Bronze Borne: The Functional Context of the Hoplite's Panoply During the Greek Archaic Period

Lanphier, Henry, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Lendon, John, History, University of Virginia

By examining the design choices of the Greek hoplite panoply and testing its mechanical properties, it becomes possible to identify how the armor system differed in function from the other options available in the Archaic and Classical Periods. The findings of tests conducted with physical reconstructions and computer models indicate that the armor enjoyed a critical advantage in withstanding and delivering levels of compressive force that would easily kill an unarmored human. These tests further demonstrate that the armor was designed to handle even the mass crush that the many-men-deep phalanx formations could produce. While hoplites consistently maintained this advantage over non-hoplites, each phase of the panoply’s development employed a different set of optimized tools, and by investigating the changes in the hoplite’s needs, the shifting nature of hoplite warfare may be better contextualized and understood.

MA (Master of Arts)
Hoplite, Thorax, Panoply
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