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Thread: Iberian Linen armor

  1. #1

    Default Iberian Linen armor

    Iíve asked something similar about Celtic Linothorax, but the main units of both Iberian factions use a sort of linen armor. What is the history behind it?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Iberian Linen armor

    Without going into the history of it, I'll tell you this. It's dirt cheap compared to metal armor and your grandma can make it.
    I recommend a pugio rather than a spear, because in close quarters combat, a dagger will serve you better than a spear.

    Rad, 2016.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Iberian Linen armor

    Quote Originally Posted by Rad View Post
    Without going into the history of it, I'll tell you this. It's dirt cheap compared to metal armor and your grandma can make it.
    I know what linen armor is and why it would be popular, but I’m asking more along the lines of historical presence in Iberia, and why it was put into the game. Is there artwork or archeological evidence (probably not as much since it’s linen) for it?

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    Default Re: Iberian Linen armor

    I know what linen armor is and why it would be popular, but I’m asking more along the lines of historical presence in Iberia, and why it was put into the game. Is there artwork or archeological evidence (probably not as much since it’s linen) for it?
    Strabo's Geography, Book 3, chapter 3.6:
    At any rate, the Lusitanians, it is said, are given to laying ambush, given to spying out, are quick, nimble, and good at deploying troops. They have a small shield two feet in diameter, concave in front, and suspended from the shoulder by means of thongs (for it has neither arm-rings nor handles). Besides these shields they have a dirk or a butcher's-knife. Most of them wear linen cuirasses; a few wear chain-wrought cuirasses and helmets with three crests, but the rest wear helmets made of sinews. The foot-soldiers wear greaves also, and each soldier has several javelins; and some also make use of spears, and the spears have bronze heads. Now some of the peoples that dwell next to the Durius River live, it is said, after the manner of the Laconians — using anointing-rooms twice a day and taking baths in vapours that rise from heated stones, bathing in cold water, and eating only one meal a day; and that in a cleanly and simple way. The Lusitanians are given to offering sacrifices, and they inspect the vitals, without cutting them out. Besides, they also inspect the veins on the side of the victim; and they divine by the tokens of touch, too. They prophesy through means of the vitals of human beings also, prisoners of war, whom they first cover with coarse cloaks, and then, when the victim has been struck beneath the vitals by the diviner, they draw their first auguries from the fall of the victim. And they cut off the right hands of their captives and set them up as an offering to the gods.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Iberian Linen armor

    As Genava says, Strabo (probably following Polybius) is our main written source for the linen armours in the Iberian Peninsula and more specifically in the Lusitanian context.


    As you say, it's really hard or even impossible to have archeological evidence due to the organic nature of the armour. However, we do have some humble evidences related with the Iberian artwork. The Iberian pottery shows some warriors wearing some sort of organic cuirass. For example we have the (in)famous scale armours:




    And also other examples that show armours more similar to the linothorax:










    The best example of an Iberian organic armour is the sculpture from Osuna (ancient Turdetania).




    It seems they also used quilted tunics that could be an alternative light "armour":


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Iberian Linen armor

    Cheers to both Genava and Trarco for sharing literary and pictorial evidence, respectively! Very fascinating! Strabo's account is also a bit of a confirmation, although not backed up by archaeology unfortunately, that at least SOME of the pre-Roman Iberian and Celt-Iberian tribes wore iron chain mail armor. I like how he also mentioned greaves. I forget, do any of the Iberian units in EBII wear greaves on the limbs in a Greco-Roman type manner or any manner at all?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Iberian Linen armor

    Thanks Geneva and Trarco! By the way, Trarco, why is the (in)famous pottery infamous? How do we know it is organic and not scale?

