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Greek Helmet/ armour database
Whilst 'pilos' originally referred to the Peloponnesian peasant's felt cap, by Thucydides time it also referred to a bronze helmet of identical shape, and it is these 'pilos' helmets - which became very popular in the Lakedaemonian, Macedonian and other Greek armies. In similar fashion, the Boeotian peasant cap - slightly different from the Peloponnesian style, also became a common bronze helmet type. Even the 'petasos', a broad-brimmed sun-hat was turned into a bronze helmet.
"dulce et decorum est pro patria mori " - Horace, ODES
(It is a sweet and proper thing to die for ones country)

"No son-of-a-bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country" -GeorgeC Scott as General George S. Patton
Paullus Scipio/Paul McDonnell-Staff
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Thanks Paul. Now why would that not be able to withstand arrows? Is it different in strength and constituency from the regular hoplite bronze helmet?
Cry \'\'\'\'Havoc\'\'\'\', and let slip the dogs of war
Imad
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No, it is no different to other Greek helmets in strength or materials. The reason they "could not keep out the arrows" is obvious enough. Since they sat on top of the head, they provided no protection at all for face or neck - unlike other types such as the Corinthian or Chalcidic, with their mask, nasals, cheek-pieces and neck-guards. The downside of the latter were that they were hot, stuffy and limited hearing. Incidently,Thucydides also goes on to add that the Spartans were also discomfited by the broken shafts of javelins stuck in their shields/armour...

There are those who believe the word 'piloi', since it can mean either the original felt cap, or the identically shaped bronze helmet, does mean 'felt cap' in this instance, based on the fact that they "could not keep out arrows", but I think that there is no need for such a postulation to explain matters - it is far more likely that helmets are meant, since they are worn by hoplites.....
"dulce et decorum est pro patria mori " - Horace, ODES
(It is a sweet and proper thing to die for ones country)

"No son-of-a-bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country" -GeorgeC Scott as General George S. Patton
Paullus Scipio/Paul McDonnell-Staff
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Lol. Of course. How silly of me. Big Grin
Cry \'\'\'\'Havoc\'\'\'\', and let slip the dogs of war
Imad
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It's possible that Paul is correct,but on the other hand we shouldn't ignore the many depictions of hoplites ready for battle,or actually fighting, holding or wearing a clearly soft pilos. So,we know that hoplites did fight in them,so what evidence do we have that the Spartans in Sphacteria didn't? Nothing but our willingness to imagine bronze clad Spartans,and our "dissapointment" that they had already abandoned the more fearsome closed helmets and perhaps even body armour.
In my imagination, there were both bronze and felt caps among the Spartans and the combined disadvantages of their bronze and felt versions were what made Thucydides point out their ineffectiveness against arrows. Which were more common, we can't know. And certainly not all of them wore the pilos helmet.
Khaire
Giannis
Giannis K. Hoplite
a.k.a.:Giannis Kadoglou
a.k.a.:Thorax
[Image: -side-1.gif]
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Depictions of 'Hoplites' actually fighting wearing just 'soft' piloi????

I don't think I have ever seen this - could you post some images, please?

Outside battle, we know that 'Hoplites' often wore arming caps under their helmets, and I think this the likely explanation for the rare 'piloi' that can be interpreted as 'soft' ( and even then there is doubt often whether 'soft' or hard is being depicted........)

I would certainly agree that it is unlikely that Spartans of this or any other era were 'unformly' equipped.

As to 'bronze clad Spartans' it is my belief these likely all but disappeared prior to the Persian Wars in favour of Tube-and-Yoke armours, as elsewhere in Greece....

The idea that Spartans 'abandoned' body armour is a certain "Myth", and in all likelihood so is the idea that they used only the 'pilos'......
"dulce et decorum est pro patria mori " - Horace, ODES
(It is a sweet and proper thing to die for ones country)

"No son-of-a-bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country" -GeorgeC Scott as General George S. Patton
Paullus Scipio/Paul McDonnell-Staff
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I post only photos of hoplites,meaning men with big shield and spear. These,together with some sculptures that show hoplites sqweezing their caps and carrying spear and shield,and combined with the account that in the Poikile stoa the Plataeans wore boeotian caps, makes it all possible that some hoplites entered battle in soft piloi. I remind that not one boeotian cap has been found in bronze, before the late 4th century bc. And their early form was considerably different than the later bronze ones.
You may rule out the possibility that some hoplites didn't wear body armour,but given the frequency of its depiction,i can't be sure that all ranks of hoplites had fully equiped men. And if some didn't wear body armour,why not also a felt cap instead of a bronze one?
Khaire
Giannis
Giannis K. Hoplite
a.k.a.:Giannis Kadoglou
a.k.a.:Thorax
[Image: -side-1.gif]
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So how can you tell from a drawing whether the helmet is hard or soft? You need the mystical powers of D'Amato to do that Wink Why can't asymetry simply mean that the carver was sloppy, or that he was trying something with perspective that didn't work properly, or that the helmet really was asymetrical?
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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In my opinion,all of the drawings i posted have little chances to be showing metal piloi. It's very hard to show a soft matterial in a way different than the first picture,for instance. And even if white colour was being used for metal,this was done mainly in 4th century Apulian vases,which also had some yellowish shade in them. In mainland greece,white colour has been used very rarely comparatively,and is used either to indicate female skin, white horses, white tube and yoke cuirasses, and other than that, very few other details like some decorative dots or shield designs. Not bronze,like in later Apulian vases. So the white pilos of the third image is not only asymetrical,but it's white when for instance the shield rim isn't. And it's clearly of greek style of the late 5th century.
Now,i guess you were referring mainly to the last photo of the grave stele. Well,it's true that we can't know for sure, but given the fact that felt piloi were worn by hoplites in late fifth century, and also depicted on other grave stelae (i.e. Osprey pub. "Greek Hoplite" p.58 Megarean grave stele 420-410bc) then if i see two asymetrical piloi on two other hoplites dressed in exactly the same fashion, i say that there are far more chances that these helmets were also meant to be felt.
Khaire
Giannis
Giannis K. Hoplite
a.k.a.:Giannis Kadoglou
a.k.a.:Thorax
[Image: -side-1.gif]
Reply
Quote:So how can you tell from a drawing whether the helmet is hard or soft? You need the mystical powers of D'Amato to do that Wink Why can't asymetry simply mean that the carver was sloppy, or that he was trying something with perspective that didn't work properly, or that the helmet really was asymetrical?

