How do we know what
they was like in the Dark Ages?
would have worn the standard male outfit of
a woollen or linen tunic, woollen trousers (braccae)
and chequed or striped cloak.
- The cloak was probably fixed with a
posher penannular brooch than normal. The famous Hunterston Brooch
(see picture), that was found in Scotland, may be either British or Scottish.
- The Northern
British poem, 'Y Gododdin' tells us more:
- Over their
tunics, warrior chiefs wore coats of chain mail.
- Around their
necks, they wore torcs (solid metal rings with knobs on the ends)
to show how important they were.
- There is no
mention of helmets. Old Roman helmets may have been worn in
earlier times, or simple metal frames with a leather covering.
- They were
cavalrymen riding small horses. They fought with lances and swords. The
swords would originally have been Roman 'spathae' with no
- The ordinary
foot soldiers who followed them fought mostly with spears: pikes
for hand-to-hand combat and javelins for throwing. Archaeologists
have found similar spears.
- There is no
mention or bows or arrows.
- Shields are
described as white-washed and covered in animal skins as well as
studded armour plating.
- Welsh carvings
show that soldiers also used small shields called 'bucklers' and also
fought with clubs.
- Knives have been
found by archaeologists. They were probably used in combat as well as
- Swords were
highly prized (everybody wanted them). Land grants (documents
giving away or selling land) show that a single sword could be worth
the same as between 25 and 70 cows.