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Magnificent Japanese weaponry (part II)

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A modern Japanese practising mounted archery, a military tradition closely related to Samurai warfare.

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CONTINUED FROM PART  I

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Magnificent Japanese weaponry (part I)

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Some more Samurai arms and armour mostly of the Muromachi (Ashikaga) and Edo eras. The legendary warriors of Japan coupled the local military tradition of their islands with the influences of the nearby continent, to produce an isolated but salutary enough military culture, a rare phenomenon in World History.

Wikimedia Commons is the source of most of the images of these two posts.

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Japanese arms and armour of the Muromachi and Edo era (part II)

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Japanese arms and armour of the Muromachi and Edo era (part I)

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In this collection of images I chose to present arms and armour of Japan mostly of the Muromachi (Ashikaga) and Edo periods, and also some from later historical eras, which are typical and non-typical as well. That is why I do not present the renowned Japanese swords nor do I insist so much on presenting other well-known items of the Samurai weaponry on which a disproportionally great deal of attention has been given.  I chose to present a more generic variety of Japanese traditional weaponry. The following images include helmets, quivers, spears, horse chanfrons, battle-axes, early pistols, a variety of armours and other military items.

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Non-typical Samurai helmets and armor (Part II)

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MUSÉE DE LA CIVILISATION - Samurai Exhibition

Armour, begining of the 17th century (end of the Momoyama period), and sashimono featuring three feathers, gilded papier-mâché (washi), end of the 16th century. Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum, Dallas (Texas).
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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Non-typical Samurai helmets and armor (Part I)

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The Iberian influence is evident on the helmet and the torso armor of the great Japanese warlord Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542–1616) who unified Japan for the last time and created the Tokugawa shogunate: they are specifically Portuguese-inspired. The helmet seems to be of the European Cabasset type with a Japanese neck guard while the torso armor is the typical Renaissance European type of the 16th-17th centuries.
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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I go on with the tribute to more unknown aspects of Samurai warfare of the Muromachi (Ashikaga) and Edo periods of the Japanese history, presenting some non-typical helmet and armor of the Samurais, that is to say casques and armor which are somewhat unusual and distinctive. The helmets have either an unusual shape, for example they are shell-shaped or axe-shaped, or their design bear overseas influences, especially European influences. I also present some armor with rather unusual decorations or under European influence such as an armor of Tokugawa Ieyasu. In the early 16th century, the first European seafarers appeared on the seas of the Philippines and Indonesia pioneered by the Spanish expedition of Magellan (Magellan himself was a Portuguese at the service of the Spaniards). A little later, they appeared on the seas of China and Japan. The Spaniards and the Portuguese were the first to appear there as traders and colonists, to be followed by the Dutch and the British.
There are also influences from the empires of China on the design of the Samurai helmets and armor, but in these two articles I have not added any armor or helmet with clear Chinese influence. Lesser influences on the same military items originated from Korea and the Mongol and Tungus continental tribes.

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The figure-of-eight shield and other shield types of the Bronze Age Aegean (part II)

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Reconstruction of the so-called “Shield frieze” fresco in the Old Palace at Tiryns with depicted figure-of-eight shields (photo credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art)
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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CONTINUED FROM PART I
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Most scholars believe that also the Dipylon shield of the Geometric period (10th-8th centuries BC) came from the evolution of the full-body figure-of-eight shield. The Dipylon shield, which was named after the Athenian Dipylon gate where the first pottery with images of the former, was discovered, had much in common with the figure-of-eight shield. It had a large size, covering the warrior from the chin to the knees. It was made of wicker branches and leather, without excluding its further enhancing with more wooden parts. It was curved to a degree that “encapsulated” the body of the warrior, like the figure-of-eight shield. In the middle of its surface, it had two semicircular notches which facilitated the handling of the spear and the sword. But many other scholars believe that the Dipylon and the Boeotian shield came from the main Hittite type of shield which had roughly the same shape.

