Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Linothorax vs Quilted linen vs spolas
#16
Thanks, Cole. I'll just add that the buff coat is made of exactly the same leather that we're theorizing made the Athenian white thorax.

And I'll says again--let's theorize less in print, and make some replicas and test them, post the photos and results, or better yet, take the results to marathon! Where we can compare, contrast, and disagree in person, while sharing a kylix of wine.

Stefanos, Homer uses the Linothorax term, I believe, just once (that'd be around 670 BC according to current theories) and then Alcaeus of Mytilene uses it again in about 570 BC if my classical memory isn't flawed, and then Herodotus uses it for the Lydians or the Egyptians in 430 BC.

I don't think that's enough to justify the use of the term for something we know Connolly theorized. It's a theory. It isn't wrong--it just shouldn't be treated as a fact. The linothorax is just a theory.

I say again--go to Perseus and run a comparison on all the words that appear with Thorax or any similar armor word. Don't take my word for it!
Qui plus fait, miex vault.
Reply
#17
Sorry to double post, Dan, but I just read the rest of yours--I'd skipped to Cole's.

Athens had the largest tanning industry in the Med, or so theorize the current run of economic historians. Athens exported tawed leather, and it was so cheap in Athens that they made sandals from it--white sandals!

Further, I'm pretty sure I'm on solid ground in saying that the underpinnings of every scale shirt--every single one--found anywhere in the med in our period (600-300BC?) are all leather. If textile armours were common, wouldn't you have expected at least one scale shirt to be textile based?

And hey--I'm not convinced either way. I rather like the idea of quilted armor--I've actually started building one with wool filler. But I think an open mind is required, and I think there's a lot of articles out there that would interest you. Do you have access to JSTOR?
Qui plus fait, miex vault.
Reply
#18
By way of adding to Cole's post, I will provide some figures for the energy of ancient weapons. Bear in mind that these are very approximate, because there are many factors affecting the energy delivered at target by a particular blow/strike or weapon. These figures come from P.H. Blyth's "Effectiveness of Greek Armour against arrows in the Persian War", which was a multi-disciplinary study of the subject and the figures are quite conservative.. It dealt very well with the subject of Helmets and Shields, but the subject of body armour, and the Tube-and-Yoke corselet in particular received little or no attention, simply because not enough, then or now, was known about it's construction:
Weapon: Mass: Delivery method: Energy
Club, Axe or Greek sword : 2kg ; used two-handed ; 130 joules(96 foot lbs)
Club, Axe or Greek sword : 1 kg ; used single handed ; 65 joules(48 ft lbs)
javelin :0.8 kg ; thrown, with run-up ; 198 joules(146 ft lbs)
javelin :0.8 kg ; thrown, one pace only ; 111 joules(83 ft lbs)
javelin :0.8 kg ; thrown standing ; 60 joules(49 ft lbs)
javelin :0.8 kg ; thrown,one pace with loop ; 160 joules(118 ft lbs)
light spear or small
sword/dagger :0.8 kg ; close combat ; 30 joules(24 ft lbs)
sarissa :8(?)kg ; two-hand thrust,pace fwd ; 160 joules(118 ft lbs)
spear-butt : various ; thrust down, coup-de-grace; 50 joules (40 ft lbs)

One can see from this that energies of the order of 30-60 joules (24-49 ft lbs) could be given generally to typical Greek Hand weapons, and armour would need to resist this type of thrust, as well as slashing blows up to 60 joules(49 ft lbs)

Missile weapons:
sling bullet :24 gm swung one handed ; 30-36 joules(22-27 ft lbs)
light bow 3-6 gm arrowhead ; 20 joules at 50 metres
15-20 gm incl shaft ; 15 joules at 100 metres
9 joules at 200 metres(sufficient to penetrate flesh)

heavy bow 30 joules at 50 metres
26 joules at 100 metres
20 joules at 200 metres

Thus Persian/Scythian arrows delivered at target much the same energy range as Greek Hand weapons ( and incidently rather lower than mediaeval longbows). Of course, the arrowhead being smaller requires a much smaller ( about 2.5 times) hole to cause fatal injury, so despite the low energy (by mediaeval standards) the arrow would have some advantages over the spear...
"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
Reply
#19
I don't have any problem believing in both quilted and leather tube-and-yokes. They made them out of every other possible material! (Plate, scale, and mail) But its possible that one material was older or more common, so the debate will continue.