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    Default Re: Iberian Linen armor

    Quote Originally Posted by Hirtius View Post
    Thanks Geneva and Trarco! By the way, Trarco, why is the (in)famous pottery infamous? How do we know it is organic and not scale?
    Infamous to have been badly interpreted in Osprey publications (a common problem with this publisher), especially the textile part as chain mail:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    The metallic scales are unlikely since it has never been found in archeological context (to my knowledge).
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Iberian Linen armor

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    I like how he also mentioned greaves. I forget, do any of the Iberian units in EBII wear greaves on the limbs in a Greco-Roman type manner or any manner at all?
    Yes, our Iberians wear organic greaves. We have three variants made of fur, wool and leather respectively. These greaves appear in both written sources and native iconography. They can't wear greaves in a Greco-Roman style though. The reason is that while Iberian had bronze greaves (and bronze disc breastplates), these defensive weapons were only used by aristocrats during the early Iberian age (about 5th century BC). However, they can't appear in EBII because as the archaeology reveals, since the 4th century BC, the Iberian warfare experienced a process of isonomy: the tombs with weapons began to be much more numerous and the expensive bronze panoply dissapeared in favour of lighter organic greaves and armours. This has been understood as a process in which a wider stratum of the population achieved the right to bear (simplified) arms and to be interred in formal cemeteries while a new type of warfare based on pitched battles began to be developed.


    Our exception is the Iberian swordsmen with thureoi, since they represent Carthage's allies, veterans of the Punic War, etc. So, we think that they could have some sort of bronze greaves to represent looted weaponry


    Quote Originally Posted by Hirtius View Post
    Thanks Geneva and Trarco! By the way, Trarco, why is the (in)famous pottery infamous? How do we know it is organic and not scale?
    It's a complex debate but this is the current opinion of the Spanish historiography. This is the best summary I can offer, from the professor Fernando Quesada Sanz ( the best specialist on archaeology applied to the Iberian warfare):

    “The passive defensive weapons depicted on the Vessel (armour, helmets) present other problems. The horses on this vessel are represented using a conventional filler pattern to indicate their coat, which was previously misinterpreted by A. McBride, a great foreign artist but one with little knowledge about Hispanic archaeological realities, as scale or mail armour. His magnificent drawings were later imitated by others (for example, Alcaide and Vela) and have created—above all among amateurs— the idea of a cataphract “armoured” cavalry, which never existed in Iberia, nor in all the Mediterranean region in this period. Even in the far-off Persian world, during this period there was only some much lighter barding in use.

    All the figures on the Vessel wear a type of coselete (light armour vest), perhaps with sleeves made from another material. The part which covers the chest (sometimes down to the diaphragm, sometimes to the belly) is covered with a scaled pattern which has caused many to think of metallic protection. Moreover, the lower abdomen is covered with what, without doubt, appears to be pteryges, hanging strips of organic material (usually leather or linen) which gave the wearer a certain degree of protection without restricting their movement. They seem to be wearing some type of metallic armour of which there were a great variety in use from Greece to the south of Gall via Italy. The majority of those who support this theory – including the aforementioned artist– believe that the Vessel depicts scaled armour. This type of armour was usually made up of small plates, normally made of bronze, sewn onto a textile support. It is a type of armour well-known in the western Mediterranean and Asia from the Bronze Age, and to a far lesser extent in Greece during the Iron Age. However, in Iberia (as in the Celtic world) no scaled armour of this type is known, nor represented on other media (sculptures, offerings, or even other ceramics). It was rare even in Italy, and in the classical Greek world it was used only occasionally as a complement to a type of textile armour (linothorax). But at the end of the third century neither the Carthaginians nor Romans appear to have used this type of protection; the legionaries in particular, as Polybius says (VI, 23, 14-15), wore a small bronze square on their chest at the most, and only the most affluent wore a coat of iron chainmail. This second option —the coat of mail— has also been suggested for the warriors, but these coats of mail from the 3rd to 2nd centuries BCE did not have pteryges and were furthermore an absolutely rarity in Iberia. Moreover, the decorative pattern used on the Vessel does not seem to be that for ring-woven mail, which is usually depicted in a different way in the visual arts.

    Finally, other authors have suggested armour made from bronze sheets, small rectangular plates sewn together, of which there is no iconographic or archaeological evidence in Iberia and which was not used – or barely used– in the central Mediterranean region in this period. Moreover, plate armour is normally depicted in a much simpler way using a pattern of small squares or rectangles. Only the penultimate infantryman has his entire torso covered by a pattern of crossed lines forming small diamonds (which only cover the abdomen and belly of the rest of the figures), but the diagonal lines would not be adequate to represent plate amour, whose lines are clearly vertical and horizontal,and are represented in this way on some small Etruscan offerings, for example.

