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Len Parker





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PostPosted: Fri 03 Aug, 2018 9:04 pm    Post subject: Celtic Armour In Plutarch's Lives         Reply with quote

Wish there was more detail.

From The Life of Marcellus:

Meanwhile the king of the Gauls espied him, and judging from his insignia that he was the commander, rode far out in front of the rest and confronted him, shouting challenges and brandishing his spear. His stature exceeded that of the other Gauls, and he was conspicuous for a suit of armour which was set off with gold and silver and bright colours and all sorts of broideries; it gleamed like lightning. 2 Accordingly, as Marcellus surveyed the ranks of the enemy, this seemed to him to be the most beautiful armour, and he concluded that it was this which he had vowed to the god. He therefore rushed upon the man, and by a thrust of his spear which pierced his adversary's breastplate, and by the impact of his horse in full career, threw him, still living, upon the ground, where, with a second and third blow, he promptly killed him. 3 Then leaping from his horse and laying his hands upon the armour of the dead, he looked towards heaven and said: "O Jupiter Feretrius, who beholdest the great deeds and exploits of generals and commanders in wars and fightings, I call thee to witness that I have overpowered and slain this man with my own hand, being the third Roman ruler and general so to slay a ruler and king, and that I dedicate to thee the first and most beautiful of the spoils. Do thou therefore grant us a like fortune as we prosecute the rest of the war."

Leonard Parker
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Sat 04 Aug, 2018 12:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Celtic Armour In Plutarch's Lives         Reply with quote

Len Parker wrote:
Wish there was more detail.


You and me both! Can't even trust what's in the translation, though, have to pick apart the original... Sounds like nice armor, though!

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Len Parker





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PostPosted: Mon 18 Mar, 2019 3:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From: https://balkancelts.wordpress.com
Bronze flagon, from a celtic burial at Glauberg Germany:
https://balkancelts.files.wordpress.com/2018/11/glauberg-2.jpg
https://balkancelts.files.wordpress.com/2018/11/glauberg-1.jpg

Leonard Parker
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Len Parker





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PostPosted: Mon 18 Mar, 2019 3:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And this: https://balkancelts.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/gutenberg-votive-bronze-warrior-god-figure-12-8-cm-heightgutenberg-castle-balzers-liechtenstein-2-1-c-bc.jpg
I see what looks like stitching. Do you think linen or leather or what?

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 18 Mar, 2019 3:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Len Parker wrote:
And this: https://balkancelts.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/gutenberg-votive-bronze-warrior-god-figure-12-8-cm-heightgutenberg-castle-balzers-liechtenstein-2-1-c-bc.jpg
I see what looks like stitching. Do you think linen or leather or what?


It is just a regular Greek-style tube-and-yoke corselet. The style was adopted from Europe through to Central Asia. Impossible to know from a sculpture whether it was made from leather, linen, or metal.

Keep in mind that many Gauls travelled south to serve as mercenaries in the armies of the Greek tyrants in Southern Italy. They fought in the phalanx with hoplite equipment and brought that way of fighting back home.

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 18 Mar, 2019 4:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Plutarch is available on the Perseus site in the original Greek. Find the book and passage number and I'll attempt a literal translation.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 18 Mar, 2019 4:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

ἐν τούτῳ δὲ κατιδὼν ὁ τῶν Γαλατῶν βασιλεὺς καὶ τεκμηράμενος ἀπὸ τῶν συμβόλων ἄρχοντα τοῦτον εἶναι, πολὺ πρὸ τῶν ἄλλων ἐξελάσας τὸν ἵππον ὑπηντίασεν, ἅμα τῇ φωνῇ προκλητικὸν ἐπαλαλάζων καὶ τὸ δόρυ κραδαίνων, ἀνὴρ μεγέθει τε σώματος ἔξοχος Γαλατῶν, καὶ πανοπλίᾳ ἐν ἀργύρῳ καὶ χρυσῷ καὶ βαφαῖς καὶ πᾶσι ποικίλμασιν, ὥσπερ ἀστραπῇ, διαφέρων στιλβούσῃ. [7.1]

Dryden's translation isn't too bad. The word he translates as "suit of armour" is πανοπλίᾳ (panoply), which really refers to all the gear of war: weapons, armour, shield, pteruges, belt, cloak, tunic, etc. In other words it refers to everything that a man takes into battle. A decent English translation might be "military ensemble". If I was translating, I would have left it as "panoply".

The word translated as "silver" is ἄργυρος, which specifically means "white metal", but is generally used to denote silver.

The word translated as "gold" is χρύσεος, which means "gold"or "golden". It is sometimes used to describe bronze.