Quote:Sorry to double post, Dan, but I just read the rest of yours--I'd skipped to Cole's.

Athens had the largest tanning industry in the Med, or so theorize the current run of economic historians. Athens exported tawed leather, and it was so cheap in Athens that they made sandals from it--white sandals!

Further, I'm pretty sure I'm on solid ground in saying that the underpinnings of every scale shirt--every single one--found anywhere in the med in our period (600-300BC?) are all leather. If textile armours were common, wouldn't you have expected at least one scale shirt to be textile based?

And hey--I'm not convinced either way. I rather like the idea of quilted armor--I've actually started building one with wool filler. But I think an open mind is required, and I think there's a lot of articles out there that would interest you. Do you have access to JSTOR?
How many such examples do we know of outside the steppes? The scales found by Petrie at Memphis in a Persian-period context had no surviving backing for example.

I'm skeptical of any argument about cost (“linen would be cheaper” or “leather would be cheaper”) which isn't backed by numbers. I suspect you're right that leather would be cheaper than linen, but Greece had convenient access to both cowhides (from the steppes north of the Black Sea) and linen (from Egypt) and wool can also be used to make padded armour.
Nullis in verba

I left this forum around the beginning of 2013, but I hope that these old posts have some value
Reply
#20
Stefanos wrote:
Quote:I belive that spolas is probably a subarmalis becasue after anuble of nasty experiences peopl would learn to guard from blunt trauma.
....the problem with this theory is that there is not one shred of evidence ( as far as I know)....not in literature, nor in the depictions/iconography, nor archaeology that Classical Greeks wore such a thing, or padding generally, under body armour. Such an item is more associated with metal armour,especially mail.........

Sean wrote:
Quote:How many such examples do we know of outside the steppes?

....surprisingly enough, quite a few! Similar leather backed scale is often found in Thracian (Bulgarian tombs) and media reports of Macedonian tombs from the correct period refer to the Illyrian helmets, rich gold fittings and 'leather body armour'. Unfortunately, as was remarked in a thread last year, we can't seem to get to the actual archaeological reports themselves, but large numbers of warrior/Hoplite tombs have been excavated in Macedonia and all references to Body Armour that I have seen refer to leather only..... Of course, since the classical Greeks did not go in for this type of burial/inhumation, an actual mainland southern Greek example is all but an impossibility.... Sad
"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
Reply
#21
Quote:Alan Williams, author of "The Knight and the Blast Furnace" documentented the effectiveness of 16 layers of linen armour against cuts of the sword and thrusts of the spear, and found that a mere 50 Joules of energy is needed to penetrate the fabric with a spear, and 80 for a sword cut. Over 25 layers were require to defeat a sword cut in the midrange of energy for an effective sword cut (140-220 Joules)
I'm more than aware of WIlliams' book and cited from that chapter often enough. Nowhere does he state how his padding was constructed. My own experiments indicate a far higher resistance to penetration which increases as the spacing between rows of stitches decreases. If the individual layers are rotated to, say, 45 degrees so that the weft and warp run in different directions then resistance can be improved even further.

Quote:You also mention leather armour being very rare in North-western Europe. As leather armour was widespread enough to to lend its name "cuirasse" in French and English to armour in general, your position isn't terribly tenable.

Consider, when Edward the first and his friends have a tournament in cloth armour with light weapons at Blythe in 1258, William Longsword and Robert de Quincy are killed, and Roger Bigod has his faculties permanently impaired. And they were friends.

Subsequently Edward comissioned suits of cuir bouilli armour from existing leather armour makers for tournaments, which served quite well.
Leather body armour saw use for a very very limited period of time on Western European battlefields and other than that saw use only in tournaments.

Quote:As mail armour begins to be less adequate during the middle ages, it is widely supplemented by leather armour throughout north western Europe and elsewhere. Leather breastplates (cuirasses) are among the first additions, and cuisses (thigh armour) as second. Both names are based on their origins as leather armour in north western europe.
As stated above leather saw very limited use for a very limited time and even during this time textile armour was far far more prevalent.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
Reply
#22
Quote:Stefanos, Homer uses the Linothorax term, I believe, just once
No. He mentions it on two separate occasions describing armour worn by three different characters.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
Reply
#23
Quote:....surprisingly enough, quite a few! Similar leather backed scale is often found in Thracian (Bulgarian tombs)
So if you attach metal plates to some leather it becomes "leather armour"? If that is the case then we can classify the lorica segmentata as leather armour.

