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Linothorax
#1
Here is a nice review about a recently published book I believe could be well worth having for those interested in recreating Greek linnen armour. The review gives some nice data, too. The book seems to prove linnen armour was not only viable, but pretty effective against a range of weapons.

http://journal.exarc.net/issue-2014-3/mm...and-alicia
Salvete et Valete

Nil volentibus arduum


Robert P. Wimmers
Archeologie Beleven!
>http://www.ferrumantica.eu  (The NEW Fabrica of Vvlpivs!)
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#2
It is definitely worth reading. Just ignore their ideas about using glue. Real linen armour was quilted. The two articles they cite as evidence for glued linen say no such thing.
http://bookandsword.com/2014/02/14/did-t...-armour-2/
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#3
I agree with Dan. In "Koryvantes" we found out that 15 layers of linen can resist almost anything available to harm you at that time. No need to put any extra effort and resource to glue. Also one of our "glued" experimental items was transformed into pulp after some heavy rain.

Kind regards
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#4
Is there any evidence that there was a large enough linen production at the time to manufacture the tens of thousands of linothorax needed to outfit the number of hoplites active during the period in question? Perhaps trade records? Records of the manufacture of the tools needs to make linen from flax? Food imports to feed the army of artisans or slaves involved in a large linen industry?

With the lack of much artifact evidence available I feel we should look at secondary sources for further proof.
Joe Balmos
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#5
By 'quilted' is merely "sewn together" meant? None of the illustrations I have seen of ancient Greek soft armour show the bulkiness that I associate with the Medieval jack or aketon, or with 'quilted' items of any kind. I think this distinction is important.
Martin

Fac me cocleario vomere!
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#6
Quote:By 'quilted' is merely "sewn together" meant? None of the illustrations I have seen of ancient Greek soft armour show the bulkiness that I associate with the Medieval jack or aketon, or with 'quilted' items of any kind. I think this distinction is important.

Textile armour was made either by stuffing a textile shell like a cushion and then compressing it with quilting, or by quilting multiple layers of cloth together, or a combination of the two. The quilting consisted of multiple rows of stitching spaced closely together. It was very labour intensive - using glue would probably save a lot of time. The best modern example to have a look at is the arm guards of kendo armour. They are made entirely of quilted cloth yet are as rigid as a board.

Most of the illustrations of Greek armour we all have seen are probably depicting the spolas which was likely made of leather, not linen.

Very few medieval illustrations of gambesons and jacks look as you suggest either. These things aren't photos and can't be treated as such. In any case it is impossible to tell how textile armour is constructed just by looking at it. The majority of medieval examples had their construction hidden by an outer layer of fine leather or expensive cloth.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#7
Here are my thoughts on Aldrete's book. There are five main problems.

1. All of the sources he cites for Greek linen armour during the time in question are actually talking about foreigners using linen armour, not Greeks. What little evidence we have about Greek tube and yoke armour suggests that it was made of leather, not linen.

2. He relies on an outdated hypothesis by Connolly who suggested that glue may have been used to make their linen armour because their shoulder flaps appear to be "springy" in some illustrations. Firstly, properly quilted linen is just as springy and rigid as glued linen (take a look at kendo arm guards). Secondly, we now suspect that those shoulder flaps were more likely made of leather, and not linen at all.

3. Layered textile armour has been used in battle for at least three thousand years all over the world from the Americas to Europe to Asia. There are dozens and dozens of extant examples and many descriptions of how it is made in various texts. Every single one is quilted. There isn't a shred of evidence to suggest that glue has ever been used to make layered textile armour in all of that three thousand year history.

4. His team doesn't seem to have bothered to examine any of the multitude of extant examples of textile armour and so their quilted test pieces are woefully substandard compared to how real textile armour was made. Because of this they come to the false conclusion that their glued construction was more protective than quilted armour. When the quilting is properly done, a good case can be made for quilting actually providing better protection than glue.

5. They overbuild their reconstruction. If they really wanted to reproduce Hellenistic linen armour then they should not have made it so thick that it was completely arrowproof. Pausanias said that linen armour was better for hunting because it was susceptible to a strong weapon thrust, and Alexander was almost killed by an arrow that punched through his armour. We know that textile armour can be made arrowproof; there are European and Asian examples with as much as 30 layers in their construction, but the linen armour described in Greek texts seems to have been a lot lighter - 10 to 15 layers would be my best guess, but it depends on the cloth and the type of weave.

Their experiments regarding glued linen are actually well thought out and carefully documented, but ultimately it was a pointless squandering of resources until someone comes up with evidence that historical armour was ever made like this. It would have been far more useful if they put those resources to examining how various types of quilted armour performed.

Quilted linen makes a very effective armour. It actually provides better protection than a similar weight of layered leather - even if it is hardened into cuirbouili. Personally I believe that the Greeks may have made limited use of linen armour during the classical and Hellenistic periods but it definitely wasn't glued and it may not have been of the tube and yoke typology.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#8
[double post]
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#9
Quote:5. They overbuild their reconstruction. If they really wanted to reproduce Hellenistic linen armour then they should not have made it so thick that it was completely arrowproof. Pausanias said that linen armour was better for hunting because it was susceptible to a strong weapon thrust, and Alexander was almost killed by an arrow that punched through his armour. We know that textile armour can be made arrowproof; there are European and Asian examples with as much as 30 layers in their construction, but the linen armour described in Greek texts seems to have been a lot lighter - 10 to 15 layers would be my best guess, but it depends on the cloth and the type of weave.

Their supposed standard linothorax example failed at 65-75 J - that's hardly arrowproof. A mere 100lb bow might easily manage that within 60 or so yards with a heavy arrow. Even if powerful bows were less common in antiquity than later on, the evidence suggests they still existed.
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#10
I think that the word 'quilting' tends to suggest the loosely stuffed packing, held together by patterned stitching, construction to most people. It certainly does to me.

Concerning the leather theory for the usual type of Greek armour, there seems to me to be a problem relative to this with the depiction of shoulder pieces springing upright. I have not come across any leather item, of whatever thickness, that would not quickly accommodate the shape it was flexed into – certainly not for the equivalent length of a shoulder piece/yolk; particularly as, when in use, the leather would be subject to sweat, rain and other humidity. Hardened, blocked leather would not have the flexibility to change its shape in order to be buckled down. However, a composite, many-layered construction would, if the layers were held together tightly (closely sewn, glued – whatever), tend to revert to its original shape when not under constraint.
Martin

Fac me cocleario vomere!
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#11
Quote:I think that the word 'quilting' tends to suggest the loosely stuffed packing, held together by patterned stitching, construction to most people. It certainly does to me.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quilting

Armour was made with a simple running stitch but the rows of stitching tend to be closely spaced.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#12
Here i have replied to the same arguement about the standing up of the leather shoulfer flaps.
http://www.romanarmytalk.com/19-greek-mi...=60#347814
Khaire
Giannis
Giannis K. Hoplite
a.k.a.:Giannis Kadoglou
a.k.a.:Thorax
[Image: -side-1.gif]
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#13
Yes, your yoke is of multiple layers stitched together - this is the crux of the matter. Whatever the material, leather, textile or leather-faced textile, the construction has to be of multiple layers held tightly together (by stitching, glueing or even riveting) for the springing up of the shoulder pieces to be created.
Martin

Fac me cocleario vomere!
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