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Maximilian armour: Wikis


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Maxmilan armour with grotesque mask. In the background are two other Maximilian armours with sparrow-beaked and bellows-shaped visors

Maximilian armour is a modern term applied to the style of early 16th century German plate armour apparently first made for the Emperor Maximilian I. The armour is characterized by armets and close helmets with bellows visors, small fan-shaped narrow and parallel fluting often covering most of the harness (but never the greaves), etching, work taken from woodcuts and sharply waisted cuirasses and squared sabatons.

According to an alternative version the name is related with Maximilian II as the last Maximilian Armour was made especially for him in 1557 - 17 years after it passed out of use (according to Liliane Funcken & Fred Funcken[1] it passed out of use in 1540, but the last one was made for Maximilian II).

The armour itself was designed to imitate the pleated clothing that was considered fashionable in Europe at the time. This was a trend that was developing in 15th century Europe of creating armour that not only provided the maximum amount of protection, but was also visually pleasing. It combined the rounded Italian style of rounded armour production with the German fluted style.


About the term

A term "Maximilian armour" does not mean that every armour which was worn by Maximillian I is a Maximillian-style armour. The most famous armour worn by Maximilian is not a Maximilian style armour, but gothic style armour which was worn by Maximilian when he was a young prince and later presented as an honourable wedding gift for his uncle Sigmund.[2] Maximilian I became the Emperor in 1493 and died in 1519, however classic Maximilian Armours are known from 1515 to 1525, and similarly shaped armour with less or different fluting from 1500.[3]

Transitional Schott-Sonnenberg Style

Schott-Sonnenberg Style of Armour (worn with sallet and gothic gauntlets)

Early types of this armour which has either no fluting or has wolfzähne (wolf teeth) style fluting (which differs from classic Maximilian fluting) and could be worn with sallet are separated by Oakeshott to Schott-Sonnenberg Style Armour.[4] According to him this transitional armour was worn from 1500 to 1520 and true Maximilian armour was worn from 1515 to 1525; however some other historians do not fully separate Schott-Sonnenberg Style from Maximilian Armour.


Italian "alla tedesca" (a la german) armour

Italian "alla tedesca" (a la german) armour - is an Italian armour of 1500-1515 with fluting and Maximilan breast shape and knee-long tassets often worn with bellows visored sallet. This kind of armour is considered by Oakeshott as a kind of Schott-Sonnenberg Style armour made by Italians for the German market.[4]

Parallels with late (rounded) kasten-brust armour

It is interesting to find that the cuirass-shape of the Schott-Sonnenberg style was foreshadowed in Germany half a century before it finally appeared. Several thomb effigies and paintings of 1400-1500 show extremely rounded, bulbous breastplates - as I have said (page 82), this was often an alternative to the boxed Kastenbrust style...[4]

NB: Such armours of the first half of 15c are separated by Oakeshott from kastenbrust armour as alwite armour, however other historians consider it as a kind of kastenbrust armour.


See also


  1. ^ Liliane Funcken & Fred Funcken "The Age of Chivalry" ISBN 0130463183, Prentice Hall Trade, March 1983
  2. ^ MyArmoury article on gothic armour
  3. ^ time table from Ewart Oakeshott "European Weapons and Armour. from the Renaissance to the Industrial Revolution" F.S.A. ISBN 0 85115 789 0
  4. ^ a b c Ewart Oakeshott “European Weapons and Armour. from the Renaissance to the Industrial Revolution” F.S.A. ISBN 0 85115 789 0


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