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Thread: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

  1. #201

    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Thanks for the detailed explanation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Renatus View Post
    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.
    So you are saying that Trajan auxiliaries did not wear leather jerkin in any capacity. And such cannot be combined with maile because they react and violently explode?

    Tanned ox hides were about five per solidi by the late period.
    Last edited by wulfgar610; July 19, 2011 at 06:50 PM.

  2. #202
    Decanus
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    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Quote Originally Posted by wulfgar610 View Post
    Thanks for the detailed explanation.



    So you are saying that Trajan auxiliaries did not wear leather jerkin in any capacity. And such cannot be combined with maile because they react and violently explode?

    Tanned ox hides were about five per solidi by the late period.
    No, I am saying that, until casts of Trajan's Column were made and detailed photographs taken, it was not realised that the representation of mail was finely carved on the garments worn by the auxiliaries. This is in contrast to the crudely executed markings on the Column of Marcus Aurelius. This is what misled Eadie, although why he did not study the Cichorius plates more thoroughly is a mystery to me.

    It is entirely reasonable to suppose that soldiers might wear something under their armour to help absorb the force of enemy blows. Whether this would be made of leather or thick or padded cloth is a matter of speculation and, perhaps, the preference or depth of pocket of the individual soldier. However, to get back to a point that I understand you to have been making earlier, this cannot be properly referred to as a cuirass. It might have been called a subarmalis or a thoracomachus or, perhaps, some other term that has not come down to us. "Cuirass", if you must use the term, should be confined to the outer armour.

  3. #203

    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Quote Originally Posted by Renatus View Post
    No, I am saying that, until casts of Trajan's Column were made and detailed photographs taken, it was not realised that the representation of mail was finely carved on the garments worn by the auxiliaries. This is in contrast to the crudely executed markings on the Column of Marcus Aurelius. This is what misled Eadie, although why he did not study the Cichorius plates more thoroughly is a mystery to me.
    I wasn't aware of the controversy over auxiliary armor in that period. I've always assumed auxiliary infantry were well supplied with maile from Augustus to Severus. Bit of a shock to see how short the maile shirts were though. Certainly the contraction of the armed forces by Augustus and later the introduction of the segmenta would have left a lot of surplus maile around.

    It is entirely reasonable to suppose that soldiers might wear something under their armour to help absorb the force of enemy blows. Whether this would be made of leather or thick or padded cloth is a matter of speculation and, perhaps, the preference or depth of pocket of the individual soldier. However, to get back to a point that I understand you to have been making earlier, this cannot be properly referred to as a cuirass. It might have been called a subarmalis or a thoracomachus or, perhaps, some other term that has not come down to us. "Cuirass", if you must use the term, should be confined to the outer armour.
    Cattle ranching was a growing business in the Empire. I'd agree cow leather was rare and expensive in the earlier classical world, but quite the reverse by the later empire. Five tanned oxhides to the solidi by Diocletian is quite cheap for the ancient world. Did they like steak, want the leather or was it the Mithraic cult?

    "Cuirass", if you must use the term, should be confined to the outer armour.
    This is where we differ, although I'm particulary interested in the specific muscle cuirass. For me there no problem is using leather armor alone when circumstances required it. Or draping one layer of maile or even two over the curiass.

    For me I see no reason for a rigid prescription for armor. Pursuing raiders with a regiment historically called for a light condition. Fighting full scale battles with the Huns might call for either a double layer of maile or at least a strong double or triple maile. Maile is important against something like horse archery.

    My argument is personal ownership of equipment was no longer an issue in the later empire, the soldiers no longer paid for it. It wouldn't matter if he dropped it somewhere to pursue raiders, it was no loss to his purse. The "muscled" nature of the cuirass was there for propaganda. To make the soldier look bigger and tougher than he really was whether he wore maile over it or not.

    The money the Empire spent was big, the average cost of the Roman infantryman was 30 solidi pa and double that for the cavalry.

  4. #204
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    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    I am about to go on holiday, so I will leave it to others to deal with this. The one point that I will make is that I do not suppose that cost mattered much to the Roman authorities; they simply requisitioned what they wanted.

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  6. #206
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    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    You know, this would be good in Garb's fight club lol.
    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix
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  7. #207

    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Quote Originally Posted by Valentinian Victor View Post
    O' Unbeliever, thou shalt observe and be silent-
    I suspected you where on a religious mission with crazed ideas of your place in the universe?

    Here's a scene, we have the heros in Muscle cuirass. But who are the men in mail coifs? Do they represent Romans, or an Alien race. Perhaps Sassanians? Or they're Roman copies of Sassanian style cavalry simply dismounted.

    Either they are Sasanians, Roman heavy cavalry or do you believe Roman infantry normally wore maile coifs? That is the question....what is the context?

