Ελληνικά

Hellenic Armors - Katsikis Dimitris

Hellenic Armors

Ancient Greek Armors

Heavy Type Full-Metal Linothorax with Copper Plates and Scales

5th B.C.

Linothorax is an archaeological mystery that remains today an open question. What makes its reconstruction a problem is the fact that there is currently no sufficient literary and archaeological evidence to guide us to a safe reproduction. As revealed by the etymology of the word, linothorax was a kind of defensive armor whose main material was linen cloth. Existing sources from which we can draw disparate information are primarily of artistic and literary nature. Illustrations of linothoraces of various typologies are detected in the hundreds of red and black-figure vases, the incidence of which culminates in the artistic representations of the 5th BC century.

The present experimental linothorax reconstruction is inspired by a red-figure vase of Classical period. Over 40 m2 of linen fabric were used to form the inner layer upon which there have been properly fixed 14 bronze plates of 2 mm thickness and about 700 bronze scales that cover the epaulets and waist strips. For greater protection, the chest area has been invested with an additional bronze plate. The fastening system of the linothorax on body consists of six fastening points, two over the chest and four on the left side of the abdomen. It offers great flexibility and high levels of protection. The overall weight of the thorax is 13 kg

A pair of bronze anatomical cuisses (in conjunction with the scale waist strips) ensures high protection for thighs covering their front and exterior sides. The attachment is achieved with leather straps that secure the cuisses both in the vertical and horizontal axis. The vertical stability is ensured by leather straps attached to the hoplite’s waist with the help of a leather belt worn under the thorax. The simultaneous presence of cuisses and waist strips does not impede the hoplite’s mobility.

The greaves are made from single-piece copper plates, follow the archaic anatomical and decoration line and come without straps. They are stabilized on legs with the help of leather "pads" attached to the ankles, as the lateral mechanical support provided by their walls alone is insufficient for an effective use. The combination of greaves and cuisses render the legs almost invulnerable from enemy attacks and gives them a statue-like general appearance. The sole of the hoplite is partially protected by a peculiar type of simplistic leather sandal that covers up to the sensitive area of the arch, leaving the rest of the hardened foot exposed.

A bronze bracelet protects the area between the right wrist and elbow.

The helmet, of Corinthian type, is a composite construction. Unlike most Corinthian helmets, the dome of the shell consists of dozens of bronze scales that form a compact structure providing great protection for the head. Decorative elements are added to the front (bronze wreath with relief) and sides (Griffins). The leather visor just above the eye openings serves for shading from strong sunlight and concealing the hoplite’s look.

The scabbard is made of leather and is positioned to the left side of the soldier, attached to the body with a leather baldric worn across the right shoulder.

The whole set provides a plausible picture of a heavily armed soldier of the early 5th BC century.