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Full Version: New Information on the Linothorax front? APA Meeting 2009
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Surveying the program of the upcoming American Philological Association (the foremost North American Classics association) meeting in Philadelphia on January 8 of next year, I came across this interesting entry:

Quote:1:30 P.M. – 4:00 P.M. SECTION 39 TBD
Linen in War and Drama: A Demonstration and Hands-On Workshop
Amy R. Cohen and Gregory S. Aldrete, Organizers
This workshop brings together two groups investigating practical uses of laminated linen in Greek
culture: in drama, where it is used for masks, and in war, where it forms body armor. In this innovative
form of APA workshop, first, each group will offer a traditional lecture summarizing their research.
Then, the Demonstration Session will provide an opportunity to inspect and wear various theater masks, a
linothorax, and test samples of armor. Finally, the Construction Session will offer step-by step, hands-on
instruction in the actual construction methods and even allow interested attendees to try them out
themselves.
1. Gregory S. Aldrete and Scott Bartell, University of Wisconsin–Green Bay
The Linothorax Project: Investigating the Construction and Protective Properties of Ancient Greek Linen Body Armor (15 mins.)

2. Amy R. Cohen and Brittany Stallings, Randolph College
Success in Ancient Original Practices: Constructing and Using Linen Dramatic Masks (15 mins.)
3. Demonstration Session: Interactive Display of Finished Masks and Armor and Demonstration of
Their Performance in the Theater and on the Battlefield (20 mins.)
4. Construction Session: A Hands-On, Step-by-Step Guide to Making Masks and Armor (60 mins.)

5. General Discussion and Further Demonstrations (30 mins.)
1:30

And the abstract:

Quote:Gregory S. ALDRETE and Scott BARTELL The Linothorax Project: Investigating the Construction and Protective Properties of Ancient Greek Linen Body Armor

One of the most common forms of protection used by both ancient Greek and Macedonian warriors was the linothorax, a type of body armor fashioned by laminating together layers of linen. While we know quite a lot about other types of ancient armor made from metal because specimens have been excavated, the linothorax remains something of a mystery since, due to the inherently perishable nature of its material, no examples have survived. Today, the linothorax is only known through literary descriptions and iconographic depictions in mosaics, vase paintings, and sculptural reliefs. Adding to its inscrutability is the fact that it is hard to imagine how something made of cloth could provide effective protection to its wearer. Despite this, it clearly thrived as a form of body protection for nearly 1,000 years and appears to have been the armor of choice for Alexander’s troops, certainly one of the most successful armies of the ancient world.

Our project explores this mystery. Basing our work on the available literary and artistic sources, we built several replicas of a linothorax. Also, employing only the materials and techniques that would have been available to the ancient Greeks and Macedonians, we constructed a number of sample patches using different possible combinations of fabrics, glues, thicknesses, and weave orientation. These patches were then subjected to a series of field tests to precisely determine how effective this armor would have been in protecting its wearer from common battlefield hazards, especially arrows. Our research suggests that the long reign of the linothorax on the ancient battlefield may be due to its surprising effectiveness as protection and to additional positive qualities that only emerge when it is worn.

In this unusual form of APA workshop, the initial presentation will summarize our project and its main findings in a traditional lecture format, the Demonstration Session will provide a firsthand opportunity to inspect a linothorax and to examine the test samples, and the Construction Session will illustrate the actual construction techniques and even allow interested attendees to try them out themselves.

Is anyone from the boards attending who could maybe pop into this demonstration? Even if no new evidence is presented, this could be a very interesting forum in which to discuss the matter (which is badly neglected in scholarly literature).

