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Quote:How thick is your shield? Mine is between 7 and 9 mm, and 4 small nails are perfectly sufficient.

Hi Valerius,

Mine is about 12 mm thick. I was also thinking about adding riding straps to it. But I'm not sure if LR cavalry used dished shields. Any idea ?

Quote:We've been discussing this lately and the more I read and think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that the 'plumbatae inside the shield' were not meant for front troops (lines 1 to 4), but especially for the supporting troops (lines 5 to , who then maintained a constant rate of fire over heads of their comrades in front of them.

Makes sense. It seems consistent with the way the Romans tackled the Alans in 135 AD. The front ranks held up their pila as if they were pikes while the rear ranks threw their pila.

Quote:If not, throwing plumbatae would mean getting rid of your hasta first. And throwing them directly from the shield has it's own set of problems, even though both are possible.

Not necessarily, perhaps. Why can't you just stick your spear in the ground before you dispense with your plumbatae ? Just a thought.

BTW, were any cavalry units known to have carried a supply of plumbatae ?
Quote:Mine is about 12 mm thick. I was also thinking about adding riding straps to it. But I'm not sure if LR cavalry used dished shields. Any idea ?
Shouldn't hurt then, to use nails?
Yes, I think they did, that is to say - most if not all shield bosses point to dished shields. But that's all I know about that.

Quote:Makes sense. It seems consistent with the way the Romans tackled the Alans in 135 AD. The front ranks held up their pila as if they were pikes while the rear ranks threw their pila.
And which is exactly similar to what we learn from the Strategikon, too.

Quote:Not necessarily, perhaps. Why can't you just stick your spear in the ground before you dispense with your plumbatae ? Just a thought.
Sure you can, but that would mean you are not under pressure. You won't be able to throw them at a run, or against an enemy coming at you - you certainly don't have enough time to drop your weapons, fire the darts and reform your position in time to stop the charge!

Another thing is that you need lots of spcae for your arm to make the swing. You can't do that in formation, with 3 feet of space and the next guy right behind you.

Quote:BTW, were any cavalry units known to have carried a supply of plumbatae ?
Nope, nor do I know of any throwing them.
Quote:Shouldn't hurt then, to use nails?

Great - I just hope they hold while I'm riding. I'm trying to imitate the system Peroni rigged up for his shield here :

[Image: DSCF1830.jpg]

Quote:Yes, I think they did, that is to say - most if not all shield bosses point to dished shields. But that's all I know about that.

Oh good. Do you think my shield is larger than a cavalryman's ? I know they carried smaller sizes as well - I believe Faventianvs carries one of those. Mine measures : 107 cm by 89 cm

Quote:Another thing is that you need lots of spcae for your arm to make the swing. You can't do that in formation, with 3 feet of space and the next guy right behind you.

I understand. It isn't practical under battle conditions - good point. I haven't had the benefit of going to LR events and getting really good insights like that. :wink:

Quote:
Theodosius the Great:33tikmi0 Wrote:BTW, were any cavalry units known to have carried a supply of plumbatae ?


Nope, nor do I know of any throwing them.

I find that a bit surprising since the early empire had horsemen who threw darts. But maybe the Late Empire did have them and we just don't know ?

Would you say it's more likely than not that they had them ?




Theo
Quote: Do you think my shield is larger than a cavalryman's ? I know they carried smaller sizes as well - I believe Faventianvs carries one of those. Mine measures : 107 cm by 89 cm
I think it is, yes. How about a round one measuring 89 cm?
Quote: I understand. It isn't practical under battle conditions - good point. I haven't had the benefit of going to LR events and getting really good insights like that. :wink:
Big Grin It never answers everything but it will give you ideas about practicality, sure!
Quote: I find that a bit surprising since the early empire had horsemen who threw darts. But maybe the Late Empire did have them and we just don't know ?
Would you say it's more likely than not that they had them ?
Well, what can I say. Sure, a horseman would be able to throw them as good as the next guy, even more so when stationary. It would also be easier to carry more of them in a quiver, as Maurikios' troops seem to have done. But then when you read the Strategikon, there's a lot of talk who should be carrying these things around, and somehow I never found that when he discusses the cavalry.
Vegetius, writing 200 years earlier, also mentions only infantry when he's talking about plumbatae. But I can't tell if that omission also means that cavalry never carried any.

I'm still looking for a quote about a cavalryman killing the nephew of the Vandal king during Belisarius' reconquest of Africa.
Quote:I think it is, yes. How about a round one measuring 89 cm?

Hmm...I'd like to make it myself. But I'm intimidated by the authentic process. Maybe I'll opt for the easy way and make it out of one piece of plywood :lol:


Quote:But I can't tell if that omission also means that cavalry never carried any.

