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Thread: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

  1. #181
    Renatus's Avatar Semisalis
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    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Quote Originally Posted by wulfgar610 View Post
    Ok, loricaria, and which means?
    According to my dictionary, the adjective loricarius, -a, -um (loricaria is the feminine form, as fabrica is feminine) means "pertaining to cuirasses". However, as a cuirass may be regarded as a particular type of armour, consisting of a breastplate and backplate, and lorica is a more general term, I would prefer to use a neutral definition, such as "pertaining to body armour". Getting back to the question I raised in my post #157, there is nothing about loricaria that implies the use of leather.

  2. #182

    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Quote Originally Posted by Renatus View Post
    According to my dictionary, the adjective loricarius, -a, -um (loricaria is the feminine form, as fabrica is feminine) means "pertaining to cuirasses". However, as a cuirass may be regarded as a particular type of armour, consisting of a breastplate and backplate, and lorica is a more general term, I would prefer to use a neutral definition, such as "pertaining to body armour". Getting back to the question I raised in my post #157, there is nothing about loricaria that implies the use of leather.
    Ah so! lori-carius. So it is the word cuirass.

    Curi-ass is "skins-made of". The use of curiass to refer to a metal breastplate is a modern French convention.

    Otherwise for some strange reason all those fine latin scholars are rendering lorcaria as either "cuirass" or "leather corslet".

    But for some reason this does not sit well with Renatus.
    Last edited by wulfgar610; July 16, 2011 at 06:23 PM.

  3. #183

    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Lorica was used as a catch-all term by the ancients for any kind of armour, much as 'hasta' ws used as a term to describe spears of various types. It becomes more complex when they start using 'catafract/cataphract' or 'clibanaria' when describing armour, as all we can say is that this appears to pertain to heavy armour of some type.

  4. #184
    juvenus's Avatar Campidoctor
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    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Quote Originally Posted by Valentinian Victor View Post
    Lorica was used as a catch-all term by the ancients for any kind of armour, much as 'hasta' ws used as a term to describe spears of various types.
    yes, good comparison.


  5. #185

    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Quote Originally Posted by Valentinian Victor View Post
    Lorica was used as a catch-all term by the ancients for any kind of armour, much as 'hasta' ws used as a term to describe spears of various types. It becomes more complex when they start using 'catafract/cataphract' or 'clibanaria' when describing armour, as all we can say is that this appears to pertain to heavy armour of some type.
    No, not lorica.........the word in question is loricaria.

    Augustodunensis loricaria, balistaria et clibanaria.

    Of leather corselets, ballistae, and mail, at Autun,
    In THE MASTER OF THE OFFICES

    http://www.historyfiles.co.uk/Featur...otitiaWest.htm

  6. #186

    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    I'm sure 'Loricaria' is used in the context of the production of lorica, so in effect the Fabricae made lorica and would be called a loricaria?

  7. #187

    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Quote Originally Posted by Valentinian Victor View Post
    I'm sure 'Loricaria' is used in the context of the production of lorica, so in effect the Fabricae made lorica and would be called a loricaria?
    Yes, but the latin scholars have defined the word to mean either " leather corselets" or "cuirass". They see it as referring to an item itself.

    First we have repetitive monumental evidence of a paticular type of armor. Then have the ND quoting either something called a "leather corselets" or "cuirass" as a major item.

    Put the two together and you get the leather muscle cuirass as a major item of armor.

    My argument is the maile was no longer personally owned by the infantry. A suit cost about 12 solidi which equaled the annual wage of a full time laborer. In the era of the Julio-Claudians prime interest rates had fallen to 4% PA (the lowest the ancient saw). An Augustan trooper received his equipment on a loan that was gradually paid off over his service. A Constantinian gold solidi was worth 18 Augustan silver denari, so a suit was 216 denari (almost a years pay for a legionarie). At 4% interest he was paying 9 denari per annum money rent just on this one piece of equipment.

    This was all good and well, but by 3rd century crisis the prime interest rates had risen to 12% pa and stayed there. At 12% interest now 27 Augustan denari was going out of his annual pay just on this one piece. A late infantryman typically received the equivalent of 90 Augustan denari as cash in hand with most of his equipment and food simply supplied.