abou

Try this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ERSx1o8wwk

Not sure what exactly to think. I mean, I guess it was just one of those things where it only took someone to get around to testing it and willing to publish findings rather than some true work of genius. But hey, at least it's out there now.
If i remember rightly Scott Bartell emailed me about a year ago asking my opinions, which i happily gave and i heard no more, good to see they have been doing some research, it will be interesting to see!
I'll be at the meetings, and I'm going to try to stop by, but scheduling conflicts are always an issue... :roll:
The reference to linen masks is interesting. If they can prove that masks for dramas were made from glued cloth, that would make the "glued linen armour" idea slightly less unlikely. Hopefully we can learn more of the details!
Linen masks shouldnt be such a stretch as the Egyptians were used to using similar techniques in 'cartonage'
In "The Ancient City" Peter Connolly says that the dramatic masks were glued linen. I bet that's where he got the idea of glued linen armour!
As you might expect, I am rather skeptical of this type of 'research'. :wink:
It begins with an assumption, that glued linen body armour existed AT ALL, which to say the least is doubtful ( see RAT debates passim) - the few references we have are to Asiatic linen armour, which was more likely to be quilted than glued judging by the meagre evidence, and there is little/no evidence that it was worn generally by Greeks. When Plutarch( a Roman writer writing some 400 years later - but may have had references to earlier works now lost) refers to Alexander wearing one, it is a captured Persian one ( implying Greeks/Macedonians did not/could not make such things?? ...or just quilted ones??? ), and it is a "thickly quilted linen corselet" to boot.....
If Bartell et al were interested, as he states, in the armour of Alexander and his army, then perhaps they should have been testing quilted body armour. Worse still, the types of test carried out do not seem, to my mind at least, indicative of actual battle conditions and don't appear to be too scientific, but perhaps we will learn more if Dan is able to attend.
Furthermore, due to similar tests by re-enactors etc we already have a reasonable idea of the resistance/armour qualities of 15 layers ( why is that number so often referred to? Slavish copying?) of glued linen - but not using ancient glues, judging by this clip and descriptions of other peoples trials with glued linen.
Has anyone actually made a successful glued linen item using glues available to ancient Greeks?

Sean wrote:
Quote:In "The Ancient City" Peter Connolly says that the dramatic masks were glued linen. I bet that's where he got the idea of glued linen armour!
....on P.98 for those curious to look it up. But there's the rub, AFIK there are no surviving examples of ancient Greek theatrical masks either, so once again Connolly appears to be speculating on what they might have been made of......

The Alpha and Omega ( beginning and end) of the 'glued linen theory' is Peter Connolly. Smile D lol:
Paullus, Your arguments are as always pretty well spot on the money, the book in question is one that i have not come across. can somebody please post its details.
Thanks, Jason Smile ....the book in question is "The Ancient City - life in classical Athens and Rome " by Peter Connolly and Hazel Dodge, published in 1998 by Oxford University Press; ISBN 0-19-917242-0 ;256 pages. original price £30 sterling
The book falls into two halves about each city looking at architecture of Public buildings and houses, and the cities as a whole; down to daily life etc. Many building plans and lavishly illustrated by Connolly it is certainly among his best work and well worth having......
Quote:....on P.98 for those curious to look it up. But there's the rub, AFIK there are no surviving examples of ancient Greek theatrical masks either, so once again Connolly appears to be speculating on what they might have been made of......

From: "Some fifth-century masking conventions" CW Marshall - Greece and Rome, 1999

Quote:Masks were made of thin stuccoed linen, which makes them similar to, but sturdier than, modern papier mache masks.8 Construction and maintenance seems to have been the responsibility of the skeuopoios ('properties manager'?; cf. Knights 232). When not worn, there was a small loop at the crown of the head by which to hold the mask, which is evident in fifth-century vase painting.

8. Cf. T. B. L. Webster, Monuments Illustrating New Comedy, third edition rev. and enlarged by J. R. Green and A. Seeberg, BICS Supplement 50 (London, 1995), vol. 1, 3 for references, to which could be added Plato Comicus fr. 151 PCG (142 K) and Suda, s.v. Thespis (Walton, op. cit., 33). I disagree with Webster on the fragility of masks: cf. Green, 'Dedications of Masks', Revue Archeologique 1982, 237-48 and S. Halliwell, 'The Function and Aesthetics of the Greek Tragic Mask', Drama 2 (= Intertextualitdt in der griechisch-rimischen Komddie, ed. Niall W. Slater and Bernhard Zimmermann, Stuttgart, 1993), 195-211, at 202 and n. 22. It is possible but unlikely that cork, leather, and wood were occasionally used. It is very convenient to experiment with stuccoed linen today, because of its cheap availability from medical suppliers (where its intended purpose is making casts).

