Doing the research for these books takes me to some interesting articles. The way historians and others embark on practical experiments these days is particularly useful – and sometimes hilarious. For example, here’s an article on linen armour, as widely worn in the Ancient Greek world. It was often reinforced with leather, but the cheapest option for the poorest citizen soldiers was linen on its own. How effective was it?
For our first linothorax, we glued together 15 layers of linen to form a one centimeter-thick slab, and then tried to cut out the required shape. Large shears were defeated; bolt cutters failed. The only way we were ultimately able to cut the laminated linen slab was with an electric saw equipped with a blade for cutting metal. At least this confirmed our suspicion that linen armor would have been extremely tough.
So that’s one important question answered. But wait, there’s more…
We also found out that linen stiffened with rabbit glue strikes dogs as an irresistibly tasty rabbit-flavored chew toy, and that our Labrador retriever should not be left alone with our research project.
Oh, the temptation to work that into a story somehow… or maybe Philocles could put it in a play? Well, we’ll have to wait and see. Meantime, do read the whole article.