Weight: 3-4 kg


Until the middle of the 13th century the knight’s torso was protected only by the aketon and the hauberk. However by the late 1200s, an additional body defence called a cuirie had been developed.

This body armour was made up of breast - and back - plates made of leather hardened through immersion in hot water, wax, or a combination of the two. Such armour was therefore usually called cuir bouille, ‘boiled leather’.

Since the cuirie seems almost always to have been worn over the hauberk but under the surcoat, there’s not much evidence as to what it really looked like. It seems to have fitted closely to the shape of the body, and strapped up the sides.

How was it used?

The cuirie brought a crucial third defensive layer of protection to the torso. The padded aketon cushioned the body against blows, while the hauberk reinforced the aketon against cuts and stabs. But both of these were flexible armour materials, so it was always very possible that a blow to the body could shatter ribs or injure the internal organs without actually breaking through the layers of mail and padded cloth. The cuirie brought a new level of safety, for those who could afford it.