RomanArmyTalk

Full Version: Leon Lorica Segmentata - Follow Up Question
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Not wishing to take the fascinating topic off on a tangent and having failed miserably to find a previous discussion on RAT via a search may I please ask a potentionally earth-shatteringly easy to answer question?

When (and by whom)did the differentiation between lorica segmentata armoured infantry become defined as "heavy" as opposed to lorica hamata/squamata armoured personnel being termed "light" infantry? Is it an ancient source or a modern interpretation/assumption?

As far as I am aware, light troops in the Republican period had no/very little armour in comparison. I can also see why one would not wish to wear LS on a horse but do hamata/squamata (and even plumata) wearers necessarily have to be light troops in Roman terms? After all a trooper wearing squamata (and his horse) is considered heavy cavalry - or is this also a misnomer?

And, while we're on the subject; Trajan's column is often trotted out as the source for LS. What about the Tropaeum Traiani (inset on the attached photo - if it loads)? Was this not also victory monument from the early 2nd century? And erected four years before Trajan's Column and, allegedly, made by the legionnaries themselves?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/rom...y_03.shtml
Quote:When (and by whom)did the differentiation between lorica segmentata armoured infantry become defined as "heavy" as opposed to lorica hamata/squamata armoured personnel being termed "light" infantry?

Is this defined thus? I can't remember any occasion (articles, books, by reenactors, ...) on which this differentiation was made (based on armour) - apart, may be, from ignorant journalists writing their first article that is Rome-related(?).
Quote:Not wishing to take the fascinating topic off on a tangent and having failed miserably to find a previous discussion on RAT via a search may I please ask a potentionally earth-shatteringly easy to answer question?

When (and by whom)did the differentiation between lorica segmentata armoured infantry become defined as "heavy" as opposed to lorica hamata/squamata armoured personnel being termed "light" infantry? Is it an ancient source or a modern interpretation/assumption?

As far as I am aware, light troops in the Republican period had no/very little armour in comparison. I can also see why one would not wish to wear LS on a horse but do hamata/squamata (and even plumata) wearers necessarily have to be light troops in Roman terms? After all a trooper wearing squamata (and his horse) is considered heavy cavalry - or is this also a misnomer?

And, while we're on the subject; Trajan's column is often trotted out as the source for LS. What about the Tropaeum Traiani (inset on the attached photo - if it loads)? Was this not also victory monument from the early 2nd century? And erected four years before Trajan's Column and, allegedly, made by the legionnaries themselves?
First (to deal with the last), no-one has ever said legionaries couldn't wear scale or mail. They do so on lots of tombstones and on the TT. The metopes may well reflect the actuality of armour in the Dacian Wars as witnessed by the sculptors (or it may be more or less stylised, we don't know). TC is stylised to convey a political message within a narrative frame. That is why all the speculation about shield patterns is just so much BS. You couldn't see that level of detail from the galleries (wherever they may have been; no agreement on that) so it was overall general effect that was being sought, brought to fruition by sculptors who liked doing different twiddly bits according to their whim (how else to explain the seggie with mail chiselling on it?) – just think Slartibartfast and glaciers and you'll get it. The Good Dr Coulston's thesis and the resultant book... when it appears... are all about looking for patterns amongst the details that betray sculptural individuality.

As for the former, it's about the style of fighting. Think Napoleonic riflemen, who were light troops and skirmished, as opposed to line infantrymen, who fought in line and didn't (skirmish, that is). Line infantry could withstand a cavalry charge (as Ardant du Picq always pointed out) but light infantrymen couldn't because the poor little chaps were scattered all over the place. Same for the Romans: auxiliaries could fight as skirmishers OR as line infantrymen (as at Mons Graupius) whereas most legionaries fought as line or heavy infantry (but we do know that some legions at least had a light component too, as witnessed for example by the tombstones at Apamea). So light and heavy were not determined by putting them on a weighbridge, but rather by the number of them per hectare (wargamers express such things with different sized bases for their units... well they did when I was a kid).

Segmentata as a form of armour was better adapted to line infantry, but mail and scale were more versatile. Oh, and the when? Thursday 14th June 1992 at 10.17am. Ask a silly question... ;-)

Mike Bishop
I've never heard of mail or scale clad infantry being referred to as "light". They would, as far as I see it, still be considered heavy, so long as their weaponry and overall gear was the same as what was being used by all the other infantry soldiers. Based of course on their role...which I think will have an effect on the gear used.
Why is this in "Rules and Announcements" LOL
Quote:Why is this in "Rules and Announcements" LOL


This has happened to me before. I've posted in one section but it appears here in Rules and Announcements. Must be a software glitch.
In the ancient world, "heavy infantry" as I understand it has less to do with armor and more to do with the formation/tactics/fighting style. If scale or chainmail is as we believe it to be, the armor of choice by Centurions, and they were hardly what I would call "light infantry"
Quote:Why is this in "Rules and Announcements" LOL

No idea - that's not where I posted it.
Quote: Ask a silly question... ;-)

Mike Bishop

I was under the impression from several moderators responses to other "silly" questions that there wasn't such a thing. But thank you for answering some of my question anyway :wink:

Have to say, I've never seen a weighbridge on a battlefield with the possible exception of the military classsification of bridges used to ensure they don't collapse when armoured vehicles are likely to cross them and certain roads when considered as emergency runways for large military aircraft.

My interest stemmed purely from the fact that if the term heavy was/is applied to a formation (if not the individual soldier themselves) it infers a lighter force elsewhere does it not?
Hi all
To chuck a spanner in the works...if the above from Moi is correct then were there the equivilant of "the light and heavy brigades" of the 19th cent British Army Cavalry evident in the Roman Ala?
Or the up until recently, Light Infantry and Infantry in the modern British Army were one and the same, still front line troops fighting as required, with the same equipment,more or less.One just marched quicker than the other as far as i can remember.
Soooo...i have read that some Roman Infantry/Soldiers fought without armour as the specific tactics of a battle required.I do read a lot of rubbish at times so please dont shoot the messenger, i could well be wrong.
Kevin
Quote:
Magnus post=313097 Wrote:Why is this in "Rules and Announcements" LOL
No idea - that's not where I posted it.
Maybe you scrolled a bit while posting, you're not the only one. I moved it to where it belongs. Wink
Quote:As for the former, it's about the style of fighting.
What dr. Bishop says.

In Late Roman times we can see the same thing. Two units, normally fighting as heavy infantry, could shift tactics and equipment, and perform a successful night-time raid with small boats on Alamanni living on islands in the Rhine.
Classifying chainmail as "light armour" is just plain silly. It is heavier than segmentata and requires a heavier subarmalis as well.

I've had this very same discussion in the DBA (a wargame) list. But once Hollywood hammered into someone's brain the "chain==light, plate==heavy" nonsense it is impossible to shift it.