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Basic Information

Greaves are pieces of plate armour designed to protect the lower leg. They are a fairly simple and ancient piece of armour and appear in various forms over the centuries, ranging from a sort of armoured shin pad, to the all round protection provided by the equivalent part of a suit of full plate armour. Some forms of greave were designed to protect the knee as well, and could even rise to mid thigh, whilst others stopped at or below knee level.

Some cultures disliked greaves - and leg armour generally - as an impediment to movement and an unecessary expense, using them, if at all, to protect the rather more accessible legs of cavalrymen. Others, especially those prone to fighting in shield wall formations (like much of Dark Ages Europe) or phalanxes (like the Classical Greeks) found them a very useful adjunct to the shield, protecting the wearer from blows aimed under the shield rim.

A greave may also be referred to as a schynbald, especially in English or other north European sources.


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