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defensive armor made of interlinked iron rings. The most important part was a shirt (the hauberk), usually with short sleeves; a camail made of chain mail completed the combat headgear, consisting of the helmet and a hood. Leggings and gloves of iron rings were also made for combat. Chain mail was light and flexible enough to make the warrior quite mobile.
The first examples of chain mail date from the first millennium B.C. in Assyria. Later it was widespread in the Orient, especially Iran and the neighboring countries, and in the basin of the Mediterranean Sea, including ancient Rome and the northern littoral of the Black Sea (the Sarmatians). During the Crusades chain mail became widespread in Western Europe. In Russia chain mail was the main type of defensive armor, and many examples have been found in burial mounds from the tenth century (Gnezdovo mounds and the Black Grave). Chain mail was made by special artisans. In the late 17th century, because of the widespread use and improvement of firearms, chain mail fell out of use.