Spanish Cardiophylax Breast Plate
The cardiophylax was a type of ancient armour which protected the middle part of the chest particularly the heart. Consisting of a metal plate with leather straps. This style of armour appears to have been utilised in Southern Europe from the 7th century BC and was often decorated with animal motifs. The final image on this page shows an Etruscan warrior wearing a cardiophylax (Cerveteri, National Museum, inv. 60157) estimated to be from between the 5th to 7th century BC.
This cardiophylax is inspired by the style worn by the Caetrati warriors who were a type of light infantry in ancient Iberia (Spain) who fought as light skirmishers. The Caetrati fought for Hanibal against Rome in the Second Punic War and in Southern and Central Europe as mercenaries. Their high moral, speed and endurance made them valued skirmishers to harass enemy formations with hit and run tactics.
This breast plate has a large solid brass plate with the image of a wolf. The brass disk measures 23cm in diameter, including the backing leather the centre disk is 26cm in diameter. The armour has straps which tie at the back and best fits a person of medium, large. The armour can be worn by a person of extra-large size with a gap between the leather belts secured by the included leather tie. The belt that fits over the shoulder has a length of 58cm and the belts that wraps round the chest have a length of 39cm on both sides side. Including the centre disk and the leather straps the circumference of the disk and straps is approximately 95cm.
The armour weighs 1.25kg.