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Thickness of a bronze bell cuirass
#1
essHi,
I would like ask whether somebody does know how thick was the bronze of the a bell cuirass? We would like to let make some and we are searching for information about the construction of cuirass and so on.
Is some of this information documented from archeological find? Could somebody give me an advice how thick metal is used for his cuirass?

And do you think that the greeves were made from the same thick of the metal or could be from thinner one? And is correct that are welted with leather? Is some record about it?

Thanks a lot for any response Smile
chalda
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#2
Khaire!

Everything that I've seen for ancient bronze armor indicates a thickness of about 1 mm, or even less. I made a Bronze Age cuirass a few years ago with c. 1mm bronze sheet, and it weighs about 9 pounds. But an original cuirass weighed by Dave Michaels was only about 6 pounds! (If I'm recalling correctly.) Surprised us all. Likewise, my Corinthian helmet, made of the same 1mm bronze, weighs 5 pounds, but original helmets of the same style, or similar ones, are all around 2 to 3 pounds. So it all ranges from "Too Thin" to "You Gotta Be Kidding Me"! But it worked for them! Mind you, we tend to use sheet metal of a uniform thickness, but ancient armor would have varied across the piece, being thicker in some parts where needed, but much thinner elsewhere.

That help?

Matthew
Matthew Amt (Quintus)
Legio XX, USA
<a class="postlink" href="http://www.larp.com/legioxx/">http://www.larp.com/legioxx/
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#3
Yes. Thanks a lot Smile

We were discussing about it and we came to a similar conclusion.

I was searching on the Internet so I add some data that I found for interest.
It was introduced that each of the bronze greave found near Olympia had weigh 0.64 kg (1.4 pounds). And helmet without crest had weight 1.64 kg (3.2 pounds)
(information is taken from swordforum.com)

I'm still a little surprised that this thick was enough for protection.
We had prototype of the helmet and it has about 3 kg. It is made from the 1.5 mm thick bronze and from front size from the 3 mm thick bronze and it seems quite authentically Smile D
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#4
Yet I have seen a couple in the Athens War museum that are much thicker looking.
Visne partem mei capere? Comminus agamus! * Me semper rogo, Quid faceret Iulius Caesar? * Confidence is a good thing! Overconfidence is too much of a good thing.
[b]Legio XIIII GMV. (Q. Magivs)RMRS Remember Atuatuca! Vengence will be ours!
Titus Flavius Germanus
Batavian Coh I
Byron Angel
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#5
Don't be fooled by 'thickness' as the arbitur of effectiveness. Ancient bronze was a lot different to modern bronze and a bronze specialist I have been working with challenged me to drive a nail through a piece of hardened, 12% tin bronze plate. It bent... the nail that is.
ouragos

Andy
<a class="postlink" href="http://www.4hoplites.com">www.4hoplites.com
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#6
Quote:Yet I have seen a couple in the Athens War museum that are much thicker looking.

But all you can see is the edge, and that won't tell you much. Edges thicken when a helmet is raised, for one thing. They might also be rolled or folded, or turned back at a right angle. There is one I've seen (Univ. Pennsylvania Museum, I think) on which the nasal looks like it's a quarter-inch thick, but it's just a turned-back edge because it's coming loose at points! The metal itself is quite thin.

Measuring the thickness in several places with a long pair of calipers is the only way to get useful data. Simply weighing the helmet or armor piece will help a lot, but most museums don't even do that. Several of the helmets in the Axel Guttmann collection looked like they were quite thick around the face openings, yet I never saw a weight more than 3 pounds. *If* the face area was really that thick, the rest of the helmet had to be scary thin.

Oh, yes, good point on metal hardness, too! Hammer-hardened tin bronze is amazingly strong stuff.

Khairete,

Matthew
Matthew Amt (Quintus)
Legio XX, USA
<a class="postlink" href="http://www.larp.com/legioxx/">http://www.larp.com/legioxx/
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#7
Of course there are diffrent thichnesses through the helmet, and hardness variations....
But just the fact that these were quite thick, and less artistically crafted compared to the more exquisite examples,
would perhaps just point to the quality and ability of the craftsman who made them...perhaps they were no more than childrens gear....
they were quite small too!
Visne partem mei capere? Comminus agamus! * Me semper rogo, Quid faceret Iulius Caesar? * Confidence is a good thing! Overconfidence is too much of a good thing.
[b]Legio XIIII GMV. (Q. Magivs)RMRS Remember Atuatuca! Vengence will be ours!
Titus Flavius Germanus
Batavian Coh I
Byron Angel
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#8
Its a noticeable thing that greaves made from modern 1mm or thereabouts sheet brass / bronze tend to be far to stiff to 'spring open' around the leg - ergo the thicknesses that seem scarily thin to us are almost certainly correct.

