Thursday, April 3, 2014

C Is For Coif...

chain-mail coif
Yes, coif. Pronounced 'koif'. Basically a chain-mail hood. Coifs were usually worn underneath the plate armor and helm. So if you lost or removed your helm, technically, your head would still be protected by the chain hood underneath.

And since I don't have much in the way of 'C' words, I will add 'Cuirass', pronounced kwi-rass. (Honestly, I always thought of 'cure-ass'. Ha!)

A cuirass covers the breast, not the back, however the name is sometimes used to describe the breast- and backplates together. Developed in antiquity but became common in the 14th century with the reintroduction of plate armour, later sometimes two pieces overlapping for top and bottom. Whether of one piece or two, breastplate is sometimes used to literally describe the section that covers the breast.

Now, A-Z will not cover JUST armor, so I am going to sprinkle some weaponry throughout. Today's 'C' word weapon is Caltrop. Pronounced 'kal-trep', these little puppies were pretty brutal for being so small. Seriously, they were used as early as 331 B. C., known to the Romans as 'tribulus' or 'jagged iron'. While these little beasties could render a horse useless, I have always pictured a thief using them in fantasy. Right? Little guy, being chased by guards, has a strange leather box on his belt that opens on the top or bottom. At a crucial point in the chase, he unlatches the bottom part and caltrops spill over the ground. A guard wearing a THIN BOOT runs over said caltrop and... "Ow! Ow! OW!!".

You get it.

Alright, I'll see you all around the A-Zhood!


Tamara Narayan said...

I was in our local museum this past weekend and saw some armour from the 1500's. I suppose it belonged to someone wealthy because it was engraved with tiny, detailed pictures of flowers and animals--gorgeous work. It's hard to imagine why someone would go through that much effort on things used in battle.

Anonymous said...

This is a post after my own heart. I've just researched cuirass' in great detail for two lines in my novel!

Tyrean Martinson said...

I definitely want to read that story with the thief and the caltrops! Great post!

Anonymous said...

Caltrops are definitely one to sprinkle somewhere... right material and they can take out an armoured car. (What's that tank doing in my story?)