Who were the Samurai?
The first samurai appeared in the 9th century and were originally people who protected high-ranking members of the imperial court. The name “samurai” comes from the verb saburau which means “to serve someone”. Later, when the power of the aristocracy weakened and society began to be dominated by warriors, the people who fought and led the battles were called samurai. During the Sengoku-jidai or Warring Kingdoms period that lasted from the late 15th century until the establishment of the Edo Shogunate in 1603, anyone could become a samurai through his service on the battlefields, regardless of birth. of the. During the Edo period, however, a rigid social system was created, separating people into peasants, merchants, etc. Under this system, the samurai were the upper class, and they ruled Japan.
As we know, a samurai was a warrior and they dominated all kinds of combat, although the use of swords (especially the katana) was their specialty. Katanas, the typical Japanese swords, used to measure about two feet and only have a single, razor-sharp edge. For a samurai, the katana was like his soul, but it was not the only weapon they used; samurai used the bow while riding, using the sword only for hand-to-hand combat. They had to use great skill since the bow had to be at the height of the rider's head and also, it was only possible to shoot from the left side and maintaining a 5º inclination, adding to the discomfort of the armor.
The position of a samurai always depended on his birth, his vassalage, his clan, and other social and military aspects. Not all samurai had the same consideration despite being on the same hierarchical level within Japanese society, but if they had something in common, it was that all of them were educated for war from childhood to dignify their ancestors.
The earliest known armors were made from several solid iron plates attached with leather straps. The armor was designed to be used by the infantry. The helmet had a visor to protect the eyes and a serrated surface to place feathers or any other type of decoration. The armor evolved over time until it reached the classic medieval armor model, the yoroi, in which not all the pieces were made of iron but it was still heavy, its weight was approximately 30 kgs.