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Hastati equipment
#1
SmileMe and a group of guys in my Civil war reenactment group are starting a Roman Republic group, I've got the shield press built and I was wondering if anyone here has dimensions for the shields. Also what's a good basic kit for Hastati? Thanks, Mack  Wink
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#2
What you choose to do will depend on what period of the Republic you want to depict. I assume from your mention of hastati that you are not thinking of the late Republic, but an earlier period. It would be easiest to go for the early to mid second century BC, as this allows you to use Polybius's detailed contemporary description. Livy describes the so-called Camillan army, which he says had five classes of legionary plus velites and cavalry, but he was writing hundreds of years later, at the time of Augustus, and may not have fully understood what he was describing

Polybius states that the Roman shield was four Roman feet high, two feet wide and curved. He also says that shields were covered with canvas and hide and featured iron bosses. He does not mention the shape of the bosses, but the shields would almost certainly have featured 'barleycorn' bosses and spinae, as seen on the shields depicted on both Aemilius Paulus' monument at Delphi and the Altar of Domitius Ahenobarbus. The Fayum shield is almost certainly Roman and more or less matches this description. Adding to what we know from Polybius and sculpture, the Fayum shield was covered in felt rather than canvas and had originally had an edging stitched on with a double line of stitching. This may have been of toughened felt, but it is just as likely to have been rawhide, which could in fact be what Polybius means when he says shields were covered with canvas and hide (although the face of one of the much later shields from Dura had been completely covered with a thin layer of rawhide over a textile layer glued to the surface). It also had six metal rings attached to its inside, which have been variously suggested as being there to secure the shield cover, or to assist somehow in the carrying of the shied while in the march. The shields shown on the Altar of Domitius Ahenobarbus appear to show metal plates fitted over the barleycorn bosses and riveted or nailed down at either side, and probably accurately illustrate Polybius's description, but this sculpture probably dates to the beginning of the first century BC (and may be roughly contemporary with Marius), whereas the Aemilius Paulus monument is more contemporary with what Polybius is describing and does not seem to show these metal reinforcements to the bosses. The Fayum shield also shows no evidence that I know of of having had a metal plate fitted over its boss. It may be then, that the shaped metal plate over the wooden boss was a new innovation in Polybius's time.

For armour, Polybius says that most legionaries wore a small breastplate about eight inches square, which was often known as a 'heart protector'. Some may also have used similarly sized round breastplates as some disks which looked very much like the round breastplates which had had a long history in Italy were found in the excavations at Numantia. It is highly probable that by this time many soldiers would have worn these plates over a padded garment such as would be worn under mail. This is likely because Polybius says that the wealthier soldiers often wore coats of 'Celtic' mail. As mail needs to be worn over a layer of padding to be effective at stopping blunt force trauma, the usefulness of the padded garments they saw being used with mail will not have been lost on the soldiers without the means to afford mail and it is thus reasonable to think that many would have obtained or made similar padded garments to increase their level of protection past what the metal breastplate provided. It is also reasonable to suppose, although Polybius does not mention it, that scale armour was also used by some soldiers, as scale had a long history in the Mediterranean and Near East. Mail and scale would probably have featured shoulder doubling, with mail having either of the Celtic 'cape' style or doubling formed in the Greek style. I would expect scale to have had Greek style doubling, although the scale armour from Lake Trasamene seems to have come up to the shoulder at both front and back with the joins covered by bronze plates which look vaguely like epaulets. The mail shirts shown on the Aemilius Paulus monument are thigh length and have Greek style shoulder doubling.

For helmets, your most obvious choice would be Montifortino helmets, probably of Type 'B', as the generally inferior quality Montifortino type 'C' helmets seem to be later and date to the period from shortly before Marius onwards, when the state was increasingly providing cheaply made kit to soldiers without the means to purchase their own. You might also have an Attic type or two as well, as they had a long history and there are a few which seem to date to that period. Do not go for Italo-Corinthian helmets as these seem to have fallen out of general use by the late third century BC, although it is likely that they continued in use by some officers, making them status items above the rank of the ordinary Polybian legionary. Your helmets should probably be decorated with feathers rather than brush crests or horse tails.

Polybius also tells us that the legionary wore a single greave, and Arrian usefully adds the detail that it was worn on the leading (ie left) leg.

Now to weapons. The sword would probably usually have been the Gladius Hispaniensis by this time. This is a longer sword than the later Mainz and Pompeii types. Pugios may have been worn by some soldiers as well, but you will have great difficulty getting your hands on the correct style for that period, so you may as well do without.

Pila were carried, but according to the archaeological evidence they were not of the slim type known from Augustan period site at Oberaden. The shanks of the ones from places like Numantia and Alesia are often quite short by comparison and feature very wide flat tangs which are normally flanged up at the edges to stop the head from shifting out of position. The appearance of the heavy pilum of the time then, would have been a wooden shaft ending in a rather bulbous expansion which will take some getting used to if you are familiar with the slim pyramid shape seen on the Oberaden pila. The bulbous expansion will have an iron edge where the flanges on the edges of the tang can be seen. Two rivets, one above the other will secure the iron shank to the bulbous expansion. The lighter pilum would probably feature a ferule rather than a tang, which would be fitted to a straight shaft without a bulbous expansion. A number of feruled pilum heads have been found.

We do not know much about belts, past the fact that they wore them. All armoured figures on both the Aemilius Paulus monument and the Altar of Domitius Ahenobarbus are shown wearing waist belts, to which their sword scabbards are attached. However, any painted detail is long gone and we cannot tell whether they were originally depicted with plates or not. The paucity of identified belt elements on sites dating to the period suggests though that most belts were probably not plated and featured only a buckle. It is possible that scabbards may have been attached to belts with button and loop fasteners as was later done, but we simply do not know.

For clothing, you will want normal Roman style tunics, which should be more or less square and when standing in a cruciform stance should reach (when unbelted) to about mid forearm on each arm and down to around mid calf. The sides are left unsewn for around a third of their length at the top of the garment to allow the hands to pass through and the similar length is left unsewn in the middle of the top to allow for the head. The neck hole can be narrower if you wish, but the wide hole allows it to be worn 'off the shoulder' for work on hot days and it can be gathered together behind the neck in a ball which is tied off with a piece of string or leather to narrow the neck opening. The width of the garment will mean that it naturally forms sleeves when belted, so you will not need to sew on sleeves. Do not be temped to make your tunics narrower than I have described - you want to look like Romans, after all, not poorly informed re-enactors who don't want to get it right and have just copied what they saw someone else wearing. If you are all already experienced re-enactors, I am sure you will know what I mean.

For footwear, we do not know if the caliga was in use that early, but if not we do not know what sort of footwear was in use. All the soldiers depicted in the sculptures I have mentioned appear to be barefoot, suggesting that footwear was close fitting (as caligae are) and was depicted in paint.

I appreciate that you only asked about hastati, but the above would apply equally to hastati, principes and triarii, except for the latter having spears rather than pila.

Velites would probably lack body armour or greaves and would have a simpler helmet, probably a round shield and several lighter javelins which might have been held somehow behind the shield or otherwise in a quiver of some sort. They may have carried swords as well. Polybius says that they wore pieces of animal skin on their helmets so their centurions could recognise them and judge how well they were fighting. If you are going to reconstruct a velite figure I would recommend not featuring a full animal skin as this is generally heavy and can pull a helmet back uncomfortably on the head and neck. Just a piece of skin or fur on top of the helmet is probably more accurate.

You can see some pictures of the Aemilius Paulus monument here:
http://klassisk.ribekatedralskole.dk/ste...milius.htm

Here are the two panels of the Altar of DomitiusAhenobarbus featuring soldiers:
https://resources.oncourse.iu.edu/access...obarb1.jpg

You can see some typical pilum heads of the time here (you can just make out the flanges on the edges):
http://www.xlegio.ru/ancient-armies/miss...-weaponry/


I hope this helps get you started.

Crispvs
Who is called \'\'Paul\'\' by no-one other than his wife, parents and brothers. :!: <img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_exclaim.gif" alt=":!:" title="Exclamation" />:!:

<a class="postlink" href="http://www.romanarmy.net">www.romanarmy.net
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#3
As ever fantastic information and advice Crispvs   Wink Osprey do a good book,
Roman republican Legionary 298 - 105 bc  warrior series.
Regards Brennivs  Big Grin
Woe Ye The Vanquished
                     Brennvs 390 BC
When you have all this why do you envy our mud huts
                     Caratacvs
Centvrio Brennivs COH I Dacorivm (Roma Antiqvia)
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#4
What are the best suppliers for this?
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#5
If you mean the Osprey book, I would try Amazon as your first port of call, unless you know an independent bookseller you wish to support by ordering through of course.

Crispvs
Who is called \'\'Paul\'\' by no-one other than his wife, parents and brothers. :!: <img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_exclaim.gif" alt=":!:" title="Exclamation" />:!:

<a class="postlink" href="http://www.romanarmy.net">www.romanarmy.net
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#6
Oops should have put the  isbn 978-1-84908-781-0 author Nic Fields.
Regards Brennivs   Big Grin
Woe Ye The Vanquished
                     Brennvs 390 BC
When you have all this why do you envy our mud huts
                     Caratacvs
Centvrio Brennivs COH I Dacorivm (Roma Antiqvia)
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#7
(07-14-2017, 06:43 PM)Mack Rosenbury Wrote: SmileMe and a group of guys in my Civil war reenactment group are starting a Roman Republic group, I've got the shield press built and I was wondering if anyone here has dimensions for the shields. Also what's a good basic kit for Hastati? Thanks, Mack  Wink

For Footware I would suggest something along these lines there are many variations in art but no actual survivals that I'm aware off...

   

These are often shown worn with socks, foot wrappings or skins where the toes are generally bare.
Ivor

"And the four bare walls stand on the seashore. a wreck a skeleton a monument of that instability and vicissitude to which all things human are subject. Not a dwelling within sight, and the farm labourer, and curious traveller, are the only persons that ever visit the scene where once so many thousands were congregated." T.Lewin 1867
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#8
Crispianus, what's the dating and provenance of that sculpture?
Thanks!
Eduardo Vázquez
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#9
(07-19-2017, 04:27 PM)tiberius aemilius naso Wrote: Crispianus, what's the dating and provenance of that sculpture?
Thanks!

I thinks its 1st century AD/Early Imperial (Capitoline Museum) but is a copy of an earlier form of shoe which dates back at least to Hellenistic, there a fair amount of variety in this type (shoes to boots) which seems to have no surviving archaeological examples..... pretty widespread occurs in art, reliefs and sculpture..
Ivor

"And the four bare walls stand on the seashore. a wreck a skeleton a monument of that instability and vicissitude to which all things human are subject. Not a dwelling within sight, and the farm labourer, and curious traveller, are the only persons that ever visit the scene where once so many thousands were congregated." T.Lewin 1867
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#10
Thanks for the info, Crispianus. I'd like to see those reconstructed.
Eduardo Vázquez
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