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The rectangular shape of the nabedrennik differs from the [[epigonation]], which is diamond shaped. Both are believed to derive from the ancient knee guards which shielded the legs of warriors from being bruised by their swords. The Byzantine emperors used to award swords to their commanders and nobles; in the same way the Church awards priests who defend the faith. If the [[epigonation]] (Russian: палица, ''palitsa'') is also awarded to the same priest, he wears both but shifts the nabedrennik to the left side.