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How many armor soldiers did the Roman soldier bring to the battlefield
#1
There is one question that I always ask myself. That is, when going to the battlefield, does a Roman soldier bring two armors or only one? 
For example, they bring both Hamata and Segmentata? and used alternately between the two armors

thanks all
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#2
Why would he do that? And when would he change armours? Where woul;d he keep that 'second armour' in the meantime?
Robert Vermaat
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FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#3
It's now long been my understanding that, most commonly in the West, it is generally believed that Segmentata replaced Hamata for many of the Legionary soldiers; with the most likely probability that this was due to the enemy weapon array they fought against (heavier slashing weapons, lighter javelins and slingshot); whereas Hamata remained the choice for the Auxiliaries (perhaps due to easier local maintenance and perhaps flexibility (particularly for Cavalry)) and more in the Eastern Empire where the enemy weapons are more commonly arrows at range.

The idea of carrying both types of armor and choosing between them has never occurred to me, I must admit; if it had I would have argued against it simply from the additional logistic burden.  A single mule per contubernium and one or two for the Centurion/HQ 'rubbish' still adds up to a large number, without adding at least another, or two(!) per contubernium just for heavy armour.

Personally I think the idea rather unlikely - but interesting!
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#4
Because I know many soldiers still keep their old armor, if they are stationed for a long time then when they change positions they have to bring them when going to the battlefield. I think it could happen. A typical example is the Battle of Teutoburg, which is being ambushed on the march, most likely the soldiers are carrying both Segmentata and Hamata.
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#5
(10-19-2020, 01:45 AM)Leoshenlong Wrote: Because I know many soldiers still keep their old armor, if they are stationed for a long time then when they change positions they have to bring them when going to the battlefield.  I think it could happen.  A typical example is the Battle of Teutoburg, which is being ambushed on the march, most likely the soldiers are carrying both Segmentata and Hamata.

It may be the case that officers would have more then one armour but I doubt the rank and file would under normal circumstances, the easiest way to carry armour on the march is to wear it, most armour can weigh quite a bit and you'd have to allow for this extra armour in the baggage since the men are unlikely to want to carry an additional armour themselves...
So say a typical armour weighs 12kg, that means approx an extra metric ton per century of 80 men, I'm sure they have more important items to transport then this additional massive load which would be surplus to requirements...
However I would expect that extra sets of armour would be carried in the baggage in case of need, a few per unit would suffice... the recent find in germany may be such an item.
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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#6
(10-17-2020, 09:03 PM)Robert Vermaat Wrote: Why would he do that? And when would he change armours? Where woul;d he keep that 'second armour' in the meantime?

(10-19-2020, 02:32 PM)Crispianus Wrote:
(10-19-2020, 01:45 AM)Leoshenlong Wrote: Because I know many soldiers still keep their old armor, if they are stationed for a long time then when they change positions they have to bring them when going to the battlefield.  I think it could happen.  A typical example is the Battle of Teutoburg, which is being ambushed on the march, most likely the soldiers are carrying both Segmentata and Hamata.

It may be the case that officers would have more then one armour but I doubt the rank and file would under normal circumstances, the easiest way to carry armour on the march is to wear it, most armour can weigh quite a bit and you'd have to allow for this extra armour in the baggage since the men are unlikely to want to carry an additional armour themselves...
So say a typical armour weighs 12kg, that means approx an extra metric ton per century of 80 men, I'm sure they have more important items to transport then this additional massive load which would be surplus to requirements...
However I would expect that extra sets of armour would be carried in the baggage in case of need, a few per unit would suffice... the recent find in germany may be such an item.
I am thinking about 1 case.  I have read somewhere an opinion that the soldiers after having segmentata, they still retain the hamata.  With the characteristics of long-term stay, they cannot take them home for storage.  as far as I know the 3 Roman legions on their journey from summer camp to the winter fortress, had abruptly changed direction through the teutoburg forest according to the report of an Arminius rebellion.  which means at that time they are most likely wearing more old armor
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#7
Mail was never "old". It saw continuous use before, during, and after the time in which segmentata was being used. It saw continuous use by virtually every metal-using culture on the planet for the best part of two thousand years.

Why would anyone bother wearing segmentata if they could afford mail? Segmentata was peasant armour; it was Rome's attempt at munitions plate. There isn't a single depiction of an officer or NCO wearing it. Those who had the means, preferred mail or scale or musculata.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#8
(10-20-2020, 07:49 AM)Dan Howard Wrote: ..............................
Why would anyone bother wearing segmentata if they could afford mail? Segmentata was peasant armour;................................

