Pikeman’s Armor

Pikeman’s Armor

c. 1620–30

Part of a set. See all set records

Steel with brass rivets and black paint

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John L. Severance 1923.1063

Did you know?

With its chevron decoration, this armor is slightly more decorative than most pikeman, suggesting that an officer could have owned it.


Pikemen formed the backbone of infantry tactics through the end of the English Civil Wars (1642–51). Since muskets alone were ineffective against cavalry charges, companies of pikemen, armed with pikes, or spears, of 12 to 16 feet in length, were deployed in defensive formations to protect the musketeers, who wore no armor. A pikeman was usually equipped with a breastplate and backplate, hinged tassets reaching to mid-thigh, and sometimes a gorget, or neck piece, worn over a heavy buffcoat. High boots replaced leg armor. A brimmed, high-combed helmet known as a "pot" protected the head. Pikeman's armor withstood hard service. It was colored and treated (though the black paint seen here is modern) to control rusting and to add decorative interest.

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