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Padded Armour
#46
M.C. Bishop, "Aketon, Thoracomachus, and Lorica Segmentata", in Exercitus: the Bulletin of the Ermine Street Guard vol. 3 no. 1 (1995), 1-3.

Hi Robert or Aitor,

This article sounds very interesting, but I cannot get access to Exercitus from here, not even with the copy system of our library network. Can one of you send me a copy by snail ?

I Would be very happy,

Florian
Florian Himmler (not related!)
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#47
Sorry, Florian, I'd like to have a copy too... :?

Aitor
It\'s all an accident, an accident of hands. Mine, others, all without mind, from one extreme to another, but neither works nor will ever.

Rolf Steiner
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#48
Hello Florian and Aitor

I have a copy of the Exercitus article which I could post to you after I return from Italy in October, if you can wait that long?

Graham.
"Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream" Edgar Allan Poe.

"Every brush-stroke is torn from my body" The Rebel, Tony Hancock.

"..I sweated in that damn dirty armor....TWENTY YEARS!', Charlton Heston, The Warlord.
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#49
Could I have a copy too? Graham- I know I also owe you some North African mosaics which I'll send over shortly.

Cheers

Britannicus
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aka Paul B, moderator
http://www.romanarmy.net/auxilia.htm
Moderation in all things
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#50
Sure, Graham, many thanks! Big Grin

Aitor
It\'s all an accident, an accident of hands. Mine, others, all without mind, from one extreme to another, but neither works nor will ever.

Rolf Steiner
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#51
We used a very high quality, half inch thick kind of felt as a saddle pad during the Junkelmann Limes Ride, and since than, I have advocated its use as a subarmallis. I saw the ideal felt for this in Hungary, a natural grayish brown sheeps wool felt, and used to make saddle pads, tents, etc.

It is ridiculous to dismiss the description in D.R.B. as an invention. When we begin dismissing the ancient accounts we don't like, we soon have nothing to work with. For one thing, felt was a very common material in the ancient world, for another, it has better shock absorbing qualitities than padded linen, and thirdly, the writer specifically explains how it should be covered by a waterproof thin moroccan goatskin (libyan hide) cover to protect it from becoming sodden with water. Just because peasant armies of the middle ages used inferior linen, lint or straw filled padding is no evidence the Romans did. Just as in the case of leather vs. linen tents, the Romans used the finest, most efficient equipment available to them, possible because it was a state equipped army, and the "state" was the greatest world power of its time.
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#52
Two things:
1. What is the word used for "felt" in the original?
2. Can I have a copy, too :?: Smile !:
Christian K.

No reconstruendum => No reconstruction.

Ut desint vires, tamen est laudanda voluntas.

LEGIO XIII GEMINA

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#53
'Ex coactile' if I remember well... Probably I have misspelled it horribly but I have not returned home yet! :oops:

Aitor
It\'s all an accident, an accident of hands. Mine, others, all without mind, from one extreme to another, but neither works nor will ever.

Rolf Steiner
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#54
Quote:Hello Florian and Aitor
I have a copy of the Exercitus article which I could post to you after I return from Italy in October, if you can wait that long?
Graham.
Hi Graham,

If you could include me in that list, I'd be happy to wait!
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Robert Vermaat
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#55
Quote:It is ridiculous to dismiss the description in D.R.B. as an invention. When we begin dismissing the ancient accounts we don't like, we soon have nothing to work with.

Dear Dan,

Please think before you write. Why would I deny the use of felt? I never said that. Nor am I describing the text of the DRB as an invention, or dismiss this source.

I'll explain the nature of De Rebus Bellicis to you. This is a document written with the intent of improving not only the army but also the finances of the Empire. The (anonymous) author was clearly not a military man, but may have been (it is thought) a civil servant, probably with some insight in the military and economy.
The DRB is full of inventions and well-meant proposals. The writer called for nonmilitary reforms, including changes in the monetary and legal systems and an end to corruption by provincial officials. besides that he describes many weapon improvements and new inventions. Spiked plumbatae, scythed chariots, horse-drawn ballistae, inflatable bridges, you name it. [color=red]http://www.xlegio.ru/sources/anonim_ref/...ram_bq.gif[color]Amongst all these the author mentions the thoracomachus.

Now you can say what you want, but in an MS that only deals with new inventions and proposal how to improve existing equipment, I can't see how the thoracomachus would be the only thing that was mentioned while (as you say) it was a tried and tested piece of equipment.

Either it had not been used in a long, long time, or the author is describing an improved version, as he is doing with all the other items in this MS.
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Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#56
1.Inter omnia, quae ad usum bellicum provida posteritatis cogitavit antiquitas, thoracomachum quoque mira utilitate ad levamen corporisarmorum ponderiet asperitati subiecit.
2.Hoc enim vestimenti genus, quod de coactili ad mensuram et tutelam pectoris humani conficitur, de mollibus lanis timoris sollicitudo sollertia magistra composuit,...
De Rebus Bellicis 15

Robert,
I've bothered to type the first paragraph because the author distinctly describes the toracomachus as 'invention of the ancients'. I don't know whether his innovation is just the leather cover or if it was just that the garment had fallen into disuse and the anonymous was advising its use again but on this subject, I agree with Dan.

Graham,
Better if you forget all of us or if you just scan the paper, transform it into a .pdf file and then e-mail it to us. Otherwise, the British Postal Service will dedicate you a statue! :wink:

Aitor
g
It\'s all an accident, an accident of hands. Mine, others, all without mind, from one extreme to another, but neither works nor will ever.

Rolf Steiner
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#57
Dear Graham,
I can wait till October! Big Grin
But as Aitor said, a .pdf scan via email would also be ok and would save you a lot of money (the dromedarii article was also transfered successfully).


Aitor, Dan and Robert, do you think modern felt as the basic material would be adequate, provided it is made of 100% sheep wool ?

If yes, Caius, do you know if the huge draper's shop at Augsburg has something in store ?
(I have found a source for natural colored 5 mm wool felt, but the running meter costs over 54 €!).

If no, does anybody know a place from where I can get hand made felt without killing my bank account ?

Although the De Rebus Bellicis seems to have been written by an armchair strategist (like Vegetius), the Anonymus on Strategy from the early 6th century was probably more experienced with military details
(G.T. Dennis suggests he was something like an army engineer).

Vale,
Flavius Promotus/Aurelius Florianus
Florian Himmler (not related!)
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#58
Quote: the author distinctly describes the toracomachus as 'invention of the ancients'. I don't know whether his innovation is just the leather cover or if it was just that the garment had fallen into disuse and the anonymous was advising its use again

Aitor,
Like I said:
Quote:Either it had not been used in a long, long time, or the author is describing an improved version, as he is doing with all the other items in this MS.

The 'Libyan Hide' may be the invention here, added to the padding garment. But I reserve judgement on that garment itself - I can't conclude from this short text that is was still in use. The use of felt is of course common, but I have no information that the subarmalis of old was also made of felt, or even that it was still in use. Mind you, it could have been of course, I just say that I can't conclude it from the text. Given de context of DRB and the use of wordfs like 'the ancients' makes me suspect that it was not in common use at that time.
_________________________________
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#59
Robert,
Then we agree on the basic facts! Big Grin

Aitor
It\'s all an accident, an accident of hands. Mine, others, all without mind, from one extreme to another, but neither works nor will ever.

Rolf Steiner
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#60
There is anecdotal evidence of subarmalia for Roman use. In Connolly's book, there is a depiction of an Etruscan warrior that he has interpreted as wearing a quilted subarmalis in conjunction with scale armor. The date is around 200 BC. Also, medieval warriors wore a cloth subarmalis. Therefore, we have a quilted subarmalis in existence both at the time of the Romans and immediately thereafter. It can be argued that the Romans would never have copied the Etruscans nor would medieval warriors copied the Romans, but the argument is a weak one.

Several writers in this comment have pointed out that the translation from the Latin word to the English word for "felt" might be somewhat suspect. I remember having conversations with Holger Ratsdorf and Bettina Maake, both of whom seemed to know their stuff, that the Romans did not have "felt" as we know it. Might the orginal Latin word have meant wool in some form, but not necessarily "felt" as we know it?

I have trouble with modern felt being worn because it is just not a practical fabric to wear in any form. It does not breath and both produces and soaks up sweat in great amounts. I recall a similar problem with the early suggestions that Roman mail had to be incredibly heavy and dense and weigh around 40+ pounds in order to be accurate. No infantryman is able to wear a 40 pound hamata, plus his other equipment for long and function in a combat environment. I know this, because I had a 40 pound "authentic" hamata and tried wearing it for an 8 hour stretch. As re-enactors, we have the ability to take nonsense and pronounce it as such when we encounter something that just won't work, in spite of what experts say. I think encasing the human body in a layer of modern "felt", plus other garments is just as foolish.

I also say wearing a layer of leather (in addition to the felt) is just as impractical. Leather does not breath, it does not survive water or sweat for long, nor is it kind to the human cooling system. Perhaps leather like buckskin, but not in the forms we are used to.

Linen or hemp, on the other hand, has none of the problems of leather. It breaths, it survives contact with water and sweat and can actually be laundered, which leather cannot. There is anecdotal evidence for the use of linen as armor: the Greeks used it and it was subsequently used in medieval subarmalia.

To tie our understanding of what a Roman subarmalia (if we are willing to admit they even existed) was made of to one translation of one word and ignore all other evidence is not a wise course.
"In war as in loving, you must always keep shoving." George S. Patton, Jr.
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