During the "heroic era" of 800 BC the "free-for-all" style of combat of the Spartans brought about the creation of the large round Argive Shield. This covered its user from to chin to knee as well as provided protection for the exposed left side of the man. The heavy bronze "cuirass" was now effectively useless, and replaced by a defence of folded linen. This armoured infantry were known as the "hoplites".
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