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Questions about Hellenistic Greek Thureophoros impression; in need of some advice.
#1
Hello all!   I've been long considering, among the handful of impressions I would like to successfully deliver, one of them would be a hellenistic thureophoros.  A soldier, be it the lighter, flexible Thureophoroi or the heavy, often mailed or cuirassed, Thorakitai.  As is what seems to be the defining factor of many Greek named soldier types, the shield I think would be the defining factor of the thureophoros/thorakitai, just as elsewhere the peltastai, argyraspidai, hypaspistai, etc.

So, regarding this shield.. it seems, from all I've seen, roughly identical to many designs utilized by Celts, Thrakians and Dacians, and even Iberians before Greeks. Though it seems it might have been brought to Greek by Celtic invasion in the 270's, or introduced with Pyrrhus' incasion of Italy in 280, appearing in the successor armies later on, with Seleucids using them by the 220's, Achaeans, Anatolians, Boeotians, with a deposit being found at Corinth dating to 250 BC.

I have yet to get my hands on a proper book regarding these troop types, but I've read these sites as basic resources: http://www.larp.com/hoplite/othergreeks.html , http://lukeuedasarson.com/Iphikrates1.html .  It seems as though the thureos itself could be on the larger side, on the smaller side, of moderate size..  may have been dished?  Had different metal boss types or perhaps only the wooden spine, and may have varied a bit in shape, (I should think rectangular, and ovoid types).  One thing I'm curious about, and this is just a brainstorm based on a modern image of it, but that's whether or not such a shield, perhaps a particularly heavier variant, (say in use by thorakitai or line hoplites post-reform), would have potentially had a widened inner wooden rim, much in the same way the Greek aspis had, though perhaps not as wide.

I got the idea from this particular piece of art. https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-YSdsx...phoroi.jpg A pity I don't know the artist, but it depicts ptolemaic thureophoroi I believe. The man on the left's shield appears to have a thickened, white inner rim, which while as far as I know is very unusual to thureoi-type shields, I can only imagine would be as strongly beneficial to the structure of such a shield as it would the aspis. The aspis having such a substantially re-inforced inner rim, which would probably reduce the chance of it being split down in two from hacking strikes. I imagine this would offer a heavier thureos much greater protection from being split, moreso than a thin bronze or iron band around the rim would, I imagine.

Would it be wise to suggest such a build in a modern re-creation?    Moreover, while I think it is understood that such shields were made of vertical planks bent and glued together, would it even be feasible to create such a widened, flattened inner rim system for a thureos? (Such as this, if you'll forgive me hasty post-it note drawing! - https://scontent-iad3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t...e=58D117CA ) Perhaps the rim would have to be made separately, as it is in some methods in creating the aspis?


A separate question I have, if I haven't already talked anyone's ears off, would be what kind of helmets a thureophoroi/thorakitai of the Greek mainland would use.. I see them very frequently depicted with this style of helmet, (the name of which actually eludes me), but I am uncertain whether this was more popular in the East, as these images appear to be of soldiers under ptolemaic rule, with the intention of the impression being Greek, I'm not sure if it'd be appropriate. - http://i.imgur.com/O1LShbm.jpg


Thank you very much in advance, for your time and consideration.
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#2
Oh, allow me to correct that doodle of mine, it's technically incorrect. It should still look like this from the side and top view. https://puu.sh/uS4ju.jpg

(This is the attached file - https://puu.sh/uSgvm.png )  I am thinking of shooting for something of that size, which would cover me roughly from chin to just an inch or two below the knee when gripped about exactly at waist height.  I do intend for it to be a slightly more substantial variant than is typically seen, either for a relatively up-armored thureophoroi, or for a thorakitai impression.


