Mongol Weapons and Armour, 1200-1250

July 24, 2019

before we begin I'd like to give a brief mention to my friends at historical realm on Facebook a group I enjoy for sharing and learning about all kinds of historical topics and graciously let me share my videos and posts with them check them out in this video we will give a brief overview of the armor and weapons used by Mongol warriors in the early 13th century while tactics discipline logistics command and strategy are more important in terms of studying military history weapons and armors are useful for their relation to tactics and cultural factors plus they have the addition of being very easy to make a video out of this is not meant to be an exhaustive discussion of the topic but provide an idea of the variety of equipment the Mongols utilized as opposed to the popular image of them as fur-clad barbarians wielding clubs and fists first every mongol wore their traditional robes Videl or gelug these robes could be repurposed at me to serve as tents blankets and with their wide sashes and tight belts provided storage for knives or other materials many of the horse archers wore little but their Dell using the range of their bows and mobility of their horses to keep them safe from their foe for armored Mongols generally wore combinations of lamellar scale laminar Brigantine leather and mail with lamellar being the most common in contemporary artworks lamellar Armour is made up of metal pieces laced to each other providing a flexible yet durable suit of armor lamellar should not be confused with the similar sounding laminar or banded armor which is made up of hardened leather in horizontal strips or bands effective Armour and cheaper than lamellar scale armor is also similar to lamellar except that its armor pieces Beave a leather or iron were attached to a leather backing rather than to each other as in lamellar lamellar and laminar were used to armor horses although how common this was is debated for the writer rather than armor each leg individually the bottom half of the armor came down in two skirts which when sitting on horse covered the legs to the boots which could themselves be armored to protect shoulders and arms large pauldrons covered the upper arm to the elbow fine protection but if the arms were lifted could leave the armpits vulnerable one possible means of armpit protection was known as the four mirrors for metal disks attached to the back chest and armpits to provide extra security to these vital spots contemporary art work tends to only show a chest or a back disk in place however hands as in many Asian armors were often left unarmored to not impede use of bows the head was protected with an acorn shaped helmet made of iron or iron framed with bronze and a neck with lamellar flaps or leather which could be wrapped in front of the face for warmth or to keep out dust mail covers and masks were worn by peoples to Mongols interacted with and brought into their armies so it is possible such were worn by the Mongols it is sometimes stereotyped that mail was a Western armor and lamellar and Eastern but mail was long known in China and Mongolia yet mail was less commonly worn by the Mongols in Chinese for the Mongols to suggestions being that lamellar provided better protection against arrows or was easier to produce and maintain than mail particularly in nomadic societies with limited access to blacksmiths mail could be worn in conjunction with lamellar protecting areas like the armpits otherwise left exposed leather armors aside from laminar were also used boiled and mold to shape into Acuras a notable armour was to Hutton Goodell reinforced versions of the Mongol dealt similar to later European burgundy indeed it has been suggested by Mikael Gordy that European Brigantine was inspired by the Hutton goodell but the connection here seems tenuous and a 12th and early 13th century the Hutton goodell was reinforced with layers of felt over the course of the 13th century became more commonly reinforced with iron plates the rivets attaching them sticking out to the front of the armor creating this distinctive studded appearance Mongol warriors were not uniformly armored or armed and it is debated to what extent if at all the Kahn provided his warriors with their equipment it seems under the reins of ergo dyed mink that forms of regular provision were established but under Chingiz Han many warriors likely supplied themselves through scavenging and few at this point carried expensive swords or full suits of armor but in one regard was each warrior well-armed and that was in the famed Mongol bow while we'll cover the bow and more detail on its own I'll give an overview here the medieval Mongolian wore bow is what we term a composite reflex bow made from layers of horn wood and sinew which allow it to handle the great pressures placed on the bow from the reflex design the draw weight of these bows was considerable around a hundred pounds with extreme but very rare draw weights around a hundred and sixty Mongols practice archery from a young age and drew with their thumbs wearing a thumb ring of bone or horn which made drawing and releasing these high weights easier and cleaner the reliance on organic glues made the bow susceptible to high humidity the moisture destroying the glue and weakening the bow the range of the bows is a matter of some contention an inscription from around 1224 in Mongolia describes Chingiz Hans nephew yosuga firing an arrow at an extreme range of around 520 to 530 metres so remarkable that it was marked in stone this was likely done with a lighter flight arrow rather than a heavier war arrow somewhere between 300 to 200 to 150 has been suggested as the more common maximum range useful for dispersing enemy formations but with penetrative power reduced the actual effective combat range was around 30 to 40 metres at that range accuracy and penetration could be assured while allowing Mongols to guard away from enemy archers or Calvary each Mongol brought two or three Quivers into battle along with around two bows a heavier and a lighter one arrows were generally of willow or bamboo stalks with heads of iron steel wood or bone for different purposes such as blunt or forked heads or special hollow heads which created a whistling sound when sent through the air used to frighten the enemy or communicate in battle like the bows there were heavy and light arrows and contrary to some assertions it is unlikely that arrows or poisons while that may help in hunting down prey or fugitives a poison arrow offers little tactical advantage and is unnecessary and can even be cumbersome to apply when the arrow shot itself is already quite effective but mongols preferred to stay out of close combat unless absolutely necessary but had a number of weapons for when they had to do so a notable example is the hooked spear which does exactly what it sounds like the hook was effective at dragging their enemies out of their saddles as they did to a Korean general in 1231 maces and axes are commonly mentioned as sidearms deadly from horseback and much cheaper to make than a sword swords despite their common depiction relatively rare in the early 13th century Mongol army while elite or wealthier troops may have carried them acting as status symbols due to their expense the average Mongol likely only carried one if he scavenged it after a battle the typical Mongol sword is often referred to as a Terkel mongol saber referring to a number of varieties of Sabres was spread across the Turkic and Mongolian tribes in the wake of the Mongol conquests it has been suggested that Mongol influence led to the adoption of curved swords in the Middle East over the 14th century as straight swords were preferred among Arabs and Persians before the Mongol invasions but this is another hypothesis which I would need to see more evidence for in order to support there are a further two matters which I originally intended to include in this video but feel it will be more effective to deal with separately silk shirts and gun powder since there is controversy and very interesting debates around both of these particularly gun powder I'd prefer the time to deal with each of these in detail elsewhere


