Home Forums Ancients speaking of pteryges…

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  • #97650

    Ya, know. Those dangley things protecting Greek and Roman manly bits. Back in the day they were always depicted as made from leather. Nowadays, they always seem to be depicted as the same material as the linothorax. Why the change in the way us moderns depict pteryges? Has more archaeological or artistic evidence been unearthed in the past few decades? Did Philip II’s tomb settle the question? Just a modern fashion statement?

    Help me, please!

    Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
    More verbosity: http://petiteguerre.blogspot.com/

    #97656
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    I’ve always understood pteryges to have been stiffened linen or leather. Either would have served to slow a sword cut to the lower abdomen/upper thigh.

    Anyway, ‘depicted’ is one of those weasel words. Depicted where? In Classical art? By wargamers on their figures? Other?

    In wargame or figure painting terms why does it matter? Layers of linen stuck together with animal glue or boiled leather would be about the same colour anyway.

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #97666

    It matters (to me) because I am currently painting some Carthaginians with pteryges and I’m waffling over paint colors. And while I realize that historical accuracy in such a minor detail is grounded in rough probabilities, I prefer being able to justify my decisions on familiarity with those probabilities. Depicted… hmmm, a bit trickier. Not too long ago I read an article where paint analysis had been done on a number of statues and indicated some shockingly colorful depictions. My perception as to how ancients look certainly pre-date that. My earlier figures have leather-colored pteryges. Most likely based upon the covers of the Harold Lamb books I read in elementary school. In perusing various blogs I now get the impression that most figure painters have discarded leather pteryges. (Of course, they may not think about such things, just copy a color scheme they admire.)

    So to hone my question: Are there primary or secondary sources which lead one towards one path or another? Maybe some tomb paintings….

    Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
    More verbosity: http://petiteguerre.blogspot.com/

    #97671
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    I prefer being able to justify my decisions on familiarity with those probabilities.

    Justify to whom? Yourself or your peers? Either way, does it matter in the greater scheme of things?

    What colour do you reckon linothorax were? Was Xenophon talking bollox? What did he mean when he wrote about spolas?

    This is just another wargamer idiosyncrasy really isn’t it? 🙂

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #97672
    Mike
    Keymaster

    If it matters to him, it matters. My made up fantasy has certain elements that have to be just so. It makes me happy to able to justify certain decisions.

    #97675
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    That’s me told.

    I’m getting to old and jaded for this sh…tuff to matter too much. If other people want to chase the chimera of ‘accuracy’ then let them.

    Probably best if you give me a time out.

     

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #97676
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    That’s okay of course, but where there is no ‘definitive’ answer as far as we know – was the leather stained/painted? Was the linen? If so what colours? -it may matter but there will be no answer.

    Much better to take a deep breath/stiff drink and paint on as you wish surely, rather than never finish the figures?

    After all if there is no way of (dis)proving the point, no-one can justifiably correct/criticise can they?

    [Overlapped with NCS – the ‘that’ which was ‘okay’ was meant to be Mike’s comment. Don’t give NCS a time out, give him a hug and a valium instead.]

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Guy Farrish.
    #97680
    Mike
    Keymaster

    That’s me told.

    I’m getting to old and jaded for this sh…tuff to matter too much. If other people want to chase the chimera of ‘accuracy’ then let them.

    Probably best if you give me a time out.

    Horses for courses innit. If someone said you were wrong for not caring I would tell them pish.

    #97682

    Justify to whom? Yourself or your peers? Either way, does it matter in the greater scheme of things?

    I don’t need to justify it to anyone but myself. But… I make my living talking about the past–though not the distant past. History pays my rent. It feeds my family. It buys my toys. I have a reputation for knowing what I’m talking about. If I am wildly inaccurate, there are real repercussions in my life. Inevitably, that attention to detail bleeds over to my history-based hobby. I’m perfectly comfortable with ‘there’s not enough evidence to determine’. But it never hurts to re-evaluate one’s state of knowledge.

    Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
    More verbosity: http://petiteguerre.blogspot.com/

    #98094
    Sane Max
    Participant

    The problem is that we seem to think we know what the Romans made their Pteruges out of. But as far as I know, Greek (and by extrapolation Macedonian and by further extrapolation Carthaginian) Linothorax is still not definitively nailed down as a thing, so what Pteryges were made of we cannot say There are still advocates of the ‘padded linen’ school of thought, though having played around with gluing multiple layers of denim together myself* I am sure it would have made an excellent form of armour, as long as you didn’t get it wet. or sweat.

    The only actual ‘Linothorax’ we have is the one from the Vergina tomb, and that was made of Iron, so not much help.