Quote:and media reports of Macedonian tombs from the correct period refer to the Illyrian helmets, rich gold fittings and 'leather body armour'. Unfortunately, as was remarked in a thread last year, we can't seem to get to the actual archaeological reports themselves, but large numbers of warrior/Hoplite tombs have been excavated in Macedonia and all references to Body Armour that I have seen refer to leather only..... Of course, since the classical Greeks did not go in for this type of burial/inhumation, an actual mainland southern Greek example is all but an impossibility.... Sad
And nobody has produced a single photo of this alleged leather armour. How many papers said that the Vergina cuirass had a leather liner? It turned out that it was lined in linen. The Dendra panoply was also described as being lined in leather when it was actually lined in linen with a leather edging.

There is also a surviving example of a linothorax near patras.

Nothing here hasn't been said before. We are wasting our time until someone produces some fresh evidence. A good starting point might be a photo of one of these alleged Macedonian leather armours.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
Reply
#24
Paul,

Thanks for the information on the energy of ancient weapons, I'll look up the source!

You wrote:
>....the problem with this theory is that there is not one shred of evidence ( as far as I
>know)....not in literature, nor in the depictions/iconography, nor archaeology that
>Classical Greeks wore such a thing, or padding generally, under body armour. Such an
>item is more associated with metal armour,especially mail.........

I've been wondering about that topic myself, and we had a bit of discussion about it over at hoplologia. In particular, the Douris vase of hoplites arming shows the figures without their body armour wearing a loose but heavily folded/pleated double layer chitoniskos. Looking at the shape of the folds I cannot think the material could be anything but wool, as linen just doesn't fall like that. Pressed tight against the body under the body armour this would certainly provide a degree of padding. Food for thought anyways.

Have fun!
Cole
Cole
Reply
#25
If metal armour had an integrated liner then it doesn't need a separate padded garment. Both the vergina cuirass and the dendra panoply show evidence of a possible textile liner.

FWIW I have no real problem with an occasional Greek wearing leather scale armour. It had been worn further east since the Bronze Age. I do have a problem with a solid breastplate made of leather - either Greek or Roman.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
Reply
#26
Dan,

Good discussions require specificity, so I'm going to narrow the focus here to the area of interest of the people in my group. What we care about is the construction of non-metallic body armour around 490 BC in Attica and Boetia. There is relatively rich pictorial evidence of the shape of that armour in this period, but certain evidence of the materials used is absent as near as I can tell.

Given your absolute certainty (which none of us profess to have), you must be in possession of primary sources that support your position that this armour was quilted linen nearly universally. Please provide them, as all I see is evidence that does not support it, such as:

- No evidence of quilting in artistic represntations of the armour in the period, despite widespread depiction of embroidered and woven decoration in non-armour contexts.
- Herodotus' comments about linen armour in other parts of the world as an oddity from his Greek perspective.

Note that I am not arguing that quilted linen armour is not good protection. I own a quilted jack for a medieval impression, and believe it to be very functional protection. But, in retrospect, its irrelevant to the discussion. Good protection or not does not dictate whether it was worn by archaic Greeks.

Thanks,
Cole
Cole
Reply
#27
How cheap it was to make is not very relevant either. It has been assumed so many times that the linothorax replaced the metal armour because it was cheaper. False,Gods and heros are shown wearing them,some times with no additional scales.I could very well have been a rather expensive item,and certainly it wasn't being constructed by amateur re-enactors like us,but by professionals who knew their job well.
A friend of mine who has been working at the excavations in Macedonia for twenty years says that he has never been present to any leather excavation,nor linen for that matter,from any age.Only wood,occasionally.
Dan,do you have any articles about the lining of the Vergina cuirass and the Dendra cuirass?
I admit that the leather piece Kineas posted some time ago looked rather good,but this doesn't mean anything at this point. Also,i think his idea to reconstruct one such cuirass from each matterial candidate is a good idea,but it wouldn't be conclusive in any way. A wrong interpretation about a certain thing by one re-enactor could make his armour unusuitable,and that would mean nothing about the matterial itself.
Dan,I'd very much like to see even a small piece of quilted linen as closely stitched as you're suggesting years now,made by you. I admit I have no experience of quilting and quilted armour in general.
Cole,it isn't a good idea to narrow the discussion so much,when we're debating on matterial in a given area such as Greece. If there are references of a matterial being in actual use for armour continuesly for some centuries,why ignore them and talk only about 490 bc and around?
Khairete
Giannis
Giannis K. Hoplite
a.k.a.:Giannis Kadoglou
a.k.a.:Thorax
[Image: -side-1.gif]
Reply
#28
Giannis,

