Friday, September 17, 2010

Hellenistic Kevlar

Via Robbo, FLG learns of this awesomeness:
A Kevlar-like armor might have helped Alexander the Great...


Andrew Stevens said...

Before I went to the link, I was seriously confused. Whatever Alexander died of, surely Kevlar wouldn't have done him any good. (Unless we're theorizing that he was poisoned with a blowgun.)

The Ancient said...

Alpheus --

Didn't Alexander take a set of armor from the Tomb of Achilles at Troy?

And didn't either Julius Caesar or Augustus take Alexander's own armor from his tomb in Alexandria?

P.S. I wonder if this supposed linen armor would rot or attract bugs.

Alpheus said...

I should let Arethusa answer the Alexander questions, but . . .

Andrew: There's an oral tradition that the arrow wound Alexander sustained in India never fully healed, and that this is what killed him. Maybe this is what's referred to? (I'm guessing.)

Ancient: Yes to the first question, but it was Caligula who is said to have stolen Alexander's breastplate. (Augustus did worse: he leaned over to kiss the corpse of Alexander and destroyed the nose in the process.)

These linen breastplates (thorakes) were often dedicated in temples, and they seem to have lasted a long time. Augustus claimed he could still read an inscription on a linen breastplate that a Roman commander had taken from a king of Veii four hundred years before.

The Ancient said...

Alpheus --


Andrew Stevens said...

Alpheus, it turns out from the link that they're just saying that Alexander did use a Kevlar-like armor and that this helped him. But FLG's editing led me to believe that someone was saying that if Alexander had had a Kevlar-like, then it would have helped him. Now there are tons of people in history who probably would have been helped by Kevlar-like armor (JFK to name just one), but it certainly seemed like Alexander wasn't one of them. I'd never heard the "never healed arrow wound" story before though.

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