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Leather Cuirass
#1
Hello,

I've been scouring the Internet for some information on Greek armor, and this looked like the place to go, so I thought I'd ask a quick question:

I have seen a few reproductions of a "Greek Leather Cuirass" being sold by online retailers. For example, this one and this one.

Was such an item of armor ever actually used, and if so, are these even vaguely accurate recreations? Or would leather armor be more similar in form to the linothorax?

I know that Victor Davis Hanson's The Western Way of War does give a brief mention of "lighter versions" of armor appearing in the 5th century BC, made of "bronze or even leather and fabric" (Chapter 6, under the section about the breastplate). What I'm not clear on is whether this is just a reference to the linothorax, or to two separate types of armor: one of leather, and one of fabric.

I generally don't trust the retailers' descriptions of the history and accuracy of their product, and all of the reenactment sites I've seen don't seem to mention much about leather armor, so I thought I'd present the question here.

Thanks,
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#2
There is nothing to suggest that classical Greeks ever wore leather armour. All the evidence points to linen only. The cuirass in the link you posted is completely fanciful. There is a mention of leather armour in the Iliad but IMO the most likely method of construction for this would be scale armour not a solid cuirass. It is also anachronistic by at least 500 years and cannot be used as a source for the Classical period.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#3
Agree with Dan.
There is only edjucated guesses and speculation about leather armor in Classical Greece.

Except Homer, some Bronze Age Tyrins frescoes give indication about leather armor but this too is speculative and non-cclassic period.


Kind regards.
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#4
Thanks for the quick replies. With that information, plus a second look at Hanson's quote with my Grammar Thinking Cap on, I think the ambiguity is resolved. It seems pretty clear that he was referring to a single type of armor possibly having both fabric and leather components--presumably the "linothorax," although he doesn't use the word specifically--rather than two separate armor types, one of leather and one of linen.

Thanks again,
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#5
There is no evidence to suggest that any leather was used in the construction of the linothorax.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#6
The only leather i have ever come across is backing for scaled armour.

Jason
"History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again." Maya Angelou
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#7
Yeah. Me too. The leather isn't heavy enough to offer any protection by itself. It is simply a foundation for the scales.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#8
There are metal cuirasses available, if you're actually interested in acquiring one. I have found a source at bargain prices, but I want to go and view the thing before I make any judgement.
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#9
Two statues both from Afea Aegina and of same time frame with colours scientificaly reconstructed.
Bronze cuirass:
http://s160.photobucket.com/albums/t178 ... 0001-1.jpg
Skin or hide cuirass:
http://s160.photobucket.com/albums/t178 ... _A0002.jpg
It has a buff colour like 17th century buff!
I do not advocate that skin or leather was predominant but neither was ahistorical either.

Kind regards
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#10
I still maintain that it is impossible to tell what material an item is made from simply by looking at the colour on an illustration or figurine.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#11
I respect your reservations Dan.
The reconstructions were not just artistic impressions but the product of phasmatoscopic analysis from the German museums. I trust that these people knew what they were doing.
Actually bronze cuirasses and linothorakes were reconstructed in the colours we know them. And the ancient artist tried to represent the different types of armor.
I should have taken pictures of other items like shoes reconstructed in the same color. Some statues considered barefoot actually had the shoes painted on their feet!

Kind regards
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#12
Why can't it be a flesh colour, intended to actually represent a male torso in colour and not just shape?

Anatomical cuirass, and all that.
TARBICvS/Jim Bowers
A A A DESEDO DESEDO!
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#13
I took very bad photo Jim but there are pteruges extending from the buff "jerkin".

Kind regards
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#14
What always confused me in some later hellenistic or roman sculptures of warriors,emperors etc wearing the muscled cuirass is that it seems to follow the lines of the body,I mean bending slightly to the left and things like that that make it seem more like a torso,like Tarbicus said,than a metal thing.Actually,it's so tight to the body that only the pteruges suggest it's a thorax. Even if it was leather(and I don't believe so),it wouldn't be so "elastic"
Khairete
Giannis
Giannis K. Hoplite
a.k.a.:Giannis Kadoglou
a.k.a.:Thorax
[Image: -side-1.gif]
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#15
Well after the Anitkesammeliung phasmatoscopic reconstruction I saw some examples of the Vatican´s collection on the internet.
There are exmples of roman emeprors with bronze decortation on white "soft" material All evidence point to some form of "synthetic" armor even hide.
And as I said, I do not believe it was widespread but it existed.
Kind regards
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