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LORI´CA (θώραξ), a cuirass. The epithet λινοθώρηξ applied to two light-armed warriors in the Iliad (2.529, 830), although it occurs in the comparatively late catalogue of the Ships, indicates the early use of the linen cuirass. But with the exception of the passages quoted, all allusions to the cuirass in Homer imply a defence of rigid metal; for it is certainly wrong to suppose that the στρεπτὸς χιτὼν of the Iliad (5.113, 21.31) is a hauberk of twisted mail, or that χαλκοχίτων is more than a poetical epithet. The Homeric cuirass was usually of bronze (but cf. Il. 11.19-28; 23.561). As regards the parts of the body protected, it covered the γαστέρα μέσσην (Il. 13.371, 397, 506), but there is no proof that it reached lower than this. It consisted of the two γύαλα, viz. the breastplate (pectorale), which covered the breast and abdomen, and the corresponding plate which covered the back (Paus. 10.26, 2; Il. 5.99, 15.530). In Homeric times the γύαλα cannot have been made to fit very closely to the body, for a warrior might have his cuirass pierced and yet escape unwounded (Il. 3.360; 7.254). The Homeric body-armour consisted of the θώραξ, ζωστήρ, ζῶμα, and μίτρη. There is some uncertainty as to the respective functions of these different pieces. It seems probable that the annexed woodcut of a bronze statuette of a Greek warrior found at Dodona (Arch. Zeit. 1882, pl. 1) shows the form of the thorax. It [p. 2.78]is clear that at the point of junction the ζωστὴρ was upon the thorax, and the thorax upon the

Ancient Lorica as worn by a Greek warrior. (From bronze statuette found at Dodona.)

μίτρη (Il. 4.132, 185). Probably the ζωστὴρ was a girdle round the lower part of the thorax, helping to keep the two γύαλα together, and itself kept in position by the projecting rim at the bottom of the thorax, which was the ζῶμα. It is plain from a comparison of Il. 4.136 and 187 that the ζῶμα was a part of the thorax. The μίτρη was perhaps a metal band, protecting the lower part of the abdomen, its upper edges lying beneath the projecting rim of the thorax. Such bands have been found in very early tombs in Euboea and Italy (Helbig, Das Homerische Epos aus dem Denkmälern erläutert, p. 199, fig. 67). Specimens are in the British Museum. (On the whole question of Homeric body-armour, see Helbig, loc. cit. p. 197; W. Leaf, Journ. of Hellen. Studies, iv. p. 73; and Leaf's Homer, Il. 4.137). A remarkable fragment of a thorax, apparently of the early form, has incised designs of an archaic character, with human figures, animals, and conventional patterns (Bull. de Correspondance hellénique, vii. pll. i.-iii.).

In historical times the rigid thorax (θώραξ στάδιος or στατός, so called because, when placed upon the ground on its lower edge, it stood erect) was developed as follows. The projecting rim at the bottom of the thorax disappeared. The lower part was prolonged in the middle to protect the abdomen. (For an early example of such a prolongation, see Froehner, Choix de Vases Grecs, pl. iii. See also below the woodcut of a Roman emperor.) Round the lower edges of the thorax a series of flaps was attached, consisting of leather or felt covered with metal, and serving to protect the hips and groin, while not interfering with the wearer's freedom of movement. They are well shown in the following woodcut of a figure of a young warrior from one of Mr. Hope's fictile vases (Costumes of the Ancients, 1.102).

Instead of the straps here described, which the Greeks called πτέρυγες (Xen. de Re Equest. 12.4), the Chalybes, who were encountered by Xenophon on his retreat (Anab. 4.7.15), had in the same situation a kind of cordage.

Lorica as worn by a Greek warrior. (From a vase.)

Appendages of a similar kind were sometimes fastened by hinges to the lorica at the right shoulder, for the purpose of protecting the part of the body which was exposed by lifting up the arm in throwing the spear or using the sword. (Xen. de Re Equest. 12.6) Other straps were sometimes attached round the holes for the arms, thus serving as short sleeves (cf. Alt. von Pergamon, ii., Atlas, pl. xlvii. fig. 2).

The γύαλα were modelled so as to fit accurately to the form of the body, as may be seen in the representations of them in the woodcuts at Vol. I. pp. 189, 284. It appears (Xen. Memorabilia, 3.10) that great pains were taken to secure that the thorax should fit the individual wearer. The two plates were united on the right side of the body by two hinges, as seen in the equestrian statue of the younger Balbus at Naples, and in various portions of bronze cuirasses still in existence. On the other side, and sometimes on both sides, they were fastened by means of buckles (περόναι, Paus.

l.c.). [FIBULA] In Roman statues we often observe a band surrounding the waist and tied before. The breast-plate and the back-plate were further connected together by leathern straps passing over the shoulders, and fastened in front by means of buttons or of ribands tied in a bow. In the above woodcut both of the connecting ribands are tied to a ring over the navel. The breast-plate of Caligula (see woodcut below) has a ring over each breast, designed to fulfil the same purpose.