    Myself, my Macedonians and Carthaginians have Linen dangly-bits. It looks nice.

    *which may seem cockamamy but I have seen more half-assed ‘Experimental Archaeology’ given respect. One of Britain’s most eminent old-timey archaeologists ‘settled’ an argument he was having about the efficacy of the Sling by making one, walking out into a field, and using it by twirling it round his head and letting go. His conclusion that slings were not much cop was published without any adverse comment I heard of.

    #98097
    Patrice
    Participant

    I’m certainly not  a specialist of this period, but linen or leather the answer will not prove the colour. Later, in the Middle Ages, many leather items were coloured.

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    https://www.anargader.net/

    #98099
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Don’t know about pteruges but experiments with ancient technologies need to be evaluated carefully –  recent thoughts on slingshot efficacy may have changed the picture: for example:

    Roman Slingshots in Scotland

    Don’t know about glued together denim either – opportunity for  National Geographic article?

    #98100
    Sane Max
    Participant

    Good article that. Some of those Glandes are an unusual shape – lemons rather than acorns. I will certainly give those a go.

    I had a lot of fun with my denim. I found it best to let each layer dry before gluing the next, and as a result the whole thing really was saturated in glue, which must have added a lot to its toughness. I stopped at 6 layers, and while my piece was only a foot square, I am satisfied it would have been good against slashers or concussive weapons. I used PVA rather than historically accurate animal glue, as I am not mad. I suspect the auletes were there to drown out the sound of flies buzzing round the hot sweaty greeks.

    #98103
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    I’m certainly not a specialist of this period, but linen or leather the answer will not prove the colour. Later, in the Middle Ages, many leather items were coloured.

     

    Which is what I said upthread. Only to get slapped down because apparently common sense is not definitive enough

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #98105
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    I am not mad.

     

    I’d like to see a professional opinion. 🙂

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #98110

    Don’t know about pteruges but experiments with ancient technologies need to be evaluated carefully – recent thoughts on slingshot efficacy may have changed the picture: for example: Roman Slingshots in Scotland Don’t know about glued together denim either – opportunity for National Geographic article?

    “Exemplary violence”! 

    More on the “screaming mimis”:

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.livescience.com/55050-whistling-sling-bullets-from-roman-battle-found.html

    But yeah, most of the ones I’ve seen, including the one I have, are of that lemon shape. Mine doesn’t have DEKA, or any of the other fun things cast on, unfortunately; those are out of my price range.

    Those Romans– what a bunch of jokers!

    http://mentalfloss.com/article/63739/sarcastic-jokes-found-roman-bullets

     

     

    #98144
    Rob young
    Participant

    I think there’s a few things worth considering.

    Firstly, they were used by a lot of different peoples – Greeks, Persians, Etruscans, Romans, probably early Carthaginians. It is unlikely that they all made them the same way.

    Secondly, they were used over a period of several hundred years.  Again, that would cause differences in manufacture.

    Thirdly, they were often used by people with different access to money – a richer Greek  could afford  better quality armour than someone who only just made it into the hoplite class.

    Fourthly, they may have been worn for different purposes. Thus a Roman soldier in the First Century AD might wear then for protection, a Roman general in the Fourth Century might have considered them as  a fashion accessory.

    There are probably other things I’ve missed but that lot will do. Even in the same army I think it likely that different people might have them  made of different materials with different visual and defensive properties depending on the materials available to those individuals.

    Rob Young

    #98489
    Sane Max
    Participant

    But yeah, most of the ones I’ve seen, including the one I have, are of that lemon shape. Mine doesn’t have DEKA, or any of the other fun things cast on, unfortunately; those are out of my price range.

    I have used ‘rugger-ball’ shapes in my staff sling, but my ‘sling’ ammo are acorns. It’s the protrusions on the ends of the ‘Lemons’, – that makes them look like lemons I mean – that I have not noticed before.

    One shape I would not recommend are spheres. I found a chap making custom-made moulds online, and expressed interest. My wife bought me one as a gift, 25 grams is a little light anyway, but also perfect balls seem not to fly anything like as true.

    What Rob Said

    All true. May I add ‘a few months wear, never mind in the field, by a legionary and everything would be the same colour’

    Pat

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Sane Max.
    #98509

    And that color was probably “mud”.

    #98517
    Sane Max
    Participant

    And that color was probably “mud”.

