Chainmail is a superb type of light armour. The earliest examples of surviving chainmail armour were found in the Carpathian Basin at a burial in Horný Jatov, Slovakia dated at 3rd century B.C.E., and in a chieftain's burial located in Ciumești, Romania. Its invention is commonly credited to the Celts, but there are examples of Etruscan pattern mail dating from at least the 4th century B.C.E.. Mail may have been inspired by the much earlier scale armour. Mail spread to North Africa, West Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, India, Tibet, South East Asia, and Japan. Herodotus wrote that the ancient Persians wore scale armour, but Chainmail is also distinctly mentioned in the Avesta, the ancient holy scripture of the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism that was founded by the prophet Zoroaster in the 5th century B.C.E..
Medieval armourers improved on the early version by fabricating mail independent of cloth or leather and by interlacing the rings, which were firmly closed by welding or riveting. In earlier versions, such as that worn by Charlemagne in a representation of 773, the shirt, or coat, was short, with a separate sleeve for the sword arm. In later models, such as those depicted in the Bayeux tapestry (1066), the coat was long, fully sleeved, and divided to facilitate horseback riding. A hood, usually fitting under a helmet, covered the head and neck. A padded undergarment was worn to protect against bruises. By the 12th century, mail was fitted to feet and legs, and to hands in the form of mittens or gauntlets. Mail continues to be used in the 21st century as a component of stab-resistant body armour, cut-resistant gloves for butchers and woodworkers, shark-resistant wetsuits for defense against shark bites, and a number of other applications. In the Principality of the Northern Forests it is worn by Police and Royal Guards as well as members of the Royal Family.
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