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Dendra panoply

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gerontius grumpus
41786.  Mon Dec 26, 2005 10:38 am Reply with quote

I was talking to Grumpina Maxima the other day about Achilles and his armour when I thought of a possible D subject.

The Dendra panoply is a set of Bronze armour from bronze age Greece, more or less contemporary with the time when Mycenae was at the height of its power and the Homeric war of Troy is thought to have taken place.
It is formed from broad horizontal segments overlapping from below so it has been suggested that it is associated with chariot warfare.

Peter Connolly, in one of his books, has sugested that it would be a suitable type of armour for Achilles to have worn because it gives so much more protection than other forms of armour known to have been used at that time.

Incidentally, it looks nothing like anything that most people would have expected the ancient Greeks to have worn.

43740.  Fri Jan 06, 2006 11:42 pm Reply with quote

Greek chariot warfare? Tell me more, I'd assumed that like the Celts to a certain extent* the Greeks travelled to a battle by chariot but did not in fact fight from them.

* The celts didn't fight from horseback either, horses being sacred animals (until put to work to use their horsemanship militarily under Roman/Carthaginian influence). I believe the Greeks did though, the Parthenon freize having rather a good illustration of Athenian cavalry. I can't find the exact picture I'm looking for but this one will do

and some good documentary evidence

gerontius grumpus
43911.  Sat Jan 07, 2006 3:26 pm Reply with quote


I will need to consult some books which are not here right now.

The point is that the seige of Troy as described by Homer happened in the bronze age, long before classical Greece and the pre eminence of Athens. This wa swhen Mycenae was one of the dominant city states and the appearance of warriors and their fighting methods differed considerably from the familiar classical styles.

All I know about Greek cavalry without consulting the literature, is that they differed from imperial Roman cavalry in their preference for helmets.
The Greeks liked to maintain all round vision, unimpaired by cheek pieces and neck guards. Hence the excellent Boeotian helmets shown in the Alexander film. The Roman imperial cavalry favoured all round protection with deep neck guards and huge cheek pieces.

I don't think the horse riders on the Parthenon frieze look particularly military, I get the impression you don't think so either.

44038.  Sun Jan 08, 2006 6:20 am Reply with quote

I don't think the horse riders on the Parthenon frieze look particularly military, I get the impression you don't think so either.

That's right, but I have seen elements from the frieze that were specifically described as the Athenian cavalry as formed under Themistocles, with a very clear commentary indicating that their purpose was military. The artwork on the frieze depicts ranks of cavalry four deep 'into' the frieze (which is in fact only a couple of inches thick), from memory I can't recall them being conspicuously military in appearance either although, as the article suggests, artistic depictions may sacrifice accuracy for classical aesthetics.


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