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#3
Hello, After reading this post i couldn't help but ask if this project became a reality. I had always assumed that the Celtic version was larger than the Greek version (an assumption based on artwork/scale), and the shield being dished is a question of of ease of production. Flat shields being less demanding to produce, and dished being mostly an exception.(If you can make it in a dished manner.. why not?) of coarse this is all again.. my assumption after thumbing around a little bit in my free time. I've constructed a Celtic "flat" style shield myself, and when it was all said and done it was one of my quickest/ cheapest projects i've ever attempted. (no curving, sanding, or fitting needed.) the most labor intensive part was the spine/boss. I'm in the middle of working on a samnite style shield, and i'm starting to come back to the flat/dished/curved question because of the plethora of art work and the lack of physical evidence. I would love to see someone take on the dished approach. ill include some shots of my first attempt at this shield (I know acrylics are a no no but we all have to start somewhere!) the shield weighs around 8 pounds.. heavier than i would have liked it to be.. but it was my first crack at it.

   

   
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#4
(09-07-2017, 09:40 PM)Combatrobert Wrote: Hello, After reading this post i couldn't help but ask if this project became a reality. I had always assumed that the Celtic version was larger than the Greek version (an assumption based on artwork/scale), and the shield being dished is a question of of ease of production. Flat shields being less demanding to produce, and dished being mostly an exception.(If you can make it in a dished manner.. why not?) of coarse this is all again.. my assumption after thumbing around a little bit in my free time. I've constructed a Celtic "flat" style shield myself, and when it was all said and done it was one of my quickest/ cheapest projects i've ever attempted. (no curving, sanding, or fitting needed.) the most labor intensive part was the spine/boss. I'm in the middle of working on a samnite style shield, and i'm starting to come back to the flat/dished/curved question because of the plethora of art work and the lack of physical evidence. I would love to see someone take on the dished approach. ill include some shots of my first attempt at this shield (I know acrylics are a no no but we all have to start somewhere!) the shield weighs around 8 pounds.. heavier than i would have liked it to be.. but it was my first crack at it.


Hello there. It's been a bit of time and some life changes since then, but I am indeed the same user to have posted this thread.  First of all, 8 pounds isn't too bad!  Nothing compared to my 25 pound aspis, or as some measure, the near twenty-pound curved roman rectangular scutum!

Unfortunately, I have to report that as of yet, I have not pushed that project toward fruition for monetary reasons. However, I absolutely do plan to! I spoke with the armorer whom will be creating the piece, and I was given rough estimate for the price. Indeed I am determined to try out a curved thureos shield of a slightly larger size. I plan on it being a shield I could use for both Thureophoroi and Thorakitai impressions.

Regarding the thureos, sizes, weighting, and so on, are you speaking particularly of them being used in the Greek theater/by Greeks, or by the Celts et al?  When curious about the thureos in the Greek theater, I have time and again been referenced to this page, (and perhaps more specifically, page 2), which seems to be a pretty decent source for the matter.

http://lukeuedasarson.com/Iphikrates1.html

I did look at what imagery I could find on it, and there is precious, precious scant imagery as far as I can tell. Perhaps a little less likely for thureophoroi, but moreso for the thorakitai, whose role was indeed differing from the former in that they wore armor and as such would be heavier to start with, (following what others all too willingly consider a direct Romanization), and as such would probably be willing to bear with a little extra weight for t heavier shield in having one that covers them better, so it's possible those troop types might have a wider variation, and perhaps a slightly taller one too.

First, I'll post what historical imagery I could find regarding them. I'm not aware of the origin of each of these, but here's what I have:

https://imgur.com/RKtjvKt

https://imgur.com/CvrylHc

https://imgur.com/dolTAza (Thureomachia, a Greek sport of fighting with sword and thureos)

https://imgur.com/KiJi9ec

https://imgur.com/bG83XZ0

https://imgur.com/lgItmzn

https://imgur.com/YYhR46b (This MIGHT be from a Celtic mercenary serving in Egypt)

https://imgur.com/GV2lkoj (And this one's important, which I will reference later.)

https://imgur.com/QSQs9fi

https://imgur.com/nAMWOvF (Definitely a galatian)

https://imgur.com/GUrxRvL And THIS is really the image that gives me the most pause in thinking they were all especially miniature little things. It's no small shield what reaches the shoulder from sitting on the ground.


