Braveheart and The Patriot are two of the best movies that featured a wide array of weaponry and armour where Mel Gibson is featured as the main character in both movies and the director of the former.
While the movie plots have proven to be awesome and the casting was great, it has to be admitted that without the costumes and weaponry, these movies would not be as successful. The roots of these tools can actually be traced back separately in ancient China and Egypt.
The first people to use armor are the ancient Egyptians in 1500 BC but the use of this armor style is short-lived because of its heavy weight which is due to the plates or bronze scales which are sewn on the shirt-like cloth which makes up the armor.
Next came the Assyrians who developed, between the period 900-600 BC, a lamellar armour which is made of a garment overlapped with small rectangular plates or lames. This was used through the 16th century A.D.
By 8th century BC, armors became refined and stylish as the Greeks developed bronze plates in a form which follows the body musculature complete with a breastplate, back plate, brass helmets and greaves.
Aside from the body armor, the Greeks also used a shield large enough to cover the body from the chin to the knee. The Romans, on the other hand, started with an armor called mail which is actually a shirt made of interlocking metal rings with linen underneath it.
Through the years, there was a transition from bronze armor, leather and mail armor, plate armor, corselet, helmets, brigadines, padded cloth armour and buff coats – an evolution needed to adapt to the parallel changes in weaponry.
The history of weapons started as early as the 3rd century AD when the Chinese invented the crossbow originally made of wood. Steel crossbows appeared in the 14th century while longbows were used one century prior. With the introduction of gun powder in Europe from China, firearms became the ultimate weapon replacing the crossbow in battlefields.
The first type of firearm is called the matchlock which came in three forms, caliver, harquebus or arquebus and musket, the latter being the largest of the three. They were called matchlocks because of the way these are ignited which is through a match cord that is kept in by a lock and fires when pressure is applied on the trigger.
Next came the wheel locks or firelocks developed in the 1520’s which are more complex than matchlocks. Similarly to the principle used in cigarette lighters, these get ignited when the steel wheel is released as the trigger is pulled which in turn makes the edges of the wheel touch pyrite held in the dog head, or a separate arm made of metal.
In the early 17th century, flint locks were developed which is being used until this day. There are six types namely: English lock, snaphaunce, Scandinavian snaplock, dog lock, miquelet lock and true flintlock. Compared to its predecessors, flintlocks are less complicated because these operate on the same principle as starting a fire which is by striking flint on steel, thus, the name.