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Higgins Armory Essay Armor serves a very simple purpose. Its job is to protect the wearer from injury and death during battle. The complex part of armor however, is how it has evolved over the years. Going from the good old knights wearing a full suit of plate armor, to wearing just a helmet, the Higgins Armory shows a great representation of both the simple use of armor, as well as the complexity of how it evolved, and what weapons were used against the different types of armor, and of course what weapons were used with armor. Armor in the dark ages started being seen around 600-700 C.E. At this point, mostly mail armor was used due to it being light, but still very defensive. A mail chest piece if thousands of tough rings that are interlocked together, so that 5 rings are all interlocked, meaning it is almost impossible to slash through or stab it. Crushing weapons however, could dent the armor, and thus the knight as well, creating quite a problem. This was a main reason that as the dark ages went in to the middle ages, and then the renaissance, plate started to be more in use. The Higgins museum shows a good timeline and very well describes when and how these changes happened, and of course it has lots of armor to show it visually. Why did mail start fading away? It became too complex to make (thousands of interlocking rings) and it became less suitable for the new technology of weapons being invented every day. Another main reason is that plate armor started to begin to become just as flexible and move-able as mail. This is demonstrated with many examples at Higgins, when a full suit of plate armor is run, jumped in, sat down in, and even sprinted in. Craftsmen, began developing ways to interlock the armor with joints similar to that of a humans without creating crevices in the armor. As mail began fading out due to the more popular plate, two other uses for armor began developing. This first example is dress armor. Higgins shows a great contrast in what makes dress armor and combat armor different. Dress armor is lavishly designed and sometimes painted, as well as many carvings and etchings to show off great wealth in the family. Generally, this kind of armor would not be used in combat due to it being so light and thin, and also many gaps. The other kind of armor, aside from combat armor, is tournament armor. This kind of protection would only be used in jousting and other combat games due to the way it is built. The Higgins has many full suits of both tournament and combat armor, and at first glance they might seem almost identical. The little details though, could prove big when you step into one or the other. First off, tournament armor is the most defensive armor, which also makes it by far the heaviest. Also, the ability to move and flex around is nearly impossible. The helmet is in fact bolted onto the breastplate, and there are no weak gaps, as to hope that no one gets killed in a simple game of jousting. The last main difference between the two, is the helmet. First, what exactly is jousting. It is when two horse-mounted knights charge at each other with a 14 foot long lance and try to de-mount the other one. The lances, being made out of wood, will splinter upon impact, creating large, sharp, fast-moving particles of wood. If these splinters were to hit in say, the chest or the eyes, it was not uncommon that that could easily kill. Knights weren’t stupid though, and they tried to make sure hat wouldn’t happen. The first is the armor, but the second is the helmet. In addition to being locked in place, the visor is actually at around the position of the forehead. As the knights approach, they lean down so they can see, and at the last second move up to protect their face. This ensured a lot less death in jousting. Armor is of course only one side of the story. Something had to be used both against it, and with it. A knights most used weapon is his lance. What is a lance. It is pretty much a 14 foot stick that tapers down to a sharp metal point at the end, perfect for jabbing and stabbing enemies on foot, when the knight is on horse. The problem with the lance is that it splinters after being used, so a knight will always carry a sword. Also, the richer knights in the 1500’s would carry around 5 loaded up pistols. Since back then they were so complicated to use, loading and re-loading was a real, so knights just prepared them in advance. As guns started being developed though, is when armor started fading away. As far as weapons used against knights ,the most common thing was a spear or a pole arm. A pole arm is a long 18-foot wooden staff with a metal point, prong, fork, spoon, bill, or any variation on the end, as long as its sharp. Hundreds of different varieties were made, and the Higgins has tons of them, ranging from a simple stick with a point, to the very complicated pole arms that were developed for maximum use. The main two advantages of the spear and pole arm is that they are longer than a lance, and also much more durable. They could be used over and over again, and as the pole arms became wackier and wackier in prongs, forks, and bills, new mechanics were developed to find the best way to pull a knight off his horse, or puncture that plate armor, or grab his sword right out of his hand! Even spears, just like swords, lances, plate and chain mail started fading away due to one concept, that would change warfare for the next 600 and more years, guns. This essay can definitely has information that can be extracted, but not sight, sound, or feel. That is the job of the Higgins Armory. While not many items can be touched, the very fact of seeing them a couple of feet away allows you to visualize in your mind of what it would be like to use arms and armor, instead of just using a wall of text. As said before, Higgins shows the drastic differences in combat, parade, and tournament armor, as well as the ultimate changes and finally demise in armor as guns started becoming the weapon of most combat. The Higgins is a worthwhile visit, and it is definitely not just a big building with identical gray suits of armor. It is much more, as is armor itself. However, you cannot go to Higgins and expect the armor to teach you the facts, there is a process of interpreting all the information to make sense with each other. The final thing to be said, is that the best thing done by Higgins is showing what it was really, for knights were not just people in perfect armor, with a shining sword and beautiful horse, there is so much more.


Higgins Museum Essay Evaluation 3 -- Outstanding 2 -- Ok, but could use some improvement 1-- Needed improvement 0 --- Missing Introduction 1 Gave the reader background and general information about the museum --- set the scene. 2 Transitions to the body of the essay. (Three things that can be learned by a visit to the museum) Body 3 Three topics were addressed, each with its own paragraph 2 Topics were clearly explained and used researched supporting details & vocabulary Conclusion 3 Restated topic --- What can be learned at the museum? 3 Brought closure to essay (Summed up essay) Structure 3 Essay format followed the directions for assignment 3 Spelling 2 Capitalization (Used correct capitalization) Comments: Very good supporting details and an excellent conclusion. The introduction doesn't set the scene of the museum (who,what where), in fact you do more of that in the conclusion. Watch your organization of information, the 2nd body paragraph really has more than one subject. The essay also needed more researched vocabulary.

Article posted May 11, 2010 at 01:13 PM • comment • Reads 505 • Return to Blog List
 
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