One thing about making reproductions & comments like 'they are so small, they must be for children' is that very often modern people expect a cuirass for example to cover further down the body than they where intended too. Also remember that many modern peoples are quite possibly significantly fatter than many ancient warriors - self definately included ! If you get someone wiry thin like a fit athlete many of the extant armours will actually fit quite nicely ..... now if only I was wiry thin again Big Grin

The armours themselves remember are really a secondary defence too the shield & or moving out of the way, as such they are designed to defeat a spear or sword edge but are probably going to collapse or be pierced by a very heavily made square hit.

Adam

ps 1.2mm thick gladiator greaves I have made are almost too strong & certainly 1mm fully hammer hardened is plenty over a bit of padding
Adam Rudling
The Vicus - recreating life in 1st Century Britain
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#9
From the rather extensive paper by Jarva (1995) which explores all known archaic greek body armour known at that time it highlights that most archaic armour thickness was around 1mm (although there are numerable variations). According to Courbin (1957) and discsussed in Jarva's paper, the Argos cuirass is around 2mm, but many others are less than half of that.

The 'Argos' bell is 3.36kg (again, from Courbin '57)
ouragos

Andy
<a class="postlink" href="http://www.4hoplites.com">www.4hoplites.com
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#10
But was it made all of two mm or this is what the edges are like? I think it is more reliabale to believe accounts like "two mm near the edges,1mm in the chest,3 mm in the nasal, 0.5 mm on the top etc.
I know how small armour is(seems), but again for 2mm bronze is it not too light for the Argos cuirass?
Why no one measures those things properly? :evil:
Khairete
Giannis
Giannis K. Hoplite
a.k.a.:Giannis Kadoglou
a.k.a.:Thorax
[Image: -side-1.gif]
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#11
Without reproducing the work - the average thickness is recorded as 2mm in the Argos. It is also reported that most archaic armourers were satisfied with a thickness of less than 1mm. Handmade and varied. It seems that tin content in bronze, from analysed pieces, does vary between 9% and 13% (Hellstrom, 1984; Smith; Early Cretan Armourers, Hoffmann, 1972) and so that may have impacted upon individual piece thickness.
ouragos

Andy
<a class="postlink" href="http://www.4hoplites.com">www.4hoplites.com
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#12
Quote:From the rather extensive paper by Jarva (1995) which explores all known archaic greek body armour known at that time it highlights that most archaic armour thickness was around 1mm (although there are numerable variations). According to Courbin (1957) and discsussed in Jarva's paper, the Argos cuirass is around 2mm, but many others are less than half of that.

OOO! OOO! Great stuff. Citations, pleasepleaseplease?? Hopefully it's just my memory going, again, but I don't remember hearing about the paper by Jarva. I certainly haven't SEEN it!

Quote:The 'Argos' bell is 3.36kg (again, from Courbin '57)

Ha, under 7-1/2 pounds. Great stuff, again. It DOES seem odd that it can average 2mm but still come out that light, unless it's really tiny. Glad to see that there is more evidence behind what I've been saying than I had thought, though!

Thanks,

Matthew
Matthew Amt (Quintus)
Legio XX, USA
<a class="postlink" href="http://www.larp.com/legioxx/">http://www.larp.com/legioxx/
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#13
Jarva, E (1995); Archaiologia on Archaic Greek Body Armour, Pohjois-Suomen Histriallinen Yhdistrys, Societas Historica Finlandiae Septentrionalis, Rovaniemi

Best summary I have seen and contains an interesting hypothesis on the origin of the linothorax which would add weight to the glued not quilted debate.

You might find it hard to locate - best option, University library where they study archeology.
ouragos

Andy
<a class="postlink" href="http://www.4hoplites.com">www.4hoplites.com
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#14
Bless you, sir! Hmm, yeah, that would explain why I haven't run across it. Hey, Amazon has a used copy for just $269! Ack...

Thanks!

 Matthew
Matthew Amt (Quintus)
Legio XX, USA
<a class="postlink" href="http://www.larp.com/legioxx/">http://www.larp.com/legioxx/
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#15
Quote:...contains an interesting hypothesis on the origin of the linothorax which would add weight to the glued not quilted debate.

Not really. Jarva arbitrarily concluded that the linothorax was glued and then went looking for anything that would support his theory.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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