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 Post subject: What is this?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:53 am 
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I could decide no better place on the forums to discuss it:

I have come across an armor that is simply referred to as the Dendra Panoply, but not come across a lot of information about it.

http://www.myarmoury.com/talk/download.php?id=12509

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... 1400BC.jpg

http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~rauhn/images/bronze10.gif

http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/war/Armor/MycArmor.jpg

http://www.spartanwarband.com/albums/gr ... /aiace.jpg

It's quite fascinating, and actually looks somewhat similar to the armors that would come out of the late medieval period. I know that it was supposed to be dated around 1450BC and that surviving examples are very rare.

Does anyone know anything about the actual characteristics of this piece though? Things like.. what purpose it serves, who used it and why it was eventually discarded - information one would need before considering its introduction as an item in, say, an RPG.

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 Post subject: Re: What is this?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:35 am 
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I don't know to much about that specific armor but I do know some about most armors. Since to me it looks like a metal dress some of the biggest weakness that armor seems to have is that is doesn't look flexible (something all armors should have) the Greeks started making breast plates which would fit better. Also medieval armors biggest strength didn't come in the thickness of the plate but in the slight dome bend each peace had giving it structural support. This armor only has that on what appears to be the shoulders the rest would be very easy to bend or pierce without it being sufficiently thick (increasing weight extraordinarily) The Greek breastplate would have done a better job at defending all the major organs. The Greek shield would cover the thigh from any major blows and the leather/metal skirt would stop the glances and the metal shin guards both I believe would have been worn. So to sum it up it became to bulky for a reasonable man to wear Those are my guesses anyways.

For role playing I'd recommend treating it as light plate AV 5 from neck to knees but give it a very large cp/move cost to show its restrictions.

If I'm wrong about my hypothesis and some one knows more about it then I do please comment and correct me I'd love to learn more about it.


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 Post subject: Re: What is this?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:20 am 
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Ah, the famed Dendra Panoply. :)

This armour – and similiar ones – were in use in Minoan/Mycaenan times and seem to have fallen out of use during the Greek Dark Ages, o rat the very latest with the beginning of the Archaic period.

The mobile and "knightly" way in which Mycaenan warriors fought would suggest that this panoply did not hinder movement overmuch. Its wearers would not have fought in tightly-packed ranks but in more open formations, where mobility was of some importance.

It is telling that this rather comprehensive type of panoply was neither used by Greek horsemen nor hoplites, even though it would have been easier to manufacture in Classical than in Mycaenan times, and any degree of decreased mobility would have been less of an issue in the tightly-packed ranks of hoplites. This seems to suggest that the added protection from the bronze thigh- and upper-arm-pieces were not perceived as telling in hoplite warfare. And not even for generals and kings. The armour of Alexander the Great, though undoubtedly at the height of defensive technology, had not bronze tubes but leather "flaps" protecting the groin, thighs and upper arms.

To me, this evidence seems to suggest that the protection offered by the Dendra Panoply was not as impressive as its looks, even though it was not madly encumbering to wear.

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 Post subject: Re: What is this?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:47 am 
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Michael, all I know is that I love it when you drop in and post, and miss you when you don't! :D

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 Post subject: Re: What is this?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 8:24 am 
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:oops:
Shame on you for such pointless and unabashed flattery! ;)

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 Post subject: Re: What is this?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:51 am 
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I figure it is better to post it here than open up another topic.. Hopefully someone still checks it. Ha.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lq2YFwO- ... re=related

Aside from the fact that I do enjoy the song.. If you look closely, they have a piece of bronze armor covering their right upper arm and shoulder. I have actually seen this piece in a number of recreations worn, but Ive not seen it on any artwork that I've come across. Is this a legitimate piece of gear, or something someone somewhere decided would be pretty?

Also - I have seen reference to everything from leather muscle-piece to the bronze, to linothorax, to bronze-studded leather, etc etc. Did these all serve separate functions (as in: one type of soldier went with X, while another went with Y), was it regional (this city typically wore this while city X wore that), economic (different armor depending on what you could afford), or was it simply technological (one armor being of a different period than another)?

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 Post subject: Re: What is this?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:00 am 
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KazianG wrote:
If you look closely, they have a piece of bronze armor covering their right upper arm and shoulder. I have actually seen this piece in a number of recreations worn, but Ive not seen it on any artwork that I've come across. Is this a legitimate piece of gear, or something someone somewhere decided would be pretty?

You are referring to the clasp-like upper-arm „greave“, right? That’s authentic. Maybe not in the exact shape that has been reconstructed here, but the Greeks developed such protectors for different parts oft he body – even a small piece going just around the ankle. I don’t know just how commonly those latter were used – none too frequently, I think – but they existed.

KazianG wrote:
I have seen reference to everything from leather muscle-piece to the bronze, to linothorax, to bronze-studded leather, etc etc. Did these all serve separate functions (as in: one type of soldier went with X, while another went with Y), was it regional (this city typically wore this while city X wore that), economic (different armor depending on what you could afford), or was it simply technological (one armor being of a different period than another)?

Extant evidence does not allow a decisive answer to all of your questions, but at least to some:
Different armours, different troop types: Almost certainly not. The one troop type wearing armour tailored to special needs would have been the cavalry, wearing shorter armours that allow them to sit astride a horse. Greek light troops, the peltastoi went totally unarmoured, and there was no medium infantry between them and the hoplites.

Regional: Most probably no. Though of course there were poorer and riches poleis, so the troops of a richer one would have been equipped more lavishly.

Economic reasons: Probably yes. Rich citizens, officers and professional mercenaries would own heavier, more expensive kit, but the same would probably hold true for elite units within a citizen army and to entire citizen armies of especially warlike states, And of course to large parts oft he standing armies of Hellenistic kings.

Technology: Certainly not. Throughout the age oft he hoplite, Greeks would have been perfectly able to manufacture bronze muscle cuirasses.

By the way, I would rather forget the idea of moulded leather cuirasses. They were an idea of 19th-century antiquarians disproven by 20th-century research and only recently cropping up again in the reenactor scene. There is no evidence whatsoever for cuirasses for active service made from moulded hardened leather at any time during antiquity, and only very thin circumstantial evidence for the existence of such pieces, coated in leaf of gold, as dress uniform to be worn by high officers and kings who didn’t want to bother with heavy war-gear in non-military situations.

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 Post subject: Re: What is this?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:08 pm 
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That makes slightly more sense. Do we have a name for that strange little upper-arm bit? Where there other (un)common add-on bits for the standard hoplite fare?

And can you tell me anything about the linothorax? The problem in trying to write anything for RP in this time period is you're expected to have a better understanding than perhaps you can really provide based on the historical record.

Namely trying to pin down when they became the more popular armor and perhaps some speculation over why one would choose it over the other. Did they exist simultaneously on battlefields? I know I've read that Alexander chose to kit his soldiers out with them and he certainly could have afforded the bronze breastplate if he wanted it.

Also: not necessarily super informative for our purposes but fun to watch nonetheless -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ERSx1o8wwk

I need to work out armor values for all of the above as well.

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 Post subject: Re: What is this?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:42 pm 
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KazianG wrote:
Do we have a name for that strange little upper-arm bit?

I don’t know any, and I’m not enough of a scholar of ancient Greece to say with any degree of certainty whether there is any extant source for what the Greeks called this thing; I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t, though.

KazianG wrote:
Where there other (un)common add-on bits for the standard hoplite fare?

None I can think of or feel that you needed to concern yourself with, unless you wanted to create a painstaking historical simulaton instead of a roleplaying game.

KazianG wrote:
Namely trying to pin down when they became the more popular armor and perhaps some speculation over why one would choose it over the other. Did they exist simultaneously on battlefields?

Drawing mainly upon vase paintings and tidbits of written information it seems that the bronze cuirass was for several centuries worn practically solely by officers, whereas its use became more widespread during the Hellenistic age, when their use alongside the linothorax would not have been uncommon. As to the exact reasons for chosing one over the other, maybe they are known to specialists of Greek history – I myself can only offer informe speculation.

And this is that I suspect that the linothorax offered surprisingly good protection. I think that the bronze cuirass did not protect a man so very much better from edges and points to justify its additional cost and its additional weight. Mass weapons would of course have been a different matter, but the Greeks encountered none more dangerous than a wooden cudgel, so there would have been no use for superbly rigid armours.

Where bronze beat he linothorax hands down was on looks – a polished musle cuirass gleaming in the sun surely must have been a sight to behold that no linothorax, no matter how lavishly decorated, could have beaten. And I know from Roman examples that looks did matter in chosing armour, to such a degree that a better looking piece of armour could actually be chosen over a duller one that might offer better protection - even by knowledgeable professionals. I suspect that the use of the bronze cuirass over the linothorax for officers and entire core units of Hellenistic armies might well have had more to do with showing off than with better protection.

KazianG wrote:
I need to work out armor values for all of the above as well.

You know that quite a few – though by no means all – linothorakes had rows of bronze scales sewn around the their belly areas, right? Just to complicate things a bit more for you. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: What is this?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:00 pm 
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Grettir wrote:
KazianG wrote:
I need to work out armor values for all of the above as well.

