Uniforms of the Ancient Greek Generals

Written by frank b. chavez iii
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Uniforms of the Ancient Greek Generals
Historians often study art for clues to the appearance of ancient warriors. (statue of a Greek soldier holding a spear & wearing helmet image by L. Shat from Fotolia.com)

Ancient Greek soldiers, called hoplites, were required to provide their own armour and weapons as one of their duties of citizenship. Generals typically wore fancier versions of the armour worn by their men.


Before donning his armour, any Greek soldier would put on a short tunic called a chiton. This was made of either wool or linen and often dyed bright blue or red.


The general protected his head with a tight fitting helmet. This bronze helmet came in several styles and was either highly polished or intricately painted. It was often topped with a horse hair plume that helped soldiers find him on the battlefield.

Uniforms of the Ancient Greek Generals
The Corinthian style helmet covered everything but the eyes and mouth. (ancient Greek helmet 10 image by Paul Moore from Fotolia.com)


The general protected his torso with bronze body armour. As depicted in art, this often consisted of plates of bronze shaped to the warrior's muscles. Another option was the linothorax, a layered hemp tunic covered in bronze scales.

Uniforms of the Ancient Greek Generals
Only the wealthiest soldiers could afford ornate armour. (ancient Greek armour image by Paul Moore from Fotolia.com)


The general's lower legs were protected by bronze shinguards called greaves. The extremely flexible greaves were perfectly shaped to the man's muscles and held on without straps.

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