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Evolution of the European Knight

By Cyangmou
Location  Europe
The main idea behind creating this huge collection of historically correct „knights“ (I know that some are predecessors and successors) came out of the reality that the research behind many video games is very poor and despite using highly realistic 3D styles, they don‘t manage to achieve a realistic look, which is quite an interesting fact. One could argue in terms of believability, but that is very subjective, because the more you know about a subject, the less likely you are to believe certain things. I don‘t believe that you need realism (in terms of an artstyle) to create believability or accurateness, but knowledge.

Therefore I thought it‘d be a fun project to create a huge, HISTORICALLY ACCURATE chart which showcases the development of armour over multiple centuries in small steps. Not with realistic drawings, but in a very stylized art style which is inviting, easily understandable and easily comparative for everyone.

I used a wide variety of sources, first-hand museum material if I could get my hands on it, actual historical sources, if available or at at least guidance from books and pictures within them (also floating around in the internet if I couldn‘t get my hands on the books or sources) which were illustrated by historical illustrators.

The chart contains 39 illustrations of European knights throughout the ages.

A very detailed description, references, sources etc. can be found in this google document (Improved it since the upload with images and Links!):

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© 2019 - 2021 Cyangmou
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freyreuxine's avatar

Awesome work. The knight from 1430 is a Knight of Rhodes/Knights of Malta/Hospitaller from the osprey book. https://ospreypublishing.com/knight-hospitaller-2-pb

Cyangmou's avatar

Thanks a lot.


Wow, thanks a lot for finding the source. Yeah the Osprey books are great, I tried to buy a some last year, but getting books from the UK is pretty hard since a year.


Big thanks for the source, I added it to the doc.


Also that's quite interesting because I have been looking into rhodes as a city a lot, but actually never checked how the people who manned the castle looked like. Now I really would love to have that book :)

freyreuxine's avatar

Yes the books are awesome :D The men at rhodes are the hospitallers too but they changed their coats from black to red. The same knights who defeated the turks at the siege of Malta at 1565.

MacX85's avatar

Aww... they're so cute! I somehow wished it was an actual video game

OMG these are beautiful O.O

KaprosuchusDragon's avatar

the 1346 one is that the black prince?

Cyangmou's avatar

Yeah the 1346 one is based on Edward of Woodstock's Armor pieces which are still showcased in Canterbury Cathedral =)

KaprosuchusDragon's avatar

yeah they are beautiful

Vulpes94's avatar
Extreamly cute <3
Spider-Bat700's avatar
Awesome. Love almost all of these knight designs. Just to clarify, the 1683 one is from Poland, correct? The Winged Hussar?

I figure that the ones with the two-headed eagle shield are either Holy Roman Empire or Russian/Slavic, but where are the 1450, 1460, and 1490 knights with the bird and snake shields from? I could not find that coat of arms anywhere. 
Cyangmou's avatar

1683 is a winged hussar indeed.


The black double headed eagle on yellow ground is the HRE.

1450/1460/1490 have the coat of Arms of the Sforzas of italy. It's mostly called "Milanese" style of armour, due to the famous production workshops in Milan.


There is an in-depth document linked with all sources and explanations, in case you want to read more.

Spider-Bat700's avatar
Thanks! I have to say I think that the Milanese armors are some of the coolest. 
Ezekielepharcelis's avatar
Durch Zufall gefunden, super Sache :)
Deicm3's avatar

Music Note Bullet (Black) - F2U Then the Winged Hussars arrived! Music Note Bullet (Black) - F2U


Other than that, good job! :clap:

Coluber's avatar
I was surprised to see Portugal. Anyway, sorry to be that guy, but for the Portuguese guy, you might have been better off taking an image from Osprey's The Portuguese in the Age of Discovery c.1340–1665 ospreypublishing.com/the-portu…

 i.pinimg.com/originals/fa/a8/4…

i.pinimg.com/originals/4e/c2/d…
Cyangmou's avatar

I didn't know about that book, but thanks for sharing, I might get around reading it.

My focus definitely is HRE / Austria, but I also wanted to feature as many european nations as possible in the chart, to give a feeling for different styles.

ValethArt's avatar

Ouaw ! Great work !

I will fallow your work :)

TheodenN's avatar
Awesome work!
Wow, you're crazy xD
I love it!
I'm going to use it to improve my pixel art with Knight! è_é
And also learn a bit about history with the other document!
Thanks for this huge work! :3
Scipia's avatar
Woh, that's an amazing job :)
This is a nice collection of chivalrous armors :)
American-Emperor's avatar
This is incredible!
ArcNetwork3's avatar
The armor that I like the most is the Winged hussar armor (i.e. that last suit on the chart). It was well designed, and  even the wings had a purpose, to frighten the enemy horses as the Hussars charged in (since the WH were a heavy cavalry unit).
PhelanDavion's avatar

Impressive. This is very very good work.


As a historian and a knight I say: Chapeau!

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