You know that quite a few – though by no means all – linothorakes had rows of bronze scales sewn around the their belly areas, right? Just to complicate things a bit more for you. :lol:


Sigh. Yes. haha. That said, the whole "showing off" angle would fit in well with the overall culture I've been painting for the game. I do have a good bit of leeway on historical accuracy to play with simply based on the fact that the setting is only slightly closer to Greece than Tolkien's Middle Earth is to dark age Europe. Group tastes are leaning towards a sword-and-sorcery flavor hellenic game, and I'm happy to oblige.

While I've got you playing historical adviser:

I was under the impression that bronze swords were quite short.. almost like overgrown daggers. On the other hand, reproductions I've come across seem to be not dissimilar to early iron age blades in length.

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Have these had liberties taken with them or is it about right?

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 Post subject: Re: What is this?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:13 pm 
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Hoplite stuff:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PuaUR3cFps Some points about the hoplite cuirass
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bg1iPL8eVeE Another quick point about the hoplite cuirass
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULsbH8ZbUEc Two points about hoplite swords
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdHo-1jbX1A A point about shields (not hoplite, but for context)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__mH8Xa7Sto Another point about shields
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmaYtNW_wR8 A point about shieldwalls
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klOc9C-aPr4 A point about spears
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-xtFXThEOc More points about spears

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 Post subject: Re: What is this?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:56 pm 
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I love this guy. Just all around.

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 Post subject: More bronze age..
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:50 am 
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I've decided I'll just keep posting questions here instead of creating additional scattered posts:

In addition to the question about sword lengths, Bronze Age warfare:

How did sieges work in this era? I don't believe there was anything approaching artillery yet, correct? Is it simply a matter of the attacking army hanging around the walls until the people inside give up or it gets too cold?

Secondary question: I know depictions of later hoplites involve 20ft spears.. sarissa, i believe, that were used in formation. Was it always done with spears of that length, or is that something that developed later? What purpose do the shorter, 8 foot (or thereabout) spears serve?

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 Post subject: Re: What is this?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:03 am 
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IO-CooA4_Y A point about sieges :mrgreen:

Though, yes, Lindy talks about the number of sieges compared to battles here, not how they were conducted.

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 Post subject: Re: What is this?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:46 am 
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KazianG wrote:
I was under the impression that bronze swords were quite short.. almost like overgrown daggers. On the other hand, reproductions I've come across seem to be not dissimilar to early iron age blades in length.

I know that a few remains of longer bronze swords have been found, but both the scarcity of the finds and the total absence of pictorial evidence for their existence (as opposed to lots of pictorial evidence for short swords) seem to suggest to me that they were eminently rare. If I was to speculate on the reason for this rarity, I can only think of one:

It couldn’t have been that long blades were unsuitable for close-order fighting, as the bronze age warriors didn’t fight in close order anyway. I suspect that the quality of bronze simply wasn’t up to manufacture reliable long blades from it. I think that the ancients did try now and again, but in the end, it just didn’t work out – and that’s why there aren’t more long bronze blades.

Apart from that, I would advise you to leap at the opportunity, to – for once! – have no long swords in a game. Players tend to go for swords anyhow, and I think ist lame. Here you have the opportunity to force them to chose another weapon for their characters, so I wouldn’t spoil this by shoehorning in long bronze swords. :)

KazianG wrote:
How did sieges work in this era? I don't believe there was anything approaching artillery yet, correct? Is it simply a matter of the attacking army hanging around the walls until the people inside give up or it gets too cold?

For the earlier period, forget artillery, but don’t think primitive. Walls were escaladed and undermined, and siege towers and battering rams mounted in well-protected sheds were brought up to the gates. The Grreks did this at the latest from the 6th century onwards, and the Assyrians and other orientals from the 9th onwards.

During Hellenistic times, siegecraft became even more sophisticated. In around 300 BC Demetrios Poliorketes constructed a legendary siege tower – 30 m high, covered completely inmetal armour, and mounting artillery on several of ist levels. Because from now on, artillery played a role, in the form of sometimes quite huge ballistae firing balls of stone – not so much against walls, but rather aginst the more flimsy towers, against battlements and the men behind them, and as weapons of terror into the interior oft he besieged cities.

But throughout the period, the main method of storming cities was to bring up massive earthen ramps against the walls, the construction of which the defenders tried to obstruct by missile fire, sorties, undermining the ramp and other ingenuous methods. Once – and if – the ramp was constructed, the attackers would use it to storm the wall.

KazianG wrote:
I know depictions of later hoplites involve 20ft spears.. sarissa, i believe, that were used in formation. Was it always done with spears of that length, or is that something that developed later? What purpose do the shorter, 8 foot (or thereabout) spears serve?

The long sarissa was used – exclusively! – by the Macedon and Hellenistic phalanx. Hoplites used the shorter dore.

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