I'm guessing that you are trying to find examples of linen armour and have homed in on the word "broideries" in this passage. The Greek word used is ποίκιλμα, which means "embroidery" or "brocade", but it is in reference to his panoply in general, not specifically his armour. IMO Plutarch says that the king wore bronze armour decorated in precious metal and had fancy embroidered clothing.

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Len Parker





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PostPosted: Mon 18 Mar, 2019 6:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I wouldn't think it was metal with a dagged bottom.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 18 Mar, 2019 6:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Len Parker wrote:
I wouldn't think it was metal with a dagged bottom.

'Tis a crude depiction of pteruges. On a metal cuirass they were attached to the liner of the armour or the tunic that was worn underneath.

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Len Parker





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PostPosted: Mon 08 Apr, 2019 9:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's a front shot of the guy on the jug: http://www.travellingthepast.com/germany/glauberg/ Looks like the shoulder doubling crosses over in front giving triple protection. Also the life size statue below.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Tue 09 Apr, 2019 4:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It is way too crude to interpret anything that specific from it. For all we know we might be seeing some kind of cloak.

Here is one possibility. This came from Connolly's book.


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Last edited by Dan Howard on Tue 09 Apr, 2019 4:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Tue 09 Apr, 2019 4:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh, I'd say they both look like tube and yoke cuirasses! The crossed flaps are unusual, of course, and something odd (and cape-like!) is happening at the back of the statue. Otherwise, not that far off from what the Greeks are wearing in 500 BC. No real surprise.

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Len Parker





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PostPosted: Wed 17 Apr, 2019 7:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Look at this Etruscan figure: https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=400450&partId=1&searchText=etruscan+bronze+woman&page=1 They're calling this a scale corslet. It looks like what the celtic statue is showing. So what do you think this is?
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Wed 17 Apr, 2019 9:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Simple! It's a tube-and-yoke cuirass! *Might* be scales on it, but they're pretty large for that. Might be something else. No way to tell. Parts of it look like a leathery finish has been added, but that may be meaningless. Sorry, that's just how it is with art! Statues can be better than vase paintings, but in my experience they simply make more questions.

For instance, WHAT is that across the back of the yoke that looks like a riveted seam??? No need for a seam if it's leather, is there? Could it be a long HINGE, perhaps, indicating *metal plate*?? Pure guesswork. Especially since we do have TWO archeological examples of these things in iron plate, and that's not how they're hinged.

Keep it coming! But you aren't going to get solid answers any more than everyone else who has looked at this stuff. Just sayin'.

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James Arlen Gillaspie
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PostPosted: Wed 17 Apr, 2019 1:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I wouldn't sweat the size of the scales. I have seen some enormous mail on small medieval sculptures! Such distortion is common, especially on small works, where the artist wants to make sure the particular detail can be seen, when if it were reduced to scale (sorry), it would be far more ambiguous what he was trying to represent.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 17 Apr, 2019 4:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It is very similar to the scale armour depicted on the Mars of Todi


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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 17 Apr, 2019 4:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

James Arlen Gillaspie wrote:
I wouldn't sweat the size of the scales. I have seen some enormous mail on small medieval sculptures! Such distortion is common, especially on small works, where the artist wants to make sure the particular detail can be seen, when if it were reduced to scale (sorry), it would be far more ambiguous what he was trying to represent.


Yep. Look at the statue at the bottom right of the Connolly image posted above. The rings on that statue are far larger than they were in real life. They aren't even aligned the right way. Real mail was rotated ninety degrees.

Keep in mind that these things aren't photos. If you show an object to a room full of artists and ask them to draw it, each one will render it differently. If you don't have the original object then how do you know which, if any, is depicted accurately? This kind of evidence is pretty useless by itself because it is open to so many different interpretations.

People also forget that these things were painted. We have no idea how much of the detail was painted on and is now lost to us.

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Len Parker





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PostPosted: Wed 17 Apr, 2019 8:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

How do you explain these four buttons in this celtic burial (lower right) https://vk.com/club867363?f=1&z=photo-60392205_456240861%2Fwall-867363_777
Leonard Parker
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Len Parker





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PostPosted: Wed 17 Apr, 2019 8:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's the full picture: https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmXoypizjW3WknFiJnKLwHCnL72vedxjQkDDP1mXWo6uco/wiki/Chariot_burial.html
If these are buttons for the shoulder doublings, it would prove there's no metal being used here.

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 17 Apr, 2019 10:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The examples in your pic (B and C) both have six "buttons", not four. What were they made from? Assuming that they were actually part of a cuirass, if they were made from gold or bronze then it is entirely feasible for these to remain intact while the iron cuirass completely mineralised. Were there any other iron items found on the body?
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