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A Greek Dark Age Centaur Armour
#1
Hi all, attached are images (my own) of the famed Euboean Lefkandi Centaur, dated 925-875 BC, hence in the ancient Greek 'Dark Ages'. I'm more at home with myth, arts, and general history, and would love some input on the centaur's armour.

This much I have gleaned:

* The right sword arm is armoured with what I interpret as fine metal plating.
* The left shield arm is naked (the artist employs a solid red to indicate nakedness).
* The chest (only the front of the torso, the back is naked) is protected by some kind of organic armour (Protogeometric crosshatching rarely, if ever, renders metal - it is usually used to suggest fibre, textile, leather etc.)
* The crescent shaped groin guard would seem to be a mitra - the horizontal lines indicating some flexing mechanism between plates.

Considering its early date, how would you comment on this piece? Are there any parallels to this type of armour, in Greece, or elsewhere around the Mediterranean, at the time - at the onset of the 1st Millennium BC?

Indications are strong the artist was informed by an existing armour - practical or ceremonial - because he does not employ a standard repertoire of Protogeometric shapes in his rendering of the garment (except the generic crosshatching on the chest).


[attachment=4988]lkx3forumpic_opt.jpg[/attachment]


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#2
It is so crude that you could interpret it any way you want. There is nothing to suggest a martial context such as a shield, weapon or helmet, so it is pure speculation whether it is wearing armour at all. Assuming it is armour, my first guess would be scale.

Quote:(Protogeometric crosshatching rarely, if ever, renders metal - it is usually used to suggest fibre, textile, leather etc.)
Nobody has any idea what crosshatching is supposed to represent. Everyone is just guessing. And most of those have no idea about armour. Cross hatching was a common method of representing metallic scale and mail in other cultures.

The arm decoration is the most curious part IMO. What is the earliest example of segmented plate arm armour?
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#3
The "official" segmentel armor is the Hellenistic perios with catafract cavalry.

The arm protecxtion in Ancient Greece roughly 800 B.C.

Although there are metal fragments that can be interpreted as arm protection in the late Mycenean period.

Agree with Dan that the crude art form leaves a lot to speculation but they had the resouces and technology to do it if they wanted too. It needs corroboration though; on its own it does not tell much.

Kind regards
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#4
Interesting specimen particularly since coming from the least known to us era. Centaurs, as mythological beings, trace their origins down to the era of introduction of the horse in Greece and it is not accidental their "homeland" was in Thessalia, the main region in Greece that could sustain a large number of horses. They do represent the perfect union between rider and horse - i.e. the rider becoming one with the horse - and as such they primarily were noted as warlike creatures. Thus though I do agree with everyone on the difficulty to interpret the lines, I would bet these present rough outlines of a kind of armor rather than a garment or at least it is easier to imagine the first rather than the second. Given that late Mycenaen armor came often in articulated designs, it would not surprise me at all if they used this design for complete outer-right hand protection (note how the left hand does not have this - thus it is also valid to imagine the existence of a shield). Also the front side does seem some kind of latin-like breastplate held by straps. Nothing conclusive and I would not jump up to claim anything but if I had to bet on something I would indeed bet on existence of a kind of armor-attire and not of plain clothing or tatoos or religious symbols and such.
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#5
Quote: Given that late Mycenaen armor came often in articulated designs
I would think that there is nowhere near enough evidence to conclude this. The only decent find is the Thebes arsenal and segmented typologies are a couple of possible reconstructions that can be made from the available plates but there are not enough plates from any one single cuirass to be sure. Currently all we can do is present a handful of possible solutions - a couple of which are segmented types - and wait for more evidence to present itself. Right now there is nothing at all to suggest that they used segmented arm armour.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#6
Quote:
Nikanor post=322965 Wrote:Given that late Mycenaen armor came often in articulated designs
I would think that there is nowhere near enough evidence to conclude this.

I do know what you mean Dan. But then there is even less evidence for other types of armor of that era.

We have:
- Articulated in Dendra.
- Articulated in Thebes.
- Various depictions of partial or full articulated armors in artwork of that era
- Articulated armors appear even in Linear B tablets lists of stocks as pictograms
- Articulated armors used with phasganon swords are depicted even among Sea People - on which we know Mycenaeans were a major part.

Certainly I did not mean that articulated armors were the only ones worn by Mycenaeans - I feel safe to speculate they would have all other types too. But somehow depictions and findings of articulated ones are more in % than what we find for later times. Maybe circumstantial but that is what we have up to now.

Quote:Currently all we can do is present a handful of possible solutions - a couple of which are segmented types - and wait for more evidence to present itself

I fully agree Dan. We can propose only what we can see.

Quote:Right now there is nothing at all to suggest that they used segmented arm armour

I agree. We have to find something first.
But if we do it would not be a surprise at all, it would be banal. 2nd millenia armies of Greece and Middle East seemed to already use most of the basic armor configurations that circulated till appearence of gunpowder. Then, we have depictions of soldiers using a single right shoulder-protection (that could be as well a detachable part of an articulated armor)- the left hand being hidden behind the shield. This is not far from adding a full-hand protection like the segmented hand.
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#7
Quote:We have:
- Articulated in Dendra.
- Articulated in Thebes.
- Various depictions of partial or full articulated armors in artwork of that era
- Articulated armors appear even in Linear B tablets lists of stocks as pictograms
- Articulated armors used with phasganon swords are depicted even among Sea People - on which we know Mycenaeans were a major part.

The Dendra armour was certainly articulated.

There weren't enough plates from a single armour at Thebes to put together a decent reconstruction.

Most of the artwork of the time is too crude to be any use at all.

No way can the Linear B tablets be used for this kind of analysis. How come there aren't any symbols that look like scale armour? How many times would you have to draw little sketches of scale armour before you start simplifying it? It is an early form of handwriting, not a photo. The best we can say from the Linear B tablets is that they are depicting some kind of armour that's all.

The Sea Peoples illustrations could just as easily be depicting the ribs on a bare chested fighter. That is more likely IMO given the angular nature of the lines. A series of plates shaped like this won't articulate very well and doesn't match any of the plates that have been found so far.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#8
Hi Dan, yes there are no definitive facts out there by all means but hey, that is what experimental archaeology does cover for.

Actually the latter has been experimentally re-constructed by Mr Katsikis to see how it would work. I have seen it live. It looks like it must had been a real armor and it works more than fine providing active protection with a spring effect. We are talking about an armour that is times superior to what armor circulated later and can only be compared to later Eastern Roman models only. As it is, the armor protects better than archaic bell/muscle armors albeit at the cost of an increased weight - apparently movement to battle by chariots for rich soldiers and their men gave them that opportunity.

Now the hypothesis of the artist wanting simply to paint the ribs of the body should be rather a minority one - the soldiers seem well armed and the lines of the body are very suggestive (one can see lines of belts as well as the short sleeves of a chiton-like garment (i.e. they are not naked). From there on if the art is substractive and if this should had been of metal, of leather, of scales etc. ...yes we there may not know so we can suggest by building proposals.
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#9
Is there any evidence for Greek segmented torso armour? The Dendra cuirass is solid - only the waist and thighs are segmented. As far as I can tell the Thebes cuirasses are solid as well.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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