    The most probable explanation is that the warriors are wearing a type of quilted protection, more likely made from textile than leather. In fact, the scale pattern was, for example, used on Greek ceramics to represent both metal scales and organic protective wear (the aegis or skin of Amalthea¬’s goat which protected Athena) and even the wings of deities such as Thanatos and Hypnos, such as on the famous vessel decorated by the painter Euphronios. In fact, Anderson explained many years ago that the scales in Greek black-figure paintings were normally used to indicate “hair on a hide... or even as a decorative motif on cloth”.
    Last edited by Trarco; June 05, 2019 at 08:21 AM.

  10. #10
    Lusitanio's Avatar Content Staff
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    Default Re: Iberian Linen armor

    Great research work as always Trarco!

  11. #11

    Default Re: Iberian Linen armor

    Thank you both! I loved the uses of pictures and excerpts! My las question is helmet related. Some of the Celtiberian (I’m not sure about the Lusitanians, I’ve mainly been playing the Areuaki) helmets seem to be made out of a different material than bronze. Is this a leather or linen helmet? If so, which one?

  12. #12

    Default Re: Iberian Linen armor

    It does look like that, even if it was linen armor instead of other material in those depictions, just like in the "celtic linothorax" thread (which in my opinion isnt really that conclusive anyways, and more of a creative liberty on part of the EB team) it would still not be identical to the greeks' linothorax, but have its own design/ornaments. Whatever the case, the whole logic of "this culture imports X and exports Y in relation to this other culture in possibly century Z" is just wishful thinking unless well founded on cultural interactions that were documented (for example when Xenophon in his Politeia of the Athenians says how, as a sea faring people, the Athenians were used to dock their ships in the coasts of many other peoples and trade/take from them the best things they could find, or something along those lines, and that unlike most hellenes the Athenians would have many ways of dressing and various other things particular to them, something Xenophon attributes to their seafaring tradition specially.)

    Theres also the problem that archeology alone as a primary source doesnt come with a manual as to how to interpret it, making claims of historical accuracy be more like claims of historical interpretation instead; if for instance we had little to nothing when it comes to information and writings about the athenians, and didnt really have the vast literature talking about hoplites and how the greeks fought and equipped, and only through sparce archeological finds we came to find these in Attica/Athens:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 







    We could, if met with very scarce and limited finds, and almost no literary description, then, come to the conclusion that those were depictions of athenian archers and how the athenians dressed, whithout knowing the wider context: that there was a practice by the athenians of hiring scythian mercenaries as a form of "police" force in Athens, but in no way this means that the Athenians fought just like the scythians or vice versa, these are just wild historical speculations based on our ignorance rather than some form of accuracy, and cultures back then could be quite distinct with their own fighting traditions and garments, the ancient world not really being like modern, globalized times (where even nowadays armies keep their own equipment and tactics despite every culture being more connected than ever before).


    Just like the athenians, celts and iberians also might have had contact with other very distinct cultures, and we might not know - specially given the relative sparse information -, when we see celtic or iberian depictions of something that looks like linen armor, if that means its a depiction of what celtic/iberian warriors commonly dressed for battle: thats only a stretch by our guessing of what we really are seeing in archeological finds. I'm not saying they did or didnt wear linen armor, and given how it was relatively easy to make, they might as well have had some form of it, but interpret that the celts had armies equipped with greek linothorax because "cultures exchange stuff" and theres like half a dozen or less statues we might interpret as wearing linen armor instead of any other material is a whole new fantastic stretch.
    Last edited by Achilles Lacedaemon; June 06, 2019 at 12:51 AM.

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    Default Re: Iberian Linen armor

    The thing is that there are several evidences for organic protection among the Celts, with strong evidences that they were depicting themselves and not a foreign culture. Interpreting these as linen cuirasses is a valid interpretation you can even found in academic publications.

    Their similarities with Greek linothorax are indeed a matter of debate but this is not necessarily a problem. The depictions of organic protections among Celts show several similarities with Greek and Roman armor. For example the pteriges.
    Last edited by Genava; June 06, 2019 at 04:41 AM.
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Iberian Linen armor

    Going back to the question, what are those dull looking Iberian helmets made out of, and how do we know?

