). The Greek term for a cuirass, either of metal
(usually bronze) or of leather. The metal cuirass consisted of two separate pieces, one
covering the chest and stomach, and the other the back, attached to one another by means of
clasps or buckles. They terminated with a curved edge just above the hip, and at this part
were often covered with a leathern belt (ζωστήρ
with buckles, to bind both pieces more firmly together. Another belt (μίτρα
), lined with leather, was worn under the armour and above the chiton. This
was fitted with a plate of metal growing broader towards the middle and serving to protect the
belly. In later times the front plate of the cuirass was extended downwards, so as to cover
the belly as far as the navel. As an additional protection to the belly and the upper part of
the legs, there was on the inner side of the lower edge of the cuirass a series of short
strips of leather or felt, covered with plates of metal, often in several layers. They
resembled a kilt, and were called πτέρυγες
(“feathers”). Smaller strips of the same kind were worn under the arms to
protect the armpits.
The leather cuirass (σπολάς
) was a kind of shirt reaching
over the navel and hips, and fringed with
Thoraces. (From Greek vases.)
flexible strips along its lower edge. It was open either in front or on one side
(usually the left), and was there fastened together by means of clasps or buckles. It was also
provided with an upright piece protecting the neck, and with two shoulderstraps. It was
frequently covered, either completely, or only under the arms, with metal, especially in the
form of scales.
Linen cuirasses are also mentioned, even in ancient times. These were probably either
thickly quilted or strongly woven corselets.
The Romans applied the name to a bust in marble or bronze (Vitruv. Compend.
2). See Lorica