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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Fri 13 Jul, 2012 7:44 pm    Post subject: where was the mail armor of the Romans manufactured?         Reply with quote

I am wondering if anyone else here has ever tried to track down Roman military factories, and what was made at differing locations. Depending upon assumptions, statements about the quantities of Roman auxiliaries and legionnaires who supposedly wore lorica hamata over a range of time could lead to a conclusion that vast quantities of mail had to have been made and existed. I have hopes that someone has a text reference to an inventory or period record indicating place of manufacture.

Also, it is widely repeated that Roman use of mail is related to conquest of Hispania. Does anyone have any specific information about when in that period (roughly 220 B.C. to 50 B.C.) and why Roman adaptation of mail is attributed to that campaign?

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 14 Jul, 2012 12:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The texts don't usually distinguish between different types of armour. We don't even know what term they used to denote the segmentata. The first time lorica hamata is used is St. Jerome's Vulgate in 405 AD.
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Sat 14 Jul, 2012 7:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, I never heard of the adoption of mail being linked (har har) to the Spanish campaigns. (Could you be thinking of the gladius hispaniensis?) I think it is Livy who says mail was introduced to the Romans by the Gauls. Could have been as early as 300 BC.

I don't know of any finds of mail "factories" offhand, but for the Republic and early Empire they'd be more like "workshops" in any case. I doubt there would be much that would distinguish a mail-making shop from any other shop (or other structure) that would show up distinctively in the archeological record anyway. A draw-plate would indicate a wire-maker, punches could be for most any use. Riveting tongs would be a "smoking gun", but I don't know if they were even in use at the time!

I *think* northern Italy and the Po valley were big production areas, where a town might have a large number of smiths and armorers. But I don't know where I heard that...

Vale,

Matthew
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sat 14 Jul, 2012 8:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was thinking a slightly different approach to this would be looking at the practice of where and how Romans implemented military factories. Its true, we still won't know exactly what form of equipment was produced, but may be able to say more about "when and where" whatever armor they actually did have was being produced.

What i can deduce from the below link is that for some earlier period Roman soldiers had to buy their equipment. This severely limited quantities and who could serve. In later reform period the article below is talking about, there are quite a few statements about setting up armor factories in all urban areas, far away, and wherever forces were stationed.

http://independent.academia.edu/PiotrLetki/Pa..._tetrarchy

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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sat 14 Jul, 2012 10:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
Yeah, I never heard of the adoption of mail being linked (har har) to the Spanish campaigns. (Could you be thinking of the gladius hispaniensis?) I think it is Livy who says mail was introduced to the Romans by the Gauls. Could have been as early as 300 BC.


The type of quote I have encountered on several sites is usually worded something like this....“The knowledge on the manufacturing of mail may have come from third century BC conflicts with the Celts, though the first documented use occurred during the Roman conquest of Hispania. There were several versions of this type of armour, specialized for different military duties such as skirmishers, cavalry and spearmen.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorica_hamata

I don't remember seeing a similar statement by a respected author. I am wondering about the document, and the description of use.

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David Gaál




Location: Hungary
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PostPosted: Sat 14 Jul, 2012 11:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Have found some texts in my library maybe you could have some interest to read it:
The Development of Roman Mailed Cavalry by John W. Eadie
Fragments of a lorica hamata from a barrow at Fluitenberg, Netherlands by W. A. B. van der Sanden
(maybe you could find then in google)

