Late Dark Age, early Archaic Age

The late Dark Age and early Archaic age lasted from 1150 – 750 BC. The main warrior of this time period was the Dipylon. There are no literary accounts of Dipylon warfare, so historians must go entirely off of iconography and archaeological evidence.

The Dipylon warriors depicted on various pots and vases seem skinny, so much so that their body appears almost bird-like. They appear have a shields hanging off of their chests. It is believed that the shield’s two large scallops on either side were for more versatile arm movement when worn. The Dipylon warriors are also depicted as wearing feathered helmets. They are usually painted with one large eye, and facing one direction.


[15] Dipylon warriors as portrayed in iconography held in the Louvre.

 The Dipylon warrior is depicted in largely the same way throughout the images. The Dipylon warrior is typically equipped with a spear, but commonly has two extra spears. It is still debated whether or not these are actually javelins. In other images, the Dipylon can be seen driving a chariot.

The artistic depictions don’t show any bronze armor, but most historians agree that parts of the Dipylon warrior must be covered in bronze, specifically the helmet and chest plate.

Historians also agree that the Dipylon shields are made of woven wicker. There are ancient clay models of the Dipylon shield found, specifically one at the Eponymous Cemetery at Athens. The sculptor drew lines that resemble basketwork over the front and two straps on its reverse side. These would most likely fasten the shield to the warrior’s front or back, depending on what was needed. The shield being wicker would make it very light and versatile, implying a form of open combat without complex formations.

[11] Artist’s rendition of Dipylon warriors.

Leave a Reply