RomanArmyTalk

Full Version: Did hastati wear anything like a subarmalis?
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I ask the question referring to hastati who would have been wearing a bronze breast and back plate. The only images I have show the hastati in just a tunic. This kind of makes sense because of the reduced weight and size of the armour. The Republican legionaries I saw at Trasimene last year were wearing their armour directly over their tunics (not that that means it is 'correct', I understand).
As far as i know, I suppose the answer is, like almost always in issues concerning the republican military equipment... we just don't know. We don't have any representation of any legionary using a breast plate (we don't even have any Roman breast plate!). But in Samnite tombs, warriors using pectorales are wearing them directly over the tunic. This are paintings, so a lot of detail is missing. In this kind of breast plates preserved (and Iberian breast plates), there are holes in the sides so to attach some kind of padding behind the plate. So, if this breast plates are similar to the ones used by Romans (quite probably given the close contact and crossed influences between Samnites and Romans) some kind of padding was used. Maybe not a whole subarmalis (specially considering hastati where the poorest of the legionarys), but something to cushion impacts.
Thank you again, Tarbicus!
I imagine a subarmalis would be much cheaper than metal armor, and effective enough that legionaries would try to get the best subarmalis-equivalent they could before trying to get more expensive metal armor. If they have partial metal armor, I suspect they have cloth armor too, and if the sculptures don't show the latter, I suspect it's an artistic convention, as [for another example] late Roman sculptures don't usually show late Roman metal armor either.
Medieval arming garments were not thick enough to provide much protection. They were mainly intended to improve the fit and reduce chafing. I imagine that a subarmalis for Roman armour would be the same except for the heavier shoulder padding that facilitates proper functioning of segmentata. It wouldn't be any better than regular winter clothing if you wanted something to stop weapon attacks.

However, I would bet money that the Romans rarely wore a subarmalis under other types of armour. Scale, mail, and plate cuirasses probably had integrated liners - their armour was worn over regular clothing.
The reconstruction of a subarmalis under a breast-plate discussed in that thread, shown in "Roman Military Dress" by Graham Sumner, while possible (and great as a reconstruction), is not sure. First, the hastati shown in it is wearing a Samnite breast-plate (as any Roman breast-plate has ever been found). Second, the subarmalis is based in this cinerary urn from Volterra:

[Image: img3449l.jpg]

It looks like a padded garment. A subarmalis? It could be, but we don't know for sure. It is not being used under armour (therefore not under a breast-plate), but probably as a armour in itself (or as a way of staying warm in cold weather, who knows).
Quote:It looks like a padded garment. A subarmalis? It could be, but we don't know for sure. It is not being used under armour (therefore not under a breast-plate), but probably as a armour in itself (or as a way of staying warm in cold weather, who knows).

I have read lately, that the praetorians and urban cohorts used just subarmalis and sticks, for usual service on the streets of Rome, because armor and weapons were disliked by the people and just tolerated in emergency case or if guarding the palace or the emperor himself. There was also an ancient source suggesting to wear a leather-tunica over the subarmalis, if its rainy, because a wet subarmalis becomes rather heavy.

When Constantin planned to disband the praetorians, he asked them to muster at a place outside of the city, in order to welcome him. Dress code was subarmalis. The praetorians were not mistrustful, until surrounded by fully armed legionnaires, because the subarmalis was their normal uniform.

Furthermore, I am convinced, that wearing armor, especially hamata, without a kind of subarmalis is plain stupid. I doub't the romans were stupid. Perhaps the subarmalis was more popular, than we think.
I recall an anthology, Blood Red Roses on the archaeology of some of the dead at the Battle of Towton. Obviously a much later period, but some of the authors concluded, from wound locations, that cloth armor, jacks, had effectively protected the torso, although the situation may have affected the wound locations.
Quote:I recall an anthology, Blood Red Roses on the archaeology of some of the dead at the Battle of Towton. Obviously a much later period, but some of the authors concluded, from wound locations, that cloth armor, jacks, had effectively protected the torso, although the situation may have affected the wound locations.
Padded armour is usually very different from arming garments though. A 15th century French or Burgundian text orders jacks to be made from 25 or 30 layers of linen. That would be much too thick and heavy to wear under maille, but would be very protective, and might be worn over a haubergeon over an arming garment. Arming garments as heavy as padded armour are rare: it is possible that the padding under maille in Europe from 1150-1350 was sometimes fairly heavy, but I have not seen a good study.
So basically, you're saying either a tunic, or something more protective than a subarmalis, but not just a subarmalis? Okay.
No.

