Greave (leg-protector)

Late Archaic Period
about 510–480 B.C.

Catalogue Raisonné

Greek, Etruscan, & Roman Bronzes (MFA), no. 587; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 126 (additional published references).


Height: 44 cm (17 5/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Daily Life in Ancient Greece Gallery (Gallery 212A-B)


The Ancient World



This bronze greave (knemis) would fit over the lower leg to protect the knee, shin, calf, and ankle of a Greek soldier. This example was intended for the right leg, and deep grooves on the inside half (proper left side) delineate the calf muscles. It would have originally been lined with leather or fabric, and there are no fasteners missing from this shin guard because the pliability of the metal held it in place on the body. As seen in depictions of arming, the warrior would pull open the calf edges and fit the greave over the leg.

It was formed from a single sheet of bronze and custom fit to the warrior’s leg. There is a hole at the top center, for suspension. Yellow (“Tiber”) patina, cleaned.


By date unknown: said to have been found near Bologna with objects 61.375, 61.376, 61.378, and 61.379; by 1960: with Münzen und Medaillen A.G., Malzgasse 25, Basel, Switzerland;May 10, 1961: purchased by MFA from Münzen und Medaillen A.G. for $ 1400- (this is the total price of 61.375-61.379).

Credit Line

Classical Department Purchase Fund in memory of Miss Grace Nelson