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Linothorax construction with alternative fabric
#1
I was wondering if anyone on here had any input on potentially creating a linothorax with layers of alternative cloth, say duck cloth (as it is a far less expensive fabric) and then covering it with a single layer of linen for the authentic look.
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#2
Linen makes good armour because it has a high tensile strength. Using inferior materials will compromise its ability to act as armour. If you just want a costume that looks like Greek armour then you can make it from anything you like.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#3
(06-21-2016, 08:34 AM)Dan Howard Wrote: Linen makes good armour because it has a high tensile strength. Using inferior materials will compromise its ability to act as armour. If you just want a costume that looks like Greek armour then you can make it from anything you like.
Thanks for the reply! As an archaeology student I want more than just a costume, however the student status tends to limit my budget for reconstruction. I've read that there's some debate over leather or linen usage in Greek armor, do you believe there might be a remote possibility that leather and linen were used to compliment each other?
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#4
The only time leather is used in conjunction with textiles is when it is a cover. These covers are very thin and used for decoration and/or to protect the cloth from moisture - not to enhance its ability to stop weapons.

What little evidence we have about Greek organic armour suggests that it was made from leather, not linen. All of the textual evidence for textile armour during the time in question is for foreigners using linen, not Greeks.

Here is an earlier thread on this subject
http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/thread-24134.html
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#5
(06-22-2016, 09:00 AM)Dan Howard Wrote: The only time leather is used in conjunction with textiles is when it is a cover. These covers are very thin and used for decoration and/or to protect the cloth from moisture - not to enhance its ability to stop weapons.

What little evidence we have about Greek organic armour suggests that it was made from leather, not linen. All of the textual evidence for textile armour during the time in question is for foreigners using linen, not Greek




Here is an earlier thread on this subject
http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/thread-24134.html

Thank you again for the advice! My final question is how were the shoulder portions of the armor and the torso portions likely attached? I see no external clues in examples of the armor as to how they were secured. Any ideas?
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#6
Greek tube and yoke armour was likely made of leather, not linen, so there isn't much point speculating on how linen shoulders may have been attached. If the Greeks used linen armour, it may not have been made in the tube and yoke style.

Have a look at Matt's page if you want to make a leather one
http://www.larp.com/hoplite/greekarmor.html
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#7
(06-23-2016, 01:24 AM)Eben Crawford Wrote:
(06-22-2016, 09:00 AM)Dan Howard Wrote: The only time leather is used in conjunction with textiles is when it is a cover. These covers are very thin and used for decoration and/or to protect the cloth from moisture - not to enhance its ability to stop weapons.

What little evidence we have about Greek organic armour suggests that it was made from leather, not linen. All of the textual evidence for textile armour during the time in question is for foreigners using linen, not Greek




Here is an earlier thread on this subject
http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/thread-24134.html

Thank you again for the advice! My final question is how were the shoulder portions of the armor and the torso portions likely attached? I see no external clues in examples of the armor as to how they were secured. Any ideas?

Eben, we actually have a TON of evidence that ancient armor was made from linen. There are a loud minority of folks that have a strong desire to wish away the dozens of references to linen armor from ancient sources. Any serious scholar recognizes the myriad of literary references to linen armor. It existed in the ancient world despite a few bad apples suggesting it didn't.
Scott B.
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#8
(07-20-2016, 03:43 PM)rocktupac Wrote: Eben, we actually have a TON of evidence that ancient armor was made from linen. There are a loud minority of folks that have a strong desire to wish away the dozens of references to linen armor from ancient sources. Any serious scholar recognizes the myriad of literary references to linen armor. It existed in the ancient world despite a few bad apples suggesting it didn't.
Although I am slightly on the linen side it is NOT because of any published evidence, there isn't any, and yes I have the book by Aldrete and have even communicated with some of his students. Those who are on the leather side are NOT bad apples just because they disagree with me and frankly the majority of serious scholars are NOT convinced that linen, especially glued linen, was used as the evidence is so scant. Most simply say, "we don't know." Other than Prof. Aldrete, who I respect, I don't know anyone else out there saying it was linen.
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#9
I appreciate the reply, but I am the co-author of the linen armor book with Greg Aldrete, and there are a great number of academics who are convinced linen armor was a 'thing' in the ancient world and used extensively by numerous cultures. Even if we ignore all the modern scholarship, there are dozens of references from ancient authors which talk about linen armor. Glued, quilted, stitched together -- we don't know, that is correct. But the fact is, linen armor existed. There isn't even an argument.
Scott B.
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#10
Nobody has ever said that linen armour was not used in the ancient world. The contention is how common it was amongst Greek phalangites and whether it was ever made using glue.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#11
Ah right Scott, the co-author, I keep forgetting. We are sort of on the same side of this discussion and my friend Dan (definitely not a bad apple) is just one of many on the other side to one degree or another. Professor Aldrete has certainly been raked over the coals here on this forum, but that's how it goes when an academic introduces an idea that others do not agree with, and I'm sure he's not losing sleep over it. Some of the attacks have indeed been silly, while others have been serious and have broadened the debate. 

