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Greek (South Italian)
South Italy (Place created)
about 480 B.C.
107 × 25 × 20 cm (42 1/8 × 9 13/16 × 7 7/8 in.)
This breastplate or prosternidion depicts a four-horse chariot (quadriga) seen from the front, flanked by flying, winged figures. They hold crowns and heralds’ staffs, and may depict Nikai – repeated images of Nike, the goddess of victory. The image of a chariot flanked by Nikai usually appears in Greek art in connection with victory in a chariot race. This elaborate armor probably had a ceremonial purpose, perhaps serving as a prize for a victorious chariot team.
The small holes running around the edge of the breastplate allowed a leather backing to be sewn onto the bronze for cushioning; the larger holes at the ends were used to attach a fastening strap.