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Having trained and worked as a designer for years… I’m always amazed at how some things go full circle, even if separated by centuries.

For instance, the small armour plate that protected the front and back of an infantryman, from the days of the Etruscans, through to the Roman republic – the bronze Cardiophylax armour has echoes in modern tactical vests.

Modern equivalent

Small-arms protective inserts (S.A.P.I.) – These are ballistic, ceramic plates, slipped into body armour’s pockets. They dramatically increase the vest’s protective value (While a Kevlar vest protects against pistol rounds and shrapnel, with the added SAPI plates even rifle rounds can be reduced to non-lethal effect).

Actually why am I surprised? The human body hasn’t changed much in 3,000 years; the consideration of protecting the vital organs (central chest area) is still the same. But the fact that it’s a big square slightly convex plate, just like the really early examples of body armour… that’s fascinating.

Dan Shadrake – Portals to the Past Team


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