Describe the dress fashions in the Middle Ages?

The Middle Ages were a period of European history which occurred approximately between the fall of the western Roman Empire in A.D. 476 and the discovery of America in 1942.

During the first three centuries of the Middle Ages, the way people dressed underwent many changes. In the early stages they dressed in the Byzantine fashion: the emperor and the empress wore long tunics in brocade covered with a pallium, a sort of heavy square mantle that had a religious significance. Men let their beards grow and woman never out their hair.

When knights prepared for battle they put on a thick woollen tunic over which they donned their coat of armour or chain mail. They had a broad belt or buckler round their waist from which hung a broad sword. The bandolier went on the right shoulder. On the head was worn an iron helmet, usually with a nose guard, and at the end of the twelfth century the great cylindrical helmet was introduced.

The soldier’s dress was completed with a large convex shield on which the knight had his coat-of-arms painted or carved. These arms also decorated the linen surcoat which after about 1200 was worn over the mail shirt.


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