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Spartan Armor

Their shields consisted of wood and leather with the face completely covered in a thin sheet of stressed bronze (881004), which was enough to strengthen the shield, but did not add so much weight as to make it useless. Each shield was round and approx 36” - 38” according to some unearthed examples. Legend says that a warrior was given his shield by his mother and instructed to “come back with it…or on it.” The shield was considered the most valuable piece of armament because it strengthened the whole line.

Other armor worn was sparse or “spartan” indeed and consisted only of a bronze Corinthian type helmet (881002) and a bronze cuirass. These were important for protection in the spear fighting of hoplite warfare.

A short sword (401178) was also carried as a secondary weapon for close-quarters individual combat. It usually had a leaf shaped iron or bronze blade that was shorter than that carried in the rest of Greece. It was said by the Spartans that it could be lengthened by taking a step closer to the enemy! Although very little remains of the cloaks, tradition tells us that the Spartans wore a red cloak into battle (881001) so their enemy would never see them bleed. Showing weakness was not tolerated in way, shape or form.