"Visby" Arm Armour


In the mid 1300’s the island of Gotland was a successful trading hub of the Hanseatic League. The Danish king Valdemar IV Atterdag needed money, and more taxes could be raised if he could tax the merchants of Visby. He deployed his mercenary army and eventually a battle took place on July 27th 1361. The peasants defending the island had retreated to just outside the city walls. They were poorly lead, only 60% of them were of fighting age, and their arms and armour was vastly inferior to those of the mercenaries. No help came from the city. Even by medieval standards the outcome was brutal: of the 2000 strong peasant army only about 10% survived the massacre. The city surrendered and was spared. The dead were later buried in mass graves outside the walls with their armour still on. Perhaps the armour was so old and in bad shape that it was not worth salvaging, or, more likely, couple of days in the sweltering heat had started decomposing and salvaging gear simply would have been too gruesome.

When the graves were excavated in the early 20th C, an unprecedented collection of early transitional armour was found. In any other circumstances these type of munition grade armour would not have survived, as they likely would have been used for scrap metal and recycled. The excavations unearthed numerous different types of armour. In these splint-type constructions the splints and plates are each attached to sturdy materials, such as leather, making an armour which is easy and economical to make and simple to mend without much metallurgical know-how. It was a logical evolution in the age of transitional armour from mail to full plate armor. Example of this armour can be seen on Günther von Schwarzburg´s (1349) funerary brass.

This arm armour is made of three pieces protecting the forearm, elbow and upper arm. This armour is at the same time supple, confortable and light. It is made of thick leather and 2 mm steel splints. The armour is adjustable, and weighs 3.4 kg per pair. The leather may have small marks on its surface, imperfections or won´t be 100% homogeneous. Roughness and color may vary from piece to piece. The dying process is made using traditional techniques so final colour may vary depending on the original tone of the leather. Includes armor for both hands.
Made by Marshal Historical

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