Milanese Cuirass XV Century
Armorers and blacksmiths of the XV century were in search of finding out a more natural way to lay on the steel plates of armor one on another. The question was to combine high safety properties, articulation and of course stylish look. The answer “came” from crustaceans. Steel plates of cuirass are overlapping each other in the same way it can be seen on body segments of crawfish. In Germany such body armor was called “Krebs” which means crawfish in German.
Shape of the breastplate, its side-view outline and protuberance are important points. By them specialist can say when and where it was made. Typical milanese cuirass includes elements below: breastplate and backplate, placard, skirt called culet or great brayette, tassettes and lance-rest.
Some cuirasses were also equipped with the rump-guard. It’s a back lame of the skirt that protects a sacrum. Approximately by the 1450 year tassettes often had half-round cuts on the center of the lower edge. Over time these cuts became smaller and tassettes – longer, mostly conically shaped. Since the 1450 year triangular shape of tassettes remained without changes until the beginning of the XVI century. There are also models of milanese cuirasses that have additional small tassettes on both sides.
To make this Milanese Cuirass we’ve been inspired by the armour of count Galeazzo d’Arco Milano. Dated 1450 year and preserved in Churburg Castle (Austria). Original cuirass was made by the well known Italian armorer Tommaso Negroni Missaglia.
Breastplate and backplate are made of one piece of steel sheet. There are rolled edges at arm holes and around the neck. Cuirass is equipped with a pair of tassetts. Front and back side of the cuirass are connected with the help of hinges on the left side. On the right side sections are connected to one another by leather straps with buckles. Breastplate joined with placard by one leather strap with buckle. Same for the back plate: there’s also one leather strap at the center. Skirt consists of three rows of lames which are connected by leather bands. Each lame is overlapped by another one. Such flexible fixation provides high motion properties. You can freely sit, run or kick your rival. Lames on the skirt have little shaft-bow lines pointed to the center.
Milanese Cuirass is historically accurate armor. It’s a good choice for using in HMB, IMCF, WMFC, SCA armoured combat as well as in historical reenactment. This body harness can be done from hardened spring steel, stainless steel or titanium. It makes an excellent set with Full Plate Arms and Milanese Legharness.
Please notice, that measurements should be with padding/gambeson.