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Anonymous

Hello all, as the topic says, I'm new here. I'm a little confused by some information I have from multiple sources regarding lamellar in the late Roman era. I have read many places where lamellar, along with maille and scale, were the armours used by the Roman soldiers. I want to say that I have also read that no lamellar has been found to back this assertion up.<br>
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Now, my memory isn't the best, so I accept that I may be wrong. Does the archeology back up the use of lamellar? Does anyone know of any finds in Briton if there were?<br>
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Any and all help is GREATLY appreciated.<br>
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Tom <p></p><i></i>
This topic is being moved to History and Archaeology. <p><br>
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"The great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they are realities, and are often even more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are."<br>
-- Niccoló Machiavelli, <em>The Discourses</em>, 1517. </p><i></i>
I think it depends what you mean by "lamellar," since there doesn't seem to be a universally accepted definition. You can find a rather lengthy discussion on that topic here, though it ended rather inconclusively:<br>
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p200.ezboard.com/fromanar...=975.topic<br>
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Gregg <p></p><i></i>
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Off the top of my head, the one example of “trueâ€ÂÂ
And Robinson says that it was rawhide, not hardened leather. Do you have newer information on that, Gregg? (I kinda hope not, since it's hard enough dealing with the "leather armor" crowd as it is!)<br>
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Thanks and Vale,<br>
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Matthew/Quintus <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

First, please accept my apology for placing this topic in the wrong forum. I think it was a case of clicking in the wrong place. Still, I am sorry.<br>
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Second, thanks for all the assistance so far. By lamellar, I was referring to any armour made up of small plates laced together, rather than fastened to a backing. I had no knowledge of leather lamellar being found anywhere, so the thigh armour piece is exciting stuff to me. I'll have to see if I can scare up that book and see what I can see<br>
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Tom <p></p><i></i>
You’re probably right about the rawhide, Matt, I don’t have Robinson handy at the moment. I’m only vaguely aware of the difference between rawhide and hardened leather, and I think careless descriptions by archeologists probably add to the confusion. As for the function of the lamellar piece from Dura, I think the different interpretation is based simply on the size, shape and general construction of the thing. Though there may be some representational evidence to back up that interpretation; there aren’t many surviving depictions of armored horses, but one or two seem to suggest that in some cases different parts of the bard were constructed of different types of armor.<br>
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Tom - As we seem to agree on the definition of lamellar, I believe that examples of rawhide or hardened leather lamellar are pretty common from the later Middle Ages. Dating before that, I know of a few examples from Central Asia that were made of lacquered rawhide, and another from Eastern Central Asia that was described as dyed leather, possibly dyed rawhide (the lamellar piece from Dura Europas was dyed). There's even an example from Siberia made of bone. I’m not precisely sure about the dating of these pieces; I think they may all be from around the Late Roman or Dark Age period. But I know that rawhide/hardened leather was being used to construct scale cuirasses as far back as the Scythians, so the chances are that rawhide/hardened leather was being used alongside iron and copper alloy to construct lamellar from the moment it was first developed.<br>
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Gregg <p></p><i></i>
Simon James in his Dura book describes the Lamellar cuisse as "made of black leather, possibly dyed or lacquered...The laces, which run obliquely across the front of each lamella are red leather thongs" Presumably so are the vertical ones. He goes on to say that "the original Dura report described the leather as cuir bouilli, which involves soaking in water or better hot wax in order to harden the hide" He believes that Robinson was mistaken about them being made of rawhide, and also in his view probably never actually inspected them.<br>
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He also says that they are "a hybrid form, not a true lamella, but with a strong superficial resemblance to Roman scale armour" He believes they would have been used as leg armour.<br>
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Hope this is of some help?<br>
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Andrew <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p200.ezboard.com/[email protected]>Sassanid</A> at: 7/27/04 5:42 am<br></i>

Anonymous

Current thinking among the armour fraternity is that cuirbouilli never involved wax at all. Leather was hardened through the use of hot (not boiling) water. After being shaped and hardened the leather could then be waterproofed. <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

