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Questions (linothorax, sandals, Spartan moustache)
Greetings, all! I don't do reinactments, but I do have a great interest in ancient Hellas, particularly the hoplites. I hope to be an illustrator for historical books one day, or basically anything where I can draw ancient warriors for a living.

Now, I always thought that the Spartiates before 450BC all wore a bronze cuirass (the style differentated over time from 'bell' to 'muscle' and in between) given to them by the Lakedemonian government. Every Spartan statuette from this period or earlier I have seen shows them wearing such, and so therefore I thought that they never wore linothorax.

However, another hoplite enthusiast recently said to me that he saw Spartan vase paintings depicting warriors in linothorax while he was in Hellas. Not a single painting, but numerous ones. I immediately wondered whether these were actually Spartan (Spartan art is actually a little bit more 'tribal' and unique compared to other Greeks) or if they were from another town in Lakedemon. Knowing that there are a few buffs on the subject here, can anyone actually confirm whether or not Spartiates wore linothorax?

My next question regards footwear... sandals were rarely depicted in vase paintings, in fact the only one I can think of off the top of my head is the famous "pederastic" painting of Achilles and Patroklus. Interestingly enough, only Achilles is wearing sandals, Patroklus isn't. One modern assumption is that the Greeks only depicted their soldiers barefeet to glorify them, in a similar way that they did by drawing nude soldiers. However, there is a considerably smaller amount of nude hoplite paintings and sculptures than there are ones of soldiers barefeet. Also, in vase paintings of hoplites putting on their panoply, we see their cuirasses, grieves, helmets, tunics... everything they wore and took except sandals! Did hoplites even wear them on expedition? If so, why are they almost never depicted?

Wearing sandals in a city herself was considered to show a higher class, to seperate a citizen from a slave. However we know that Greek farmers in Athens, Corinth etc. did all their agricultural work barefoot, and therefore didn't believe that they needed to wear them when they were called for military service. Still, they are often reconstructed wearing sandals. Next are the Spartans, who deliberately toughened up their feet during the agoge, and walked barefoot in the krypteia (even though they were with slaves, therefore I don't think class mattered here) during every season. All in all, we only know of one Spartan sandal of which was used in possibly the 6th century - and it was worn exclusively by heralds or higher figures while living in Sparta.
So, did Spartans, or indeed any hoplite, wear sandals?

Finally, a quick question - Plutarch mentions that the Spartans 'shaved their upper lip' when ephors were called into office. Nick Sekunda seems to think that this tradition continued throughout the whole year, although we have numerous artifacts from Sparta showing their citizens with moustaches. Anyway, I'm wondering whether the Spartans had a choice over their facial hair (although I think beards were compulsary), or whether it was strictly no moustaches. This question might seem a little obscure, but I find an importance in 'getting things right' while drawing reconstructions. Smile

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to reading your replies!
[Image: parsiaqj0.png]
[size=92:7tw9zbc0]- Bonnie Lawson: proudly Manx.[/size]

Messages In This Thread
Questions (linothorax, sandals, Spartan moustache) - by Zenodoros - 06-29-2006, 08:46 AM
Spartan moustaches - by Arthes - 06-29-2006, 09:27 AM
Re: Questions (linothorax, sandals, Spartan moustache) - by Anonymous - 07-03-2006, 09:51 AM
Re: Questions (linothorax, sandals, Spartan moustache) - by Anonymous - 07-19-2006, 10:34 AM

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