    The Augustan denari was about 4 grams and Constantine silver coin was 3 grams. (the denari having joined the train wreck currencies of history)


    Actually years ago there was scholar who claimed only the catafracts and clibanari in the late army wore metal armor at all, all the other cavalry and infantry had to make do with leather. This really got up Phil Barkers nose who believed all late heavy cavalry wore maile or the equivalent.

  8. #188
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    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Quote Originally Posted by wulfgar610 View Post
    My argument is the maile was no longer personally owned by the infantry. A suit cost about 12 solidi which equaled the annual wage of a full time laborer. In the era of the Julio-Claudians prime interest rates had fallen to 4% PA (the lowest the ancient saw). An Augustan trooper received his equipment on a loan that was gradually paid off over his service. A Constantinian gold solidi was worth 18 Augustan silver denari, so a suit was 216 denari (almost a years pay for a legionarie). At 4% interest he was paying 9 denari per annum money rent just on this one piece of equipment.

    This was all good and well, but by 3rd century crisis the prime interest rates had risen to 12% pa and stayed there. At 12% interest now 27 Augustan denari was going out of his annual pay just on this one piece. A late infantryman typically received the equivalent of 90 Augustan denari as cash in hand with most of his equipment and food simply supplied.

    The Augustan denari was about 4 grams and Constantine silver coin was 3 grams. (the denari having joined the train wreck currencies of history)
    so, ur saying that it was too expensive for an infantryman to pay off his armour during his service because of the inflation (everything became more expensive while the currency devalued), right?
    and instead u suggest they never had any metal armour personally but were given those from the supply depots when it was required? have i understood u well?

    Quote Originally Posted by wulfgar610 View Post
    Actually years ago there was scholar who claimed only the catafracts and clibanari in the late army wore metal armor at all, all the other cavalry and infantry had to make do with leather.
    i don't know who that scholar is but it's a pure nonsense cause Ammianus clearly said that soldiers "yielded under the weight of their armour".


  9. #189

    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Quote Originally Posted by wulfgar610 View Post
    Yes, but the latin scholars have defined the word to mean either " leather corselets" or "cuirass". They see it as referring to an item itself.

    VV- Please name and shame those 'latin scholars'! I know of no scholar who translates lorica as anything other than 'armour'. Have you read the numerous translations of Ammianus?

    First we have repetitive monumental evidence of a paticular type of armor. Then have the ND quoting either something called a "leather corselets" or "cuirass" as a major item.

    VV- Whilst I agree the copius amount of both monumental works and Late Roman art shows most troops in muscle cuirasses, they also show both infantry and cavalry in mail corselets or hauberks. Whilst the ND might have Fabricae designated as 'Loricaria', there are others called 'Catafractaria' and 'Clibanaria', explain them if you will!

    Put the two together and you get the leather muscle cuirass as a major item of armor.

    VV- Up to just a few years ago I would have totally agreed with you. However, the last fifteen years I have carried a lot more research and spent a serious amount of money on books, journals, magazines etc to carry out this research. I am not convinced all Late Roman infantry work leather cuirasses, probably a large proportion did, but where you have them shown wearing muscle cuirasses and helmets that are both light blue in colour then that means that at least some work iron muscle cuirasses. There are also a number of Late Roman manuscripts that show infantry and cavalry wearing very light brown'ish coloured muscle cuirasses, this has an alternative interpretation of Roman bronze, which was brass coloured.

    My argument is the maile was no longer personally owned by the infantry. A suit cost about 12 solidi which equaled the annual wage of a full time laborer. In the era of the Julio-Claudians prime interest rates had fallen to 4% PA (the lowest the ancient saw). An Augustan trooper received his equipment on a loan that was gradually paid off over his service. A Constantinian gold solidi was worth 18 Augustan silver denari, so a suit was 216 denari (almost a years pay for a legionarie). At 4% interest he was paying 9 denari per annum money rent just on this one piece of equipment.

