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Anonymous

Bravo Lucius Alfenus! <p></p><i></i>
Hi Aitor,<br>
<br>
Picking up this thread, I've been reading <em>De Rebus Bellicis</em>, which was probably written in the 4th century. From that, I've come to the conclusion that the so-called Plumbata et Tribolata (the spiked variant) probably never existed. the anonymous, writing about several aspects of the Roman state, but especially about military matters, seems to have been intent on improving the existing design of several items. One of these is a description of plumbatae, and since he is the only one describing the spiked sort, i think we should look at it that way, as an improvement which never took place.<br>
This, and the fact that by now several dozen of the 'smooth' plumbata mammilata have been found, and not a single spiked one.<br>
Also, a spiked one would be more difficult to handle, because it might get stuck in the shield or in the quiver, and therefore more cumbersome.<br>
<br>
Dave, did you have a chance to scan those heads yet? I'd be very interested in the method of fastening the head to the wood.<br>
<br>
Alain, I've used one of your pictures on page 1. Why do The <em>Foederati</em> use a dart of such short lenght? How far do you get whith that one?<br>
<br>
John, does <em>Comitatus</em> work with plumbatae as well? If so, which one do you use?<br>
<br>
Valete,<br>
Valerius/Robert <p></p><i></i>
This is probably a bit off topic now, and the late empire is not really my speciality, but back on page 1 there was speculation about how plumbatae (in this case manufactured by Len Morgan) should be held behind a shield. Although there's presumably no more proof for this than any other reconstruction, the shield that we use for our fourth century soldier when doing presentations of 'the Roman army through the ages', also made by Len Morgan, features two square section wooden bars attached horizontally to the right side of the shield back about a foot above one another. The upper face of the lower bar is deeply drilled with evenly spaced sockets five sockets and the front face of the upper bar has five wide grooves in it which correspond with the sockets in the lower bar. To the right of each of the grooves there is a large headed nail which has been partially hammered in, thus creating a 'button'. A leather strap is attached to the left end of the front face of the bar with small slits cut into it corresponding to the positions of the buttons. The five plumbatae are each placed point down in a socket in the lower bar so that their shafts rest in the depressions between the buttons on the upper bar. The leather strap is then fastened over the buttons leaving a 'tag' about four inches long at the right hand end. This arrangement holds all five plumbatae quite securely and the tag on the end of the strap forms a quick release handle which can expose the plumbatae one at a time. The deeply drilled sockets the points rest in mean that the weapon does not immediately fall out and I have found it fairly easy to release a dart, then grasp and then throw it, with only one mishap so far, being the first time I tried to release and throw all five in turn at a run, when I accidentally released three at once by pulling too hard on the strap. I have not dropped one since. I have found that the shield is slightly unwieldy when fully loaded but not to the point where it cannot be controlled. The right to left release also gradually balances the shield as more darts are thrown so that by the time one would expect to come into hand to hand combat the shield is much better balanced.<br>
<br>
Anyway, as I said, there's probably no more proof for this than any other method but at least that was how the maker of the weapons envisaged that they might be carried and may have influenced the length of his plumbata shafts. I'll ask him the next time I see him.<br>
<br>
Crispvs<br>
R.M.R.S. <p></p><i></i>
Hi Crispvs,<br>
<br>
Not OT at all! If you look at the other pages, you'll find my own solution to the problem. In fact it looks quite similar - both on the right side of the shield, both with a socket and a leather strap. Only, my 'socket' is one rawhide 'bag', and I have one leather strap to hold all five <em>plumbatae</em>. My method was actually based on leaving as little evidence on the shield as possible, because we never found any yet.<br>
<br>
Interesting that you throw <em>plumbatae</em> at a run. The only textbook we have on possible plumbatae use (the 6th c. Strategikon) says they are supposed to be thrown while standing still. However, that would not exclude other methods of use.<br>
<br>
Do you have a good picture of your construction? You can mail it to me if you want at [email protected] .<br>
<br>
Valete,<br>
Valerius/Robert<br>
[url=http://www.fectio.org.uk/" target="top]Fectienses Seniores[/url] <p></p><i></i>
Hi Alain,<br>
Do the Foederati use <em>plumbatae</em>?<br>
Valete,<br>
Valerius/Robert <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://pub45.ezboard.com/bromanarmytalk.showUserPublicProfile?gid=vortigernstudies>Vortigern Studies</A> at: 12/5/03 9:27 am<br></i>

