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Reconstructing Ancient Linen Body Armor - New Book
#1
I know there is a lot of discussion on here about the linothorax/linen armor, but here is the website and information for an upcoming book on the subject entitled "Reconstructing Ancient Linen Body Armor: Unraveling the Linothorax Mystery" by Gregory S. Aldrete, Scott Bartell, and Alicia Aldrete. It should be out late March/early Spring and you can pre-order a copy through the Johns Hopkins website or through Amazon:

Johns Hopkins Website

Amazon Order Form

Info on the Book:

Alexander the Great led one of the most successful armies in history and conquered nearly the entirety of the known world while wearing armor made of cloth. How is that possible? In Reconstructing Ancient Linen Body Armor, Gregory S. Aldrete, Scott Bartell, and Alicia Aldrete provide the answer.

An extensive multiyear project in experimental archaeology, this pioneering study presents a thorough investigation of the linothorax, linen armor worn by the Greeks, Macedonians, and other ancient Mediterranean warriors. Because the linothorax was made of cloth, no examples of it have survived. As a result, even though there are dozens of references to the linothorax in ancient literature and nearly a thousand images of it in ancient art, this linen armor remains relatively ignored and misunderstood by scholars.

Combining traditional textual and archaeological analysis with hands-on reconstruction and experimentation, the authors unravel the mysteries surrounding the linothorax. They have collected and examined all of the literary, visual, historical, and archaeological evidence for the armor and detail their efforts to replicate the armor using materials and techniques that are as close as possible to those employed in antiquity. By reconstructing actual examples using authentic materials, the authors were able to scientifically assess the true qualities of linen armor for the first time in 1,500 years. The tests reveal that the linothorax provided surprisingly effective protection for ancient warriors, that it had several advantages over bronze armor, and that it even shared qualities with modern-day Kevlar.

Previously featured in documentaries on the Discovery Channel and the Canadian History Channel, as well as in U.S. News and World Report, MSNBC Online, and other international venues, this groundbreaking work will be a landmark in the study of ancient warfare.

"Aldrete, Bartell, and Aldrete present innovative, fascinating research that reshapes our understanding of ancient Greek warfare."—John W. I. Lee, University of California, Santa Barbara
Gregory S. Aldrete is a professor of humanistic studies and history at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay. He is the author of Floods of the Tiber in Ancient Rome and Gestures and Acclamations in Ancient Rome, both published by Johns Hopkins. Scott Bartell is an independent scholar who has published and presented on linen body armor and Alexander the Great. Alicia Aldrete is coauthor (with Gregory S. Aldrete) of The Long Shadow of Antiquity: What Have the Greeks and Romans Done for Us?

[attachment=6531]AldreteFinalCoverjpg.jpg[/attachment]


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Scott B.
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#2
I've just started to read it today (June 28), and it looks very interesting and valuable.

Two reservations: one is minor, in that I wish they hadn't perpetuated the use of linothorax as a noun: as far as I can see whenever the word is used it is an adjective meaning "linen-corseleted", and any Greek writer who simply wants to say "a linen cuirass" used "linos thorax" or "thorax lineos" or some such. But I imagine this is a forlorn hope since the modern usage seems well-established.

Second, it's a pity that the authors seemed unaware (judging from their bibliography) of Hero Granger Taylor's article "Fragments of linen from Masada, Israel - possible remnants of pteryges" in Wearing the Cloak (ed. M-L Nosch 2012), although they were able to use Margarita Gleba's article on Etruscan linen cuirasses from the same volume. Presumably the Nosch volume didn't appear in time to be used. Granger Taylor discusses what may be the only surviving pieces of ancient linen armour - some half-burned fragments from Masada that she thinks may be pteryges, and as comparison the Dura linen "greave lining" which she interprets as a greave itself, not a lining. I'd have been very interested to see what the authors of Reconstructing... made of her analysis, and whether it would have affected their decision to go for glued reconstructions - the Masada and Dura examples don't seem to be glued.
cheers,
Duncan
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#3
Actually Duncan, the word "linothorax" (λινοθώραξ) is a rare word but it is a noun, not an adjective, so this should not worry you.
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#4
The layered linen remains found at Patras are apparently intact enough to be pretty sure that it is torso armour. There was a smaller piece found at Mycenae that might be another example. No trace of glue in either one but they both date to the end of the Bronze Age, not the classical period.