    VV- There may be some truth in this. When I was in the armed forces I initially received all my items of kit 'free'. Any that needed replacing I had to purchase from stores. This is probably how Late Roman infantry were equiped, they were given a Helmet, body armour, shield, sword, spear, javelin, tunic, trousers, belts etc 'free' from State owned fabricae. If any of these items needed replacing and not just repairing I'd expect a charge to be made.

    This was all good and well, but by 3rd century crisis the prime interest rates had risen to 12% pa and stayed there. At 12% interest now 27 Augustan denari was going out of his annual pay just on this one piece. A late infantryman typically received the equivalent of 90 Augustan denari as cash in hand with most of his equipment and food simply supplied.

    The Augustan denari was about 4 grams and Constantine silver coin was 3 grams. (the denari having joined the train wreck currencies of history)


    Actually years ago there was scholar who claimed only the catafracts and clibanari in the late army wore metal armor at all, all the other cavalry and infantry had to make do with leather. This really got up Phil Barkers nose who believed all late heavy cavalry wore maile or the equivalent.
    VV- I take it your referring to Eade? Modern research, access to documents and archeological evidence has now provided information that was not available forty or fifty years ago, or was very hard to access (Although its fair to say that Gibbons had access to documents that appear to have sadly become lost to modern scholars). I would have thought that the pen and ink drawings of the Column of Arcadius would have dispelled the myth that Late Roman cavalry did not wear mail.

  10. #190
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    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Quote Originally Posted by Valentinian Victor View Post
    I would have thought that the pen and ink drawings of the Column of Arcadius would have dispelled the myth that Late Roman cavalry did not wear mail.
    but i've never heard of that myth
    on the contrary, i've been very much assured that most of the cavalry wore mail shirts.


  11. #191

    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Quote Originally Posted by juvenus View Post
    so, ur saying that it was too expensive for an infantryman to pay off his armour during his service because of the inflation (everything became more expensive while the currency devalued), right?
    and instead u suggest they never had any metal armour personally but were given those from the supply depots when it was required? have i understood u well?
    Well this is the interesting thing, going by the interest rates the Roman "economy" was at it's most vital under the Julio-Claudians and the "golden age" of the first soldier Emperors was the beginning of the end.

    Basically Julio-Claudian Rome could produce the greatest surplus of goods. Yes the system originally was the soldiers got their kit as a loan to be paid off. I'd hazard a guess the legionaries were up for about 500 denari with the interest service being 24d PA rising to a third of their pay by the late 2nd century.

    Somehow a different system was instituted and the loan system was done away with. But this led to a problem and soldiers "lost" their equipment. The 4th century Jutland Nydam ship had over a hundred broad swords and virtually all of them Roman.

    My suspicion is that later equipment might have been issued from a central store only when needed and certainly the maile which equaled the price of the rest of the kit put together.

  12. #192

    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Quote Originally Posted by Valentinian Victor View Post
    VV- Please name and shame those 'latin scholars'! I know of no scholar who translates lorica as anything other than 'armour'. Have you read the numerous translations of Ammianus?
    Read a little more carefully please. The word is loricaria in the ND and as for the scholars the translations I see either have "leather corselets" or "cuirass".

    VV- Whilst I agree the copius amount of both monumental works and Late Roman art shows most troops in muscle cuirasses, they also show both infantry and cavalry in mail corselets or hauberks. Whilst the ND might have Fabricae designated as 'Loricaria', there are others called 'Catafractaria' and 'Clibanaria', explain them if you will!
    You mean cavalry standing on their feet don't you? That's not infantry even though Roman cavalry would regularly dismount to fight if required.

    Yes, Eade.

    I guess you guys have huge emotional investment in late infantry maile that will not be denied. So much so that leather cuirass must be wagged out of existence.

  13. #193
    juvenus's Avatar Campidoctor
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    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Quote Originally Posted by wulfgar610 View Post
    I'd hazard a guess the legionaries were up for about 500 denari with the interest service being 24d PA rising to a third of their pay by the late 2nd century.
    i'm not really good at economy does this mean that soldiers had to pay 1/3 of their annual salary for the equipment, every year? or just one year?

    Quote Originally Posted by wulfgar610 View Post
    The 4th century Jutland Nydam ship had over a hundred broad swords and virtually all of them Roman.
    what happened with that ship? sunk?