Glued linen was common enough in the Ancient Mediterranean world as I think every mummy mask was some sort of glued linen and the practice continued well into the period when glued linen body armor could (I said could) have been used by the Greeks. It can be quite sturdy I'm told by conservators at the Penn Museum where they have many. If you have some unpublished definitive proof that glued linen armor was made and used by the Greeks there is nobody more than me that would like to hear it.

I have not been able to find any serious academic who will state in public that the Greeks used glued linen body armor, but that does not mean there are none. I would very interested in who else supports this idea and why?

So where does the discussion go? For me it goes East to Gordian in Turkey. I've just read From Minos to Midas, Ancient Cloth Production in the Aegean and in Anatolia by Brendan Burke, Oxbow Books 2010. The Penn Museum, where I volunteer, has been digging at Gordian for something like 60 years and not much from it seems has been made available to the public, like some large textile artifacts. The book discusses linen production at Gordian and insinuates that it was relatively large scale, even industrial, rather than a cottage industry. Could Anatolia, specifically Phrygia, be the source of the large amounts of linen sheet required to make the thousands of sets of body armor needed for centuries by the unruly Greeks? Bronze was undeniably an important military commodity for the Greeks and all that tin and copper was imported so the idea of having to import such is feasible.

Just because it could have come from Phrygia in the amounts needed may not be enough to convince skeptics, some of whom point to a lack of evidence of flax production on the scale required as evidence arguing against linen body armor.

So, until we find undeniably Mainland Greek glued linen armor artifacts (need not be found in Greece) or a very clear ancient text directly discussing glued linen armor from the time we think it was used there will always be doubts. 

It's that search for certainty again.
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#12
(07-21-2016, 04:57 AM)Creon01 Wrote: Ah right Scott, the co-author, I keep forgetting. We are sort of on the same side of this discussion and my friend Dan (definitely not a bad apple) is just one of many on the other side to one degree or another. Professor Aldrete has certainly been raked over the coals here on this forum, but that's how it goes when an academic introduces an idea that others do not agree with, and I'm sure he's not losing sleep over it. Some of the attacks have indeed been silly, while others have been serious and have broadened the debate. 

Glued linen was common enough in the Ancient Mediterranean world as I think every mummy mask was some sort of glued linen and the practice continued well into the period when glued linen body armor could (I said could) have been used by the Greeks. It can be quite sturdy I'm told by conservators at the Penn Museum where they have many. If you have some unpublished definitive proof that glued linen armor was made and used by the Greeks there is nobody more than me that would like to hear it.

I have not been able to find any serious academic who will state in public that the Greeks used glued linen body armor, but that does not mean there are none. I would very interested in who else supports this idea and why?

So where does the discussion go? For me it goes East to Gordian in Turkey. I've just read From Minos to Midas, Ancient Cloth Production in the Aegean and in Anatolia by Brendan Burke, Oxbow Books 2010. The Penn Museum, where I volunteer, has been digging at Gordian for something like 60 years and not much from it seems has been made available to the public, like some large textile artifacts. The book discusses linen production at Gordian and insinuates that it was relatively large scale, even industrial, rather than a cottage industry. Could Anatolia, specifically Phrygia, be the source of the large amounts of linen sheet required to make the thousands of sets of body armor needed for centuries by the unruly Greeks? Bronze was undeniably an important military commodity for the Greeks and all that tin and copper was imported so the idea of having to import such is feasible.

Just because it could have come from Phrygia in the amounts needed may not be enough to convince skeptics, some of whom point to a lack of evidence of flax production on the scale required as evidence arguing against linen body armor.

So, until we find undeniably Mainland Greek glued linen armor artifacts (need not be found in Greece) or a very clear ancient text directly discussing glued linen armor from the time we think it was used there will always be doubts. 

