Beginner’s Guide for Roman Armor Collectors

Collectors looking to buy Roman soldier armor will have a lot of sections to assemble, so we’ve compiled a brief guide to the different pieces you may need to find. No matter what you’re buying, it’s not only important to make sure that the armor is sturdy and in good condition, but also that it fits well. Where there are buckles and straps, they should keep your armor in place, even when you move around in the armor.


Roman SoldierThe scutum, a large rectangular Roman shield, helped protect a large part of the soldier who carried it, especially since the curved surface is good at deflection. Roman soldiers practiced many different group formations, and soldiers could interlock their shields to form one large protective barrier all around the front of the unit as well as the top.


The main part of the Roman helmet is the bowl-shaped piece of metal that fits around the head. It also had metal pieces protect the back of the neck and the sides of the face, while a ridge of metal across the forehead helped deflect swords if they slashed down at the soldier’s face. Roman soldier costumes can have some variations depending on the rank, which allowed for different decorative fittings, such as a feathered crest.

Body Protection

The armor protecting the soldier’s chest depends on the era. If you’re looking for older forms of armor, you may be looking for chain mail, a type of meshed armor made of metal rings, or scale armor, which is made of a series of metal scales attached to each other and to a backing material such as linen or leather. Both provided light protection only, and later Roman armor was made from broad iron strips fastened together.

Below the chest piece, the soldier would often fasten a pteruges, which is a type of belt with thick fabric or leather strips hanging down to protect the upper legs. Some of the strips had metal studs to help them withstand weapons a little better.

Limb Protection

Soldiers sometimes protected their legs with curved metal pieces called greaves or protected one or both arms with a sleeve-like piece of armor called manicas. Manicas could be made of leather or of metal and were originally worn by gladiators before soldiers started using them as part of their Roman armor.

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