A weakness in the Greek armour

I visited the Ashmolean museum in Oxford today. One of their rooms is devoted to casts of Greek and Roman sculptures. Now when we see ancient sculpture today it is invariably unpainted because although time has preserved the shape the original paints have long worn off. However traces of these paints have remained and the cast room has now got some wonderful casts where the paint has been recreated based on these traces.

This is part of their “Gods in colour” exhibition and the painted casts are on loan from Germany so they may not be in the Ashmolean permanently.

The cast below shows the Greeks fighting the Persians. The eagle eyed among you may spot a weakness in the Greeks’ armour.



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4 Responses to A weakness in the Greek armour

    • platosparks says:

      Yes – I think baring it all was one way that the Greeks distinguished themselves from the barbarians so the artist depicted them in this way – the manly Greeks against the foppish Persians. Not that they actually fought like this although I believe the Celts did on occasion.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, good. I was afraid of stating the obvious. It is definitely an idealization issue. We are talking about the beauty of the body to the Greeks after all. Also, the effeminacy of the Persians is represented in the fact that they are shown wearing pants. A most entertaining idea, that pants makes men effeminate.
        Many celts did fight in the nude, especially those of high class. Although I do not think idealization of the body was the reason, rather to psych out the enemy. It certainly worked, in many cases.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: The snake and the eagle | platosparks

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