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.

Leeds History

On 30 March 1996, the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds opened to the public. The new building, designed by architect Derek Walker, is the headquarters of the Royal Armouries complex of museums, and houses the majority of the museum’s collections. The construction project, which cost a total of £42.5 million, was completed in just over two years.

The project formed part of Strategy 2000, a scheme produced in 1990 to provide the national museum of arms and armour with a suitable infrastructure to preserve, display and interpret its collections.

Strategy 2000 from its inception required the establishment of a new museum outside the Tower of London; even with the foundation of the Museum of Artillery at Fort Nelson in 1987, space constraints within the Tower of London made it impossible for the museum to display or house the collections properly.

In January 1991, detailed discussions about locating the new museum in the north began, and in June 1991 Clarence Dock in Leeds was chosen as the site for the new Royal Armouries Museum.

The Leeds Museum is built not only to display the national collection, but to tell the story of the development of arms and armour through the objects, a wide range of audio-visual presentations, computer interactives and interpretations to bring the subject to life.

This approach to the presentation of the subject extends outside the museum building. There is a Arena, for demonstrations of jousting and other forms of mounted martial sport, as well as falconry and the use of hunting dogs, a menagerie for the horses, dogs and birds, and a craft court, in which visitors can watch gunsmiths, armourers and other related traditional craftsmen at work.

The Royal Armouries Museum itself was designed from the inside out. The redisplay of the collections in a thematic structure and the identity, size and basic storylines of the new galleries were all created as part of Strategy 2000.

The design for the new building took those spaces, together with the study collections, conservation workshops and library as the basis of its overall layout. The ceiling heights of the new building were designed to accommodate the longest staff weapons in the collections, displayed vertically, and the principal lift to move the largest object.

In addition to the five galleries which house 5,000 objects in the permanent displays, the museum includes the Hall of Steel, a giant staircase whose walls are decorated with trophy displays composed of 2,500 objects reminiscent of the historical trophy displays erected by the Tower Armouries from the 17th century.

Did you know?

Sticky-backed plastic?

Armour is not just made from iron and steel, but also from bronze, silver, gold, wood, leather, bone, and can be decorated with precious stones and even shells. Modern armours use ceramics and plastics.