Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Segmentata in the Eastern provinces
#1
It's often suggested that Roman troops based in the east used lorica segmentata much less widely that those based in the west - or even not at all. Is there any real evidence for this, or is it a 'factoid'?

The only segmentata find I know of from the region is the one at Gamala, and that was particularly used by a soldier of V Macedonia, from the Danube.

If this is true, what might have been the reason for it? - Local supply? Custom or habit? Problems with sand and dust? [Image: wink.png]
Nathan Ross
Reply
#2
(01-29-2016, 12:02 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote: It's often suggested that Roman troops based in the east used lorica segmentata much less widely that those based in the west - or even not at all. Is there any real evidence for this, or is it a 'factoid'?

The only segmentata find I know of from the region is the one at Gamala, and that was particularly used by a soldier of V Macedonia, from the Danube.

If this is true, what might have been the reason for it? - Local supply? Custom or habit? Problems with sand and dust? [Image: wink.png]

Since segmentata was made of iron, it could have something to do with the climate. Just speculating.
James Ajiduah
Reply
#3
(02-01-2016, 05:17 AM)LonginusXXI Wrote: it could have something to do with the climate. Just speculating.

Possibly, I suppose. Although there are plenty of iron bits and pieces from Dura Europos, so that shouldn't be an issue. I did wonder about the leather straps and articulated pieces of the LS though - might they be affected by heat, or by dry and dusty conditions?
Nathan Ross
Reply
#4
Well then I guess the Sasanids did not field the age's heaviest cavalry Wink
Kis György Márk (by western standards, György Márk Kis)

Legio Leonum Valentiniani

www.legioleonum.hu
Reply
#5
(02-01-2016, 04:11 PM)M. Val. Naso Wrote: Well then I guess the Sasanids did not field the age's heaviest cavalry Wink

Good point! [Image: smile.png]

So I suppose we're back to some sort of nebulous 'cultural factors' to explain the difference then... unless it's not actually true?
Nathan Ross
Reply
#6
But we do have numerous segmentata finds in the Near East...just look up Prof. Stiebel for one.
Kis György Márk (by western standards, György Márk Kis)

Legio Leonum Valentiniani

www.legioleonum.hu
Reply
#7
(02-01-2016, 08:16 PM)M. Val. Naso Wrote: just look up Prof. Stiebel for one.

I attended Guy Stiebel's lecture in London last year, and he mentioned the Gamala segmentata find then. But, as I mentioned above, this armour was clearly used by a Danubian soldier, not one from the eastern provinces.

There are a few small items from Masada (three tie-loops, three bits of hinge, I think) - interestingly, some were found inside the fortress, suggesting the rebels were using them - and so segmentata was obviously not unknown in the east, but compared to the amount of scale and mail remains from the east, and the number of segmentata finds from the west, there does still seem to be a difference.

Unless I'm missing a large number of recent discoveries from the eastern provinces - how many do you know of?
Nathan Ross
Reply
#8
It is possible that we simply don't have a large enough sample size to draw any conclusions about the distribution of this armour?
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
Reply
#9
(02-01-2016, 09:18 PM)Dan Howard Wrote: It is possible that we simply don't have a large enough sample size to draw any conclusions about the distribution of this armour?

That is very possible, yes. Military finds in general - or just the sort of excavations that might uncover them - seem to be relatively scarce in the east. I'm reminded of Robert Vermaat's plotting of plumbatae found across the empire - none whatsoever east of the Hellespont, aside from one of two in the Caucasus. Did eastern legions not use them, or do we just lack the evidence?
Nathan Ross
Reply
#10
I think we do have lacunae in the East, and this might be that the findings are not published or published in local languages not in English. I am Romanian and I saw lots of papers (in Romanian) in the past but while reading general books from English or French authors there was no mention about those findings. Is possible that the participation of Romanian scholars to the international scene after '89 did changed somewhat the spread of the information but there are still unpublished/un-translated finds out there.

for the evidence we have/know there seems that the seggie was not used in the east or at least not intensively used but ...
-----------------
Gelu I.
www.terradacica.ro
www.porolissumsalaj.ro
Reply
#11
The Legio VI Fortress at Caparcotna has yielded scale armor but no mention of Segmentata yet.
Reply
#12
https://www.academia.edu/10322598/Gamla_...Reports_56_

"Several battle sites from the Jewish War have yielded remains of lorica segmentata (Masada—Stiebel and Magness 2007:2– 3, Pl. 3:1–5; Jerusalem—Stiebel 2007: III.10/B.1 and III.12/B.1, 2 and compare to Samaria—Stiebel 2007: I.6/A.1; H. Qumran—Stiebel 2007: III.17/B.1; Legio: Stiebel 2007: V.3/B.2), all belonging to the Corbridge type, and among which the most significant find is the remains of the legionary L. Magus."

Seems that there are more finds around. Though I didn't checked all papers.
-----------------
Gelu I.
www.terradacica.ro
www.porolissumsalaj.ro
Reply
#13
(02-02-2016, 12:38 PM)Gunthamund Hasding Wrote: Several battle sites from the Jewish War have yielded remains of lorica segmentata

Aha! Good - thanks. Although we have the problem, with the Jewish war(s) specifically, that large numbers of troops were brought into the area from precisely those parts of the empire where segmentata are better attested!

I suppose what we'd need are finds from permanent legion camps like Caparcotna - or the sites in Syria, but the chances of finding anything there at the moment are slight...
Nathan Ross
Reply
#14
(02-02-2016, 12:48 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote:
(02-02-2016, 12:38 PM)Gunthamund Hasding Wrote: Several battle sites from the Jewish War have yielded remains of lorica segmentata

Aha! Good - thanks. Although we have the problem, with the Jewish war(s) specifically, that large numbers of troops were brought into the area from precisely those parts of the empire where segmentata are better attested!

I suppose what we'd need are finds from permanent legion camps like Caparcotna - or the sites in Syria, but the chances of finding anything there at the moment are slight...

Most of the Caparcotna fortress has yet to be excavated, so there could be far more. I don't think they've even excavated the ditches around the fort yet; the Romans threw garbage in those ditches like at Vindolanda all the time, so that's where we would probably find the best stuff.
Reply
#15
(01-29-2016, 12:02 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote: It's often suggested that Roman troops based in the east used lorica segmentata much less widely that those based in the west - or even not at all. Is there any real evidence for this, or is it a 'factoid'?

The only segmentata find I know of from the region is the one at Gamala, and that was particularly used by a soldier of V Macedonia, from the Danube.

If this is true, what might have been the reason for it? - Local supply? Custom or habit? Problems with sand and dust? [Image: wink.png]

There were segmentata finds from Masada, but whether these were from a Roman soldier, or items captured from some by the Jewish forces is, of course, impossible to say. There were also examples of segmentata fittings from Morocco (Thamusida). It seems to be a fact that (apart from odd finds in places in western France, for example) many finds come from sites along the Rhine-Danube frontier - which is not entirely unexpected, maybe. What might be thought odd, though, is that roughly half the sites where segmentata is found are in Britain. It seems as though Britannia was one of the most heavily policed parts of the Empire, judging by the number of Roman military remains in these islands.




However, is the paucity of finds from the east simply because they have not been found yet? Excavations in Germany from the late 19th century into the early decades of the 20th century concentrated on the sites of Roman fortifications down the Rhine (RGL) and then down the Danube (OGL), so perhaps it is not surprising that we know of lots of examples where the armour has turned up. It seems as though the eastern Europe area has been neglected, simply because there was no incentive for anyone to dig there. That seems to be changing. I recently paid a visit to Romania and it was obvious that there was a lot of work being done at sites such as Ulpia Regia Sarmentigetuza. Time will tell!  

Mike Thomas
(Caratacus)
visne scire quod credam? credo orbes volantes exstare.
Reply


Possibly Related Threads…
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Did Romans wear Chitons in the Eastern provinces ? Theodosius the Great 17 4,336 05-13-2009, 11:05 PM
Last Post: Theodosius the Great

Forum Jump: