Interactive timeline - Conflict
Battle of Plataea
Final major battle of the Greco-Persian Wars; ending the expansion of the Persian Empire into Greece.
Battle of 'Ain Jalut
'Ayn Jalut was a major world event. The first time a Mongol army was defeated in open battle.
Battle of Crécy
First land victory of the '100 Years War' for English infantry over French mounted knights.
Siege of Constantinople
The fall of Constantinople was the first great siege won with gunpowder artillery.
Battle of Pavia
First significant victory by infantry with firearms over fully armoured knights on the battlefield.
Battle of Panipat
A traditional Indian army with war elephants is beaten by artillery and infantry musketeers.
Defeat of Spanish Armada
Spain's attempt to invade England ended when English ships with superior guns defeated its Armada.
Battle of Sekigahara
100 years of civil war ends. Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu's dynasty rules Japan for the next 250 years.
Battle of Naseby
Charles I defeated. He is arrested, tried and executed. Parliament rules England as a republic.
Battle of Waterloo
Wellington described Napoleon's defeat as a 'close run thing'. The battle's outcome shaped Europe.
The Royal Armouries encourages research into arms and armour and related subjects from all periods of history from antiquity to the present day.
An activity which invariably involves fresh research is the creation of new temporary exhibitions. In recent years these have included subjects as diverse as The Knight is Young (arms and armour for children), Shogun; The Life of Lord Tokugawa Ieyasu, and The Chronicles of Froissart, Fit for a King and Dressed to Kill. In most cases publications accompanying the exhibitions have preserved the scholarship and helped to make it available long after the exhibition has ended.
A vital element of the Royal Armouries international reputation is through its publications, and an already impressive list of titles is regularly augmented. Modestly sized but important small book giving an ‘Introduction to…’ different aspects of arms and armour have proved very popular with general visitors of all ages, and new titles are currently in preparation. Larger works, among them award-winning ones, include The Medieval Armour from Rhodes, by Thom Richardson and the late Walter J ‘Chip’ Karcheski, London Silver-hilted Swords, by Leslie Southwick, Eprouvettes, by RTW Kempers and Out of Nowhere, a study of military marksmanship (ie sniping), by Martin Pegler.
The Royal Armouries own journal, Arms & Armour, is populated by articles written by its own staff members but also regularly contains the results of high quality original research carried out by external authors.
Research is often applied too in the development of factual films. The Royal Armouries has long experience of preparing its own films on aspects of arms and armour, and made two very successful series called Arms in Action, each of five programmes, with the History Channel in the USA. It also provides information for those working on their own film projects, with subjects as diverse as an understanding of the use of the Egyptian war chariot to the effectiveness of a pistol used by the highwayman Dick Turpin. Films have helped our research since they have funded working reconstructions of early weapons. For example; work was carried out on reconstructing weapons from the Mary Rose, King Henry VIII’s flagship which sank off Spithead in 1545. Types of musket, longbow and artillery, both large and small, have been accurately reconstructed, tested and filmed under scientific conditions, producing illuminating evidence on the performance of military equipment of the 16th century. This has recently been featured in a BBC Timewatch programme.
The development of a serious interest in the subject of arms and armour in younger generations is also regarded as vitally important. Across its four UK sites (ie in Leeds, the National Firearms Centre, the Tower of London and at Fort Nelson) the Royal Armouries regularly provides support for students of all ages, by making specialist expertise available to researchers who visit the museum or who contact it remotely by telephone, letter or by e-mail. Students from schools and universities are welcome to use the library facilities and to have access to the staff’s expertise, and the museum is also part of the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) initiative to link research degree students to museums.
For centuries arms and armour was much more deeply embedded in everyday life than most people recognise, and research into the huge variety of topics its study offers help to make an increasingly wide audience more aware of its direct significance to them and their own interests.