I agree. It is nearly impossible to determine any materials used from a painting or sculpture when questionable.

Quote:In mainland greece,white colour has been used very rarely comparatively,and is used either to indicate female skin, white horses, white tube and yoke cuirasses, and other than that, very few other details like some decorative dots or shield designs.

While white may have been used comparatively less, it still appears on a greater number of objects than you list. Without even really looking for white objects I came across shields, greaves, helmets, helmet crests, men's beards, and a mix of other various objects (as you also note) all in white. The examples ranged in date but were, for the most part, all dated to the 5th century. Not trying to stir the pot :wink:
Scott B.
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Of course you can't determine the matterial. If you could,now we would know what the t&y was made of with great certainty. You can often determine stiffness though. Especially when you have two matterials with great difference in stiffness to pick from.

My main point about the white colour's usage was that it was used rarely,and especially when the object they painted was white in reality. Thus white hair and painted shields. And my arguement is that although white colour cannot be conclusive,it shouldn't be entirely dismissed,especially when used for a pilos on a greek style vase.

One more point for the spartan piloi being of felt is their name itself. It's been believed that the name "pilos" was borrowed from the felt hat and was used for the metal version too. It would be a "cap out of metal". However,although modern lexicons translate "pilos" as hat/cap, the ancient meaning was specifically of a felt cap. "Pilema" is felt, from the verb "pilo"-to concentrate. The different kinds of "piloi" like the laconian and the boeotian were made of felt, and when a cap was made of other matterial this was indicated in their name, like "kyne"-cap made of dog skin.
The metal cap derived from the laconian pilos was reffered to with a different name by the Macedonians. A completely greek name: "konos". What is our evidence that in the late fifth century the metal conical hemet wasn't called "konos" and that the word "pilos" was used for both?
No evidence,as there is no evidence that the hoplites (at least some of them) weren't entering battle without armour other than their shield.

Last,i would like to point out the lack of a great number of actual finds comparable with the frequency of the appearance of the helmet in artistic representations. The pilos supposedly became the most popular helmet for quite some time after the last quarter of the 5th century,and at times that armies grew dramatically compared to previous eras. Why the number of piloi is so small compared to ,say, corinthian helmets of the 6th century? There are many examples,yes,but the majority of them come from italy,where anyway the helmets more often are shown with crests,feathers etc,and even painted with yellow colour.

So even debatable depictions of the cap in art can have more or less chances of representing some specific matterial and are worthy to be discussed here.
Khaire
Giannis
Giannis K. Hoplite
a.k.a.:Giannis Kadoglou
a.k.a.:Thorax
[Image: -side-1.gif]
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Has anyone ever tested a thick felt (like the horse armor), padded leather or textile helmet? There certainly are examples from other cultures.
Paul M. Bardunias
MODERATOR: [url:2dqwu8yc]http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/viewtopic.php?t=4100[/url]
A Spartan, being asked a question, answered "No." And when the questioner said, "You lie," the Spartan said, "You see, then, that it is stupid of you to ask questions to which you already know the answer!"
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I know its hard not to keep on a discussion gents but lets focus on actual greek armour artefacts etc..please??:roll:
Has any more been learnt about the apparent similar finds of the "so called" philip of macedon/ vergina curass??

(on felt)
felt rolls about helmets have been known to make metal swords bounce off
felt coats were reported to absorb/ deflect arrows during the crusader era
I knew a man who success fully made a felt scale avenatil (boiled in wax)
I have known some to cheat with T&Y & bronze age style greaves by using glue impregnated felt in the core.

i also have a friend manufacturing thick felt conicalish hats if any are interested
regards
Richard
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So.... where is the database ?

and secondly, about the painting in the last AWM, showing Spartans almost all using Piloi as helmets and wearing Linothoraxes, did anyone spot that the king who got carried away from the field of battle had a moustache ? ? That is not really Spartan, is it... :mrgreen:

M.VIB.M.
Bushido wa watashi no shuukyou de gozaru.

Katte Kabuto no O wo shimeyo!

H.J.Vrielink.
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Stumbled across Joe Piela's blog. Raising a Corinthian from a single sheet:
Forging-a-One-Piece-Bronze-Corinthian-Helmet
Peter Raftos
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