Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How to make the oft debated Tube and Yoke / Linothorax / Spolas / Thingy...

Was it made of linen? Was it glued or quilted? Perhaps it was really leather. What sort of scales were attached - if any. The debate has not been settled yet. There is probably nowhere near enough evidence to make a case either way. However some great new literary and visual material has been unearthed and discussed ad-infinitum on the Roman Army Talk Forum threads - and elsewhere. Just type the word linothorax into their search fields.

As Jason Hoffman, on RAT, has noted there are at least 5 'variations' on Greek Tube-and-Yoke corselets, not counting those of other nations/cultures. There may be more depending on how you wish to classify them – that doesn’t include single or double layers of pteurges nor those with or without scales...

The majority are very like the interpretation of the Tube-and-Yoke pattern on the red figure Achilles amphora in Vatican Museum and shown on the right. These are single-breasted. This can be best be seen in the pattern provided on p.38 of Connolly's "Greek Armies" or p.57 of his "Greece and Rome at War".

A close examination of the vase art will convince you of the great variety utilised. Yes, there are both bespoke and off the shelf suppliers who can provide you with one. Check out the pages of the clubs I have already listed and read as much as you can before you spend your hard earned cash. Whatever your personal theory on construction materials and methods, there is more than enough "how to " instruction for you to actually experiment yourself. Before I show you the places to go for that kind of information have a look at this double breasted version below seen on the vase in the British Museum labelled E60.

How to make the oft debated Tube -and-Yoke / Linothorax / Spolas / Thingy in Linen:

How to make the oft debated Tube -and- Yoke / Linothorax / Spolas / Thingy in Leather:
Also a leather core with linen skin is suggested here
And here is the addition of ultra blingy scales
Its construction has become a legitimate subject of academic study. See Prof. Gregory Aldrete of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay reconstruct a linothorax

The Tube -and- Yoke on You Tube no less:
Linothorax reconstruction by Prof. Gregory Aldrete
The Linothorax: Recreated at UWGB
Some points about the hoplite cuirass
Another quick point about the hoplite cuirass

The Tube -and- Yoke elsewhere:
The Achaemenids, Italic peoples, Assyrians, Skythians, Phoenicians, Iberians and others all had some variation it seems.  A rather chunky Anatolian Achaemenid version is to be found on a sarcophagous in the Cannakale Archeology Museum.  African troops in Achaemenid service also wore the Tube -and- Yoke and were portrayed in Greek art. A series of vases called the Negro Alabastrons can be found in museums across the world.One appears in Dr. NIck Sekunda's book, The Persian Army, Osprey Publishing, 1992, p.16-17. I have provided a tiny collage below but search the Beazley Archive youself and you will be pleasantly surprised. These figures are armed with spears, axes, Achaemenid  style bows and bow cases. One carries a pelta with shield apron. Each is a gem and there are scores!

Just when you thought you knew more than the other person about the Tube and Yoke / Linothorax / Spolas / Thingy along comes some more data to analyse:
Keltic tube and yoke cuirass  http://linothorax.blogspot.com/
Kelticos forum  http://www.kelticos.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=470
Archeoart forum  http://www.archeoart.org/cuirasses.html#cuirv3
The paper by Andre Rapin, on which this material is based, L'ARMEMENT CELTIQUE EN EUROPE: CHRONOLOGIE DE SON EVOLUTION TECHNOLOGIQUE DU vEA U lERS. AV. J.-C. is available in PDF format here: http://gladius.revistas.csic.es/index.php/gladius/article/download/13/14

The Tube -and- Yoke as art:
Over at the Leatherworker.net forum Peter Ellis has made an awesome tooled leather version. You’ll have to register to see the photos but it is a thing of beauty:
Over at the Gallic Chariot blog you can see an example of a Keltic linothorax in all its glory
A couple of snaps of how they made it
Better still see a bundle at the "Gates of History" website

Ports of call:
To find out what the original looked like you will need to review images from the period. The Beazley Archive is one of the best places to start. The original archive of Sir John Beazley, Lincoln Professor of Classical Archaeology and Art from 1925 until 1956 at Oxford University, was purchased for the Faculty of Classics in 1965. On his death in 1970 it was brought to the Cast Gallery Ashmolean Museum. Within a few years the personal archive of material relating to the study of classical archaeology and art was transformed into a research resource for students and scholars. It consisted of photographs, notes, drawings, books and impressions from engraved gems. The photographs of Athenian vases are the largest archive of this class in the world and were the basis of Beazley's life's work.  Since 1970 the entire collection has been enlarged and enhanced through gift and purchase.

A the other end of the resource spectrum is Christie's. They auction ancient art from the dawn of civilization to the Dark Ages, ranging from Western Europe to the Caspian Sea. Much of it from Hellenic realms.  Sales are held four times a year, twice in New York and twice in London. So a  wealth of unique images, many unpublished can be found in their old and new catalogues.

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