    Last edited by wulfgar610; July 20, 2011 at 04:45 PM.

  8. #208

    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army



    This is a good one, but suspect it proves my point. Maile, or scale and later lamina worn as additional protection over the muscle cuirass.

  9. #209

    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Quote Originally Posted by Renatus View Post
    I am about to go on holiday, so I will leave it to others to deal with this. The one point that I will make is that I do not suppose that cost mattered much to the Roman authorities; they simply requisitioned what they wanted.


  10. #210

    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Wulfgar, I am simply not prepared to continue this debate anymore.

    It is quite apparent that your reference base is severely limited and that you base you arguments on personal opinion as much as on what appears your very scant knowledge of the subject matter.

    If you do not know about the illustrations of other Late Roman infantry in mail coif's that is because you obviously have not made sufficent research. If you choose to believe that Late Roman infantry wore a muscle cuirasse over which they then wore other armour types then that again shows you have not made sufficent research, including contacting reputable reenactment groups.

    I have pointed you in the direction of various books that would enhance your library and give you a very good reference base. The fact that you then choose quotes from wiki and similar dubious or very out of date internet sources perhaps indicates that you are not in a position to purchase said books. If so then I must apologise but point out that all these books should be obtainable from a local library via the reference lending library section.

    I have presented evidence as requested, and you choose to interprete it the way you want to i.e. infantry in mail are in fact dismounted cavalry. I could of course point out that practically every depiction of dismounted Late Roman cavalry shows the cavalrymen as unarmoured c.f. the Luxor Fort paintings and various other paintings. I could point you at the Via Latina catacomb paintings where an obvious infantry man wearing mail over a red tunic is displayed, but you would no doubt dispute that as well.

    But, as I have said, I no longer have the will to continue this debate which I fear is going absolutely nowhere.

  11. #211
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    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army


    On the far right one of them appears to be wearing Subarmalis or a musculata.



    When you compare the armor colors to the helmet colors I believe they'd be wearing steel with a gold wash over it.

    Also, Romans using mail coifs is entireley acceptable. I'd imaghine Clibanarii would wear it under their helmets for added neck protection or it would be used by eastern super-heavy shock infantry.
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  12. #212

    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Quote Originally Posted by Magister Militum Flavius Aetius View Post



    Also, Romans using mail coifs is entireley acceptable. I'd imaghine Clibanarii would wear it under their helmets for added neck protection or it would be used by eastern super-heavy shock infantry.
    Yes, I'd agree these are dismounted Clibanari or Cataphract.

  13. #213
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    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    This thread amuses me. I have missed so much while away and yet it seems I have missed nothing at all.
    [IMG][/IMG]

  14. #214

    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Quote Originally Posted by Valentinian Victor View Post

    I have pointed you in the direction of various books that would enhance your library and give you a very good reference base. The fact that you then choose quotes from wiki and similar dubious or very out of date internet sources perhaps indicates that you are not in a position to purchase said books. If so then I must apologise but point out that all these books should be obtainable from a local library via the reference lending library section.
    Well most of the book at the top of your list is online.

    http://books.google.com/books/about/...d=pNwOAAAAQAAJ

    In the section on body armor no mention at all is made of the leather cuirass? Let's see, when it comes to victory columns, infantry is almost exclusively shown in the muscle cuirass. Yet your glorious tome ignores the question all together.

    The book at the top of your list is a very childish work.

    I just put it down to this, this all to an emotional devoto to the "knight in shining armor" of the middle ages. (coming to your emotional rescue)

    Another argument is leather armor is not armor because only metal is armor? This is fetish, not science!

    Tell that to the Mongols who almost exclusively body armor made of leather and silk, or medieval Samurai who were the same.

    It's quite possible that late legionaries abandoned metal body armor completely for the sake of much lighter leather. The late Empire faced enemies who no matter what their weakness were all fast moving. My case is the essential body armor of the late period is what is shown on the monuments, that is the relatively lightweight leather muscle cuirass.

    But no we can't allow that can we? Unless you wear metal armor, you're not a man!

    Years ago Barker made an intelligent observation, the world has being having a hissy fit ever since!

  15. #215
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    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Quote Originally Posted by wulfgar610 View Post
    The late Empire faced enemies who no matter what their weakness were all fast moving.
    sorry but it isn't completely true. not all Roman enemies were fast-moving. do not fall into the trap by thinking about the Huns. there's no indication that Franks, Alemmani, Quadi, Vandals, Saxons and others had a light cavalry based armies. and no, neither the Goths based their army on the cavalry (what happened at Adrianople was a classical infantry battle with a proper cavalry use, not to mention that many barbarian cavalrymen were actually the Alans and Huns).

    i see that u have a strange impression that Romans always chased someone like they were super soldiers that no one stood chance against. i just remind u that's far from the truth.

    for example, magister peditum Barbatio (during the Julian's caesarship in Gaul) led a considerably strong army from Italy against the barbarians and yet that army was beaten back. oops! according to ur suggestion those barbarians should've fled at the first sight of the Romans. but they didn't.

    the Huns managed to defeat a full scale eastern army at the Battle of the Utus river. obviously the Huns had no intention to flee anywhere and were fully capable to match the eastern field army.