Strabo uses "linothorax" as a noun but I can't think of anyone else. Homer uses a similar word "linothorex" as an adjective.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#5
Correct, Homer -and all who quote him on this- uses the word λινοθώρηξ as an adjective (which is an adjective of course, in Greek it is the suffixes that determine a word, so an eta is a big change) and there is also another example of it in use in some oracle about the Megarians mentioned by many authors. Aelius Herodianus mentions the word linothorax (as a noun), as do Georgios Choeroboscos and Eustathios, the first two as examples of nouns and not in sentences.
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#6
Quote:Actually Duncan, the word "linothorax" (λινοθώραξ) is a rare word but it is a noun, not an adjective, so this should not worry you.
Really? It only ever seems to be used to qualify another noun - Argeioi linothorakes, for instance. And "wearing a linen cuirass" is the LSJ rendering, not "a linen cuirass".


Quote:Strabo uses "linothorax" as a noun
Do you have a reference? I know "Lusitanous ...linothorakes oi pleious" in 3.3.6, but again that seems adjectival: he's saying the Lusitanians are linen-corseleted, not that they are linen corselets.
cheers,
Duncan
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#7
Quote:. Aelius Herodianus mentions the word linothorax (as a noun), as do Georgios Choeroboscos and Eustathios, the first two as examples of nouns and not in sentences.
So some late grammarians say it can be used as a noun, but only Eustathios (which Eustathios?) actually does so?
cheers,
Duncan
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#8
The reference I have is Geography 13.1.11 but I haven't checked it

Edit: I've had a quick look at Perseus and can't find it.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#9
Quote:The reference I have is Geography 13.1.11 but I haven't checked it
Not according to the numbering at the Perseus Project, but then I have no idea what alternative section-numbering systems might exist for Strabo.
cheers,
Duncan
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#10
Look at the title to this thread. In that instance, "linen" is used as an adjective--telling us "what kind of" armor, but it can also be used as a noun [for example, "Linen is a type of cloth or fiber produced from the flax plant."]. I guess it's the same thing as the argument made about the same word root in Greek, isn't it? Greek has the advantage of word endings which give us the clue about which way a word is being used.

Back in the old days, they taught us to identify parts of speech by a process called "diagramming sentences". They don't seem to teach that any more. Pity.
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#11
It is "Ἀργεῖοι λινοθώρηκες" (linothorekes, not linothorakes). And in Homer we have "ὀλίγος μὲν ἔην λινοθώρηξ" Il.2.529 and "Ἄδρηστός τε καὶ Ἄμφιος λινοθώρηξ", Il.2.830

Strabo (I did not mention him because Dan did) writes "λινοθώρακες οἱ πλείους·" 3.3.6.
In 13.1.10 he quotes Homer's Il.2.830 example.

The 3.3.6. example is a clear noun and this is especially obvious if you read a larger part of the text :

"παραξιφὶς πρὸς τούτοις ἢ κοπίς. λινοθώρακες οἱ πλείους· σπάνιοι δὲ ἁλυσιδωτοῖς χρῶνται καὶ τριλοφίαις, οἱ δ’ ἄλλοι νευρίνοις κράνεσιν· οἱ πεζοὶ δὲ καὶ κνημῖδας ἔχουσιν"

The next four words, are translated as " rarely do they utilize chain (adjective) and (helms with) three crests. This "chain" actually is going to the "linothorakes" noun, which would in Greek sound like the English "chain and linen-corselets" In this example, the word "linen-corselet" is a noun and the word chain is actually a kind of adjective (and in the Greek example a clear adjective) that needs the noun corselet to make sense.

So, at least in the examples I am aware of, the "linothorax" is a noun always and the "linothorex" an adjective always.

Both words are, as I wrote initially, very rare.
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#12
Quote:Look at the title to this thread. In that instance, "linen" is used as an adjective--telling us "what kind of" armor, but it can also be used as a noun [for example, "Linen is a type of cloth or fiber produced from the flax plant."]. I guess it's the same thing as the argument made about the same word root in Greek, isn't it? Greek has the advantage of word endings which give us the clue about which way a word is being used.
Linon is Greek for "flax", which is derived from the Linear B, LINARI - also meaning "flax".
Strabo uses the plural of linothorax, which is a compound noun meaning "linen armour"
Homer uses linothorex, which is an adjective (masc, nom, sing) describing someone who is "armoured in linen"

Edit: corrected "linos" to "linon"
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#13
The noun is actually "linon" (neutral) not "linos". (There is a noun "linos" (masculine) that is some type of song)

@ Duncan, Eustathios Thessalonicensis
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#14
Quote:So, at least in the examples I am aware of, the "linothorax" is a noun always and the "linothorex" an adjective always.
Interesting, thank you for that. I note that the LSJ actually reckons that the difference between the -ax and -ex forms is dialectical, not grammatical - that both are forms of the adjective in different dialects. I'm not really qualified to say who's the more correct, you or three eminent (but rather dated) professors (though I should have an institutional loyalty to Liddell).
cheers,
Duncan
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#15
Okay, now that that's settled (I hope) has anybody actually read the book?
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