Turkish coat of chain mail, 16th century—Courtesy of The John Woodman Higgins Armoury Museum
Form of body armour worn by European knights and other medieval warriors. An early form, made by sewing iron rings to fabric or leather, was worn in late Roman times and may have originated in Asia. Medieval armourers interlaced the rings, which were closed by welding or riveting. In the 8th century, mail was a short coat with a separate sleeve for the sword arm. By the Norman Conquest (1066), the coat was long and fully sleeved; a hood, usually fitting under a helmet, covered the head and neck. By the 12th century, mail was fitted to hands, feet, and legs. The addition of plates to increase chest and back protection gradually evolved in the 14th century into complete plate armour, displacing mail.