Breastplate

Breastplates are devices worn over the torso either as protective armor or as an item of religious significance. A breastplate is sometimes worn by mythological beings as a distinctive item of clothing.

Armor

In medieval weaponry, the breastplate is the front portion of a piece of armor called a Cuirass.

Religious

In Judaism, the breastplate is a square device set with twelve precious stones representing each of the tribes of Israel. It was worn anciently by the high priest in the temple, and is associated with the Urim and Thummim. The breastplate is describe in some detail in Exodus 28:13-30 and Exodus 39:8-21.

The breastplate is also of significance in Mormonism, as one was apparently maintained anciently, along with other sacred artifacts, by Book of Mormon prophets (cf Doctrine and Covenants 17:1, and Joseph Smith History 1:35, 42, 52).

Christian tradition, particularly Catholic, uses a prayer of hymn titled the "Breastplate of St. Patrick," (ostensibly written by St. Patrick), a prayer for protection to God. It exists in an Old Irish text from the 8th century.

Metaphorical

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

Mythological

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.

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