Definitions

Armet

Armet

[ahr-met]

Armet is the name of a type of helmet developed in the 15th century, most likely in Italy. It was distinguished by being the first helmet of its era to completely enclose the head while being compact and light enough to move with the wearer. The typical armet consisted of four pieces: the skull, the two hinged cheek pieces which lock at the front, and the visor. A multi-part reinforcement for the bottom half of the face, known as a wrapper, was sometimes added, and its straps attached to a metal disc at the base of the skull piece called a rondel. It reached its height of popularity during the 15th and 16th centuries when knights in medieval Europe wore plate armor into battle. Movable face and cheek pieces allowed the wearer to close the helmet, thus fully protecting the head from blows. Armets have often been confused with close helmets, and the two names can now be used almost interchangeably when referring to either form of helmet. Close helmets had a full visor and bevor (a chin/neck guard); the visor pivoted up and down by means of bolts attached to the side of the skull piece. Slightly different in design, armets had hinged cheek pieces which opened at the front of face backward. Note the similarities between the armet above and the close helmet to the lower left.

The armet is found in many contemporary pieces of artwork, such as Paolo Uccello's 'Battle of San Romano', and is almost always shown as part of a Milanese armor.

The armet was most popular in Italy, whereas in England and Western Europe the sallet helmet was preferred. It is believed by some that the close helm resulted from a combination of various elements of each.

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