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Iconography Of The Costume And Armour Of The Warrior Saints

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Chapter Summary

The main element in the images of warrior saints that distinguishes the great military martyrs from other categories of saints is their military attire such as armour, cloak, close-fitting trousers, boots, and sometimes also officer's insignia denoting rank. This chapter reviews the types of armour seen in their iconography and also those used in the Middle Byzantine army. Military saints are depicted in scale body armour far more frequently than in muscled cuirasses. The fashion for scale armour outlasted the collapse of the Western Empire, and literary references indicate that it continued to be worn in the Middle Byzantine period. Lamellar cuirass was employed by Byzantine artists in depictions of the military saints even more frequently than the scale corselet. In Byzantium the protective role fulfilled by shoulder guards and pteryges or kremasmata was occasionally replaced by full armour.

Keywords: armour; Byzantine army; Iconography; lamellar cuirass; warrior saints



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