From Allan Williams- The knight and the blast furnace

"The Roman legions were composed of infantry generally armoured with a shirt of iron mail, an iron helmet, and a large shield, and armed with a pair of javelins and a short sword made of steel (but not necessarily quenched). Their officers frequently wore armour of a traditional Greek pattern (breast- and backplates), and a number of bronze helmets have survived. These would probably have been as effective as the available iron ones (none have ever been analysed), but many times more expensive. Despite their cost, copper alloys continued in use as a material for armour.
The legions were organised into a more flexible disposition than the Greek phalanx, and accompanied by auxiliary cavalry who played a subordinate role, they found no enemy to defeat them in the Mediterranean world. The political abilities of the Romans enabled them to consolidate their conquests into an empire that survived for four centuries in Western Europe, and longer still in the eastern (Byzantine) part.
The most famous series of pictures of Roman legionaries are those carved on Trajan's Column (about 113 AD) which shows them protected by the "lorica segmentata", or segmented plate armour, which had gradually replaced mail during the 1st century AD, and seems to have remained in use until the 3rd century.
Other forms of armour remained in use however; for example, the column of Marcus Aurelius (after 180 AD) shows legionaries in both mail and segmented-plate, and scale and lamellar armour is also depicted. Lamellar armour can be traced back to the Assyrian period and consists of small plates laced to one another (but not to the underlying cloth garment) for the greatest flexibility. This type of armour was used for many centuries by Mongol, Chinese and Japanese warriors. A Roman lamellar cuirass of copper-alloy was excavated in 1993 from a late 2nd century context near the village of Cifer north of the Danube in modern Slovakia'-. Scale armour is different in that the pieces of metal (which arc not necessarily of uniform size) are fastened to the cloth undergarment. Some fragments of a scale armour (lorica squamata) excavated from the Roman fort at Corbridgc were found to be a copper-zinc-tin alloy. Excavations at Dura Europos in Syria (captured by the Persians in 256 AD) uncovered scale horse armours of both bronze and iron.
The "Notitia Dignitatum" is a MS which records the insignia of persons such as the "magister officiorum" in the early 5th century Roman army, and shows mail shirts together with helmets, swords, battleaxcs, arm-defences, and what may be shaffrons for horses. Byzantine emperors are shown in cuirasses of lamellar, or sometimes scale, type, but never in the lorica segmentata, so the period of its use seems not to have been very prolonged."

Dávid

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David Gaál




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PostPosted: Sat 14 Jul, 2012 11:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
“The knowledge on the manufacturing of mail may have come from third century BC conflicts with the Celts, though the first documented use occurred during the Roman conquest of Hispania. There were several versions of this type of armour, specialized for different military duties such as skirmishers, cavalry and spearmen.”


From Alan Williams- The knight and the blast furnace
"The precursor of plate armour was mail. It seems to have been a development of the late Iron Age, apparently by the Celts. The oldest piece of interlinked mail yet found was excavated from a 3rd century BC Celtic grave in Romania. This possibly developed from protective garments made up of rings threaded onto cords, like netting; a fragment of such a garment was found in a much earlier Celtic grave in Bohemia, perhaps of the 8th century BC. Mail is described as a Gallic invention by Roman writers such as Varro in the first century BC, in the course of an explanation of the meanings of words:
Lorica quod e loris de corio crudo pectoralia faciebat; postea subcidit gallica e ferro sub id vocabulum, ex anulis ferrea tunica.
The "lorica" [is so called because] they used to make chest armour from thongs of rawhide, and later the Gallic one of iron, an iron tunic of little rings, was included under this name, and Roman soldiers of that period are depicted on, for example, the altar of Domitius Ahenobarbus, which dates from before 30 BC, as wearing mail."

"There would have been enormous quantites of arms and armour made for the Roman army, both legionaries and Germanic auxiliaries, and which has been estimated as reaching perhaps 435,000 in extent by the 4th century''. So this would imply 435 000 helmets, and 435 000 body defences of some sort, of which (hypothctically) 100 000 were mail shirts in Europe and the Mediterranean area. It is very unlikely that these would all have been discarded, especially during a period of relative economic decline, and the largest part must have been adapted and re-used by subsequent generations. Much early medieval mail might have had a Roman origin, although this material cannot now be positively identified. Mail, by its nature, lends itself to recycling. It may be observed in many museums that mail shirts of European as well as those of Turkish or Indian origin frequently consist of many patches of different appearance. The method of repair or alteration is the same as the method of manufacture. New pieces of mail are simply attached by joining a row of links at each edge.
As a recent review by Callori points out, mail was popular because of its adaptability to diferent sizes of wearer, and comparative ease of manufacture. Shape could be given to the limbs of a mail garment by varying the numbers of links in a row."

Dávid

http://energie-fenster.at/
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David Gaál




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PostPosted: Sat 14 Jul, 2012 12:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

About where mail has been constructed? I think there where it could be mined or halfway between the mining territory and there where enough heating material was available. I think final product transport could be cheaper than raw material transport. Although it could be examples which could refute my thoughts. I think this question might be best answered if you would start to dig around the industry of big roman cities(I would start at first with that which had capital role in armour making in middle ages too for example.: Milan/Mediolanum, Brescia..., and where iron was mined in Roman period http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_metallurgy)
Dávid

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 14 Jul, 2012 2:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

We know where a lot of fabrica were located. We don't know what exactly was made in each one.
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Matthew Bunker




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PostPosted: Mon 16 Jul, 2012 3:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike Bishop's paper "The military fabrica and the production of arms in the early principate" is available to download from Scribd and is well worth a read if you don't want to spend money on BAR 275 (which is the proceedings of the 1985 RMERS conference on "The Production and Distribution of Roman Military Equipment").
"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
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