Ελληνικά

Hellenic Armors - Katsikis Dimitris

Hellenic Armors

Ancient Greek Armors

The ancient Greek civilization is historically identified with the heroic era of Humanity. No other people in antiquity showed such an intense and continuous military activity as the ancient Greeks. The idealized model of heroic life and death deeply marked every aspect of society and its institutions affecting human societies till our days. Nowhere is the Greek’ warrior spirit so cleanly crystallized as in Homer's epics. The epic of Iliad is one long hymn to the martial values of Mycenaean society. Fearless warlords, mortals and demigods belted with copper and brass armors (khalkochitones, khalkeothorikes as mentioned in the poem) fought fiercely for the final victory and for eternal, immortal glory. The description of the new armor of Achilles alone occupies 140 lines (Iliad Σ,478-617) – created by the very hands of Hephaestus, it can only have divine / supernatural qualities. The epic narrative requires indeed that all central characters carry some kind of armor; Paris (Iliad, Γ,328-339), Ajax (Iliad Η,206-224), Agamemnon (Iliad Λ,16-44).

For Greeks, armors were linked inextricably to war fields and heroic glory to the extent that their absence implied even automatically lack of bravery and manliness (Iliad X,124-125). Objects of prestige and pride, emblems of high degree in the military and social hierarchy, insignia of aristocratic origin, symbols of power and wealth, signs of divine favor. Tailored exclusively to the physical dimensions of the holder, they were connected directly with issues of life and death of the Greek military castes that monopolized the battlefields from the 15th to the late 5th century.

Whether in the form of full-metal bell armor or complex linothorax, they can fairly be described as unique objects of high art, "life talismans” of wrought bronze and copper.