    Ammianus gives us information about general Jovinus fighting an indecisive battle against the barbarians (Amm. Marc. xxvii, 2.2-8). again, it seems they didn't flee anywhere but felt confident to stay and fight.

    Ammianus again tells about a major incident where two Roman commanders combined their forces, Charietto-commander of the troops in the "Germanica" provinces and Severianus-commander of the Divitenses and Tungrican (both Palatine legions! the highest grade troops), only to be defeated by the Alammani. and Charietto was even killed in battle! (Amm. Marc. xxvii, 1.2-3)
    again, ur story about a fleeing enemy is wrong. the enemies of Rome were willing, ready and capable to stand and fight on all fronts.

    so no, it's not true that barbarians simply fled at the sight of the approaching Romans.

    thus ur argument that mighty Romans didn't need a serious metal armour for their enemies were pussies who always fled cannot be further from the truth. i don't wanna mention the battle of Adrianople at all. that was the strategically important incident but we must note that even in lesser engagements the barbarians fared well and proved capable of defeating the Romans. it is thus very faulty to propose anything like "the Romans needed a light armour in order to be fast so that they could catch the fleeing enemies".

    Quote Originally Posted by wulfgar610 View Post
    It's quite possible that late legionaries abandoned metal body armor completely for the sake of much lighter leather.
    sorry, but it is quite IMpossible if u ask me.
    Last edited by juvenus; July 21, 2011 at 03:58 PM.


  16. #216

    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Quote Originally Posted by wulfgar610 View Post
    Well most of the book at the top of your list is online.

    http://books.google.com/books/about/...d=pNwOAAAAQAAJ

    In the section on body armor no mention at all is made of the leather cuirass? Let's see, when it comes to victory columns, infantry is almost exclusively shown in the muscle cuirass. Yet your glorious tome ignores the question all together.

    The book at the top of your list is a very childish work.

    I just put it down to this, this all to an emotional devoto to the "knight in shining armor" of the middle ages. (coming to your emotional rescue)

    Another argument is leather armor is not armor because only metal is armor? This is fetish, not science!

    Tell that to the Mongols who almost exclusively body armor made of leather and silk, or medieval Samurai who were the same.

    It's quite possible that late legionaries abandoned metal body armor completely for the sake of much lighter leather. The late Empire faced enemies who no matter what their weakness were all fast moving. My case is the essential body armor of the late period is what is shown on the monuments, that is the relatively lightweight leather muscle cuirass.

    But no we can't allow that can we? Unless you wear metal armor, you're not a man!

    Years ago Barker made an intelligent observation, the world has being having a hissy fit ever since!
    I've finally realised it, you really do not believe a word your saying do you. Either that or your so deluded that you refuse to see reality for what it truely is. The reason why Dixon and Southern do not mention leather armour is because like 99.9% of all historians, they do not believe it existed. I think Graham Sumner is one of the few scholar's who believes it could have existed and I agree with him. But he also agrees with other historians that Late Roman infantry also wore mail armour, scale armour and I have believe he feels they also wore metal muscle cuirasses.

    I also believe you only choose to read what suits your paradigm, because I informed you in an earlier post that Phil Barker has conceded, rather reluctantly, that Late Roman infantry wore mail armour. This is a copy of a post Phil made to one of my requests on another forum-

    From: "Adrian"
    Sent: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 12:00 PM
    To: <[email protected]>
    Subject: [DBMMlist] Re: Roman Equipment Books

    > All books have problems, the Osprey ones often show cavalry with shields
    > that have infantry shield designs on them, they still show Roman
    > Catafractarii with shields etd.
    >
    > Phil, your going to have to do some updating of 'Armies and Enemies of
    > Imperial Rome', especially for the Late Romans (will you now include Late
    > Roman Legionarii and auxilia in mail hauberks? And will you be getting rid
    > of the Late Roman Clibanarii drawing showing the horse in half armour, and
    > agreeing that Late Roman Catafractarii and Clibanarii were one and the
    > same animal?)

    I agree that (as the army lists say) LR cataphracti and clibanarii were
    identical. No late Roman 1/2 armoured horse is illustrated in the 1981
    editon, only Byzantine and Sassanid. I also agree that some legionaries may
    have worn mail, but not that the muscled corslets on monuments represent
    mail. I know of no evidence that LR auxiliary infantry wore mail.

