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D. Besnier





Joined: 20 Feb 2009

Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sun 08 Jul, 2012 10:09 am    Post subject: Questions about rondels of Roman centurion armor.         Reply with quote

Hi everyones!

After some research, is still not clear for me what about these decorative rondels!
Can you help me? Here are my main questions.

- Is there a Roman name for this or these pieces of armor?

-What's in the back, just the leather webbing or other rondels?

-Do these are just weared by centurions?

-Does the faces of the rondels could also be portraits of loved ones or respected as womens, childrens, friends, officers, emperor, senators, defeted enemies, trophies etc..?

-These rondels should also be additional protections?


Thank you!



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Malcolm A




Location: Scotland, UK
Joined: 22 Mar 2005

Posts: 89

PostPosted: Sun 08 Jul, 2012 11:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Heelo
I am not an expert but it looks like the rondels you refer to are actually phalerae which were decorations / medals awarded for valour.
I dont know about their construction but would surmise they had no protection value.
Cheers.
M

It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom -- for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,315

PostPosted: Mon 09 Jul, 2012 7:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ave!

Yes, these were called phalerae, and they are believed to be awards for valor. I have seen them worn by standard bearers, so they were not reserved for centurions alone, but they may not have been awarded to the grunt soldiers. As far as I know, they were only worn on the front of the torso, so there would only be straps in the back. At least one set of original phalerae has been recovered, and I believe they are silver. My guess is they are repousse, but they might have been cast (most likely hollow and open in the back, not thick solid slabs!). I don't have any details on this set, and am not sure where to find more information, unfortunately.

For decoration, I've seen portrait heads which are most likely gods or the emperor, but some have a radial or floral pattern or are rather plain, just a center boss and maybe rings near the edge. I don't think there is any evidence that the wearer was able to personalize them with family portraits or the like--never seen anything like that on Roman gear of any sort! Animals may be possible.

While any pieces of metal would add a little protection to armor, the impression I get is that phalerae were not meant to be worn in battle. Soldiers did love color and shine, so good "bling" was definitely sought after, but a set of phalerae was probably not something you would want to get damaged.

Vale,

Matthew
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D. Besnier





Joined: 20 Feb 2009

Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu 12 Jul, 2012 11:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi!

Thanks for the Q!!! It makes my researches easier!
I finally found a good site about phalerae that responds almost all my questions, the address is...

http://www.legionxxiv.org/centurionpage/

Many thanks again!
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