    Quote Originally Posted by wulfgar610 View Post
    My suspicion is that later equipment might have been issued from a central store only when needed and certainly the maile which equaled the price of the rest of the kit put together.
    ok, this implies that entire infantryman's equipment (in the 4th century) cost him very much, probably more than 1/3 of his annual pay? am i right?


  14. #194

    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Quote Originally Posted by juvenus View Post
    i'm not really good at economy does this mean that soldiers had to pay 1/3 of their annual salary for the equipment, every year? or just one year?
    Yes, annually, that's were it would have ended up by the late 2nd century.

    what happened with that ship? sunk?
    The boats are believed to have been raiders from Norway that lost a fight and the whole kit which had equipment for over 300 warriors was tossed into a bog as a sacrifice. The 90 or so spatha are almost all Roman stamped.

    About 30 of the kits were either Nobles or retinue, yet only one maile suit was found. Maybe the gods got short changed? Oddly also about 30 of the spatha were good quality with the rest being defective.

    ok, this implies that entire infantryman's equipment (in the 4th century) cost him very much, probably more than 1/3 of his annual pay? am i right?
    Well a heavy kit was at least 24 solidi, which was 5 years stipend for the late trooper. So I suspect by then they paid nothing up front. (no wonder they had trouble finding volunteers)
    Last edited by wulfgar610; July 18, 2011 at 02:35 PM.

  15. #195

    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Quote Originally Posted by wulfgar610 View Post
    Read a little more carefully please. The word is loricaria in the ND and as for the scholars the translations I see either have "leather corselets" or "cuirass".



    You mean cavalry standing on their feet don't you? That's not infantry even though Roman cavalry would regularly dismount to fight if required.

    Yes, Eade.

    I guess you guys have huge emotional investment in late infantry maile that will not be denied. So much so that leather cuirass must be wagged out of existence.
    I have a feeling that you do not actually have any references to scholars who translate lorica as leather armour or you would have presented such references here. Perhaps you should take a look at the thread I started on Late Roman Clibanarii about how to present evidence to back up your arguments?

    It is unfortunate that your personal library does not appear to include works that show black and white or colour photographs of Late Roman wall paintings, wood carvings, monumental works of a variety of types etc. If you did you would know of the many depictions of Late Roman infantry wearing scale or mail armour. These troops are not dismounted cavalry, they are quite clearly infantry. Try and access these books from a library if you do not possess them in your own library-

    Pat Southern & Karen R. Dixon (2000)- ‘The Late Roman Army’
    M. C. Bishop & J. C. N. Coulston (2006) 'Roman Military Equipment From the Punic Wars to the Fall of Rome'
    Adrian Goldsworthy (2004) 'The Complete Roman Army'
    Adrian Goldsworthy (2007) 'Roman Warfare'
    Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli-'Rome, the late Empire;: Roman art, A.D. 200-400 (Arts of mankind series)'
    Wladimiro Dorigo (1971) 'Late Roman Painting'

  16. #196

    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Quote Originally Posted by Valentinian Victor View Post
    I have a feeling that you do not actually have any references to scholars who translate lorica as leather armour or you would have presented such references here. Perhaps you should take a look at the thread I started on Late Roman Clibanarii about how to present evidence to back up your arguments?

    William Fairley's
    Translations and Reprints from Original Sources of European History
    Vol 6 No 4, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1894

    Section 9 the west.

    http://www.historyfiles.co.uk/Featur...otitiaWest.htm


    Here, try this latin to english translator

    http://www.translation-guide.com/fre...tin&to=English


    And pop in loricaria and it spits out leather cuirass

    All this says loricaria = leather cuirass, you still say it does not?

    It is unfortunate that your personal library does not appear to include works that show black and white or colour photographs of Late Roman wall paintings, wood carvings, monumental works of a variety of types etc. If you did you would know of the many depictions of Late Roman infantry wearing scale or mail armour. These troops are not dismounted cavalry, they are quite clearly infantry. Try and access these books from a library if you do not possess them in your own library-
    Have I missed where you posted the images to back up your case?
    Last edited by wulfgar610; July 19, 2011 at 06:05 AM.

  17. #197
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    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Don't use online translators, I know this from experience, I'll be happy to translate it for you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix
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  18. #198

    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    I have a latin dictionary too.

  19. #199
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    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Actually I speak it but I have a dictionary too.
    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix
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  20. #200
    Renatus's Avatar Semisalis
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    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Quote Originally Posted by wulfgar610 View Post
    No, not lorica.........the word in question is loricaria.
    Quote Originally Posted by Valentinian Victor View Post
    I'm sure 'Loricaria' is used in the context of the production of lorica, so in effect the Fabricae made lorica and would be called a loricaria?
    Quote Originally Posted by wulfgar610 View Post
    Yes, but the latin scholars have defined the word to mean either " leather corselets" or "cuirass". They see it as referring to an item itself.
    VV is on the right lines, although loricaria is an adjective, not a noun. Lorica is the noun and loricaria is the feminine adjective derived from it. Vegetius says, "Habebant etiam fabricas scutarias loricarias arcuarius", translated by Milner as, "They used to have workshops, too, for shields, cuirasses and bows" (Veg. 2.11.3). The reason that translators use nouns rather than adjectives is that, in this context, English does not have adjectives that can be used in the same way as in Latin. "Armour-making" etc. would do but it is a bit cumbersome and translators prefer to change the grammar slightly and use nouns.

    Quote Originally Posted by wulfgar610 View Post
    Ah so! lori-carius. So it is the word cuirass.
    This is fallacious reasoning. You cannot take the last letter of the stem of lorica (-c-), add the adjectival suffix -arius and then, because of a very superficial similarity to "cuirass", extrapolate back that the Latin word relates to leather. Cuirass has an entirely different etymology: through Old French and Italian, from a Late Latin adjective coriaceus, 'made of leather'.

    Quote Originally Posted by wulfgar610 View Post
    Otherwise for some strange reason all those fine latin scholars are rendering lorcaria as either "cuirass" or "leather corslet".

    But for some reason this does not sit well with Renatus.
    Actually, there is no problem in using "cuirass", provided it is understood correctly. The OED defines it as, "A piece of armour for the body (originally of leather)", specifically "a piece reaching down to the waist, and consisting of a breast-plate and a back-plate, buckled or otherwise fastened together". However, it goes on to say, "The word has also been used in a general sense for all kinds of ancient close-fitting defensive coverings for the body, made of leather, metal, or other material". Understood in this sense, there is no harm in using "cuirass". My reluctance to use it arises because I would not wish it possibly to be misunderstood as meaning the kind of cuirass worne by French cuirassiers or the British Household Cavalry, or necessarily to be made of leather. I prefer a neutral expression but, sometimes, it is better to leave a technical word untranslated, as often there is not an English word that is precisely equivalent.

    I assume that "leather corselet" derives from the long-held belief that the auxiliaries on Trajan's Column wore leather jerkins which was finally knocked on the head by H. Russell Robinson in the 1960s, despite its being clear that they wore mail from the Cichorius plates published at the beginning of the century.

    Quote Originally Posted by wulfgar610 View Post
    William Fairley's
    Translations and Reprints from Original Sources of European History
    Vol 6 No 4, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1894

    Section 9 the west.

    http://www.historyfiles.co.uk/Featur...otitiaWest.htm


    Here, try this latin to english translator

    http://www.translation-guide.com/fre...tin&to=English


    And pop in loricaria and it spits out leather cuirass

    All this says loricaria = leather cuirass, you still say it does not?
    Let's get away from half-baked on-line translation tools and use a proper dictionary. The Oxford Latin Dictionary defines lorica as, "a corselet or cuirass (of leather, metal, or other material)". Loricaria does not exist except as the feminine form of the adjective loricarius, a word, incidentally, that this translation-guide does not recognise. It is not found in the OLD, no doubt because its first usage occurred after the cut-off date of that dictionary, but it is in Lewis & Short. There it is defined as "of or pertaining to cuirasses" and you will note that, in Fairley's translation of the Notitia, he seeks to preserve the adjectival form by placing "of" before the weaponry manufactured by each of the fabricae listed.

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