Interactive timeline - Conflict

  1. This Greek Corinthian helmet from 650 BC is made from bronze and is one of the most beautiful shapes of helmets ever made.

    479 BC

    Battle of Plataea

    Final major battle of the Greco-Persian Wars; ending the expansion of the Persian Empire into Greece.

  2. This composite figure gives a good impression of the appearance of a Mongol cavalryman of the 13th century.

    1260 AD

    Battle of 'Ain Jalut

    'Ayn Jalut was a major world event. The first time a Mongol army was defeated in open battle.

  3. This is one of only three surviving great helms of the mid-14th century which were probably made in England.

    1346 AD

    Battle of Crécy

    First land victory of the '100 Years War' for English infantry over French mounted knights.

  4. This 15th century Turkish helmet bears the titles of a sultan in the inscription around its lower edge.

    1453 AD

    Siege of Constantinople

    The fall of Constantinople was the first great siege won with gunpowder artillery.

  5. An oil painting of the Battle of Pavia by unknown artist c.1525.

    1525 AD

    Battle of Pavia

    First significant victory by infantry with firearms over fully armoured knights on the battlefield.

  6. This elephant armour is the only example of its type surviving in a public collection, and the largest and heaviest animal armour in the world, weighing 118 kg

    1526 AD

    Battle of Panipat

    A traditional Indian army with war elephants is beaten by artillery and infantry musketeers.

  7. This Greenwich armour was made for the military writer and innovator Sir John Smythe in response to the threat of invasion by Spain.

    1588 AD

    Defeat of Spanish Armada

    Spain's attempt to invade England ended when English ships with superior guns defeated its Armada.

  8. One of two armours given to Capt. John Saris in 1613 by Shogun Tokugawa Hidetada as part of a gift for King James I of England.

    1600 AD

    Battle of Sekigahara

    100 years of civil war ends. Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu's dynasty rules Japan for the next 250 years.

  9. This magnificent armour of King Charles I stands only 1571 mm tall, but is superbly decorated all over with gold leaf.

    1645 AD

    Battle of Naseby

    Charles I defeated. He is arrested, tried and executed. Parliament rules England as a republic.

  10. This is the dress sword of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. It is a Heavy Cavalry Officer's Dress Sword Pattern 1796 widely used by general officers.

    1815 AD

    Battle of Waterloo

    Wellington described Napoleon's defeat as a 'close run thing'. The battle's outcome shaped Europe.

Research

The Royal Armouries encourages research into arms and armour and related subjects from all periods of history from antiquity to the present day.

Exhibitions

An activity which invariably involves fresh research is the creation of new temporary exhibitions. In recent years these have included subjects as diverse as The Knight is Young (arms and armour for children), Shogun; The Life of Lord Tokugawa Ieyasu, and The Chronicles of Froissart, Fit for a King and Dressed to Kill. In most cases publications accompanying the exhibitions have preserved the scholarship and helped to make it available long after the exhibition has ended.

Publications

A vital element of the Royal Armouries international reputation is through its publications, and an already impressive list of titles is regularly augmented. Modestly sized but important small book giving an ‘Introduction to…’ different aspects of arms and armour have proved very popular with general visitors of all ages, and new titles are currently in preparation. Larger works, among them award-winning ones, include The Medieval Armour from Rhodes, by Thom Richardson and the late Walter J ‘Chip’ Karcheski, London Silver-hilted Swords, by Leslie Southwick, Eprouvettes, by RTW Kempers and Out of Nowhere, a study of military marksmanship (ie sniping), by Martin Pegler.

The Royal Armouries own journal, Arms & Armour, is populated by articles written by its own staff members but also regularly contains the results of high quality original research carried out by external authors.

Films

Research is often applied too in the development of factual films. The Royal Armouries has long experience of preparing its own films on aspects of arms and armour, and made two very successful series called Arms in Action, each of five programmes, with the History Channel in the USA. It also provides information for those working on their own film projects, with subjects as diverse as an understanding of the use of the Egyptian war chariot to the effectiveness of a pistol used by the highwayman Dick Turpin. Films have helped our research since they have funded working reconstructions of early weapons. For example; work was carried out on reconstructing weapons from the Mary Rose, King Henry VIII’s flagship which sank off Spithead in 1545. Types of musket, longbow and artillery, both large and small, have been accurately reconstructed, tested and filmed under scientific conditions, producing illuminating evidence on the performance of military equipment of the 16th century. This has recently been featured in a BBC Timewatch programme.

Research Support

The development of a serious interest in the subject of arms and armour in younger generations is also regarded as vitally important. Across its four UK sites (ie in Leeds, the National Firearms Centre, the Tower of London and at Fort Nelson) the Royal Armouries regularly provides support for students of all ages, by making specialist expertise available to researchers who visit the museum or who contact it remotely by telephone, letter or by e-mail. Students from schools and universities are welcome to use the library facilities and to have access to the staff’s expertise, and the museum is also part of the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) initiative to link research degree students to museums.

For centuries arms and armour was much more deeply embedded in everyday life than most people recognise, and research into the huge variety of topics its study offers help to make an increasingly wide audience more aware of its direct significance to them and their own interests.

Did you know?

Ready for anything

In ancient India high class courtesan women were expected to master fencing with a sword and fighting with a staff.

Specialist enquiries

Got Excalibur in the loft or "that arrow" from the Battle of Hastings above the fireplace?

Contact our experts to find out if you've got a historical gem or a car boot sale classic.