One is a heavily padded defence specifically designed to stop weapons. Examples include the gambeson, padded jack, linothorax, etc. A heavy variant can be just as effective as a metal cuirass but would weigh more.

The other is a specialised item of clothing. It was intended to facilitate the use of real armour but provided no protection by itself. They can be lightly padded or can have patches of padding in places where it is needed such as the shoulders. Examples include the aketon, pourpoint, arming doublet, subarmalis, etc.

With armours that have their own integrated padded liners there is no need for the latter. A regular tunic is perfectly fine to wear underneath.
Quote:However, I would bet money that the Romans rarely wore a subarmalis under other types of armour. Scale, mail, and plate cuirasses probably had integrated liners - their armour was worn over regular clothing.
I realise this debate has gone on ad nauseam, but surely it would hinder rather than help mail to have a fixed, inflexible liner? I think there have been a number of finds of mail in a collapsed state, which would be impossible if a sufficiently thick liner were used. Unlike plate or scale, mail armour can be conveniently stored in a small space (inside a helmet?) if it is unlined.

Quote:The other is a specialised item of clothing. It was intended to facilitate the use of real armour but provided no protection by itself. They can be lightly padded or can have patches of padding in places where it is needed such as the shoulders. Examples include the aketon, pourpoint, arming doublet, subarmalis, etc.

Most studies I've seen of the use of mail have argued for the absolute necessity of a padded liner to reduce the blunt force of a weapon strike, which the mail would do little to reduce. Padding would be needed everywhere on the torso, not just at the shoulders, surely?
Quote:I realise this debate has gone on ad nauseam, but surely it would hinder rather than help mail to have a fixed, inflexible liner?
What makes you think it is inflexible? The leather edging found on some types of medieval mail is to help fasten a padded liner. Why would it not have the same purpose on hamata?

Quote:Most studies I've seen of the use of mail have argued for the absolute necessity of a padded liner to reduce the blunt force of a weapon strike, which the mail would do little to reduce. Padding would be needed everywhere on the torso, not just at the shoulders
Yes it was padded everywhere, but usually only a few layers of quilted cloth. The shoulders and sometimes the hips can be more thickly padded.

Quote:Most studies I've seen of the use of mail have argued for the absolute necessity of a padded liner to reduce the blunt force of a weapon strike, which the mail would do little to reduce. Padding would be needed everywhere on the torso, not just at the shoulders, surely?
Blunt force trauma is seriously overblown regarding mail. The armour is really only susceptible if you get hit on exposed "boney" areas like the hip, elbow, collar bone, skull etc. Even if the mail was padded it doesn't help all that much if you get hit in those spots. And if you try wearing anything more than light padding it becomes too uncomfortable - especially if you have long sleeves. You start to move like the Michelin Man.

There are two completely different garments that people constantly confuse. One is a heavy standalone armour. Some can be as stiff as a board and weigh more than a solid plate cuirass - consisting of up to 30 layers of cloth or enough stuffing to fill it out to four fingers thick - after quilting the thickness reduces to less than 2 fingers. It is way too bulky to wear under mail and was never intended to.

The other is light padding specifically designed to be worn under the real armour. This is also made of quilted cloth but far thinner - maybe half a dozen layers. It is perfectly possible to replace this with an integrated liner made the same way and we have surviving examples of it being done. Some examples are padded on both sides (kazaghands, jazerants, gestrons).
Quote:
Quote:I realise this debate has gone on ad nauseam, but surely it would hinder rather than help mail to have a fixed, inflexible liner?
What makes you think it is inflexible? The leather edging found on some types of medieval mail is to help fasten a padded liner. Why would it not have the same purpose on hamata?

Yes it was padded everywhere, but usually only a few layers of quilted cloth. The shoulders and sometimes the hips can be more thickly padded.

The other is light padding specifically designed to be worn under the real armour. This is also made of quilted cloth but far thinner - maybe half a dozen layers. It is perfectly possible to replace this with an integrated liner made the same way and we have surviving examples of it being done. Some examples are padded on both sides (kazaghands, jazerants, gestrons).

Inflexible in the sense that it could not be fully collapsed, but would retain its essential form (i.e. a torso shape). If you allow the liner to be thick enough (c.6 layers) then I would imagine it would be much harder for it fold over itself like the hamata found in South Shields. Would the liner be attached only at the edges, or at other points on the body, so as to keep the outer layer of rings in place?
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