    And side tracking a bit, if there is no evidence for scale armor, where did our idea of the “vasci armored infantry” come from? It was removed from EB1, but how did they even get the idea in the first place?

  15. #15

    Default Re: Iberian Linen armor

    "Evidences" is too strong of a word for what i've seen regarding the subject; I'd say its all more in line with "educated guess" rather than "evidence". A bunch of very dilapidated statues without any context to understand them and wearing some kind of clothing that, even if it is indeed armor (because, like in Roquepertuse, it might not be a depiction of a suit of armor made for battle, but of some other kind of clothing or cerimonial apparel), and then even if made of linen and not leather or other material (though the statue cant tell us what it is wearing) does not really seem to have the same shapes and patters of what is seen in the linothorax... would be only evidence to me if I was a priori wanting to see what I'm looking for. Not to mention that, if I squint very hard I can see simple drawings of skirts being confused for pteriges in some of the instances.

    Then theres also the problem of understanding, if we are to admit that the celts used linothorax, which of them did, since the celts werent a monolith or a nation, but various groups who seemed to vary a lot (when Caesar came into contact with some peoples like the Helvetii, he distinguishes them for their orderly battle line tactics, or "phalanxes", for example, but other groups were completely different, and the Romans demolished them, and Caesar nor any other source seems to ever talk about their linothorax armor, and sources claiming that they decorated in gold and various colours hardly describes that). All the area that comprised of the "keltoi" seems to be a great generalization of various differing cultures. Perhaps those closest to the mediterranean (as the helvetians were compared to the nervii or the britons or various others) could have had linothorax? Again, its just a maybe, but I'd say it would be more safe to assume that those would be the minority of Celts. Theres also many other types of hypothesis I wouldnt exhaustively point out, like some of the things found in certain areas being brought there but not necessarily native to that place and created by that people.

    But going by the archeological remains I can come up with lamellar armor, padded armor, linothorax, chain mail or many other types of hypotheses since the drawing and sculpture themselves dont seem very detailed enough to illustrate what it is (unlike, for example, in greek and roman vases/frescos).

    And the same thing I'm saying here I would like to apply to the Iberian case, even if they used linen armor, there would still be the question of "what kind" of linen armor (just like the linothorax or perhaps different?) and "which ones" used it if they used it, since not all peoples of iberia had the same culture and the same cultural interactions in the same degree. All I'm saying is: appreciate and understand complexity. Some people here treat history like physics, as if historical evidence and scientific evidence are the same... and no, nothing suggests that because we know of certain roads and cultural interactions, the world at that time was just like ours (a post third industrial revolution, globalization world) when it comes to cultural exchange (specially for military designs, since not even nowadays armies use the same rifles, weaponry and tactics). Even in the cases were multiple cultures used, lets say, the bronze cuirass, or plate armor in medieval and early modern times, they still werent just a copy from each other, but varied in various desings and details, even if not purely artistic:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Etruscan and Hallstatt cuirasses, presumably, both from 7th-6th century BC:





    Last edited by Achilles Lacedaemon; June 06, 2019 at 11:57 PM.

  16. #16
    Genava's Avatar Biarchus
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    Default Re: Iberian Linen armor

    "Evidences" is too strong of a word for what i've seen regarding the subject; I'd say its all more in line with "educated guess" rather than "evidence". A bunch of very dilapidated statues without any context to understand them and wearing some kind of clothing that, even if it is indeed armor (because, like in Roquepertuse, it might not be a depiction of a suit of armor made for battle, but of some other kind of clothing or cerimonial apparel), and then even if made of linen and not leather or other material (though the statue cant tell us what it is wearing) does not really seem to have the same shapes and patters of what is seen in the linothorax... would be only evidence to me if I was a priori wanting to see what I'm looking for. Not to mention that, if I squint very hard I can see simple drawings of skirts being confused for pteriges in some of the instances.
    The Roquepertuse statue has clear evidence for pteryges, you should check a better photo or go to see it in the museum of Marseille. There are strips lines on what you call a skirt. Moreover, in the 1990s several scientists analyzed the pigments of the monument of Roquepertuse, including the statue.