I did create two rather basic, crude cardboard mockups of two variations of thureoi. The first of which was based upon that last image. Held up such that the handle is where it is on the ancient image, the top reaches roughly my brow, the bottom ends roughly just above where thigh meets knee. Of course, I am likely a bit taller than this ancient person, but I feel the size judgment is fairly.. comparable.  https://imgur.com/DzZWRkb

https://imgur.com/LWQSAJl Measurements for my 'light' model are, 52.4cm wide, exactly 99cm long.

This was an interesting sizing, and I get the sense this should would have been very light. (Not, mind you, by the hilarious fact that this cutout is made of cardboard!  But that if this shield is flat, with the thickest portion being the spine, as on your own, mixed with it's generally smallish, ovular size.)  But I had a few pressing issues with this shield, which lead me to believe that either I am too tall for this type of model, generally speaking, or that depictions are not all that accurate. Or, perhaps there are other options, I don't know.

Here was my first major issue. 

If I were to hold the shield closer to my body, I cannot but expose my elbow quite badly.  (The image is flipped because, well, mirror.)   https://imgur.com/i4Z0PcC  Doing this, someone off to my left could very well cut right into my lower bicep and elbow.

https://imgur.com/rSTTiX4

The only way I can mitigate this is if I keep my left elbow locked facing backward, and as such I cannot use the leverage from my arm and shoulder, relying at this point solely on the muscles of the forearm, often with a bent wrist, to reduce this exposure. A very poor solution. 

Of course, if I held it out in front of me, this was less of an issue. But I'm not sure to what degree or what length of time one could hold a centrally-gripped shield out and away from them. Even at just a few meager pounds, that position itself is like to be tiring.  And thus I am brought to my second issue.  This shield gains zero support from the shoulder unless your arm is set in an acute angle and the elbow cocked back. Think something similar to the 'chicken arms' people traditionally use in media to mock others as chickens.  Forearm nearly or actually touching the bicep, elbow cocked back. 

Holding it out, the shield is so short that it actually 'escapes' the shoulder!  Which means no support from, or actual protection to, the shoulder. 

https://imgur.com/Qi06kfR  Which means you don't want it to be or to remain, in this position for very long, as the entire weight of it rests solely on the hand. Not good.

It is a little more supported if you rest it at an angle with part of the upper bicep like so. https://imgur.com/6KZqEIN

And just for the fun of it, a protection comparison with my aspis. https://imgur.com/zmHhEwm

One thing is for absolutely certain about this first model. You will probably want to have greaves. You cannot protect above your lower-middle-bicep up to your head and protect your shins at the same time. To protect the shins you must drop the shield, and this exposed, for my body measurements, from my upper left elbow all the way up completely.  Generally speaking, people would probably want to protect their face and chest much more, which leaves your shin especially vulnerable.

My second, 'heavy' model was 58cm wide, 121 cm long. Still within and under the range of the largest ever found, according to that link. It had none of the issues presented in the first.

https://imgur.com/9knPkZa   This I'm sure would be relatively heavy. Not far from a Roman Republican scutum, I'm sure, if not exactly the same. 

https://imgur.com/4MHqIvl I suffered no issue of elbow exposure. If it happened to be curved shield with an inner rim not unlike an aspis, my arm could very well be stopped in the inner curvature before hitting the edge. 

And while not being too wide, it nonetheless covers you roughly from shoulder to shin. Don't need greaves with this baby. https://imgur.com/fUqT5Cq

Even while 'punching', it does not leave your shoulder, not only protecting your shoulder, but supporting the shield being held in that position. This is a viable position with a shield of this length. https://imgur.com/i2Ajozn 

And the gratuitous aspis coverage comparison. You can skip the greaves this time around. https://imgur.com/DfbH8Gb 

That's about all I got.  While I can say you can use the smaller variant if you have greaves just fine, since they do your lower body protection beneath the lower thigh for you, https://imgur.com/MMX0dMJ , I will say that my preference for a 'heavier' version would be to go to a wider and taller model. After all, being heavy already, if you are to fight alongside a unit similarly armed, you're not going anywhere especially quickly one way or the other. https://imgur.com/CqkDJLx .
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