Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > what was the weight of a hoplites armour components (archaic Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,436

PostPosted: Mon 08 Aug, 2016 8:12 am    Post subject: what was the weight of a hoplites armour components (archaic         Reply with quote

i made up a few figures when discussing it online, regarding the hoplites at the time of the persian wars (more specifically the spartans but i figured it'd apply to all hoplites

based largely on the lovely works by manning imperial since i know he tends to make pretty accurate pieces but im aware theres some room for error, hence the fairly broad weight anges

by the same token, generally speaking how thick did greek aromour get? (i know the nasel got really thick as did the metal around the eye holes but most helmets were only 18 guage, right?

helmet was between 1.2-1.7kg

a pair of greaves weighed between 2-3kg

if the hoplite also wore arm guards on his left arm (upper and forearm
each piece would have weighed similar to greaves so 3kg for the left arm (right arm had the shield)

torso (this is back AND front plates) about 6kg maximum

now for the shields, we used to think they were as heavy as you say but now they probably weighed in the vicinity of 5-10kg but most were 5-7kg

around 19kg on average if we include the armour for the left arm and those were only worn by the wealthiest citizens and aristocrats. so just over 16kg for most hoplites

the person i was talking to dropped a figure of 15-25 lb's for the aspis. if i remember weve reexamined this figure and decided it was a lot less, some figure between 5-8kg
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,302

PostPosted: Mon 08 Aug, 2016 11:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That all sounds pretty much reasonable, on the high end if anything. Greaves were probably ligther than that, and I doubt shields got much more than 15 pounds though 20 may not be an unreasonable maximum. Likewise, the bronze muscle cuirass that I have hard data for was just under 6 POUNDS, not kilograms!

So the general thickness of Greek armor was somewhere around "scary thin". Again, finding hard measurements is almost unknown, but you can find weights and a few generalizations. And you can compare at least to some extent to modern reproductions. For instance, my first Corinthian helmet is 18-ga, c. 1mm, and weighs 5 pounds. I've never run across ANY original ancient helmet that was more than a couple ounces over 3 pounds, and plenty are about half that. One Greek helmet that got a full diagnosis including X-rays and some metallurgical analysis was said to be 2mm thick but only about 1kg. So clearly it wasn't 2mm over its whole surface! But it's another frustrating example of data that isn't quite adequate...

There are published reports on the many pieces of armor from Olympia, including volumes on helmets and greaves. They might have some thicknesses here and there, not sure since I don't own them, but they are quite likely to have weights listed. Unfortunately the volume on body armor has not yet been published! But it hasn't even been a whole century since the stuff was dug up, so no big rush...

Be aware that arm guards were pretty much gone by the Persian Wars. They show up in Archaic artwork now and then, but are rare. Thigh guards are actually more common, but still not as common as greaves alone.

Just so folks know, yes, there are still modern authors claiming that hoplites wore SEVENTY pounds of equipment, all parroted without question from a wild-ass guess made in the 19th century. It's ludicrous, obviously, and just a glance at the actual evidence gives a figure that is less than half that, at most. Unless the Olympia cuirasses turn out to be a LOT heavier than we think they are! Hey, I love it when we're all wrong.

Matthew
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,190

PostPosted: Mon 08 Aug, 2016 5:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Cuirass: 4-5 kg.
Helmet and crest: 2 kg.
Greaves: 1 kg
Shield: 5-7 kg
Spear: 1 kg
Sword: 1 kg.
Clothing: 2 kg
Total: no more than 19 kg including weapons.

The average US rifle platoon soldier's load is over 40 kg.

My heaviest bronze cuirass is a little under 6 kg including the liner but it is a bit thicker than extant examples.

Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
View user's profile Send private message
William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,436

PostPosted: Tue 09 Aug, 2016 12:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
That all sounds pretty much reasonable, on the high end if anything. Greaves were probably ligther than that, and I doubt shields got much more than 15 pounds though 20 may not be an unreasonable maximum. Likewise, the bronze muscle cuirass that I have hard data for was just under 6 POUNDS, not kilograms!

So the general thickness of Greek armor was somewhere around "scary thin". Again, finding hard measurements is almost unknown, but you can find weights and a few generalizations. And you can compare at least to some extent to modern reproductions. For instance, my first Corinthian helmet is 18-ga, c. 1mm, and weighs 5 pounds. I've never run across ANY original ancient helmet that was more than a couple ounces over 3 pounds, and plenty are about half that. One Greek helmet that got a full diagnosis including X-rays and some metallurgical analysis was said to be 2mm thick but only about 1kg. So clearly it wasn't 2mm over its whole surface! But it's another frustrating example of data that isn't quite adequate...

There are published reports on the many pieces of armor from Olympia, including volumes on helmets and greaves. They might have some thicknesses here and there, not sure since I don't own them, but they are quite likely to have weights listed. Unfortunately the volume on body armor has not yet been published! But it hasn't even been a whole century since the stuff was dug up, so no big rush...

Be aware that arm guards were pretty much gone by the Persian Wars. They show up in Archaic artwork now and then, but are rare. Thigh guards are actually more common, but still not as common as greaves alone.



Just so folks know, yes, there are still modern authors claiming that hoplites wore SEVENTY pounds of equipment, all parroted without question from a wild-ass guess made in the 19th century. It's ludicrous, obviously, and just a glance at the actual evidence gives a figure that is less than half that, at most. Unless the Olympia cuirasses turn out to be a LOT heavier than we think they are! Hey, I love it when we're all wrong.

Matthew


one of the biggest bones of contention was the weight of the aspis, pretty miuch everyone assumes them to be extremely heavy,

whats made people change their tune to realise they wernt nearly as heavy as we used to think?
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,190

PostPosted: Tue 09 Aug, 2016 12:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William P wrote:
one of the biggest bones of contention was the weight of the aspis, pretty miuch everyone assumes them to be extremely heavy,

whats made people change their tune to realise they went nearly as heavy as we used to think?


People like Connolly started to make reconstructions based on extant examples and realised that the Victorian claims were bollocks. Any subsequent claims of heavy Greek panoplies were made by lazy historians who couldn't be bothered to keep up with the latest research.

Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > what was the weight of a hoplites armour components (archaic
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum