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Luis Armando




Location: Mexico
Joined: 09 May 2010
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PostPosted: Sun 12 Feb, 2012 8:57 am    Post subject: Leather Lorica Segmentata?         Reply with quote

Hi my friendīs!
I wondered: How is a historic Segmentata Lorica leather? the iron is preserved but the leather does not ... Are there any clues to suggest that might be used? ... I seen some recreationists use them as an alternative.

thanks for your answers! Big Grin


"Dying is nothing when for the homeland dies" (Jose Maria Morelos)
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
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PostPosted: Sun 12 Feb, 2012 9:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is no evidence for Roman leather armour at all, except for a leather scale cuisse from Dura Europos and a few sculptures which seem to show floppy breastplates. I think the idea of leather lorica segmentata comes from old movies which couldn't afford metal armour for everyone, or possibly very old books on armour from before there were any excavated metal loricae segmentatae. Bishop and Coulston is a good reference for issues like this.
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
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PostPosted: Sun 12 Feb, 2012 12:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ave!

Just to modify Sean's statement slightly, there are a few shreds of evidence of leather armor of *some* sort in the Roman world, but just enough to indicate that it must have been very rare. There is indeed NO evidence whatsoever that lorica segmentata was ever made of leather.

Thousands of pieces of segmentata survive from all over the Empire, always iron with brass fittings, and often with the mineralized remains of leather straps. There are also numerous finds of leather items from various sites, including hundreds of shoes from Vindolanda alone. Yet only ONE documentable piece of leather/hide armor, which dates to 250 AD and could be Persian rather than Roman.

Trust me, this has been talked to death on several discussion boards, and although there are still a few fanatics who maintain that a leather segmentata MUST have been used, they have yet to produce anything like scientific or scholarly evidence for their dogma. The closest they've come is a broken piece of leather strap which neither resembles artistic depictions of segmented armor, nor any remains of iron segmented armor, nor does it have any sign of being connected to other straps or segments (stitch marks, rivet holes, etc.). So they are left with Victorian interpretations of artwork.

If you need more, just look up the Roman Army Talk board and do a search on "leather armor". But I'm happy to add more specifics if you like!

Vale,

Matthew
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
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PostPosted: Sun 12 Feb, 2012 12:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Agreed 100% with Matt and Sean. Try actually testing the above costume. It has minimal defensive value. I'd bet money that I could poke a pencil through it. Roman armour should be able to stop the majority of arrow points and spear thrusts - they were the most common threats at the time and all of the other types of armour they wore had no trouble doing this.

A good critical thinking exercise is to get a hold of D'Amato's book on Roman armour. Have a look at his "evidence" for leather armour and then ask yourself two questions about each example:

1. Why couldn't this be made of cloth or metal?
2. How could this possibly be considered "armour"?

The book is a classic example of how you can twist the evidence to conform to a preconceived theory. The book does have its use since he has collected a lot of photos of hard to find examples of Roman armour - just don't pay too much attention to the text.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Arms-Armour-Imperial-...1848325126 (I wouldn't recommend actually spending any money on it).

Graham Sumner did the illustrations but apparently he had little input to the text, which might have made the work far far better.
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
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PostPosted: Sun 12 Feb, 2012 9:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

and even more importantly, we DO have finds , not a huge number from my understanding, but at least several examples of METAL lorica segementata. the duras europa, and corbridge finds come to mind although matthew might know of a lot more.

and based on more monumental evidence i.e carvings and reliefs im talking mostly about trajans column, and that monument celebrrating victory over the dacians, forget the name, suggests soldiers wore scale and maile almost as often as segmentata

and, unless im mistaken, considering how many legionaires there were, and the fact that leather objects can and have survived even from as far back as that time to me renders the arguement of 'leather oesnt survive' somewhat null. although on balance metal does survive abit better
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Mon 13 Feb, 2012 6:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William,

You are right there are a few big finds. There are the Kalkriese (Ger), Newstead( UK), Zugmantel (Ger), Carlisle (UK), Stillfried (Astr), and there is a fragmentary one from North Africa I cannot find where specifically. Some are fragmentary but we still have a lot of evidence for wide spread use of the 'Segmentata' type lorica. The Corbridge, Newstead at the moment being the most complete to my awareness, though this might change as the Carlisle dig has yielded a great deal of martial gear.

I thought at Dura Europos they found more than just a scale cuirass though?

