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Old 15th July 2010, 06:26 PM   #11
A Senefelder
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 214

A fair amount of European armour in museums is not displayed " properly ". By that I mean that it is simply on a stand to prop it up, not on a stand of the same dimensions as the original wearer for whom it was built so this tends to give a distorted view of height when looking at possed suits in museums. Diet had a great deal to do with height then as now. The upper classes ate much better than the lower classes and thus suffered much less from a wide array of issued induced by continuos poor diet including height. The upper classes were by and large on par with heights today, while the lower classes suffered somewhat in height as well as other issues produced by poor or limited diet. That being said weight in general or at least body mass seems to have been a bit lower if the sizes of surviving pieces are any indicator. I have owned several breast plates over the years that are of the correct height for some one of my height ( bottom edge of the breast plate at the height of the lowest rib of the rib cage ) but were very tight in the upper chest. Another feature that comes to light on many 15th and 16th century fine armours is that the calfs are very thin ( this being determined by the dimensions of the greaves ), something that would seem to not make sense given that some level of military service/training would be part of the users lifestyle. One explaination i've heard for this is the idea that this level of society seldom walked but rather road everywhere. A fair portion of the world today owns cars and drives most places, so one would expect to see the same result in modern humans but this does not seem to necessarily be the case so I find the above explaination suspect.
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