Greaves (armor)

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Greek greaves (around 500–490 BC)

The leg brace ( Old Gr . : ἡ κνημίς, τῆς κνημῖδος f .; Latin : ocrea, -eae f.) Was an ancient leg protection that has been used by various cultures since ancient times .

Description and use

In military use, greaves were pieces of armor made of different materials to protect the lower legs. They only protected the front part of the leg and went down to the knees . The greaves were usually tied to the calves with leather straps. Metal greaves were only reserved for high-ranking warriors, for example the centurions in the Roman legion or the Greek hoplites . This was also often due to the high acquisition costs. There are different versions made of diverse materials ( bronze , leather , wood, bone , iron, herringbone and even plant fibers ) in the different cultural areas . However, they all serve the same purpose.


Greaves are already mentioned in the Old Testament , the giant Goliath wore them in the fight against David ( 1 Sam 17.6  EU ).

"He had bronze splints on his legs ..."

- 1 Samuel 17.6 ( standard translation )

Greaves can already be traced back to ancient Greece and Thrace.


Web links

Commons : Greaves  - Collection of images, videos and audio files