RPM

.
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
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PostPosted: Mon 13 Feb, 2012 6:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dura Europas is a little late for segmentata finds (though the latest bits known are from Spain and are dated to early 4th century!), and produced 2 complete horse scale armors, one iron and one bronze, plus mailshirts and that one fragment of leather/hide lamellar. Finding whole sections of segmentata is indeed not common, but the little bits are EVERYWHERE. Hinges, buckles, and lacing loops riveted to bits of rust, plates or pieces of plates, etc., all over the place. You can pick them up at flea markets in Britain, at least. Curiously, segmentata pieces are even found at auxiliary forts, leading to debates on whether auxiliaries were wearing it (probably), or if legionary contingents may have been posted there along with the auxiliaries (also probably!).

Valete!

Matthew
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
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PostPosted: Mon 13 Feb, 2012 9:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew,

I was under the impression that the Corbridge type segmentata were the most long lived is this a correct assumption? Has any one done a recent typology on the segmentatas? I know some of the older reconstructions like that at newstead are being updated.

early 4th century eh. That would be neat if we could find some more evidence of these being used so late. They really are neat. I am thinking about making one for my class I am teaching this summer but with a million things to do and a baby due in April I sort of doubt it. Those silly hinges, hooks and such take a long time to make.

RPM
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
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PostPosted: Mon 13 Feb, 2012 11:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
Matthew,

I was under the impression that the Corbridge type segmentata were the most long lived is this a correct assumption?


That's about right, as far as we can tell. Obviously there's a lot of overlap and gray area, but it seems to have been around for a good 80 years or more. There's a timeline in one of the "Lorica Segmentata" volumes, probably Vol. 1 by Mike Bishop, if I'm remembering correctly.

Quote:
Has any one done a recent typology on the segmentatas? I know some of the older reconstructions like that at newstead are being updated.


Well, the basic typology hasn't changed in a while. Kalkriese first, then Corbridge A, B, C, then Newstead. Mike Bishop adds the "Alba Iulia" type at the end of that, based on a sculpture from that location. Now and then we do have to modify the "standard reconstructions" of the non-Corbridge types based on new finds, sure, and we have a scattering of pieces that don't really fit, like the Chichester shoulder guard plate (one plate instead of 3 hinged together). So there were clearly more variations than we know of, but we don't know enough about them to reconstruct them properly.

Quote:
early 4th century eh. That would be neat if we could find some more evidence of these being used so late.


Yeah, it's a find from Leon in Spain, and I don't know much else about it. Not sure how solid the dating is, but it's possible that it was just discarded junk by the time it went into the ground. (Though that's true of a LOT of finds!)

Quote:
They really are neat.


Oh, yes!

Quote:
I am thinking about making one for my class I am teaching this summer but with a million things to do and a baby due in April I sort of doubt it. Those silly hinges, hooks and such take a long time to make.


Oh, yes! Might not be the best project if you already have a deadline AND a busy life! Though if you bought a set of hinges, that would cut a lot of the fiddly work, hmmmm.... (If your wife asks, this was NOT my idea, ha!)

Matthew
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
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PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb, 2012 8:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

i was thinking off the top of my head when naming examples of iron loric finds, particularly duras europa i know there was a scutum excavated there though, but thats immaterial to the thread
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Kurt Scholz





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PostPosted: Wed 15 Feb, 2012 10:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A place to look for such armour could be North Africa. We have Polybius mention Hannibal's elite African troops exchanging their leather armour for Roman armour. I guess in the North African climate you might be more comfortable in leather armour during many tasks and it could be manufactured from more available resources.
Numidians trained in legionary combat style or Tacfarina's insurgents could have this leather thing to raise fighting moral at least.
And I think Polybius has one brief mention about Roman marines wearing leather armour for increased mobility, so look at the classis.
As already mentioned, leather armour can be utterly useless armour (like the cingulum militare), but it looks like the real thing and might be used for psychological reasons as a cheap surrogate (like in the History Channel today). Dura Europas was manned by numerii from Roman Mauretania who were not exactly the most valued troops (see Numidians and Tacfarinas above).
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Wilhelm S.





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PostPosted: Wed 15 Feb, 2012 11:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Manning wrote:
There is no evidence for Roman leather armour at all, except for a leather scale cuisse from Dura Europos and a few sculptures which seem to show floppy breastplates. I think the idea of leather lorica segmentata comes from old movies which couldn't afford metal armour for everyone, or possibly very old books on armour from before there were any excavated metal loricae segmentatae. Bishop and Coulston is a good reference for issues like this.


Are there any pictures of that cuisse online?
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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Wed 15 Feb, 2012 12:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For starters, that segmentata is using modern type leather rivets. They were invented during the modern induistrialisation era and probably late at that.
"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Matthew Bunker




Location: Somerset UK
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PostPosted: Wed 15 Feb, 2012 2:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wilhelm S. wrote:
Sean Manning wrote:
There is no evidence for Roman leather armour at all, except for a leather scale cuisse from Dura Europos and a few sculptures which seem to show floppy breastplates. I think the idea of leather lorica segmentata comes from old movies which couldn't afford metal armour for everyone, or possibly very old books on armour from before there were any excavated metal loricae segmentatae. Bishop and Coulston is a good reference for issues like this.


