The Ancient Greek Military Technology of the Linothorax

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[I]n ancient Greece, they thought they were cutting edge when they had developed the linothorax. [The] shirt-skirt is a linothorax. But the linothorax wasn’t a fashion statement — it was a suit of armor.

Few remains have been found at historic sites. But they are mentioned in texts — and we can see them on vases and paintings.

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University of Wisconsin Green Bay Professor Gregory Aldrete and a group of his students used these drawings and ancient texts to make versions of the linothorax, and research why they were effective.

Aldrete and his team discovered that linothoraxes are made using several layers of linen and rabbit glue. They had to get their hands on linen that was hand-woven and hand-sewn but also grown and harvested by traditional methods. That meant they had to grow their own linen. Which they did.

linothorax const

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Aldrete says the idea of using layers of linen (or any material) and gluing them together to create a tough, resistant material has been used for centuries.

And it’s still used today. Some of the bullet-proof vests used by armies and police forces around the world have been created using similar concept.



The verdict?

They were light-weight, flexible…and pretty much safe from any kind of arrows in use at the time.

The UWGB Linothorax Project via

This entry was posted in Culture, Gadgets, History by Heretic. Bookmark the permalink.

About Heretic

I design video games for a living, write fiction, political theory and poetry for personal amusement, and train regularly in Western European 16th century swordwork. On frequent occasion I have been known to hunt for and explore abandoned graveyards, train tunnels and other interesting places wherever I may find them, but there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I am preparing to set off a zombie apocalypse. Nothing that will stand up in court, at least. I use paranthesis with distressing frequency, have a deep passion for history, anthropology and sociological theory, and really, really, really hate mayonnaise. But I wash my hands after the writing. Promise.

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