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Full Version: Pteruges: leather and/or fabric?
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I suppose there are no archeological evidence of pteruges.<br>
They are usually recreated using leather, but the ones visible in the statue seems to be too much "soft", so they suggests fabric.<br>
Do you agree?<br>
<br>
<p></p><i></i>
LUca, I have argued this one before: Ptergues must have been made of something capable of providing some protection. They would not have been capable of protecting one from high energy type blows, but would have offered protection from the random cut, either caused by thrusting or slashing. <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

Why protection? Romans were as much subject to fashion as modern people are. Couldn't pteruges have been simply a fashion statement and nothing more? <p></p><i></i>
Quote:</em></strong><hr>Ptergues must have been made of something capable of providing some protection.<hr><br>
You mean like the apron?<br>
<br>
My pturiges will be from linen, albeit heavy and multi-layered.<br>
<br>
Valete,<br>
Valerius/Robert <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

Wer'ent they made from glued layers of linen to a thickness comparable to the Greek linen cuirasses?<br>
<br>
Jurgen/Quintilianus <p></p><i></i>
The converse of this argument is that the Romans were slaves to fashion and considered nothing for its practicality. <p></p><i></i>
Though leather seems the logical choice, and most reconstructions are made this way, regrettably, I don't think there is a scrap of achaeological evidence for it. When we think of all of the Roman leather that has been found, why isn't there a single object that suggests a pteruges strap?<br>
<br>
There is no question that at least some (and perhaps all?) pteruges were made of linen. Some statues are so detailed that even the texture of the cloth has been incised. Also, there is definate literary evidence that greek ptergues were made of fabric. This does not imply they were only decocrative however. The complete greek thorax armor was made of layers of linen, and was considered effective. The Conquistadors even adopted the lighter and more comfortable fabric armor of their aztec foes when it was seen that it was perfectly capable of stopping the aztec weapons shot and hurled at them.<br>
<br>
I wouldn't completely rule out leather, but there is no artifactual evidence to suggest it's use in pteruges. Sometimes seen in sculpture are rounded "lappets" that could be leather, and were placed between the metal cuirass and "linen?" pteruges, presumably to prevent their chaffing against the metal.<br>
<br>
Dan <p></p><i></i>
Thanks Dan, I agree with your observations.<br>
In addition, yesterday I was taking a look to the coloured Augustus (www.romanhideout.com/news...41119.asp)<br>
and I noticed that the pteruges seems to be very soft. I have some difficulties in consider them as leather, even if it is possible that very thin leather can have the same behaviour and appearance of fabric. <p></p><i></i>
Avete,<br>
<br>
How thick would pteruges be if they were exclusively made of linen ? Just two layers sewen together ? Or more ?<br>
<br>
How much would be too much ?<br>
<br>
I'd like to have some made very soon for my 2nd century impression .<br>
<br>
-Theo<br>
<br>
<p></p><i></i>
Luca,<br>
I agree that all of those used on high ranking officer cuirasses were probably fabric, though this does not negate their defensive qualities. Most bullet proof vests are also made of layers of fabric. I still think it possible that some of the pteruges depicted on provincial tombstones of rank and file legionaries and auxilliearies MAY have been leather. One reason why there may be no artifactual evidence is that the pteruges were made of a buff-type leather, which was commonly used as armor in later days, such as a "buff coat" of the English Civil War. This kind of leather seems to be much more perishable, and could explain why virtually no leather Roman pteruges were found, despite large quantities of other Roman leather military equipment.<br>
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Theo,<br>
Luca can probably confirm this, but I believe the prima porta as well as most muscle cuirass depictions show several layers of pteruges, I think as many as four on the prima porta. So despite the showiness of the ensemble, it would also offer fairly good protection.<br>
<br>
Dan <p></p><i></i>
Ave, Mr. Peterson.<br>
<br>
I was really clumsy in phrasing my question about the pteruges.<br>
<br>
I meant to ask about the thickness of each <em>individual</em> pteruge if they were made of linen. For example, many sew two layers of leather together and the stiching is visible on the edging of each pteruge.<br>
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Since linen is so thin, I was wondering how many layers of linen should be sewn together to create one pteruge strap.<br>
<br>
Sorry about that.<br>
<br>
-Theo <p></p><i></i>
Theo,<br>
We can only make a best guess through examining the best made, life size statues, and assume that the pteruges are also made to scale. Some then might be 3/16th to 1/4 inch thick. It is clear that the edges were folded over, forming a "frame" in many. This is another clear indication of being fabric, the folded over edges to prevent fraying. As Luca said, in many cases they seem to be vary soft and supple, so trial and error in reconstruction might be the solution, adding layers until they became either too thick or too stiff. One of my winter projects will probably be a set of linen pteruges, and I will post my conclusions.<br>
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Dan <p></p><i></i>
3/16 to 1/4 of an inch thick. Wow !<br>
<br>
If they were fabric, why assume linen? Could pteruges not just as easily have been made of wool or felt ?<br>
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With linen it would take several layers to achieve that thickness. But with wool it would take fewer.<br>
<br>
I'll try to get them made in December. Maybe we can compare notes.<br>
<br>
Vale.<br>
<br>
-Theo <p></p><i></i>
I am suggesting linen because we know the greek cuirass was linen, and it had integral pteruges. Of course, other types of cloth are a definate possibility as well. It should also be noted that the ptergues and other elements of the Prima Porta were painted in some quite wild and vivid colors. I think blue with red fringe, but will have to check my sources to be sure.<br>
<br>
Dan <p></p><i></i>
5th century BC Greek cuirasses were made of glued linen; their pteruges were stiff.<br>
Macedonian iron cuirasses had pliable pteruges with fringed ends. Especially the latter detail suggests to me that they were made of wool, rather than linen. <p>Greetings<br>
<br>
Rob Wolters</p><i></i>
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