Understandable - we often seem to encounter ambiguities like this Sad

Quote:I'm still looking for a quote about a cavalryman killing the nephew of the Vandal king during Belisarius' reconquest of Africa

Good thinking - it might offer a clue. Thanks for your answers to my questions, Valerius. You've been a great help Smile

Theo
I used normal nails, and when they surpassed to the other side, I painted them in the same color to camuflate them.
Quote:
Chuck Russell:13jq5qt2 Wrote:[Image: arms-20.JPG]
i've heard of using soapstone molds around the shaft, but i dont know where to get it the soapstone.
any ideas?
Chuck,
I'd rather use Plaster of Paris moulds. They are less durable but you can make them far more easily 8)
Aitor

I agree with Aitor. Plaster casts are much easier to make and they last fairly long, long enough to make a fair amount of darts anyway! Of course, you could use stone but you need to get two exact (mirrored) copies to make a decent weight. I would say that is easier to achieve with plaster than (soap)stone.

Or, you could go for the ‘dirty’ method, and make a hole in the ground like they did to cast lead sling pellets – the fast way. However, I don’t know anyone who has tried that method!
Artist and Craftsman Supply in the US.. source for soapstone

You can also use wood so long as the inside of the mold is lined with a thin layer of clay... you can carve numbers or mold impressions etc into the clay
Good idea! Although, I've never seen writing on plumbatae.
Hi - on the subject of carrying plumbatae with the shield, a member of Comitatus has come up with a simpler method which would not leave traces on the shields. In my mind it is much more useful what do you think?

Use a leather bag to carry the plumbata, the bag can have a drawstring, it can be tied to the handgrip. It can be removed, passed to someone else - etc. There is no chance of recieving a cracking blow on your shield that will damage the plumbata (something that has happened with us - though I guess that's not a valid problem when you consider that these items would be thrown before hand-to-hand combat was initiated).

Sounds simple I know. But ... I really do like simple ways to do things.

I've checked Vegetius - he doesn't rule the bag theory out.
Quote:Hi - on the subject of carrying plumbatae with the shield, a member of Comitatus has come up with a simpler method which would not leave traces on the shields. In my mind it is much more useful what do you think?
I see no problem, besides a dangling bag is very cumbersome - if 5 plumbatae are inside this is no small weight and it might be a problem. The trouble is that we have no clue whatsoever how to carry these things, as vegetius is by no means clear.

Why do you think a plumbatae suspension can't leave traces on a shield? We have no remains of shield that could tell us how plumbatae were attached to the shield. The best examples, from Dura Europos, come from an area where no plumbatae have turned up to begin with.. Cry

Quote:Use a leather bag to carry the plumbata, the bag can have a drawstring, it can be tied to the handgrip. It can be removed, passed to someone else - etc. There is no chance of recieving a cracking blow on your shield that will damage the plumbata (something that has happened with us - though I guess that's not a valid problem when you consider that these items would be thrown before hand-to-hand combat was initiated).
I say yes to a bag, but keep in mind that these things are sharp (not a good idea to transport them with the points upwards!) so you need a sturdy bottom in your carrying device. Which is why I opted for the quiver, because the 'leather case' that is mentioned in the Strategikon just might point to such a device. Maurikios never mentions the number 5, so we get no denial nor a confirmation of Vegetius' ideas.

Would you say that a configuaration like mine is vulnerable? How was that shield damaged - in what manner and what was the resulting damage? Any pictures? The idea is of course that the shields were dished! Tongue
Large image with plumbatae
[Image: plumbata6.jpg]

Quote:I've checked Vegetius - he doesn't rule the bag theory out.
The trouble with vegetius is that he probably had no idea of how these plumbatae were carried. Five inside a shield is either assymetric, or maybe he thought of the way I tried to carry them - I don't know. :roll:

I agree that these things were either thrown before hand-to-hand combat ensued, or they were left for the supporting troops to use them during the battle itself - we know how fond Late Romans were of heavy missile covering fire. :wink:
This may be silly, but in my opinion plumbata could have been a perfect weapon for anti-cavalry purposes, breaking the order. Unprotected horses would go crazy after being hit these things. Imagine a lead weighted plumbata dangling in the side of a horse....
No Jyrki,
It isn't silly at all.. In fact, that is exactly what I tell to the public each time I explain the features and employ of the plumbatae 8)
Just some crazy horses would ruin the cavalry formation, undoubtedly.

Aitor
Quote:This may be silly, but in my opinion plumbata could have been a perfect weapon for anti-cavalry purposes, breaking the order. Unprotected horses would go crazy after being hit these things. Imagine a lead weighted plumbata dangling in the side of a horse....

We think so too. Gruesome.
That's why (with the current range hypothesised at a 100 meters) they would be as effective when thrown from behind the first 4 ranks during the battle, as they would be when thrown by the front ranks.

Hey, even the troops from the artillery and the wagons are told to carry some - that sounds more like a defence against fast attacks from enemy cavalry than against enemy infantry.

And remember, sitting on a horse it's much more difficult to duck... :twisted:
...and sitting on a duck it is much more difficult to horse (and Hengistu)!
I know, this must have been the worst joke on RAT`s history but this has been such a difficult week :oops: ...
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