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.

Collection

The Royal Armouries collection consists of some 70,000 examples of arms, armour and artillery dating from antiquity to the present day. It includes royal armours of the Tudor and Stuart kings; arms and armour of the English Civil Wars, including the Armoury from Littlecote House; British and foreign military weapons from the Board of Ordnance and MOD Pattern Room collections; hunting and sporting weapons, as well as an exceptional collection of oriental arms and armour.

Tower of London

The Royal Armouries also has a significant collection of fine and decorative arts, and a special collection of material relating to the Tower of London, including antique prints and drawings, paintings, early photographs, stereoscopes and lantern slides, and rare books.

Library

The Royal Armouries library contains material relating to the history, development and use of arms, armour, artillery and fortifications, and to the Tower of London.

It has special collections of original military manuals, drill books, and fencing manuals. The collection amounts to some 30,000 books and pamphlets, 10,000 journals and magazines, and 6,000 auction sales catalogues.

Paintings

Your Paintings There is a large Image Library containing some 70,000 images of objects in the collection, which are available for purchase and reproduction.

Now you can view our oil, acrylic and tempera paintings online at Your Paintings. Your Paintings is a joint initiative between the BBC, the Public Catalogue Foundation (a registered charity) and participating collections and museums from across the UK. Our artwork is located across our three sites, click on each link below to discover what is there:

Archives

The Archives contains records relating to the Museum, collections of research material from scholars such as Sir James Mann and Howard Blackmore, as well as the records of the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield.

Why not use our online collection database to view 40,000 of these records?

Image library

The Image Library contains high resolution digital images of some of the finest items in the Royal Armouries collection, copies of which can be purchased as digital images, and licences are available for commercial, editorial and academic use. Search the online Image Library


  • The subject of arms and armour as an academic discipline owes its origins to a small group of 19th and 20th century gentlemen scholars.

Did you know?

Greek air power

The Ancient Greeks invented a kind of catapult that used compressed-air springs instead of twisted cords. The same principle is used today in luxury cars, buses and heavy goods vehicles suspension systems.