Are there any pictures of that cuisse online?


See attachment.



 Attachment: 56.52 KB
[ Download ]

"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
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PostPosted: Wed 15 Feb, 2012 5:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kurt Scholz wrote:
A place to look for such armour could be North Africa. We have Polybius mention Hannibal's elite African troops exchanging their leather armour for Roman armour...
And I think Polybius has one brief mention about Roman marines wearing leather armour for increased mobility, so look at the classis.


Can you give us a citation for either of these? I've never heard that he actually mentions leather armor, and I'm thinking that would have been mentioned by someone in one of the numerous debates on leather armor over the years! Hannibal did indeed distribute captured Roman gear to his troops, but I honestly don't remember what he says about what they might have been wearing up to that point.

Quote:
I guess in the North African climate you might be more comfortable in leather armour during many tasks and it could be manufactured from more available resources.
Numidians trained in legionary combat style or Tacfarina's insurgents could have this leather thing to raise fighting moral at least.


But we know that all kinds of people back then, *including* Numidians, fought unarmored. It was quite natural and common. The Romans were more heavily armored than most, but even a lot of them had little or no armor. It was never seen as a problem.

Mind you, it is pretty well established by now that the Classical Greeks commonly wore the spolas, a cuirass made of leather. (We used to think this was the "linothorax" of glued linen.) But by the Hellenistic and Roman eras, that seems to be giving way to quilted linen, mail, and other materials (hence the shoulder flaps of the Roman lorica hamata).

Quote:
As already mentioned, leather armour can be utterly useless armour (like the cingulum militare), but it looks like the real thing and might be used for psychological reasons as a cheap surrogate (like in the History Channel today).


Hmm, I've never run across that idea before! On the "cingulum", actually called a balteus, the dangling apron of studded straps is clearly derived from the earlier practice of slitting the free end of the belt and putting one part through the buckle while the others dangle. It was never meant as any sort of real or psychological protection. The soft cuirass-like thing seen in some Roman artwork could be an under-armor garment, or a ceremonial garment derived from that function, but in either case is certainly not meant to represent anything intended to protect in battle.

Quote:
Dura Europas was manned by numerii from Roman Mauretania who were not exactly the most valued troops (see Numidians and Tacfarinas above).


Yet all of those in the Roman counter-mine were wearing mail! The use of leather armor is not something that can be rationalized into fact. We're all happy to examine any evidence, but there just isn't enough, in this case.

Vale,

Matthew
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Wilhelm S.





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PostPosted: Wed 15 Feb, 2012 6:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Bunker wrote:
Wilhelm S. wrote:
Sean Manning wrote:
There is no evidence for Roman leather armour at all, except for a leather scale cuisse from Dura Europos and a few sculptures which seem to show floppy breastplates. I think the idea of leather lorica segmentata comes from old movies which couldn't afford metal armour for everyone, or possibly very old books on armour from before there were any excavated metal loricae segmentatae. Bishop and Coulston is a good reference for issues like this.


Are there any pictures of that cuisse online?


See attachment.


Thank you. I will start cutting pieces this weekend.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 18 Feb, 2012 2:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

BTW if anyone in Britain finds some genuine segmentata fragments in a flea market I would love to buy them. Methinks that Matt would like to also. I'd be happy with owning a broken hinge.
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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Sat 18 Feb, 2012 3:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luis, you do know a steel plate lorica Segmentata like the Corbridge type B is one of the easiest armours to make and they're not all that heavy or cumbersome either. Easy to move in if made right for you body and you can take it apart so it folds up in a compact bundle.
Why not just make one of those? Minimal plate working involved except cutting the pieces and rolling the edge at the armpit. For bling you can either buy or make embossed washers, the rest are just riveting simple straps, hinges and hooks in place.
I've made a few and plenty of other people here have made them too so you can get lost of good tips.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Len Parker





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PostPosted: Sat 18 Feb, 2012 5:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I thought by now somebody would have posted this http://forums.armourarchive.org/phpBB3/viewto...p;t=145942 Kind of changes things a bit.
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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Sat 18 Feb, 2012 10:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Len Parker wrote:
I thought by now somebody would have posted this http://forums.armourarchive.org/phpBB3/viewto...p;t=145942 Kind of changes things a bit.

Not really. We already had one piece of leather scale armour from the eastern empire in that period (this dates to c. 250-350 CE by stratigraphy, Dura fell in the 250s). Its an exciting find, but there was already evidence for occasional use of leather scale armour in the east by someone.
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