    Phil


    Wed May 19, 2010 11:23 am

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    "Phil Barker" <[email protected]>
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    Last edited by Valentinian Victor; July 21, 2011 at 05:54 PM.

  17. #217

    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Quote Originally Posted by Valentinian Victor View Post
    I've finally realised it, you really do not believe a word your saying do you. Either that or your so deluded that you refuse to see reality for what it truely is. The reason why Dixon and Southern do not mention leather armour is because like 99.9% of all historians, they do not believe it existed. I think Graham Sumner is one of the few scholar's who believes it could have existed and I agree with him. But he also agrees with other historians that Late Roman infantry also wore mail armour, scale armour and I have believe he feels they also wore metal muscle cuirasses.

    I also believe you only choose to read what suits your paradigm, because I informed you in an earlier post that Phil Barker has conceded, rather reluctantly, that Late Roman infantry wore mail armour. This is a copy of a post Phil made to one of my requests on another forum-
    That's precisely it, a "belief". And despite the fact of copius monumental evidence running for centuries.

    No, no, no.....read carefully. Barker states legionaries may have worn maile. I agree with that, they might have. My argument is that their primary armor was the leather muscle cuirass that could be supplemented with maile when circumstances demanded it.

    Also note
    but not that the muscled corslets on monuments represent
    mail.
    Notice exibit A. What is it? Is it pure fiction?


  18. #218

    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Quote Originally Posted by juvenus View Post
    sorry but it isn't completely true. not all Roman enemies were fast-moving. do not fall into the trap by thinking about the Huns. there's no indication that Franks, Alemmani, Quadi, Vandals, Saxons and others had a light cavalry based armies. and no, neither the Goths based their army on the cavalry (what happened at Adrianople was a classical infantry battle with a proper cavalry use, not to mention that many barbarian cavalrymen were actually the Alans and Huns).



    sorry, but it is quite IMpossible if u ask me.
    I'm not referring the Huns, I'm referring to all those others. Nothing about cavalry, I'm referring to infantry than could move fast. Late barbarian armies were relatively well equipped and well led and organized compared to what had been earlier.

    For me the Huns would have stimulated the use of heavy armor.
    Last edited by wulfgar610; July 21, 2011 at 07:07 PM.

  19. #219
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    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    Quote Originally Posted by Valentinian Victor View Post
    I've finally realised it, you really do not believe a word your saying do you. Either that or your so deluded that you refuse to see reality for what it truely is. The reason why Dixon and Southern do not mention leather armour is because like 99.9% of all historians, they do not believe it existed. I think Graham Sumner is one of the few scholar's who believes it could have existed and I agree with him. But he also agrees with other historians that Late Roman infantry also wore mail armour, scale armour and I have believe he feels they also wore metal muscle cuirasses.

    I also believe you only choose to read what suits your paradigm, because I informed you in an earlier post that Phil Barker has conceded, rather reluctantly, that Late Roman infantry wore mail armour. This is a copy of a post Phil made to one of my requests on another forum-

    From: "Adrian"
    Sent: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 12:00 PM
    To: <[email protected]>
    Subject: [DBMMlist] Re: Roman Equipment Books

    > All books have problems, the Osprey ones often show cavalry with shields
    > that have infantry shield designs on them, they still show Roman
    > Catafractarii with shields etd.
    >
    > Phil, your going to have to do some updating of 'Armies and Enemies of
    > Imperial Rome', especially for the Late Romans (will you now include Late
    > Roman Legionarii and auxilia in mail hauberks? And will you be getting rid
    > of the Late Roman Clibanarii drawing showing the horse in half armour, and
    > agreeing that Late Roman Catafractarii and Clibanarii were one and the
    > same animal?)

    I agree that (as the army lists say) LR cataphracti and clibanarii were
    identical. No late Roman 1/2 armoured horse is illustrated in the 1981
    editon, only Byzantine and Sassanid. I also agree that some legionaries may
    have worn mail, but not that the muscled corslets on monuments represent
    mail. I know of no evidence that LR auxiliary infantry wore mail.

    Phil

    Wed May 19, 2010 11:23 am

    Show Message Option
    "Phil Barker" <[email protected]>
    damnbarkeragain
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    You might want to delete some of this - I don't think phil barker wants 300 people emailing him because they saw his address on the forums.
    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix
    Well then Attila just got delicious.
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  20. #220

    Default Re: Usage of Armor in the late roman army

    I would'nt worry about Phil Barker's email address, its on a number of websites, including his own, freely available to the masses should they wish to contact him. Dont expect a reply within a couple of months though!

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