In medieval and Renaissance Europe, not all armor was made of metal plate. Mail armor also known as "Chainmail Armor", a mesh of interlinking metal rings sometimes erroneously referred to as "chain mail," probably originated over 3,000 years ago. It remained the dominant form of body armor from long before the Migration period (ca. 400–600) until well into the fourteenth century.
In western Europe, the development of plate armor for the body began in the thirteenth century and progressed throughout the fourteenth century. Aside from steel, plate armor was also made of leather, some of which was hardened by boiling in wax or oil (cuir bouilli). In addition to mail and plate armor, some European knights and men-at-arms wore armor made of fabric, many-layered and heavily quilted body armor known as agambeson (worn under mail and early plate armor), or a jupon (worn alone or over a mail shirt). During the fifteenth century, plate armor became the dominant form of protection, and by about 1500 had all but displaced mail and fabric armor or relegated them to secondary functions such as protecting the joints and easily exposed areas of the body. Nevertheless, in all times a complete armor invariably consisted of a mixture of different materials.