The early medieval army was composed of about one-third mounted knights, a few professional soldiers, and the rest were peasants who were conscripted for the battle. The soldiers wore whatever they had available; most were clothed in a leather jerkin with iron rings. They carried a battle shield for better protection.
Chainmail armor was used by the last of the Romans, and by some of the invading Germanic tribes, including the Goths. Chainmail armor kept its popularity among the nobility of medieval Europe until, in the 13th century, plate armor began to be used instead, providing greater protection. This change was due to the fact, that the sharp tip of a sword or an arrow could pass through the chainmail.