A Kevlar-like armor might have helped Alexander the Great (356–323 B.C.) conquer nearly the entirety of the known world in little more than two decades, according to new reconstructive archaeology research.
Presented at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in Anaheim, Calif., the study suggests that Alexander and his soldiers protected themselves with linothorax, a type of body armor made by laminating together layers of linen.
"While we know quite a lot about ancient armor made from metal, linothorax remains something of a mystery since no examples have survived, due to the perishable nature of the material," Gregory Aldrete, professor of history and humanistic studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, told Discovery News.
"Nevertheless, we have managed to show that this linen armor thrived as a form of body protection for nearly 1,000 years, and was used by a wide variety of ancient Mediterranean civilizations," Aldrete said.
Indeed, Aldrede and co-investigator Scott Bartell discovered that linothorax was widely mentioned in ancient records.
"Currently we have 27 descriptions by 18 different ancient authors and nearly 700 visual images on objects ranging from Greek vases to Etruscan temple reliefs," Aldrete said.
The main visual evidence for Alexander wearing linothorax is the famous "Alexander Mosaic" from Pompeii, in which the Macedonian king is depicted with this sort of armor.
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