RomanArmyTalk

Full Version: Plumbata
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47
Quote:Quick thought!!! Is plumbata neuter?? I seem to have assumed it's feminine singular for some reason...probably not!! :oops:
Renatus is right and so were you. It's a mistake often made. ;-)
Quote:Which might explain why they seem to mostly be found either on the frontier with a Germanic tribe, or near one of the fabricae.
Don't jump to conclusions from the distribution map alone. As Mike Bishop rightly remarks, distribution maps only show where some items were found, not where they all are. Much of this pattern can be explained by plumbatae not being recognised as such (they are often classified as javelin heads) or by archaeology not being of the same standard. Not only are there far more plumbatae to be expected from the Balkan (even more than so far), but also from France and Germany. And I don't believe for one second that the eastern Empire did not use them in Syria.
I don't have a problem with infantry. My comment is purely related to the fact an assumption is being made that cavalry are attacking at close contact which, I thought, was sufficiently "de-bunked" elsewhere.

I also sure plumbatae would have a deastating effect against anything unarmoured, so I think really, we are agreeing.

May I ask where the references to plumbatae being launched in a "cloud" comes from? Is it a very late source or more contemporary to the weapon usage itself?
Quote:
Gesith post=333044 Wrote:Which might explain why they seem to mostly be found either on the frontier with a Germanic tribe, or near one of the fabricae.
Don't jump to conclusions from the distribution map alone. As Mike Bishop rightly remarks, distribution maps only show where some items were found, not where they all are. Much of this pattern can be explained by plumbatae not being recognised as such (they are often classified as javelin heads) or by archaeology not being of the same standard. Not only are there far more plumbatae to be expected from the Balkan (even more than so far), but also from France and Germany. And I don't believe for one second that the eastern Empire did not use them in Syria.

Of course, it's nothing conclusive, simply a quick theory/thought, hence the word "maybe". Hopefully more digging can be done in the Eastern provinces and in North Africa, and more clear finds can be found.
My understanding is that it is now pretty much accepted that plumbatae (sp???--my latin declensions fail me), were thrown with an overhand motion. My question is whether anyone knows if soldiers threw them like a javelin with a closed fist, or did they use some other technique?
Hmm...I'm more of the lobbed or "mortar" school of thought, personally. Lofted, high trajectory makes more use of the lead weight and penetration of armour I would have thought.
Quote: I don't have a problem with infantry. My comment is purely related to the fact an assumption is being made that cavalry are attacking at close contact which, I thought, was sufficiently "de-bunked" elsewhere.
No need for debunking here. Cavalry shooting arrows are probably out of range of plumbatae, assuming they not close the distance furthur. cavalry throwing with javelins are within plumbata range however, which is attested by Vegetius.
Of course cavarly closing even further (and I assuming that they do so with speed, as any formation does which attempts to limit the time in which they are in range of any distance weapons) to use lance, sword or mace, will be even more in range of plumbatae thrown at them.

Quote:I also sure plumbatae would have a deastating effect against anything unarmoured, so I think really, we are agreeing.

We are. :-)

Quote:May I ask where the references to plumbatae being launched in a "cloud" comes from? Is it a very late source or more contemporary to the weapon usage itself?
None as far as I know. This is based on a kindo of 'rule of thumb', where the projectile is compared to arrows, javelins and pila - delivery in one shot/throw seems more effective than fire at will. Which, I hasten to say, would of course not be forbidden. But when you are attacked by a group of men (infantry or cavalry), to me it seemed the most effective to deliver a 'cloud' of projectiles. Hence my description. I don't know of any, but we think of pila as being thrown by rank, I think?
Quote:My understanding is that it is now pretty much accepted that plumbatae (sp???--my latin declensions fail me), were thrown with an overhand motion. My question is whether anyone knows if soldiers threw them like a javelin with a closed fist, or did they use some other technique?

Quote:Hmm...I'm more of the lobbed or "mortar" school of thought, personally. Lofted, high trajectory makes more use of the lead weight and penetration of armour I would have thought.

Plumbatae can be thrown both overarm as well as underarm. Modern testing has resulted in longer distances of underarm throws. Overarm throws result in a flatter trajectory, but at shorter distances the plumbata hits with more speed = impact. This impact can be matched by an underarm throw when the plumbata falls from a higher distance.

Current thinking is that underarm throws are used for targets both further away and protectd from the front, while the overarm technique would fit a target better which is at close range.
Speculative reasoning based on modern testing of course.
I found my 200th plumbata today. A milestone, so to speak. :wink:

Nr. 200 was found near Belchin, Bulgaria, at a Late Roman site named 'Tsari Mali Grad' (Roman name lost).
A nicely situated site judging by the pictures of the excavation: http://bnr.bg/sites/en/100NTS/Pages/2211...tress.aspx
Apparently there are plans for a restauration and a museum: http://www.gbs-bg.com/en/2012/06/the-res...e-28-2012/
[attachment=7391]Belchin126mm-63.5g.jpg[/attachment]

A pdf (in Bulgarian) can be found here:

Hristov, Michail (2012): a Late Roman “plumbata” from “Tzary Maly Grad”near Belchin village, Samokov region, in: Ongal, yearbook of the Association for Anthropology, Ethnology and Folklore Studies vol. 10/2012, pp. 358-366.
http://www.spisanie.ongal.net/broi5/10Hristov_M%201.pdf

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
3 from Bulgaria (up from 2)
3 from Greece (possibly BC)
2 from Liechtenstein
2 from The Netherlands
2 from Rumania
1 from Belgium
1 from Slovakia
48 from doubtful or unprovenanced origins
Congratulations, Robert! A notable milestone.

A shame I can't read Bulgarian! There's always google translate in extremis, however.
Awesome, that's enough plumbatae for 40-50 men!
All around Britannia, archaeologists toil through the night to find 3 more plumbatae so we can top the table again!!!!! :lol:
Quote:A shame I can't read Bulgarian! There's always google translate in extremis, however.
Google Translate has left me with a decent (yet not inspriring) translation of the article. Wink Anyone interested send me an email.
Quote:All around Britannia, archaeologists toil through the night to find 3 more plumbatae so we can top the table again!!!!! :lol:
Seriously Nick, I fear that Britain has forever lost that nr. 1 position. The state of archaeology in Britain is far better than that of Serbia, so even though I don’t think the ‘last British plumbata’ has already been found, I doubt that many more will turn up. On the other hand in the Balkan they seem to drop out of every heap of dirt. I dare say that Serbia will easily pass the 50 mark over the next decade, followed by Croatia and Slovenia.
This thesis seems interesting:
http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1793/64476

Joh Emery (2010): Experimenting with plumbatae and observations on their behavior

"This study looked at the behavior of the plumbata, a unique Roman throwing weapon. This was done through the replication of weapon heads, shafts, and flights based off of previous research and through the incorporation of historical pictorial representations. The objective of this study was to include the important element of time and practices that had not previously been accounted for in earlier studies. This study also looked at near exact replication of the weapons based solely from the pictorial representations of historical manuscripts. This had been mentioned by previous researchers but had never been carried out. Basic results were that the weapon does indeed improve in range and consistency of behavior in flight providing increasing smooth flights and a max range of over 200 ft. The result of the picture based weapons was that they did not perform nearly to the ability of the non-pictorial based weapons. "
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47