Anonymous

Robert,<br>
The plumbata you've seen on my group's website has broken on it's first "try". A friend of mine has made some, a bit shorter (about 40 cm long), and we tried them a few month ago : it can be thrown at about 30-40 meters !!!! Great kind of weapon !!!<br>
But how to put them into a too much "dished" shield ?<br>
Unless you imagine they could have been carried elsewhere... into a kind of quiver, like arrows.<br>
<br>
Alain<br>
<p></p><i></i>
Aha, that picture looked like it actually was a much shorter dart! How long was it? Good thing you took a picture first!<br>
<br>
Would you have a picture of that new version?<br>
<br>
I presume a too much dished shield would be not possible to hold up to 5 <em>plumbatae</em> unless the method would be totally different from what Crispvs as well as myself came up with.<br>
<br>
Yes, I think more darts were carried in a quiver. Maurikios is writing about a bag/quiver for more ammo, I'm currently looking into that one.<br>
<br>
Valete<br>
Valerius/Robert <p></p><i></i>
Sorry Valerius, I don't have a picture.<br>
<br>
I originally tried releasing and throwing plumbatae at a run because there seemed to be more of a challenge in doing this than standing still and throwing them. Also, I reasoned that it must have happened sometimes and in any case, if you can throw something accurately at a run you should be able to do even better standing still. I had also just finished a session of trying to see how easy it would be to hold two to three small javelins behind a horizontally gripped clipeus and then release and throw them on the run a la the well know column base sculpture from Mainz. Funny things for a first century legionary to be testing out but someone has to I suppose.<br>
<br>
Crispvs <p></p><i></i>
Too bad. Who currently has that shield? I''d like to follow it up in order too see how the constructions looks.<br>
<br>
Valete,<br>
Valerius/Robert <p></p><i></i>
Valerius,<br>
<br>
The shield always used to be kept at Len Morgan's house, but a couple of years ago he decided that the group should take more responsibility for the multi period kit and it was farmed out to various members. This allowed Len's wife some of her house back but then he retired and went into business as a full time armourer and now the house is even fuller than before, this time with bits and pieces of half made scabbards and helmet bowls. But I digress. I last held the shield about a month ago when I was playing my very occasional part as a fourth century soldier (in a very time consumingly embroidered tunic I'm afraid) at a re-enactors' fair, but for some reason somebody else went home with that particular shield. I suppose I'll see it the next time I need it.<br>
<br>
Crispvs <p></p><i></i>
Crispvs,<br>
<br>
If and when you do, I'd appreciate it very much if you would think of me. Shield (and tunic!) are of great interest to me, I'm always in for new stuff to see and learn from.<br>
<br>
Valete,<br>
Valerius/Robert <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

Sorry if this digs up an old topic from the depths of the archives , but on the topic of using clay to weight the plumbata , could the function be similar to how the pilum used to be constructed :- to produce a weapon that couldn't be thrown back at you . A plumbata in which the clay weight has shattered would not be half an as effective a weapon .<br>
<br>
How have the reconstruction projects progressed ?<br>
<p></p><i></i>
Clay weights - the more plumbatae I come across, the less I believe in clay weights, although I would never disregard the possibility. It may have been used when lead was not available?<br>
Someone did offer the possibility of degrading lead, and that may be the case. Plumbatae would bend or break of their own accord on impact, without the need for clay. Also, I doubt clay would be heavy enough.<br>
<br>
I now have a dished shield, and the next step will be a comfortable method of fitting my longish plumbatae to that!<br>
Also, I have a quiver for 10 plumbatae, in which I follow the description from the <em>Strategikon</em>.<br>
<br>
Aitor made some very nice shorter plumbatae, with very good test results, I beleive.<br>
<br>
Valete,<br>
Valerius/Robert <p></p><i></i>
Our experiments with plumbatae are enhancing that idea of plumbatae as one-use weapons, which is, incidentally, the most sensible choice!<br>
Our darts are of the tanged variant and the wooden shaft breaks on impact more than half the times. We've laid emphasis on making the lead weight as big as it is on most originals and it is really heavy, when compared with many reconstructed plumbatas I've seen.<br>
<br>
Aitor <p></p><i></i>
Hi Aitor,<br>
it looks like Dave Kennedy bought himself another plumbata:<br>
[url=http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=355&item=3725590521" target="top]E-bay[/url]<br>
<br>
<img src="http://www.ancient-treasures.com/~auctions/d458/20.jpg" style="border:0;"/><br>
Valete,<br>
Valerius/Robert <p></p><i></i>