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Full Version: Plumbata
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Quote:Ah yes but the question is...why would the Emperor be shown holding multiple spears? Surely one is enough to depict a spear. One in his right and two or three in his left...what would be the point if they were all spears?
Indeed. But he doesn't always, does he? They might be 'reduced' lightning bolts? Or arrows? Playing devil's advocate here of course - there are more barbed weapons, so why think only of a plumbata.

I must say that I do not really like the explanation by Estiot about the use of the plumbata by Severian forces, and their disappearance from the coins as a result of military failure. When dating is possible, plumbata usually are dated to the late 3rd c. at the earliest, and then mostly to 4th c. contexts. That makes an early 3rd c. 'falll from grace' unlikely.

Could you tell me something about these coins, as to the regional spread? Were they minted all over the place or especially in Western mints? That could perhaps forge an extra link with plumbatae, which really seem to have beeen something related to troops in the Western part of the empire.

[attachment=3041]plumbataemap2012-02-16_2012-02-17.jpg[/attachment]
The denarius of Probus was struck at Ticinum (Pavia, Italy), the aureus of Maximian was struck in Siscia (Sisak, Croatia),and the unique bronze medallion of Maximinus II as Caesar struck at Aquileia (Italy). More detail as to the dates and bust types is in the link I provided above.
Quote:Do you have a reference number? Like RIC (Roman Imperial coins). It would be easy enough to track down a picture.
Others which I posted earlier:
[attachment=3043]ConstantineI-RICVII-192-PARL.jpg[/attachment]
ConstantineI-RICVII-192-PARL
[attachment=3044]ConstantineI-RICVII-NIR-gSIS-53v-H6.jpg[/attachment]
ConstantineI-RICVII-NIR-gSIS-53v-H6
[attachment=3045]ConstantineI-RICVII-NIR-ASISdot-59v-H1.jpg[/attachment]
ConstantineI-RICVII-NIR-ASISdot-59v-H1
[attachment=3046]ConstantineI-RICVII-50-ESISstar-w-I_N.jpg[/attachment]
ConstantineI-RICVII-50-ESISstar-w-I_N
[attachment=3047]Crispus-RICVII-NIR-eSIS-a-G5.jpg[/attachment]
Crispus-RICVII-NIR-eSIS-a-G5
Quote:Do you have a reference number? Like RIC (Roman Imperial coins). It would be easy enough to track down a picture.
The article has been published online now:
Estiot, Sylviane (2008): Sine arcu sagittae: la représentation numismatique de plumbatae / mattiobarbuli aux IIIe-IVe siècles (279-307 de n.e.), in: Numismatische Zeitschrift vol. 116/117, pp. 177-201.
http://www.hisoma.mom.fr/numismatique/PD...02008).pdf

And another one:
V. DROST & S. ESTIOT, Maxence et le portrait de l'empereur en Mattiobarbulus, Revue Numismatique 166 (2010), p. 435-445.
http://univ-lyon2.academia.edu/SEstiot/P...iobarbulus
An interesting article by early tester David Sim about plumbatae. If you overlook a few misspellings and a seriously underestimated range, it's quite a nice article, dealing with construction as well as wounds.
http://minervamagazine.co.uk/archive_pdf..._23_03.pdf
Quote:Current toll
One year later, not much has changed:

30 from Serbia
28 from Britain
15 from Austria
14 from Slovenia
12 from France
9 from Hungary
8 from Croatia
8 from Italy
7 from Switzerland
5 from Germany
5 from Georgia/Abchasia (up from 4)
3 from Greece (possibly BC)
2 from Bulgaria
2 from Liechtenstein
2 from The Netherlands
2 from Rumania
1 from Belgium
1 from Slovakia

(63 ones from doubtful or unprovenanced origins)

Findspots:

[attachment=6688]plumbataemap2012-02-28.jpg[/attachment]
I still can't get the idea out of my head that plumbatae would have been a devastating weapon (especially) against cavalry / horses. A horse with one of these dangling on it's side would be totally uncontrollable. :errr:
I agree, would have been espcially useful against a cavalry charge, even if it didn't kill the horse/rider the shock of the impact would break the charge.
Well, we're back to the arguments for and against cavalry charging "at" infantry here aren't we? As well as delivery style of a plumbatae attack.

I personally think cavalry move too quickly for plumbatae to be an obvious weapon against them. Slower moving advancing infantry where you could disrupt the middle to rear ranks even when engaged in the front ranks.
Quote:Well, we're back to the arguments for and against cavalry charging "at" infantry here aren't we? As well as delivery style of aplumbatae attack.

I personally think cavalry move too quickly for plumbatae to be an obvious weapon against them. Slower moving advancing infantry where you could disrupt the middle to rear ranks even when engaged in the front ranks.

Which might explain why they seem to mostly be found either on the frontier with a Germanic tribe, or near one of the fabricae.
Quick thought!!! Is plumbata neuter?? I seem to have assumed it's feminine singular for some reason...probably not!! :oops:
Quote:Quick thought!!! Is plumbata neuter?? I seem to have assumed it's feminine singular for some reason...probably not!! :oops:
You were right the first time. Plumbata is feminine singular, plural plumbatae.
When I mean it will break a charge, it would definately work on infantry too. Throwing plumbatae all at once would work, you necessarilly dont have to aim for a guy specifically, just get it into the mass and you're bound to take out someone, be it an infantryman or a cavalryman.
Quote:When I mean it will break a charge, it would definately work on infantry too.

For sure.

I have a notion they would disrupt third and deeper lines in a nicely disruptive and indiscriminate manner Wink
Quote:I personally think cavalry move too quickly for plumbatae to be an obvious weapon against them. Slower moving advancing infantry where you could disrupt the middle to rear ranks even when engaged in the front ranks.
Plumbatae are delivered in a 'cloud', comparable to arrows, with the distinction that a plumbata can't be targeted like an arrow. Therefore, if you deliver a few hundred plumbatae at once on an advancing cavalry unit, no matter the speed, the effect will most likely be quite disruptive if the cavalry is unarmoured. I would even say, the higher the speed, the more disruption and chaos.

Likewise, advancing infantry is slower and therefore an even better target, but it can be protected much better by their shields 9even in rank 3 or 4). It's when infantry units have engaged that the plumbata becomes interesting, because if you force an attacking infantry unit to contantly protect itself against missiles from above, the infantry can't engage in the 'pushing' which some see as part of Late Roman infantry battles.
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