Palacio Real

Madrid for kids

Questions often asked about armour and weaponry might be

How heavy is a suit of armour?
A Medieval full suit of field armour [armour for battle] would weigh between 20-25 kg and the helmet would be between 2-4 kg.  A firefighter with oxygen equipment carries more.  In the 1600s armour was heavier because it had to withstand bullets.  The armour you see at the Palacio Real is mainly armour for tournaments and is heavier than battle armour.  Many pieces are locked and limit movement considerably.  The wearer would have needed help getting into the saddle for a tournament with a small step.
Did knights have to be put on horses with a crane?
There is no evidence, however, of a crane having to be used to lift the wearer into the saddle.  That seems to have become a myth after a Sir Laurence Olivier decided it looked more interesting when in his 1944 film Henry V.
How do you go to the toilet wearing armour? Despite how funny it is to imagine the contraptions that might have been made to allow the knight to do a poo while wearing his armour, alas, no evidence of this convenient solution exists.  The wearer would just take off the bit of armour necessary.   When in battle the armour was not as cumbersome and heavy as the tournament armour.  I guess he would have learnt to go before getting dressed anyway, just like we do before going for a long drive in the car.
Are only knights allowed to wear armour? Not only knights wore armour.  Armour could be ordered by anyone but it was expensive.  A lot of armour would have been recovered from the dead.
Are the grooves in swords to make the blood flow out of the wound faster? The grooves often seen in swords are to make the sword lighter and easier to handle without sacrificing strength.  Sometimes perforations [decoratively applied] were made for the same purpose.  
What's the thing poking out of the armour on the right breast? The funny thing poking out of the armour on the right breast is called the 'lance rest' but would be better named [as the French do] the 'lance arrest' (arret de cuirasse).  It allows the mounted warrior to hold the lance firmly couched under his right arm, thus 'arresting' or stopping it from sliding backward.
This serves to stabilize and balance the lance, permitting a better aim.  This transfers the combined weight and speed of horse and rider to the point of the lance, making it a more powerful.  If the target was hit, the lance rest also acted as a shock absorber, preventing the lance from 'shooting' backward, and dispersing the impact via the breastplate all over the upper body, rather than leaving it concentrated on the right hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder.  It is noteworthy that on most field armors, the lance rest can usually be folded upward so that it would not impede the mobility of the sword arm, after the lance had been discarded.
What's the thing poking out 'down there'?
The thing covering the genital region on some of the armour here is called the cod piece and was to protect the wearer in that region.  Not needed for the horse riding warrior, the codpiece was worn by foot soldiers.  Sometimes it was padded and later made to point upward.  There is no evidence that this was designed to instil fear in the enemy,but it does appear to have been for both defensive and decorative purposes Are only knights allowed to wear armour?

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