It's somewhat off the original topic; but I have never before seen this interpretation!  Is it a commonly held belief?

Good mail can take a serious amount of time to make, but is otherwise relatively 'simple' to maintain and, if properly looked after, can last a very long time.  Following damage, rings can be replaced; patches can be provided and trimmed to shape before integration; and rents can temporarily be closed even with just leather thongs.  It has the virtue of being more flexible, but this is also a disadvantage when subject to major blunt, or bladed, force trauma, because whilst the armour may flex and, indeed, not overtly show much damage, the transmitted damage to the body can be extreme.

If the 'elite' Roman legions (mostly in the West as I noted above) and indeed the Praetorian Guard wore Segmentata for the relatively limited period ('High Empire'?) that the Romans' Arms factories could produce it; whilst Auxiliary troops were clad in mail (they being much lower paid) - then I seriously have to query the idea?

Is not the production of rolled lamellar steel plate not considered a higher technology process?  Certainly it can prove to be a 'better' armour against certain weapon types...
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#9
What makes you think that Praetorians wore segmentata? There is no evidence that segmentata was worn by anyone except lower ranked/classed soldiers. It is exactly the same as medieval munitions plate. It was only worn by those who couldn't afford anything better. Those with the means preferred mail or scale or musculata.

You are seriously overestimating the effectiveness of blunt trauma. The only way to incapacitate someone through body armour without penetration is with firearms. Muscle-powered weapons simply can't deliver enough energy. I've personally worn mail over nothing but a regular sweater and been hit multiple times in the ribs with a baseball bat hard enough to knock me off balance and the only injury I suffered was bruising.

Once you understand that all of the different types of armour that Romans used provided similar levels of protection, armour study makes more sense. You will start to look for other reasons why they chose a particular type of armour - cost, weight, coverage, production time, comfort, prestige, fashion, donning time, transportation and storage capacity, longevity, maintenance considerations, spare parts, ease of repair, etc. Mail is superior in the vast majority of those.

Rolled metal plate is an advanced process but it drops the cost and production time considerably. The whole point of segmentata was to produce metal armour cheaper and faster than any of the alternatives. It was an ingenious solution given the technologies available to them but it was still only "peasant" armour. We actually have no direct evidence that the Romans had rolled steel but it is a possibility. Personally I think they just had hammer mills.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#10
(Yesterday, 09:04 PM)Dan Howard Wrote: What makes you think that Praetorians wore segmentata? There is no evidence that segmentata was worn by anyone except lower ranked/classed soldiers. It is exactly the same as medieval munitions plate. It was only worn by those who couldn't afford anything better. Those with the means preferred mail or scale or musculata.

You are seriously overestimating the effectiveness of blunt trauma. The only way to incapacitate someone through body armour without penetration is with firearms. Muscle-powered weapons simply can't deliver enough energy. I've personally worn mail over nothing but a regular sweater and been hit multiple times in the ribs with a baseball bat hard enough to knock me off balance and the only injury I suffered was bruising.

Once you understand that all of the different types of armour that Romans used provided similar levels of protection, armour study makes more sense. You will start to look for other reasons why they chose a particular type of armour - cost, weight, coverage, production time, comfort, prestige, fashion, donning time, transportation and storage capacity, longevity, maintenance considerations, spare parts, ease of repair, etc. Mail is superior in the vast majority of those.

Rolled metal plate is an advanced process but it drops the cost and production time considerably. The whole point of segmentata was to produce metal armour cheaper and faster than any of the alternatives. It was an ingenious solution given the technologies available to them but it was still only "peasant" armour. We actually have no direct evidence that the Romans had rolled steel but it is a possibility. Personally I think they just had hammer mills.

Thanks Dan, that's rather interesting.

 - I have believed the Praetorians wore Segmentata simply because I am given to understand that is how they are represented on Hadrian's column; let alone my previous understanding that it was indeed considered 'better'!   Wink  Whilst, indeed, some believe that said column is very stylised and shows all legionaries in Segmentata and all Auxiliaries in mail (less archers in Squamata) simply as a matter of course; is it not true that the general understanding is that some legionary troops (Western?) re-equipped with Segmentata for a ~200+ year period, whilst lower paid Auxiliaries wore mail.  If your assertion is correct, leaving out instances of much richer individuals who are dressing, perhaps, with a much greater emphasis on style as opposed to function, then why is that the case - and not, indeed, exactly the other way around?

- There are many here, I believe, who have much greater experience than I of actually making and indeed wearing the various armours that Roman soldiers seem to have worn; but I do have a reasonable background in the theory although slanted to more modern usage (armoured vehicle and tank armour) and my Masters thesis dealt with modelling ballistic impact and deformation of body armour.  The maths is the same, it's just the material and velocity that changes (although the velocities we now deal with can have even greater effects!).  The question I would like to ask, however, is whether you believe the experience you have with a relatively 'soft' baseball bat (in the scheme of things) would be replicated with a wild Celt slashing sword, an axe blade, or even the feared Falcata - let alone even a basic light javelin that could possibly penetrate mail, but bounce off said plate.  I would certainly not dismiss the force and momentum that can be delivered by a human well trained in weapons when delivered over a very small area of impact, such as a blade.  I have come across a very similar issue when looking at modern body armour designs that can resist a high velocity bullet (but transmit significant trauma), but fail when penetrated by a well wielded knife point!

- I completely agree with the points made about the greater versatility and longevity of mail over plate, but therefore look for more pragmatic reasons that it was chosen.  Why is it that it's legionaries who wore plate and not the auxiliaries, it cannot be down to cost; why is it that the next time it seriously appears in history is the medieval one when it's the 'Knights' who wear it and the 'poorer' men at arms wear only some and supplement with mail?  I believe it's because it must have been perceived as 'better' for some reason; and that would be as a defence.  Plate is a better defence against the bladed weapons detailed above simply due to the lack of deformation and subsequent distribution of force and momentum by longitudinal stresses.

I have, I am sure, seen some videos made by reconstructionists that show the effect of weapons on various armours on top of pig carcasses - I must see if I can find them again...
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#11
The falcata was just a pruning hook. The Dacians adapted it for warfare but if you hold a gladius in two hands, you can cut just as deeply with it. The falcata is overhyped almost as badly as the katana.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#12
(Yesterday, 09:04 PM)Dan Howard Wrote: There is no evidence that segmentata was worn by anyone except lower ranked/classed soldiers. It is exactly the same as medieval munitions plate. It was only worn by those who couldn't afford anything better.

What are you drawing on here? Has the theory appeared in any published sources we could refer to?

Most finds of segmentata, I believe, come from legionary fortresses (Caerleon, Leon, Chester, Carnuntum), or from sites like Kalkriese that probably relate to legionary use. The segmentata from Gamla was being worn by a soldier of Legio V Macedonia. There are also a few segmentata bits from what could be auxiliary contexts, but most finds from auxiliary forts have been mail or scale. If segmentata was as low-grade as you suggest, would the pattern of evidence not be the other way around?
Nathan Ross
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#13
(8 hours ago)Nathan Ross Wrote:
(Yesterday, 09:04 PM)Dan Howard Wrote: There is no evidence that segmentata was worn by anyone except lower ranked/classed soldiers. It is exactly the same as medieval munitions plate. It was only worn by those who couldn't afford anything better.

What are you drawing on here? Has the theory appeared in any published sources we could refer to?

Most finds of segmentata, I believe, come from legionary fortresses (Caerleon, Leon, Chester, Carnuntum), or from sites like Kalkriese that probably relate to legionary use. The segmentata from Gamla was being worn by a soldier of Legio V Macedonia. There are also a few segmentata bits from what could be auxiliary contexts, but most finds from auxiliary forts have been mail or scale. If segmentata was as low-grade as you suggest, would the pattern of evidence not be the other way around?
It's hard to argue with a mail supremacist... Rolleyes

The last time I partook in a LS discussion, DH changed the goalpost.

Any pagan or two with an ounce of skill could fashion wire into riveted or welded rings, explaining why mail was ubiquitous, cheap and easy to maintain. Why don't we see any depictions of higher ranking officers in mail? Could it be that it was the equivalent of medieval munitions armor? Angel In contrast manufacturing LS required specialized tooling and maintenance difficulties required knowledgeable people, which is why surviving examples are rare and probably not as common if you were to rely on art - John Coulston's book on Trajan's Column might have details, if it's ever published. Some 250 years of use and modifications and upgrades, only to be abandoned over the course of the Third Century Crisis and the creation of state run factories. If it was so cheap, why wasn't it in continuous production, especially with the expansion in state run manufacturing?
aka T*O*N*G*A*R
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