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Greek warriors are often depicted in movies with muscular and perfectly toned features. When they go to battle they wear metal armor suits that still reflected this strong male physique. So was the armor design a historical fact or a figment of Hollywood imagination? Archaeological evidence suggests that movie creators are not wrong on this one. In fact, one Greek cuirass (breastplate or protective armor) believed to be over 2,000 years old shows a design featuring a muscular chest and well-defined abdominals.

Reasons for the Greek armor muscular design?

If you are wondering why the Greeks designed their armor with stylized chests, toned shoulder blades, amazing abs, and even shin plates, Hans Van Wees, the author of Greek Warfare: Myths and Realities, offer the following explanations:

It made them look good

Confidence is key; on and off the battle field. The design served no functional or military purpose whatsoever other than keeping the soldiers looking fresh to death. The six-pack outline and imposing pectoral muscles were all for show. At the end of the day, every piece of armor was meant to make the warriors look good. According to Wees, it is also possible that the warriors wanted to look naked even though they were fully covered up, possibly to express confidence.

It may have been used to intimidate

Ancient literature such as plays and poems that mention Greek warriors refer to them as “men of bronze.” This moniker suggests that one of the reasons that Greek warriors wear the “naked” design armor was for them to appear like they were guilded, bronze, godlike warrior. 

It served as a status symbol

While wearing the bronze armor made the warriors looked remarkable and imposing, especially in front of their enemies, it is important to note that not all soldiers were given the privilege to wear it. At the end of the day, only those who could afford the golden armor wore it. The Gucci of battle armor.