How did soldiers in medieval era obtain their armor-weapons?

Nov 2015
45
Regnum Hiemis
Did the soldiers in medieval era bought their own armor-weapons like the pre-Marian reforms Rome or it was their liege's duty to support them with armor and weapons?
 

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,872
Cornwall
I'm afraid the question is far too general. The medieval era was a very long time, and the world is large.
 

Edric Streona

Ad Honorem
Feb 2016
4,531
Japan
Yes, it will very from time and period aswell as by country.

If your talking about a professional Longbowman from England or Wales, his weapons and armour would be his own. He might be issued certain items by a lord or king if needed, such as hose/livery if required..

A poor lord would be unlikely to be paying for armour when food and blankets and other things are more of a priority than giving them armour, when most of the men will have the minimum that they need.

A rich lord might have a lot of cash to splash and provide all his archers with some chain mail and plate.

An early Anglo Saxon king or earl would gain followers by his displays of generosity. So, he'd be expected to reward warriors with chain mail, shields, helms, swords and axes, arm rings and finery...
 
Nov 2015
45
Regnum Hiemis
Yes, it will very from time and period aswell as by country.

If your talking about a professional Longbowman from England or Wales, his weapons and armour would be his own. He might be issued certain items by a lord or king if needed, such as hose/livery if required..

A poor lord would be unlikely to be paying for armour when food and blankets and other things are more of a priority than giving them armour, when most of the men will have the minimum that they need.

A rich lord might have a lot of cash to splash and provide all his archers with some chain mail and plate.

An early Anglo Saxon king or earl would gain followers by his displays of generosity. So, he'd be expected to reward warriors with chain mail, shields, helms, swords and axes, arm rings and finery...
So lords were not obliged to support their troops but some of them did.
 

Matthew Amt

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,011
MD, USA
So lords were not obliged to support their troops but some of them did.
Hoo, I suspect that varied, too. Nobles were typically required by whatever feudal laws they lived under to supply military aid to their liege. How many troops they needed to bring probably depended on their status or wealth. So they *might* have had the option of mustering militia infantry (commoners with their own weapons, again regulated by law according to wealth), or they may simply have sent the boss a bag of cash to hire mercenaries! OR they might have raised their own professional force, some already armed in some way and some supplied by their own in-house arsenals.

It might also have varied according to the troops and the term of service. If you need mercenaries for a short raid, you'd expect them to show up armed for whatever role they claimed to fill--if a guy shows up claiming to be a crack archer but has only a halberd, guess what? He's a halberdier! On the other hand, if you are signing up a known and reliable man as a full-time permanent household retainer, it would be common to supply him with a livery coat and possbibly weapons or armor as well. But then if you put out an emergency call for "every able-bodied man in town", you better open up the arsenal cuz they won't all have enough gear!

Matthew
 

Fire_Raven

Ad Honorem
Jul 2010
2,776
Oregon
Looting of the battlefield could also provide the poorer soldiers/conscripts with better gear than they started with.
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
5,035
Australia
In the early period if you didn't meet minimum wealth requirements then it was assumed that you couldn't afford the equipment and so were forbidden to fight. Sometimes a local patron would provide equipment for his own personal retinue. Later on, especially with foreign campaigns, the king would pay for everything and hope to recoup the cost with loot and ransoms. Mercenaries were expected to show up with all of their own gear, but they were compensated for this with higher wages.
 
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Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,776
Australia
Trying to remember what I learned at a traveling museum display on arms and armour I saw in Sydney some years ago. I think it was the late medieval period when some rulers and city-states began issuing standard armour to their troops. It came in three sizes, small, medium and large, and the soldier picked what was the best fit and padded it out with clothing underneath. It was one of the changes heralding the beginning of the modern standing army as opposed to the levy of troops raised by a lord.