What kind of armor did Medieval women really wear?

We know that skimpy armor that shows off a woman's cleavage is rather impractical for combat and that sculpted "boob plate" armor can be a hazard to your health, but on occasions that women did don armor in medieval Europe, what kind of armor did they actually wear? And is shapely, feminine armor a modern convention, or… » 1/16/14 11:00am 1/16/14 11:00am

Why do knights fight snails in illuminated manuscripts?

The marginalia of illuminated manuscripts is weird. When monks weren't complaining about their jobs as they hand-copied line after line, they were inserting fart jokes into the margins. But one weirdly persistent image is of knights battling snails. Why? » 9/28/13 10:30am 9/28/13 10:30am

The Polish Knight Fighting League is the only reality show we need

1,000 years ago, when men strapped themselves into full-body suits of armor and began hitting at each other with swords, it was war. Today, it's entertainment. The Polska Liga Walk Rycerskich is essentially the Polish version of SCA but with real (albeit dull) swords, and it is even more insane that you can imagine. » 9/23/13 2:20pm 9/23/13 2:20pm

Animal-Shaped Armor for the Eternal Battle of Cats vs. Mice

Jeff de Boer's elaborate suits of armor imagine a fanciful world in which cats and mice have learned to smith metal and construct for themselves often ornate suits of armor. Through the years, he's expanded his visions of animal armor, creating armor inspired by Medieval times, Ancient Rome, the Renaissance Era, and… » 1/27/13 9:00am 1/27/13 9:00am

Using Tree Rings to Determine the Start of the Medieval Dark Ages

The science of dendrochronology observes changes in the pattern of tree rings in an attempt to create a time line and infer climate changes. Using tree ring data, it is possible to link the past 11,000 years in parts of Germany & Northern Ireland, but only the past few centuries in other parts of the world. » 2/10/12 7:00am 2/10/12 7:00am

Knights in shining armor were the worst idea in military history

To determine how much energy knights in the Middle Ages burnt merely strolling around, British researchers recruited volunteers to dress up in mock-ups of real knightly armor and — in a hilarious twist — gallivant on treadmills. Sure enough, the study found that shielding the entire body was a heavy proposition. Watch … » 7/20/11 12:00pm 7/20/11 12:00pm