    On the Glauberg statue, the shoulder braces are similar from a Mediterranean cuirass. There is the same neck protection seen in Greek linothorax. We also know that the statue represents the nobleman in the burial next to the statue.


    (when Caesar came into contact with some peoples like the Helvetii, he distinguishes them for their orderly battle line tactics, or "phalanxes", for example, but other groups were completely different, and the Romans demolished them, and Caesar nor any other source seems to ever talk about their linothorax armor, and sources claiming that they decorated in gold and various colours hardly describes that).
    I have read the text from Caesar dozen of times and what you are doing right now is twisting the facts to suit your opinion. First of all, he never said that the Helvetii are distinguished by their use of the phalanx in battle. He simply said they used it to face him, he is mentioning it like it could be something usual. This is not the first mention of the phalanx among Celts, the Galatians are described as a "phalanx" during the war against Antiochus (275 BC):

    Lucian vol. II: "So said Zeuxis, not in the best of tempers. Antiochus Soter had a somewhat similar experience about his battle with the Galatians. If you will allow me, I propose to give you an account of that event also. These people were good fighters, and on this occasion in great force; they were drawn up in a serried phalanx, the first rank, which consisted of steel-clad warriors, being supported by men of the ordinary heavy-armed type to the depth of four-and-twenty; twenty thousand cavalry held the flanks; and there were eighty scythed, and twice that number of ordinary war chariots ready to burst forth from the centre."

    Livy said the Galatians were tightly packed during the final battle at the mont Magaba near Ancyra. At the Battle of Sentinum (295 BC), the Gauls are fighting in a "testudo" formation.

    Then theres also the problem of understanding, if we are to admit that the celts used linothorax, which of them did, since the celts werent a monolith or a nation, but various groups who seemed to vary a lot
    The early La TŤne period is quite diverse but the following centuries not.

    https://www.cairn-int.info/article-E...ristocracy.htm

    "This homogeneity, already relatively marked in the case of fibulae, is even more pronounced when it comes to arms and decorative detail. This is because these groups had a common ideology of war and shared beliefs. It is one of the major cultural features that created the unity of the La Tene Celtic world over and above tribal and political divisions. This process, which distinguished the elites and partially affected the production of consumer goods, was certainly not new. What changed in the fourth and third centuries BC was that standardization gained greater ground than ever before; the same standards could now be found from one end of Europe to the other, from the Atlantic Ocean to the shores of the Black Sea. The homologous nature of these forms, on which specialists based their studies, made it possible to gauge the extent of Celtic civilization right from the start of nineteenth-century proto-historic archaeology. The phenomenon of a unified whole combined with the speed and simultaneity of the changes, at least from today’s perspective of archaeological time, has generally made it pointless or risky to pinpoint the origin of a given innovation or the way in which it spread. One final testimony to the dynamism of the regions north of the Alps can be found in the attitude of the Celts of northern Italy who, even at the height of Romanization (second and early first century BC), maintained northern fashions and practices with regard to weaponry."


    Caesar nor any other source seems to ever talk about their linothorax armor, and sources claiming that they decorated in gold and various colours hardly describes that).
    Find me sources talking about linen armors among the Greeks and the Hellenes that I laugh a bit There are only a few indications and a lot of people are arguing about these (especially on their composition). This is not a topic in general where we have plenty of information.

    But going by the archeological remains I can come up with lamellar armor, padded armor, linothorax, chain mail or many other types of hypotheses since the drawing and sculpture themselves dont seem very detailed enough to illustrate what it is (unlike, for example, in greek and roman vases/frescos).
    I have seen many threads with people arguing about linothorax, refuting that they were in linen. So it seems that the artistic details are not enough.

