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Full Version: How protective and useful was Lorica Squamata?
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How protective and useful was Roman scale armour. It seems to be used a lot in the Imperial era as most Legionaires in the Trajan Trophy in Dacia. How does it compare to the Segmentata and Hamata?

The Scales are about 0.5 to 0.8mm thick. Which when their overlap they will form about 1mm to 1.6mm of protection. The Lorica Segmentata is about 1.5 to 2mm in plate thickness so when overlapped will provide 3 to 4mm thick in protection. How correct am I? Against arrow fire the Segmentata seems to be better. How the Hamata compares in penetration, I'm not too sure.

Against a crushing blow, it is believed the Squamata outpreforms of Hamata, although the Squamata breaks a lot easier. How does it preform compared to the Dacian Falx to the Hamata? The Segmentata is believed to be easily sliced through by the Falx, why Chainmail is absorbs the blow. Both the Squamata and the Hamata provide better coverage as shown in Trajan's Trophy in Dacia.
All kinds of armour perform the task that they were designed for. If they didn't then they would be augmented till they did or they would be discarded. We can be pretty sure that anyone who wore body armour in battle regardless of whether it was mail, or scale, or plate expected it to protect him adequately - even against the much-hyped Dacian falx. If you want to learn why soldiers chose the types of armour they did then protection is not the issue. You need to look at other aspects such as cost, weight, manufacturing limitations, availability of raw materials, comfort, transportability, ease of repair, longevity, fashion, tradition, etc.

The main problem with scale/lamellar armour is not its protective capacity but its longevity. It deteriorates quickly on campaign, and is a hassle to repair and keep clean. Here are a couple of sources talking about the problems with this kind of armour:

This is from The Nihayat al-Su’l

"If, during the winter, the armour gets wet or damp from rain, he must examine its leather straps and its connections carefully and wipe off any dampness or mud from its individual pieces and any wetness from its laces. If he fails to do this, the inside of it will rot and it will become out of shape. Such rotting shows negligence and carelessness."

This is from Chukokatchu Seisakuben

"When soaked with water the armour becomes very heavy and cannot be quickly dried; so that in summer it is oppressive and in winter liable to freeze. Moreover, no amount of washing will completely free the lacing from any mud or blood which may have penetrated it, and on long and distant campaigns it becomes evil-smelling and overrun by ants and lice, with consequent ill effects on the health of the wearer."
And yet it was used in campaigns for a very long time, suggesting that perhaps it was not always as problematic as these sources would suggest.

Also, I would be wary of presenting squamata and lamellar as the same type of armour. Although both utilise small plates, lamellar makes use of a far greater amount of lacing, much of which is exposed. Any lacing in squamata is likely to be hidden and less subject to some of the complaints listed above. Additionally, if a lace being used to hold a row of scales onto a squamata was damaged, it would not be at all difficult to effect a fairly quick and easy repair, even by a reasonably low skilled individual.