Bands of metal often supplied the place of the leathern straps, or else covered them so as to become very ornamental, being terminated by a lion's head, or some other suitable figure appearing [p. 2.79]on each side of the breast. The most beautiful specimens of enriched bronze shoulder-bands now in existence are those which are reported to have been found A.D. 1820, near the river Siris in S. Italy, and which are preserved in the British Museum. They were originally gilt, and represent in very salient relief two Greek heroes combating two Amazons. They are seven inches in length, and belong to the description of bronzes called ἔργα σφυρήλατα, having been beaten into form with wonderful skill by the hammer. Bröndsted (Bronzes of Siris, London, 1836) has illustrated the purpose which they served, by showing them in connexion with a portion of another lorica, which lay upon the shoulders behind the neck. This fragment was found in Greece. Its hinges are sufficiently preserved to show most distinctly the manner in which the shoulder-bands were fastened to them (see woodcut).

Lorica. (British Museum.)

The form and appearance of the thorax as worn by Roman generals and emperors is shown in the annexed woodcut, which is taken from a

Lorica as worn by a Roman emperor. (Statue of Caligula found at Gabii.)

marble statue of Caligula found at Gabii (Visconti, Mon. Gab. No. 38). The gorgon's head over the breast, and the two griffins under-neath it, illustrate the style of ornament which was common in the same circumstances (Mart. 7.1, 1-4. A classified table of the designs that occur on imperial cuirasses is given by Wroth, Journal of Hellen. Studies, vii. p. 128). [AEGIS] The execution of these ornaments in relief was more especially the work of the Corinthians (Cic. Ver. 4.44, 132).

Of Grecian cuirasses the Attic were accounted the best and most beautiful (Aelian, Ael. VH 3.24). The cuirass was worn by the heavy-armed infantry and by the horsemen, except that Alexander the Great is reported to have given to the less brave of his soldiers breast-plates only, in order that the defenceless state of their backs might diminish their propensity to flight (Polyaen. 4.3, 13). These were called half-cuirasses (ἡμιθωράκια).

The rigid cuirasses which have now been described were sometimes found to be very oppressive and cumbersome (cf. Tac. Ann. 1.64), and various forms of flexible cuirasses were devised, which could adapt themselves better to the movements of the body.

In Homer (vide supra) the only indication of a flexible cuirass is contained in the epithet λινοθώρηξ applied to two light-armed warriors, the Locrian Ajax and the Mysian Amphios.

In later times the linen cuirass continued to be worn, principally amongst the Oriental nations, especially the Persians (Xen. Cyrop. 6.4, § 2; Plut. Alex. p. 1254, ed. Steph.), the Egyptians (Hdt. 2.182, 3.47,--description of the famous linen cuirasses of Amasis), the Phoenicians (Paus. 6.19.4), and the Chalybes (Xen. Anab. 4.7, § 15). One of the inventories of the Parthenon contains the (conjecturally restored) entry of thirteen θώρακες λινοῖ καὶ φολιδωτοί (C. I. A. 2.731, 50.25). Iphicrates endeavoured to restore the use of it among the Greeks (Nepos, Iphicr. 1.4), and it was occasionally adopted by the Romans, though considered a much less effectual defence than a cuirass of metal (Sueton. Galba, 19; Arrian, Tact. p. 14, ed. Blancardi).

A much stronger material for cuirasses was horn, which was applied to this use more especially by the Sarmatae and Quadi, being cut into small pieces, which were planed and polished and fastened, like feathers, upon linen shirts (Amm. Marcell. 17.12, ed. Wagner). Hoofs were employed for the same purpose. Pausanias (1.21.8) having made mention of a thorax preserved in the temple of Aesculapius at Athens, gives the following account of the Sarmatians: Having vast herds of horses, which they sometimes kill for food or for sacrifice, they collect their hoofs, cleanse and divide them, and shape them like the scales (φολίδες) of a serpent, or the petals of a fir-cone. They then bore holes in the scales and sew them together, so as to produce a cuirass, inferior neither in elegance nor in strength to those of Greek workmanship. This author adds that the loricae made of these horny scales are superior to linen cuirasses, which are useful to hunters, as a protection against the bites of wild beasts, but are not adapted for fighting. The woodcut on page 80, taken from Meyrick's Critical Inquiry into Ancient Armour (plate iii.), exhibits an Asiatic cuirass exactly corresponding to this description. It consists of slices of some animal's hoof, which are stitched together, overlapping each other in perpendicular rows, without being fastened to any under-garment. The projection nearest the middle must be supposed to have been worn over the breast, and the other over the back, so as to leave two vacant spaces for the arms.

This invention no doubt preceded the metallic [p. 2.80]scale armour. The Rhoxalani, a tribe allied to the Sarmatians, defended themselves by wearing

Lorica of horn, (Meyrick.)

a dress consisting of thin plates of iron and hard leather (Tac. Hist. 1.79). The Persians wore a tunic of the same description, the scales being sometimes of gold (Hdt. 7.61; θώρηκα χρύσεον λεπιδωτόν, 9.22); but they were commonly of bronze (thoraca indutus aënis squamis, Verg. A. 11.487). The basis of the cuirass was sometimes a skin, or a piece of strong linen to which the metallic scales, or “feathers,” as they are also called, were sewed (Verg. A. 11.770; Serv. in loc.; Justin, 41.2, 10).

The New Museum at Oxford contains a remarkable specimen from Kertch of a piece of a θώραξ λεπιδωτός: the scales of bronze are fastened by leather thongs to a lining of hide. (See woodcut from Journ. of Hellen. Studies, pl. xvli. fig. 3.)

θώραξ λεπιδωτός. (From Kertch.)

An armed horseman, on the frieze of the west side of the Parthenon, wears an interesting combination of a θώραξ στάδιος and λεπιδωτός. On the breast and on the back are metal plates (handsomely ornamented), which are joined together at the sides by scale armour.

The epithet λεπιδωτός, as applied to a thorax, is opposed to the epithet φολιδωτός (Arrian, Tact. p. 13, 14). The former denotes a similitude to the scales of fish (λεπίδες), the latter to the scales of serpents (φολίδες). The resemblance to the scales of serpents, which are long and narrow, is exhibited on the shoulders of the Roman soldier in the woodcut at Vol. I. p. 190. These scales were imitated by long flexible bands of metal, made to fold one over another according to the contraction of the body. There is a specimen in the New Museum at Oxford of this armour in bronze, from Kertch. The bands

θώραξ στάδιος and λεπιδωτός, combined. (From the Parthenon.)

are riveted together by bronze wire, and fastened upon a lining of tough hide, which is still in a wonderfully good state of preservation. (Journ. of Hellen. Studies, pl. xlvi. fig. 1: cf. Compte-rendu de la Comm. Imp. Arch. 1876, pl. ii. figs. 11, 12, 20.) They appear very frequently on the Roman monuments of the times of the emperors, and the following woodcut places in immediate contrast a θώραξ λεπιδωτὸς on the right and φολιδωτὸς on the left, both taken from Bartoli's Arcus Triumphales.

θώραξ φολιδωτός. θώραξ λεπιδωτός. (Bartoli, Arcus Triumphales.

A lighter and more inexpensive thorax of leather without metal additions was introduced at an early period (cf. e. g. the archers on the pediments of the temple at Aegina), and was known as the σπολάς (Poll. 7.70).

The hauberk or habergeon of chain-mail (ἁλυσιδωτοὺς θώρακας, Plb. 6.21; Ath. 5.220; Arrian, l.c.), which was worn by the Roman hastati, was also a characteristic weapon of the Gauls (Varro, L. L. 5.116; Poseidonius ap. Diod. 5.30). Examples occur on the reliefs of Gaulish trophies from the temple of Athena Polias at Pergamon (Alt. von Pergamon, ii. [p. 2.81]Atlas, pl. xliv. fig. 1, pl. xlvi. fig. 2, pl. xlix. fig. 4 = woodcut). The cuirass of chain-mail

Lorica of chain-mail. (Temple of Athena Polias at Pergamon.)

appears to have been nearly the same shape as that of horn, engraved above. The two sides are joined, and the projecting pieces are brought one over each shoulder, and are fastened by the bar upon the breast. The whole is made of thick wire twisted in an elaborate pattern. Virgil several times mentions hauberks in which the rings, linked or hooked into one another, were of gold ( “loricam consertam hamis, auroque trilicem,” Verg. A. 3.467; 5.259; 7.639). According to Val. Flaccus (Argon. 6.232), the Sarmatae covered both themselves and their horses with chain-mail.

[J.Y] [A.H.S]

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