    Even in the cases were multiple cultures used, lets say, the bronze cuirass, or plate armor in medieval and early modern times, they still werent just a copy from each other, but varied in various desings and details, even if not purely artistic:
    This is like the metaphor for optimistic and pessimistic view, seeing the same glass half full or half empty. You see more the differences, I see more the similarities.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    Last edited by Genava; June 07, 2019 at 05:46 AM.
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    Default Re: Iberian Linen armor

    Quote Originally Posted by Hirtius View Post
    And side tracking a bit, if there is no evidence for scale armor, where did our idea of the “vasci armored infantry” come from? It was removed from EB1, but how did they even get the idea in the first place?
    Probably a BS logic like this: Irish mythology from medieval era talks about Hispanic origins of the Irish. Moreover there was scales armors among iberians in their mind (because of infamous pottery).
    Modern art about Irish mythology generally depicts scales armors and other weird stuff, it leads the previous team to make heavy armored warrior with scales armors for the Celts in Ireland. The previous """expert""" seems to have believed that the Irish has come specifically from the Vasci, so they applied the same unit for the Vasci.

    There is a sort of circular logic in their description:
    https://europabarbarorum.fandom.com/...hock_Infantry)
    https://europabarbarorum.fandom.com/...hock_Infantry)
    https://europabarbarorum.fandom.com/...lite_Spearmen)
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  18. #18

    Default Re: Iberian Linen armor

    I’m resurrecting the thread to point out that the Iberian panoply reform units have what appears to be scale armor made from metal. If the armor isn’t thought to have represented metal scales, why is it in EB2?

  19. #19

    Default Re: Iberian Linen armor

    Quote Originally Posted by Hirtius View Post
    Going back to the question, what are those dull looking Iberian helmets made out of, and how do we know?
    We know them thanks to both archaeology and written sources (Strabo, 3,3.6).

    While there are some examples of metallic helmets before the 4th century BC (especially in the Celtiberian world), they disappeared from greaves eventually. As it is attested above, in the 4th century BC the Iberian panoply became lighter and more warriors got the right to bear weapons. So, like in the case of the armours, the metallic helmets were replaced (with the exception of some bronze Hispano-Chalcidian helmet in the Celtiberian world) with organic cheaper helmets. The graves will only show metallic helmets again since the Second Punic War. The reason is that the Barcids introduced the bronze Montefortino helmet in Iberia and since it was cheap and useful, it had some succes. Anyway, coming back to the issue, the organic helmets would have been lost due to their organic nature but we know some typologies thanks to Iberian art.


    For example, the ones represented in both sculpture and figurines, are easier to reenact:

    -Osuna type:








    -The more common is the "Capacete"-type:




    -There are also mixed typologies. The organic part has disappeared but archaeology has found the metallic piece. In this case it worked as the crest (surely inspired on Italic models. Maybe due to mercenarism). "Cigarralejo"-type:




    -Then, we have several helmets represented on the pottery. In this case they are really difficult to reenact (like in the case of the "scale armours"). In any case, they show that there was much variety. Even, it seems, they represented a helmet with a crest in the shape of boar:




    BTW, here you can see an interesting table that show the Iberian panoply very well:




    -----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Genava View Post
    Probably a BS logic like this: Irish mythology from medieval era talks about Hispanic origins of the Irish. Moreover there was scales armors among iberians in their mind (because of infamous pottery).
    Modern art about Irish mythology generally depicts scales armors and other weird stuff, it leads the previous team to make heavy armored warrior with scales armors for the Celts in Ireland. The previous """expert""" seems to have believed that the Irish has come specifically from the Vasci, so they applied the same unit for the Vasci.

    There is a sort of circular logic in their description:
    https://europabarbarorum.fandom.com/...hock_Infantry)
    https://europabarbarorum.fandom.com/...hock_Infantry)
    https://europabarbarorum.fandom.com/...lite_Spearmen)
    A really weird inaccurate methodology. However, IMO a Galaico-Lusitanian expedition of young warriors from Iberia to Ireland, inspired on the Medieval mythology, would be really fun to play in EBII (just from a roleplay perspective of course)


    -------------


    Quote Originally Posted by Hirtius View Post
    I’m resurrecting the thread to point out that the Iberian panoply reform units have what appears to be scale armor made from metal. If the armor isn’t thought to have represented metal scales, why is it in EB2?

    They are fantasy armours. We will try to remove them eventually.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Iberian Linen armor

    So is that floppy cap looking thing often depicted (like the Iberi milites in EB1 and the Panoply reform units in EB2) a helmet? Is it organic or metal with a covering over it? Or is of the Osuna type? Or is it just a floppy cap? Or is the floppy cap a misunderstanding?

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