Encyclopedia of Medieval Dress and Textiles

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Mail
(1,287 words)

The word mail derives from the Latin word macula meaning a net or mesh, the medieval Latin maglia and the French mailles. The term refers to a network of interlinked metal rings used to make flexible, relatively light, defensive garments.  For added comfort and protection, mail was worn over padded garments.

The key period for mail was from c. 1066 to c. 1250 which Claude Blair has described as the 'age of mail'. This is not to say that mail was not used previously. For example, fragments of mail were found in the Sutton Hoo ship burial and they are now on display in the British Museum. The Bayeux Tap…

Cite this page
Maria Hayward, “Mail”, in: Encyclopedia of Medieval Dress and Textiles, Edited by: Gale Owen-Crocker, Elizabeth Coatsworth, Maria Hayward. Consulted online on 22 February 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2213-2139_emdt_COM_439>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004124356, 20120503



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