    Not if I know the military mind

    Miles Randomus, you ‘orrible little Pedite, what the Cunnus are THEM?’
    ‘PTERUGES OPTIO!’
    ‘Pteruges, you irrumator, PTERUGES? What COLOUR were the Pteruges the Emperor, whoever he happened to be that week, gods knows I lose track, paid for and you were issued Randomus?’
    ‘WHITE OPTIO’
    (Babyish mimicry with one hand on hip, vine staff* held floppily) ‘White optio’ and are THESE ‘white optio’?
    (Continue for 25 years to grant of land/death)

    *I know. But they would have had something wouldn’t they?

    #98521
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    I may be wrong, but I thought that Rome’s soldiery paid for their own kit (by deductions from pay) although it was issued from state armouries. 🙂

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #98531
    Sane Max
    Participant

    I may be wrong 🙂

    I know you may. and there we have another problem. saying ‘Romans wore x’ is like me saying ‘what sort of hat do French Soldiers wear?’ – depends if they are French soldiers of the hundred years war or the 6 weeks war really. Only 500 years in it either way.

    Roman soldiers bought their own kit up to about 100bc. After that they were issued their Kit. If they LOST some they were charged deductions for it, as is only fair. I doubt many ever lost their Lorica. They were paid a pittance and I doubt 25 years wages would cover one full set of banded mail. I am no expert (hey it seems none of us are) But I would imagine if you were captured by the Parthians, stripped, bravely escaped and fought your way back to Dura Europos your Centurion would have had the same method of dealing with it as the army does now – ‘lost to enemy action’ or some such – rather than charging you.

    #98534

    All the way back, across the Burning Sands? How?

    Perhaps by stealing a camel? If so, all would be forgiven, I’d think — even pteruges.

     

     

     

     

    #98537
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    I may be wrong 🙂

    I know you may. and there we have another problem. saying ‘Romans wore x’ is like me saying ‘what sort of hat do French Soldiers wear?’ – depends if they are French soldiers of the hundred years war or the 6 weeks war really. Only 500 years in it either way.

     

    Are you saying that statements such as, “when I’m painting my toy soldiers,  I like to be as accurate (within reason) as possible (for a given value of ‘possible’) within certain known parameters (which aren’t actually ‘known’ with much, if any, ‘accuracy’) because it’s important to me (and almost no-one else). are a bit silly?

    Well, you’ll be astounded to hear that I agree with you 🙂

     

     

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #98558

    Jeesh! This thread is still lumbering on? I painted them white.

    Now what about Carthaginian shield designs….

    (I ain’t repainting ’em!)

    Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
    More verbosity: http://petiteguerre.blogspot.com/

    #98564

    Jeesh! This thread is still lumbering on?

    Well, just goes to show, dunnit?

    On the subject of stolen desert camels, I’ll add this, before someone else does. I’ll even eschew the obvious:

    (Sorry, Michael! ).

    #98574
    Sane Max
    Participant

    Are you saying that statements such as……… are a bit silly?

    No, as that would be foolishly impolitic coming from someone as daft as me.

    For example, I love my Sassanids. No, not Sassanian Persians, the people of that area from the 3rd CE onwards in the real world – I mean ‘Sassanids’ the Wargames army that has eveolved over the years into an identifiable wargames type. A Trope if you will, a cliche, a stereotype. The infantry wear all white and wear enormous white globe hats, and on the battlefield the poor old spearmen have the fighting characteristics of Dad’s army crossed with some extra-timorous Gerbils.

    Do I believe they were actually that bad, or that Globular-hatted? No, not really. But that is what ‘Sassanids’ do, after 40 years of one army list writer cribbing from the one before him. So if someone wants to get their internal image of bollock-protectorss correct for themselves, who am I to criticise?

    #98575
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Lumbering?

    Fleet as a camel with the twinkling sidesteps of Barry John mayhap.

    #98616
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    Are you saying that statements such as……… are a bit silly?

    No, as that would be foolishly impolitic coming from someone as daft as me. For example, I love my Sassanids. No, not Sassanian Persians, the people of that area from the 3rd CE onwards in the real world – I mean ‘Sassanids’ the Wargames army that has eveolved over the years into an identifiable wargames type. A Trope if you will, a cliche, a stereotype. The infantry wear all white and wear enormous white globe hats, and on the battlefield the poor old spearmen have the fighting characteristics of Dad’s army crossed with some extra-timorous Gerbils. Do I believe they were actually that bad, or that Globular-hatted? No, not really. But that is what ‘Sassanids’ do, after 40 years of one army list writer cribbing from the one before him. So if someone wants to get their internal image of bollock-protectorss correct for themselves, who am I to criticise?

     

    You mean…you’re playing <gasp> historicals with a…a…fantasy army?

    *faints dead away*

     

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

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