No tower shield has survived as an artifact but

This preview shows page 7 - 10 out of 11 pages.

No tower shield has survived as an artifact, but several silver Rhytons in the Mycenean grave shaft IV showcases battle and hunting scenes wherein warriors hide behind them, the most famous example being the hunting scene on the ‘lion-hunt’ dagger from the same burial
Image of page 7

Subscribe to view the full document.

(Wachsmann 1987: 86; Dickinson 1994: 202). There is also evidence for shoulder straps, as some have been found of gold in the same grave shaft (IV) which could have served to ease the burden off the tremendously heavy shields. It is also possible that these large shields were used with the war chariots, as the tower shield could be mounted on the sides. The other shield type of this time was the figure of eight shield, which was made of the same materials as the tower, and was constructed in the same way. The only true difference was cosmetic, as the figure of eight resembled two small rounded shields stacked atop one another to create the ‘eight’ (Dickinson 1994: 202). After 1300 BCE, these large shields fell out of use, and smaller, rounder shields became more common, the ‘aspis’ and the ‘inverted pelta’. None have apparently survived, but there is evidence on frescos found in Mycenae, Tiryns and Pylos (Grguric and McBride 2005: 16). These smaller shields allowed for more maneuverability whilst still protecting the upper body, discarding the need for the shoulder-strap. One of the reasons that the shield sizes began to diminish could be the advent of heavy armor, which began spreading in the LHII, the earliest being found in the Dendra tombs (n. 12) which contained 1mm thick bronze plates sophistically placed to protect the entire torso, as well as the neck and shoulders (Dickinson 1994: 203-205). It has been suggested that the inner lining would most likely have been of leather, and that the thread that connects the pieces was most likely leather straps. The armor was initially thought of as being so heavy that it could only be used in conjunction with a chariot, although that has been somewhat debunked, as modern recreations have shown it to be quite ingenious and flexible, albeit unwieldy in combat. Thusly it too was a status symbol, used primarily for ‘dueling’ in the warrior aristocracy (Cline 2010:310).
Image of page 8
Personally, it seems too large to be used in such a fashion, and there seems to be a consistent European imprint on the point of ‘dueling’, especially with the early swords being referred to as ‘rapiers’. Nevertheless, other armor types are known, as they are mentioned in the Linear B tablets, although most were probably of leather, with bronze pieces covering exposed areas, such as the shoulder-guard found in Thebes (Dickinson 1994: 205). This armor also contains greaves, which are a thin bronze strip used to protect the legs, which were relatively unique in the ancient world, and would become a stable of the Greeks for centuries. Although complete sets of armor are rare to find in tombs, they are very well represented in art and in pottery, showcasing the greaves, the plated bell shaped cuirass, and most importantly, the helm.
Image of page 9

Subscribe to view the full document.

Image of page 10
  • Winter '13
  • GeorgeHarrison
  • The Iliad, Mycenae, Mycenaean Greece, Mycenaean, Mycenaean Bronze Age, Mycenaean sword

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern