Cross-Post: Zerjadtke on Linen Armour
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Categories: Ancient

Cross-Post: Zerjadtke on Linen Armour

Professor Michael Zerjadtke of has dealt with the problems with publishing by self-publishing a book on his and his students’ experiments reproducing ancient linen armour. It is available on Amazon for EUR 14,99 which is much more affordable than a book from a German academic press!

Der griechische Leinenpanzer im experimentalarchäologischen Versuch: Eine Zwischenbilanz des Hamburger Projektes mit Ausblick zum Hoplitenschild (Books on Demand, 2024) ISBN 978-3758315619 (Publisher’s Webpage) (

the cover of "Der griechische Leinenpanzer" with two replica shield boards and two replica armours against a white wall

I wish that my article in the journal Mouseion had appeared earlier, because one of the three types of armour which they tried is almost certainly not ancient. The oldest surviving text to say that armour was made by gluing together layers of linen is a bad English translation of a French summary of a medieval Greek chronicle which was published in 1869. (Surviving linen armour from medieval Europe was quilted not glued). The oldest surviving armour made in this way was made by Peter Connolly in the 1970s. As I wrote, I think that experiments should start with methods which were definitely used to make clothing and armour before the 20th century, and see which of these methods fits the ancient artwork and texts the best. If we start by imagining how we would solve a problem, rather than asking ancient people how they solved it, we will usually start moving enthusiastically in the wrong direction like an officer cadet leading his first compass march. But the method of making ancient linen armour which I find most plausible, a special weaving technique called twining, is very difficult to learn (Todd Feinman had almost completed this kind of armour a few years ago until work got in the way).

My understanding is that Zerdadtke’s team made one glued armour, one armour of many layers quilted together as was used in Mesoamerica, India, and Europe, and one armour of iron plates with linen glued to them like the armour from a tomb at Vergina may have been made.

(scheduled 11 February 2024)

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