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The figure-of-eight shield and other shield types of the Bronze Age Aegean (part I)

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Akrotiri tower shieldsHeavy spearmen with tower shields depicted in a fresco from Akroteri in Thera. Minoan period. Note the different colorful skins covering the surface of their shields.
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Reconstructed Mycenaean fresco of a figure of eight shieldReconstructed Mycenaean fresco of a figure-of-eight shield
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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In the Minoan and Early Mycenaean period (until the 14th century BC) the main types of shield (called σάκος in Mycenean Greek) used by the early spearmen of the Aegean was the ‘tower’ shield and the figure-of-eight shield, both invented in Minoan Crete as it is demonstrated archaeologically.

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ON THE TYPES OF THE ETRUSCAN HELMETS

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By Periklis Deligiannis

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A typical Negau helmet.
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The Etruscan weaponry was probably the most diversiform in the ancient world. The archaeological finds denote that the Etruscans (or Tyrrhenians or Tyrsenians) were very fond of their weaponry and armoury. They were taking much care of their weapons, in order to be effective and forceful but also elegant. Some of the Tyrrhenian weapons were real works of art, but always lethal. It has been estimated that the Etruscan armies had a magnificent appearance. During the seven centuries of their military history, the Tyrrhenians were using defensive armour and offensive weapons of Anatolian, native Italian (mostly Umbrian and Early Oscan), Venetic (ancient Venetian), Archaic and Classical Greek (Southern mainland and Macedonian), Assyrian, Punic and other Semitic, Iberian, Celtic (La Tene culture), Hellenistic Greek, Late Oscan, Campanian and other origins. But it would be wrong to consider them as common copyists. Although they ‘borrowed’ a large part of their weaponry from other peoples and warlike cultures, they developed it enough to produce their own distinct types of effective and elegant weapons.

etruscan visor mask.Vulci, V c B.C.

Etruscan visor for the protection of the cheeks and the chin. It was added to Negau, ‘hat’-type or other ‘open’ types of helmet (Vulci, V cent B.C.)

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ARMOUR OF THE SPARTANS and other Lacedaemonians

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Metropolitan museum of art
The typical Greek muscled thorax of Late Classical and Hellenistic age. This one belongs to the 4th century BC. Following the battle of Leuctra (371 BC) the Spartan and the other hoplite armies introduced its use more  imperatively  (Metropolitan Museum of Art, photo by ‘Emiliano Zapata’).

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By  Periklis  Deligiannis
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The Geometric bell-type cuirass was the main type of armor of the Greek hoplite during the Archaic age (700-479 BC) and was the most popular among the Spartans of this era. At the end of the 6th century BC, the hoplites bearing bronze armour adapted to this a row of metal, leather or linen protective strips (called pteruges, i.e. wings) and later a double row, thus complementing the protection of the lower part of their body. At the same time, there was a massive shift of preference of the Greek hoplites to the linothorax (λινοθώραξ), that is the linen cuirass, and secondarily to the leather one. In the 5th century BC the linen cuirass largely supplanted the leather one and limited the use of the metal armour, thereby becoming the most popular Greek thorax. The linen and leather thoraxes were not used to any significant extent by the Spartans, however it seems that they were the prevailing ones in the other categories of Lacedaemonians (the other free inhabitants of the Spartan/Lacedaemonian state, except the Spartans). The Greek cuirasses made of flexible materials could be partially covered with bronze scales or plates that were stitched to the linen or leather base. These variations do not seem to be ever used by the Spartan or generally the Lacedaemonian hoplites.

Following the Greco-Persian Wars, the engraved depiction of the male anatomy of the Archaic bell-type bronze armor became sculpted, evolving to the new muscled or anatomical type. At the same time, its bell-type end was extended gradually downwards covering the abdomen and groins, thus substituting the Archaic protective bronze plate of this area, called ‘mitra(μίτρα). In the final form of the anatomical armor, the male muscles are depicted accurately on its surface. Simultaneously, the protection of the lower part of the torso was achieved by two rows of leather or linen strips (but not longer brazen ones). The muscled bronze cuirass was the one that prevailed overwhelmingly among the Spartan omoioi (full citizens, the elite force of the Spartan/Lacedaemonian army). It was an expensive armor, but it was the dominant among the Spartan hoplites because essentially the only luxury that they were allowed by the state was the expensive military equipment.

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