The "Stuccoe" here seems to be a starch paste as in paper mache. My biggest reservation to the glued linothorax is that there was no precursor to the technology, so this is perhaps a step in the right direction. That said, there is a big leap between the paper mache-like characteristic of these masks and what has been reconstructed as armor.
Quote:As you might expect, I am rather skeptical of this type of 'research'. :wink:
Me too. Largely due to Jason's convincing arguments and the long discussion we all had on RAT last(?) year.
Quote:When Plutarch( a Roman writer writing some 400 years later - but may have had references to earlier works now lost) refers to Alexander wearing one, it is a captured Persian one ( implying Greeks/Macedonians did not/could not make such things?? ...or just quilted ones??? ), and it is a "thickly quilted linen corselet" to boot.....
When Alexander is seriously wounded after scaling the walls of a town he is wearing metal armour. When Darius' wife mistakes Hephaistion for Alexander both men are likely wearing expensive metallic armour.
Quote:If Bartell et al were interested, as he states, in the armour of Alexander and his army, then perhaps they should have been testing quilted body armour. Worse still, the types of test carried out do not seem, to my mind at least, indicative of actual battle conditions and don't appear to be too scientific
Agreed

Quote:Has anyone actually made a successful glued linen item using glues available to ancient Greeks?
IIRC Jason has done some work in this area including combing the sources looking for possible references to glue. I'm looking forward to seeing his research published.

Quote:The Alpha and Omega ( beginning and end) of the 'glued linen theory' is Peter Connolly. Smile D lol:
As soon as you make a reconstructiuon out of quilted layers and discover that it can be just as rigid as glued lamination then Connolly's sole reason for proposing glue is negated. I think I helped convinced Paul B. by asking him to look at modern kendo armour.

Heh. Maybe it is an Aussie conspiracy considering the location of the three of us Wink
Quote:I think I helped convinced Paul B. by asking him to look at modern kendo armour.

Unless of course I am addressing Paullus, then they are all leather spolas :wink:

But if anyone doubts that quilting can be made very stiff, the high quality kendo armour should put that to rest.
Paul B. wrote:
Quote:Unless of course I am addressing Paullus, then they are all leather spolas :wink:

...LOL! :lol: :lol: I know this was meant as a joke, but there ARE those out there who doubtless consider me a 'leather nut', but this is solely because I have had to argue an 'un-orthodox' viewpoint, so just for the record I'll summarise my position once more:-

1. The evidence for the material of the Hoplite's Tube-and-Yoke Corselet is meagre and scanty at best.

2.On balance of probability, the evidence would seem to indicate Corselets of mainland Greek states, and probably Macedonia too, were likely made of leather, often metal scale re-inforced, but need not necessarily have been.

3.Surviving examples/fragments from contemporary cultures who also used the Tube-and-Yoke Corselet, and who practised inhumation with arms, such as the Thracians and Scythians, are invariably leather

4.It is likely that Linen Tube-and-Yoke corselets co-existed with leather ones.There are a few contemporary references to 'linen thorakes' and similar, but these are invariably associated with Persians/Anatolia. There are a number of clues ( e.g. the Alexander mosaic and Plutarch) that indicate that these followed the Tube-and-Yoke pattern, but were made of quilted linen. No evidence of these has survived in archaeology, AFIK.

5. AFIK, the hypothesis that Hoplite Tube-and-Yokes were made of glued layers of linen originated with Peter Connolly, but there is no evidence as such to support this.

All the above rests on the meagre evidence currently existing, and could be altered by the discovery of further evidence.

Dan Howard wrote:
Quote:When Alexander is seriously wounded after scaling the walls of a town he is wearing metal armour. When Darius' wife mistakes Hephaistion for Alexander both men are likely wearing expensive metallic armour.

I personally don't doubt that Alexander had several Cuirasses/Corselets available to him - he is shown in the famous Alexander mosaic wearing a typical Greek Tube-and-Yoke re-inforced with scales for example. The 'Philip tomb' also apparently contained fittings/decayed organic matter from another/other corselets ( than the surviving intact iron one) BTW, I have not seen a full description of ALL the contents of the 'Philip' tomb, especially a description/catalogue of arms/armour.....if there is such a thing, and someone has access to it, or the official reports, I'd love to hear from you !! Smile D
Paullus greetings , do you have images of any modern reproduction leather corselets most interested 8)
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