The Origins of Plate Armour in the Aegean and Europe
Barry Molloy in Papadopoulos, A. (ed), Recent research and perspectives on the Late Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean, Talanta XLIV (2012) : 273-294.
The earliest plate armour in Europe was developed in Greece by the fifteenth century BC. Evidence for the existence of armour occurs in written sources, depictions in art, and occasional finds of pieces of armour. The most complete set of armour comes from the site of Dendra and this possesses virtually all functional traits that were to characterise plate metal armour in Greece and much of Europe for a further thousand years. The paper will discuss the character and functional qualities of various materials used for the manufacture of armour. This is followed by an examination of the manners in which the complete suit from Dendra could have been used, what other forms may have been in use, how armour evolved over time, and finally the influence that Aegean armour traditions had on the rest of Europe. The question of whether metal plate armour was functional will be addressed alongside a brief consideration of the non-martial/display functions of armour. The objective is to provide new insights into for how such armour ‘worked’ and to challenge a percieved division between ceremonial and prestige interpretations.