Regarding Robinson and lamellar, he has no idea. Apparently Robinson defines anything in which the scales overlap upwards as lamellar and anything overlapping downwards as scale - regardless of construction method or backing material.<br>
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As an example check out p.15 of "Oriental Armour". The first endnote for chapter one discusses Egyptian scale armour.<br>
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"There are several scale armours shown in this painting... If the heads of the scales pointed upwards, these would be excellent examples of lamellar construction."<br>
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According to Robinson, if the scales overlap upwards and are aligned vertically rather than staggered, it is lamellar. Most of the instances where Robinsion uses the word "lamellar" should be replaced with "scale". <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p200.ezboard.com/bromanarmytalk.showUserPublicProfile?gid=danielraymondhoward>Daniel Raymond Howard</A> at: 7/28/04 12:08 am<br></i>
True lamellar construction involves lacing (part of it visible from the outside) and is flexible. Up till now, the so-called Roman lamellae (i.e. elongated copper-alloy scales), when found still attached in groups (some fine examples from Dura on S. James' book) have been only reported as linked by wire loops, belonging thus just to rigid scale construction, not to lamellar one.<br>
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Aitor <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

So is the rawhide laced lamellar accurate? And if so, is this the same type of rawhide that dog chewtoys are made out of? (I have a large sheet of rawhide already that I could start playing with if so). If not, then what was it? I'm a bit intrigued at the moment.<br>
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Man I love this place<br>
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Tom <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

The lack of physical evidence does not mean that lamellar was not used by the Romans. This type of armour had been in use for centuries before there was a Roman army and was certainly used by the successors to the Romans, including the Byzantine military.<br>
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There are some examples of lamellar in Roman and contemporary artwork including sculptures from which much of the academic knowledge of the Roman armour has been derived.<br>
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The Romans borrowed extensively from neighbouring cultures and often improved upon the original material. Mail was (is) often credited to the Gauls, although the Romans certainly were prolific in the manufacturing and employment of this type of armour for centuries.<br>
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Lamellar is one of the types of armour that lends itself to being made from a variety of materials such as metal, leather, and wood. Armour made from crocodile hide is attributed to the Romans so it is quite possible that the Romans used a variety of non-metallic materials in the manufacture of armour.<br>
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Anonymous

I have been searching for several years and can find no confirmed example of true lamellar anywhere in the world before the 1st century AD. These examples are in China. I have found a few examples that could possibly be lamellar in China dating to the 1st century BC but nothing before that. All earlier examples have turned out to be types of scale armour. I cannot find a single piece of Roman artwork or sculpture that can be confirmed to be lamellar and not scale. In the West, the earliest confirmed examples of lamellar I can find date to the 3rd-4th centuries AD. I agree with Aitor in that the Romans wore a type of "locking scale", not true lamellar, which would have been free of backing material and more flexible. Even during the Byzantine period, a lot of their armour was "locking scale" rather than true lamellar, though they did utilise lamellar also. I think that Byzantine lamellar evolved from this locking scale and, if true, could not have existed beforehand. <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p200.ezboard.com/bromanarmytalk.showUserPublicProfile?gid=danielraymondhoward>Daniel Raymond Howard</A> at: 7/28/04 10:54 pm<br></i>
I seriously doubt the Romans ever used leather (or rawhide, bone, wood, etc.) armor. Huge amounts of Roman military equipment survives from all over Europe and the Middle East, and plenty of Roman leather survives from military sites, but no leather armor. Archeology and the written sources indicate that some of Rome’s enemies, like the Sarmatians and Parthians, utilized armor made of leather or raw hide, and even horse hooves. However, these were really only cheaper versions of the more expensive iron or bronze armors owned by the wealthiest members of those societies; the poorest warriors, usually the majority, went unarmored. But Rome was an extremely wealthy society, with state control of the military; generally speaking, Rome fielded soldiers, while her enemies fielded war-bands. Rome had the wealth, resources and industrial capacity to outfit all of its regular soldiers with high-quality armor and weapons. There might be the odd exception, like recruitment of local auxiliaries or allies who came with their own equipment (which may be one explanation for the Dura armor), but for the most part I find the idea of Romans using leather armor very unlikely.<br>
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From what I understand about that crocodile armor (and I believe there was hippo armor too), no one is exactly sure what it was used for or even who used it. One belief was I think that it may have been used in religious ceremonies. I think Sumner’s theory was that the Romans might have used it to equip hastily levied troops during the Palmyrene rebellion, but I find even that explanation rather dubious.<br>
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I wouldn’t mind getting into another long discussion about lamellar, but for now I’ll just say that I don’t think the Romans ever used it (I know, I should at least qualify that a bit...) Lamellar seems to have developed slowly, with different types paralleling each other (as seen in the Etruscan and Palmyrene carvings discussed in the previous thread). My own reading of the evidence suggests to me that “trueâ€ÂÂ
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