  • Reply The Jackmeister: Mongol History July 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    Historical Realm:

    I'll be honest, this isn't my favourite video. I rewrote almost the entire script several times, but it's so broad I still feel it's lacking in the detail I like to include in my work. Still, useful enough in its own way.

    Next video will be part 3 on the Qara-Khitai, detailing the final years under Kuchlug and Jebe's conquest of the area.

  • Reply St. Petersberg July 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    Actually , Mongols are armor clad horse riding animals , You weren't wrong

  • Reply Marcus Fridh July 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    dont forget that the medeival mongol bow was shorter than the precent mongol bow that became larger after the influece of the manchurians. and the mongol saber was most likely a version of the chinese daosword.

  • Reply Cyril Chui July 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    Mail armour was imported from the west as early as the Han dynasty via the Silk Road. Since it was imported, only the rich could afford it. For unknown reason Chinese armies never favoured mail armour hence never tried to produce it locally. Mongol would have captured a lot of Mail armour as they advanced towards Europe.

  • Reply 이치고 July 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    another thing you forgot to mention is the bow. almost EVERYONE in asia, especially central and east asia is trained in the bow.

  • Reply Mussab AlAhdal July 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    More simplicity please. Not all of us are experts, you know…!?

  • Reply A. Oguz July 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    thanks for this video. which book do you suggest for these details?

  • Reply Oliver ZURCHER July 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    Love the drawing and the info thank you soo much

  • Reply H.Vangchhia July 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    Nice to hear the emperor's name pronounced correctly.

  • Reply Anderson Z July 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    i really want to buy a mongolian sword.

  • Reply Kirman Selçuklularının Haritasını Arayan Dost July 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    Dao is originally a Mongol weapon, right?

  • Reply nazar July 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    Nice one mate

  • Reply Joel Tsetseg July 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    I'm Mongolian and this is pretty cool, keep up the work lad!

  • Reply Archduke Tunafish July 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    Awesome video. Did the Mongols ever use war picks? The Scythians did and I assume the mongols would have to do to them both being in some of the same areas and having a somewhat similar lifestyle.

  • Reply Erich von Cartmann July 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    Very interesting. Thank you for confirming my hunch. I just assumed that since the Mongols were a Nomadic people, that most of the weapons, clothing, and armor of the soldiers were individually/family made, just like it is with most Nomadic people. I wonder though, as their conquest of territories became more frequent, did they NOT eventually acquire skilled Engineers and Manufacturers so they could manufacture Armor and Weapons in Factories on a mass scale?

  • Reply brett July 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    mongol bows are not as efficient as ottoman bows for flight shooting lighter arrows but the ottomans have flight shooting records of archers shooting arrows over 800 meters the record is 845 m so i don't think 500+m is unlikely for a mongol war bow.

  • Reply serhan sali July 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    love your vids ,waiting to see more

  • Reply Nemanja Slepcevic July 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    Fantastic video and greate chanel !!!

  • Reply Alejandro July 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    I love your videos so fucking much brother! this was awesome

  • Reply B. Levin July 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    Another really interesting video. May I ask the background music for this video?

  • Reply Flatearth Fatboy July 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    I heard Arrows literally used to bounce off laminar. How true?

  • Reply Pierre S. July 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    Very interesting and informative.

    I also like that first image!!!!

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