Getting to Know Your Roman Armor

If you collect Roman armor as a hobby, you probably take the time to search for authentic Roman armor. Roman armor is most recognizable for its use in epic battles and wars. But just how much do you know about it? Not all Roman armor is the same and such armor changed through the history of the Roman Empire. Here are some facts to help determine what type of Roman armor you have in your collection.

Roman armor

Lorica Segmentata

Lorica segmentata armor is not only the most recognizable Roman armor, but it also the most protective. Such armor is worn by members of the legion and by heavy fighters. The main armor around the torso is made out of two semi-circular sections that were enclosed around the chest and the stomach. Further protection is added using breast and back plating as well as shoulder guards. The armor itself is made out of iron hoops that are fixed together with leather straps. Some iron plates are hardened, giving them a resemblance to steel. Any hinges, tie-rings, or buckles are made out of brass. Loricasegmentatais big and very heavy to wear. Only a simple undershirt is worn to reduce discomfort.

Lorica Squamata

Lorica squamata is a scale type of Roman armor. Visually, it often resembles the surfaces of certain fish. This type of armor was also used by the Roman legion in the later periods of the Roman empire. The armor is composed of hundreds of thin scales that are either made out of iron or bronze. These thin plates were then sewn together to create armor that covers the back, chest, and torso areas. Such plates were no thicker than 0.8 millimeters in thickness. Because the plates were sewn together in an overlapping fashion, the armor had extra strength and durability. Lorica squamata armor also varied by the types of scales. Some scales are flat while others were curved. Tin is also added on the surfaces of some scales as well as the shirt for decoration.

Lorica Hamata

Lorica hamata is also known as a type of chain mail armor. Chain mail consists of multiple metallic rings that are bound together to create a mesh-like pattern. This armor was worn by legion members during the final days of the Roman Empire. These metallic rings are about 7 millimeters in diameter and are made out of iron or bronze. Over 30,000 metal rings are interlocked in an alternating pattern with a punched washer to join together what would become a ring of metal wire. Extra protection is added by the addition of shoulder flaps. Lorica armor took months to complete, but the mesh made it very durable. Some armor even survived and was used by armies in the Middle Ages.

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