It's that search for certainty again.

I wasn't bragging or boasting, just stating I co-wrote the book, have worked with Aldrete, and continue to work with him on a number of projects -- just stating a fact. That was a totally uncalled for and uncouth comment.

And 'bad apples' are those who spread falsehoods about a certain topic; nothing personal, they just shouldn't be doing it when, as you say, we simply do not know. Also, as I've said before, both Aldrete and I are not 100% convinced that glued armor was the only thing or the major thing. Again, we simply don't know. But to say it didn't exist is wrong as well.

I have nothing against Dan. It is clear he is a very intelligent and knowledgeable individual, and in his heart he is a historian with a desire to seek answers and find the truth in things. I apologize for not being clear in my wording and for misspeaking, I shouldn't have insinuated he was a bad apple.

I really do appreciate any responses and all the help that comes from this forum. Truly, I am grateful for the knowledge everyone shares.
Scott B.
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#13
(07-21-2016, 05:36 PM)rocktupac Wrote: Also, as I've said before, both Aldrete and I are not 100% convinced that glued armor was the only thing or the major thing. Again, we simply don't know. But to say it didn't exist is wrong as well.
Great!  Then why don't you give us one piece of evidence that glued linen armour existed before Peter Connolly made his first piece?  I sure could not find any in your book, but archaeologists and papyrologists are always finding new things.

Cartonnage mummy masks are not glued linen armour.  References to "linen cuirasses" are not evidence for glued linen armour.  Paintings of smooth, white cuirasses are not evidence for glued linen armour.  A fragment of a glued linen cuirass in a Thracian tomb would be evidence for glued linen armour. A joke about an armourer's glue-pot in a fragment of Menander would be evidence for glued linen armour.  A recipe for how to make some in a Mughal tailor's notebook would be evidence for glued linen armour.
Nullis in verba

I left this forum around the beginning of 2013, but I hope that these old posts have some value
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#14
(07-24-2016, 10:40 AM)Sean Manning Wrote: Great!  Then why don't you give us one piece of evidence that glued linen armour existed before Peter Connolly made his first piece?  I sure could not find any in your book, but archaeologists and papyrologists are always finding new things.

Cartonnage mummy masks are not glued linen armour.  References to "linen cuirasses" are not evidence for glued linen armour.  Paintings of smooth, white cuirasses are not evidence for glued linen armour.  A fragment of a glued linen cuirass in a Thracian tomb would be evidence for glued linen armour. A joke about an armourer's glue-pot in a fragment of Menander would be evidence for glued linen armour.  A recipe for how to make some in a Mughal tailor's notebook would be evidence for glued linen armour.

You're very much misunderstanding my comment. The fact is, we do not know if glued armor existed or did not exist. This isn't an argument that it did. But to proclaim glued armor did not exist would be to say something we do not truly know.

Herodotus talks about wrapping Egyptian mummies in strips of linen that were laden with resin/gum, which Herodotus notes that they use instead of glue (2.86). Gluing linen strips together in a wrap was thus common for someone like Herodotus. Appian writes about garments of linen being used to disrupt the flight of arrows (Mithridatic Wars 11.74). Cloth used to stop arrows. Pliny mentions glues. Polybius (6.23) describes the Roman shield's laminate construction. Turnus had a seven-layered shield in the Aeneid (12.925).

Again, I am not saying any of this is indisputable proof for glued armor. And these references are, admittedly, circumstantial and weak in an argument for glued armor. But, the knowledge is there, the technology is there, the tools and supplies are there. I would love for a piece of glued linen armor to be discovered in a tomb, but I am not holding my breath. Linen, if not cared for or kept in the wrong environment, will begin to decompose in as little as two weeks ("Biodegradation of Textile Materials," 2011, The Swedish School of Textile Materials). So if something is discovered it would be a miracle. But to fight so voraciously against even entertaining the idea or the possible concept of something just doesn't seem too scientific or thorough.

I think we all need to relax a little and be open to what may come. I'm not looking for certainty, I'm not looking for black and white answers. I'm open to ideas and if there is even the smallest amount of evidence for something, then I am open to investigating that further. I'm not going to discount anything if there is a sliver of chance.
Scott B.
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#15
We already know how linen armour was made. We have examples from all over the world covering a period of around three thousand years. The method of construction was very similar in all of those examples. The primary criticism of your book is that you never bothered to look at any of these before embarking on your project.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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