Its been my experience that its critical that such discussions be bounded both temporally and geographically for a number of reasons.

First and foremost is what is the area of interest driving the conversation. In my case thats Marathon. At 1000 years remove, the Dendra panolpy is no more relevant than saying Da Vinci's tank is relevant to development of modern armoured combat vehicles.

Second, history shows us that things evolved and change as time passes, even on a microcosmic geographical scale. Consider the debate over whether the Boetian shield is "real" or an artifact surviving only in art.

In the case of body armour, what impact did the addition of wealth captured from the Persian wars, further development of the silver mines at Larium, and Athen's significant military efforts abroad after the Persian wars have on the availability of materials for the manufacture of non-metallic body armour have after the period?

Even more subtle effects are possible. Did exposure to other culture's armours abroad influence change after this period? Did increased expenditures to outfit soldiers drive change?

So, by narrowing your focus you can help remove the influence of factors that may change the nature of the discussion. Its entirely possible Athenian military adventurism abroad after the Persian Wars led to an increased availability of materials for fabric armours and an economic change that made them attractive. Its hard to say. But if the data points were to tend to indicate fabric armours in the Pelopennesian or Alexandrian wars, that doesn't really help you approach certainty in the late Archaic period...

Have fun!
Cole
Cole
Reply
#29
I find these discussions of the nature of the tube and yoke cuirass fascinating. But suspect that without further literary references or any archaeological evidence experimental archaeology can only offer theories.

I can "sign up" to quilted linen used by Alexander and beyond.

And I can sign up to the idea of leather armour in some form. But I suspect we are being unimaginative in terms of how the "leather" was made. Our own experience channels us towards buff, alum, vegetable tanned etc. But there must have been many different ways of preparing leather for armour. This is beyond my usual reading, but David Nicolle in a "Companion to Medieval Arms and Armour" XIII 179-221 (Boydell Press 2002) gives interesting later examples of leather armour production. These include the use of leather or rawhide scrapings, laminated glued leather and the use of milk and soda. Tawed leather from alum makes some interesting appearances. I suspect Kineas may be at the forefront of a trend.
John Conyard

York

A member of Comitatus Late Roman
Reconstruction Group

<a class="postlink" href="http://www.comitatus.net">http://www.comitatus.net
<a class="postlink" href="http://www.historicalinterpretations.net">http://www.historicalinterpretations.net
<a class="postlink" href="http://lateantiquearchaeology.wordpress.com">http://lateantiquearchaeology.wordpress.com
Reply
#30
Looking forward to Kineas' cuirass,too. I believe it will look great. Perhaps better than many linen ones. As I said above,this doesn't prove much,unfortunately.
Cole,you are right in many things,however,I can't ignore that the tube and yoke appears in the exact same form in art from 530-350 bc. This is decades before and after the Persian Wars. Nor do I think that one of the many particular industries in Athens could be used as evidence of what the t&y was made of. I agree that the Dendra panoply and the lining of the Vergina cuirass are irrelevant to the subject. However a find of quilted linen from mycenean armour is not irrelevant at all. Now you'll say where are these finds of mycenean line armour? Well,I don't know,but they're more specific than the "many" finds of leather body armour from Macedonian graves.
Khaire
Giannis
Giannis K. Hoplite
a.k.a.:Giannis Kadoglou
a.k.a.:Thorax
[Image: -side-1.gif]
Reply


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Linothorax vs Spolas katsika 109 18,032 08-08-2012, 11:47 PM
Last Post: MeinPanzer

Forum Jump: