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James R.Fox




Location: Youngstowm,Ohio
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PostPosted: Fri 19 Dec, 2008 3:45 pm    Post subject: Thoromachus         Reply with quote

Sirs- Does anyone know anything about the thoromachus-a sleveless gambeson the Romans wore under their Lorica Hamata and Lorica Squmata. I couldnt find anything direct on the Lorica Segmentata, but my source, Adrian Goldsworthy said he can;t imagine anyone wearing any armour w/o some kind of gambeson. I do know that the Celts, from whom the Romans got alot of their military squipment often wore a padded leather jacket as their only armour, at least the lower classes did.As to their fighting naked, this was done as a religious invocation to the gods of war by csrtain dedicated warrior bands, not as a general thing. Also, when classical authors describe men fighting naked, they often mean men too poor to afford metal armour.Which makes sense, otherwise, why would the Celts invent mail to begin with?
Ja68ms
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
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PostPosted: Sat 20 Dec, 2008 11:31 am    Post subject: Re: Thoromachus         Reply with quote

James R.Fox wrote:
Sirs- Does anyone know anything about the thoromachus-a sleveless gambeson the Romans wore under their Lorica Hamata and Lorica Squmata.


All we have is a very brief description in a rather late work, which mentions heavy cloth and a covering of leather for waterproofing. The wording is ambiguous, and the leather may actually be a separate layer worn *over* the armor. This description dates to the 4th century AD, after the disappearance of the lorica segmentata. The manuscript is actually a medieval copy, so the illustration, showing what looks a lot like a short-sleeved gambeson, has to be used carefully. My Legio XX site is down temporarily (emergency maintenance, they say), but here's the subarmalis/thoracomachus page:

http://www.larp.com/legioxx/subarm.html

Quote:
I couldnt find anything direct on the Lorica Segmentata, but my source, Adrian Goldsworthy said he can;t imagine anyone wearing any armour w/o some kind of gambeson.


Obviously most forms of armor work better with padding, and certainly helmet padding seems to have evolved about the same time as helmets themselves. But if the goal is just to make the skin proof against sharp points and edges, you don't strictly speaking need much padding for that. We have found, however, that some shoulder padding makes the lorica segmentata (and many other forms of armor) VASTLY more comfortable to wear, and even makes it hang more like what we see in artwork.

Quote:
I do know that the Celts, from whom the Romans got alot of their military squipment often wore a padded leather jacket as their only armour, at least the lower classes did.


Oh?? That's interesting, since no one else seems to know that! Got a historical source or archeological find? I've seen at least a dozen long debates about leather armor in the last few years, and the evidence presented is extremely sparse and ambiguous!

Quote:
As to their fighting naked, this was done as a religious invocation to the gods of war by csrtain dedicated warrior bands, not as a general thing.


Agreed. Probably made a heck of an impression on the enemy, though, which is a major factor in ancient warfare.

Quote:
Also, when classical authors describe men fighting naked, they often mean men too poor to afford metal armour.


Sure, sometimes, though fighting without armor was the norm for most cultures back then, well into the middle ages, because most warriors were not aristocrats with enough money for metal armor. So if the warriors were specifically described as "naked", I'd be inclined to go with the literal meaning. But the practice seems to be dying out by the end of the first century BC.

Quote:
Which makes sense, otherwise, why would the Celts invent mail to begin with?


It was just another form of armor! Before that, they wore bronze cuirasses not a lot different from what the Greeks used, though with different decoration (not usually embossed muscles). Probably things like the Greek linothorax, as well, at least in areas closer to Greece. But any form of metal body armor was something only the wealthiest could afford, generally speaking.

Vale,

Matthew
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Sat 20 Dec, 2008 10:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lately I've been infected with a very invasive and contagious historical bug with the fatal consequence that I keep wanting to look at all those accounts of Celts fighting "naked" in their original languages, especially in Greek ones. This is especially important because gymnos naked and psilos naked can mean quite different things--the former means literally naked, while the latter more commonly just means "unarmored" when used in a military context--but they're often translated into English as "naked" without any attempts at making distinctions between the two.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sun 21 Dec, 2008 4:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Often a person is described as "naked" when their legs and privates were covered but their upper body was not - i.e. we would say "topless".
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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Sun 21 Dec, 2008 10:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Lately I've been infected with a very invasive and contagious historical bug with the fatal consequence that I keep wanting to look at all those accounts of Celts fighting "naked" in their original languages, especially in Greek ones. This is especially important because gymnos naked and psilos naked can mean quite different things--the former means literally naked, while the latter more commonly just means "unarmored" when used in a military context--but they're often translated into English as "naked" without any attempts at making distinctions between the two.

Interesting idea!

Originally "naked" meant something like "having little or no clothing" or "defenseless" which seems to combine both Greek words. So you probably will have to go back to the original text to see what Greek word is used. With a Loeb edition (with parallel Greek and English texts) you might be able to check even if you don't know Greek.
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Sun 21 Dec, 2008 12:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, a very interesting idea which definitely needs to be looked at more closely! One complication is that in the 18th century "naked" was used to describe soldiers who were not appropriately uniformed or equipped. So they might have trousers and shirts, but if lacking coats and hats they might be called "naked". This usage does not necessarily descend from the ancient, of course, BUT some of those translations were done in the 18th century!! So word usage has changed since the translations were done, and any research being done needs to be careful not to be mislead by outdated works (including glossaries). We get the same kind of effect with words like "scarlet" (originally just meaning "bright"), "coat of mail" used to translate words that really just mean "body armor", etc.

So go for it! I'd certainly love to see more. Valete,

Matthew
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James R.Fox




Location: Youngstowm,Ohio
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Dec, 2008 10:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sirs This was what I was referring to when I said the Classical Authors often referred to when they say the Celts,or whoever, were fighting naked. That is it's a translation error meaning w/o proper Greek or Roman metal armour.I found the reference to the Illyrians and Celts using heavy padded jackets covered With leather, but I cant find the book offhand. It was an archaeological study of some greek and Illyrian graves fron the mountains of southern Albanir that had frozen so the leather and cloth were preserved. They made helmets that was too.
Ja68ms
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Dec, 2008 4:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi James, I think that we would be all interested in seeing the reference you speak of, if you could please find it. I remember reading in an Osprey title about the picts that they may have (and I repeat MAY HAVE) used some form of padded armour but this is also from a later period I believe.
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
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PostPosted: Mon 22 Dec, 2008 5:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

James R.Fox wrote:
Sirs This was what I was referring to when I said the Classical Authors often referred to when they say the Celts,or whoever, were fighting naked. That is it's a translation error meaning w/o proper Greek or Roman metal armour.


Well, we're talking about a large span of time, and descriptions by authors from a couple different cultures. Since both the Greeks and the Romans were familiar with several types of armor--and with men fighting unarmored--I would not assume that "naked" could be stretched to mean "padded leather armor"! It may also be that there are descriptions like "wearing nothing but their gold torcs", which really implies a lack of clothing, but I don't remember the ancient texts to that degree of detail.

Quote:
I found the reference to the Illyrians and Celts using heavy padded jackets covered With leather, but I cant find the book offhand. It was an archaeological study of some greek and Illyrian graves fron the mountains of southern Albanir that had frozen so the leather and cloth were preserved. They made helmets that was too.


Yes, we want to see more details about that! First I'd heard of it. Now, a few months back there was a lot of excitement about a new bunch of graves up in Thrace, I believe. There was a vague claim of leather armor found there, but it looks like all they really found were some gold decorations which the archeologists *assumed* came from something leather! No actual surviving organic elements have been published from that site. Frozen graves from Albania are new to me. Are you sure you aren't confusing the Thracian graves with some of those frozen Scythian kurgans?

Vale,

Matthew
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Ste Kenwright




Location: York
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PostPosted: Fri 09 Jan, 2009 2:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I believe the main literary reference for Roman padding used under armour is from the late (C4th-5th) anonymous text , De Rebus Bellicis, XV, apparently something like:
"The ancients, among the many things which... they devised for use in war, prescribed also the thoracomachus to counteract the weight and friction of armour... This type of garment is made of thick sheep's wool felt to the measure... of the upper part of the human frame...in case the weight of the thoracomachus should be increased when it is sodden with rain and should therefore hamper the wearer it will certainly be advisable to wear on top of it a similar garment made of well-prepared Libyan fleeces to the cut of the thorachomachus".

The main problem with this reference is that the author is writing with ideas to improve the army and government of the day, and the existence of some of the innovations has been questioned, such as the infamous inflatable bridge, so the content must be treated with caution. For example, it is by no means clear who specifically are 'the ancients'. The thoracomachus has been associated with the (earlier?) term 'subarmalis' and with the epilorikon?, peristedidion? of later 'Byzantine' armies, including more references in military manuals which say you need 'a finger thick'.

The interpretation of the text, modern experiment and theorising, the translation of 'felt' and what that and Libyan hide meant at the time has been debated at great length on Roman Army Talk. M.C. Bishop, "Aketon, Thoracomachus, and Lorica Segmentata", in Exercitus: the Bulletin of the Ermine Street Guard vol. 3 no. 1 (1995) is given as a useful reference for the issue, but have not read it myself.

To echo sentiments from the rather heavy thread here about the possibilities of 'Viking' equivalents, we all have to choose our own interpretations to fill in the evidence-poor blanks of re-enactment and I truly believe that it matters a lot less what they are and much more that we or somebody in one's group can explain one's decision if someone is interested . As a late Roman re-enactor with Comitatus in the UK, I wear essentially a padded tunic which fits my mail exactly, (without 'old fashioned' pteryges, which I think look smarter on officers), because even padded weapons hurt me when flung from a charging horseman! Very hot!

Hope that's helpful Happy

Ste ~ Salvianus ~ Stenolfr

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~ Never give a sword to a man who can't dance ~
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Len Parker





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PostPosted: Sat 15 Jun, 2019 5:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's a good pic of one: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/2e/1e/8b/2e1e8bdcf6d902f29f46b4a15cc0a2fb.jpg
Leonard Parker
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Len Parker





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PostPosted: Sat 15 Jun, 2019 7:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm looking for pics of these without armour. The guy on left is without armour, but I don't know the context: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/17/c9/62/17c962b71ce2b822c5f587735e916d9b.jpg

Here's a Bosporon cavalryman: https://pp.vk.me/c622323/v622323006/106fb/W4aM_Y4tMfM.jpg Could be lamellar, not sure.

There's this guy with long sleeves: https://imgur.com/gallery/dzreTVm Does anyone know where this is from?

Leonard Parker
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 15 Jun, 2019 9:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Len Parker wrote:
Here's a good pic of one: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/2e/1e/8b/2e1e8bdcf6d902f29f46b4a15cc0a2fb.jpg


That's just a pleated tunic

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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Sat 15 Jun, 2019 9:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

We don't really know what any of those are depicting. Some could just be a bunched-up or pleated tunic. Some, especially the cuirass-shaped object standing by itself--*might* be quilted armor, but being a later-era relief it's already stylized, and may just be a "melt-down" of earlier artwork that was already ambiguous. Beware!

Matthew
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Len Parker





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PostPosted: Sat 15 Jun, 2019 5:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's two more: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/c3/07/7f/c3077f2469cfccf4caf3df4c66819fb0.jpg and https://romanrecruit.weebly.com/subarmalis.html
Leonard Parker
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Len Parker





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PostPosted: Sat 15 Jun, 2019 7:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looking at these roman busts, I would say you're probably right about pleated tunics: https://www.pinterest.com/mkpro114/romans/
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Sun 16 Jun, 2019 11:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another part of the whole problem is that you don't even WANT that much padding under armor. A little on the shoulders is good, otherwise just something to keep your tunic clean and unchafed. Beyond that, padding just adds heat, plus bulk which means the armor has to be too large--that adds weight and restricts movement. Soaks up sweat and rain, gets icky.

Now, if they're making a case for *stand-alone* quilted armor, that's a possibility, but it would sure be nice to have more literary evidence to back it up. I'm not quite ready to buy it, but I admit that's partly a knee-jerk reaction since it doesn't fit the older mental image of Roman armor!

Matthew
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Len Parker





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PostPosted: Tue 18 Jun, 2019 6:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's good evidence for standalone quilted armour: https://books.google.com/books?id=uqe2CYsDEEcC&pg=PA101&lpg=PA101&dq=julius+caesar+made+tunics+of+felt+quilts+and+hides&source=bl&ots=sp4Zmcc87C&sig=ACfU3U325jv1cQuOcaZ-1lyExcMyX-7LGQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiV8a-6ifPiAhVyT98KHQgEDEoQ6AEwCnoECAkQAQ

Notice he says almost ALL the soldiers had made tunics or coverings out of felt, quilts or hides.

Thanks to Graham Sumner for pointing this out on RAT.

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Tue 18 Jun, 2019 6:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Len Parker wrote:
Here's good evidence for standalone quilted armour: https://books.google.com/books?id=uqe2CYsDEEcC&pg=PA101&lpg=PA101&dq=julius+caesar+made+tunics+of+felt+quilts+and+hides&source=bl&ots=sp4Zmcc87C&sig=ACfU3U325jv1cQuOcaZ-1lyExcMyX-7LGQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiV8a-6ifPiAhVyT98KHQgEDEoQ6AEwCnoECAkQAQ

Notice he says almost ALL the soldiers had made tunics or coverings out of felt, quilts or hides.

Thanks to Graham Sumner for pointing this out on RAT.


That passage tells us that far fewer men in that battle were wearing armour than is typical in a Roman army. Those men were wearing no armour at all and, as a result, were getting injured by missiles, so they hastily threw together impromptu protection from whatever they could find. It is not evidence of leather armour or textile armour or any other kind of armour.

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Last edited by Dan Howard on Tue 18 Jun, 2019 6:23 am; edited 1 time in total
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Tue 18 Jun, 2019 6:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not sure that this source is strong evidence of ancient Roman soldiers using stand alone quilted armour. It seems more like some kind of improvised defence against missile weapons. Also I wonder what word was translated to "quilts"?
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