The middle ages were a time of relative chaos for Europe. With the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire at the end of the 5th century, the countries of Europe were thrown into disarray.
After a great deal of border–shifting and consolidating, Europe was stable enough to work together and begin the first crusade in the late 11th century.
500 years and three crusades later began the Renaissance, which is considered by most as the end of this chaotic era. The weapons, armor and tactics of medieval combat evolved simultaneously.
Arms and armor evolved constantly to negate each other; for instance, the use of platemail in the 12th century caused the addition of spikes to most pole–arms that could penetrate it.
Tactics were also changed with the invention of a new weapons or a better piece of armor. The infantry that could formerly be dispersed easily by cavalry became a formidable foe when wielding pikes.
Overall, the middle ages were a hard time for Europe. "Dark Ages" may be a bittoo strong to describe this era, but times were far from easy. Wars and border disputes between countries were far more common than they are today.
The weapons, armor and tactics used during this time were both brutal and effective, which is a fair statement about the times themselves.
This project examined and photographed nearly 300 examples of medieval arms and armor in the Higgins Armory collection, and documented the characteristics of armor, weapons, and their associated tactics during the middle ages (approximately 500CE to 1500CE) as well as the historical and technological background against which they were employed.