Khlamys

The khlamys is a cloak that developed from a hide worn on the left shoulder and arm as a means of defence in battle, often with two paws tied together on the right shoulder to fasten it. The bunched leather affords some protection to the arm, and may be used to parry a blow or missile. When the wearer is using a shield it protects the shoulder from thrusts and cuts that glance off the shield. Despite military progress, such hide cloaks are still worn by the lightest-armed troops as their principal means of defence.

The cloth khlamys is a derivative originally worn by armoured soldiers to help keep rain off their armour, thought it does also afford some protection to the shoulder, and can be used defensively when fighting without a shield. The khlamys is inferior to the hide as protection, but is a more practical garment: it is preferred by shielded troops and archers. Khlamyses are made of tightly-woven cloth, sometimes waterproofed with oil or wax. Those meant for the battlefield are often brightly coloured, but green and indigo khlamyses are made for hunting. Patterns and embroidery are rare, but a contrasting stripe near each end is common enough. The khlamys is worn over the left shoulder, fastened on the right shoulder with a fibula or brooch.

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Copyright © 1991 by Brett Evill. All rights reserved.