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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A man wearing a breastplate.
New made replicas of a 17th century helmet, two breastplates, tassets, a halberd and two military marching drums.
This can also refer to a piece of riding equipment: see Breastplate (tack).

A breastplate is a device worn over the torso to protect it from injury, as an item of religious significance, or as an item of status. A breastplate is sometimes worn by mythological beings as a distinctive item of clothing.



In medieval weaponry, the breastplate is the front portion of plate armour covering the torso. It has been an armour mainstay since ancient times and was one of the last pieces of functional armour to be used on the battlefield because it protected the vital organs without limiting mobility.


Left Hand Bear, an Oglala chief, wearing a hair-pipe breastplate, Omaha, 1898.

The hair-pipe breastplates of 19th-century Plains Indians were made from bones from the West Indian conch, brought to New York docks as ballast and then traded to native Americans of the upper Missouri River. Their popularity spread rapidly after their invention by the Comanche in 1854. They were too fragile and expensive to be considered armour, and were instead a symbol of wealth during the economic depression among Plains Indians after the buffalo were exterminated.[1]


In the Bible, the word Breastplate is used figuratively to describe protecting oneself from unrighteousness (cf, Isaiah 59:17, Ephesians 6:14, etc).


Both Zeus and Athena are sometimes depicted as wearing a goatskin shield or breastplate called an Aegis. At the center of Athena's shield was the head of Medusa.

See also


  1. ^ David E. Jones (2004). Native North American Armor, Shields, and Fortifications. Austin, TX: University of Texas. pp. 42–44. ISBN 0292701705.  

Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

  1. That piece of ancient armour that protected the breast. This word is used figuratively in Eph 6:14 and Isa 59:17.
  2. An ornament covering the breast of the high priest, first mentioned in Ex 25:7. It was made of embroidered cloth, set with four rows of precious stones, three in each row. On each stone was engraved the name of one of the twelve tribes (Ex 28:15-29; 39:8-21). It was in size about ten inches square. The two upper corners were fastened to the ephod by blue ribbons. It was not to be "loosed from the ephod" (Ex 28:28). The lower corners were fastened to the girdle of the priest. As it reminded the priest of his representative character, it was called the memorial (28:29). It was also called the breastplate of judgment (28:15).
This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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