia, and is now displayed at the Kelvingrove museum in Glasgow.

These Avant legs comprise of the cuisse, the poleyn and the demi-greave. As is typical in Italian style armour, the inside of the thigh is not plated. Their tactics relayed more on the use of heavy cavalry, where the inside of the leg is covered by the saddle. The harness is attached behind the leg with three leather belts, and to an arming jack or to an arming belt with separate arming laces. The triple articulation at the knee gives the harness perfect mobility.
Made in 1.6 mm steel. Steel thickness may vary due to the handcrafted methods used in manufacturing.

Approximate measurements: Total length 52 cm. From top-middle to mid-knee 37 cm, from mid knee to bottom of demi-greave 9.5 cm. Circumference at top/thigh 68 cm. Circumference at bottom/shin 23 cm. Width of poleyn 12.5 cm. Weight per pair 5.4 kg. These ”Avant” legs are best fit for someone 170cm-182cm in height. Made by Marshall Historical.

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