(About) Straightforward Defense
House of Warfare, award-winning supplier of reproduction and costume armor to medieval enthusiasts, re-enactors and the LARP community, have supplied us with their excellent matched pair of Steel Greaves – and their simplicity is their genius. They are open greaves; that is, they protect the shins with a layer of steel plate, and this means they are a fully period-accurate replica of a constituent of the full plate harnesses worn by knights and armored men-at-arms in the 14th– and 15th-centuries CE.
Battle on a Budget
Our Steel Greaves have been designed to be a robust, affordable piece of armor. This means that design choices made in their construction have kept their pricetag low, without compromising their look, their comfort or their utility. They are made from 16-Gauge mild steel – this is the kind of steel you would find in medieval tournament armor. It’s slightly thicker than the battle plate that soldiers would have used on campaign, in order to give an extra degree of protection and robustness. The steel used to make our Steel Greaves is untempered, meaning that it is not suitable for full-contact combat, but its thickness and carefully curved shape means that it is rugged and resilient, more than enough to be used in LARP and re-enactment settings. To get the most life out of your mild steel armor and our Steel Greaves, remember to keep them dry when not in use, and keep them lightly oiled or waxed.
The design of our Steel Greaves is inspired by the Italian school: this is a style of plate armor that developed in the 1400s CE, known as ‘white armor’. It’ll mix and match beautifully with our large range of Italian-style plate armor. It is typified by a sleek, elegant design of unbroken steel plates which was polished to a high sheen, with none of the ribs and flutings of contemporary German Gothic armor. Our Steel Greaves are simple and unadorned, each made from a single carefully shaped plate designed to accommodate the flexing of the calf muscle when secured. The edges of the steel are rolled, so they are safe and will not catch on other clothing or armor. The articulations are tough leather, hand-riveted in place. They are secured at the rear by leather straps and antiqued steel buckles – these buckles are adjustable, and so can give a great fit to almost everyone. Our Steel Greaves are designed to be fully compatible with other armor, each greave including a peg and lacing loops to secure them to the rest of your garniture.
A set of greaves is an underrated asset: they can transform an outfit from looking like a weekend warrior into a veteran who means business. These Steel Greaves can be used to represent either the no-nonsense, functional outfit of a late-medieval mercenary warrior, or the understated subtlety of a noble harness of ‘white armor’. They can be mixed-and-matched with all of our other armor – even at the height of plate armor in the 1500s CE, it was rare for a regular soldier to have a full suit of matching armor, so feel free to experiment!
(Curiosity): Shin Splints, Schynbalds and Greaves
When reconstructing historical armor for a re-enactment or building a medieval-inspired LARP outfit, original sources can be a nightmare. Often, writers used different words for the same thing, and the same words for different things. Splints, jambeaux, schynbalds, greaves… Who knew legs could be so complicated! Here is a brief primer for medieval leg armor.
Towards the end of the 12th-century, chainmail began to be less and less effective at stopping the increasingly dangerous weapons of the period. armor-makers and soldiers themselves responded in an ad-hoc fashion, experimenting with new forms known as ‘transitional armor’ marking the boundary between the dominance of chainmail and the emerging dominance of plate armor. Thin strips of metal called splints were sometimes attached to the inside or outside of a padded leg garment – hence ‘splint mail’. Sometimes they would attach a single plate of armor to the padded cloth chausses at the shin. This is a schynbald, literally a shin-plate. This gradually became a separate piece of armor apart from the supporting cloth – this half-leg protecting plate was a jambeau (pl. jambeaux) or an open greave – like our Steel Greaves. It was this design which was gradually lengthened and articulated to encase the whole calf to create the late-medieval closed greave that we’ve all seen in noble armor suits that create an impenetrable armor shell.
- Material: 16-Gauge mild steel
- Weight: 5 lbs (pair)
Length: 16 Inches
Width: 7 Inches
Depth: 6 Inches
Calf Circumference: 16 Inches
Ankle Circumference: 12 Inches
Laces: 22 Inches