RomanArmyTalk

Full Version: Segmentata differences
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
I know that lorica segmentata had 3 different models, but I don't know what the differences are among them. What makes the different designs unique from each other? Gratias, amici Romani!

PS- I wasn't sure whether this question should've been posted under Roman military history & archaeology or reenactment/reconstruction, so I went with the one that sounded more history-minded. If I goofed, please let me know for future reference.
Your best bet is to take a look at Mike Bishops "Lorica Segmentata" here:

https://www.academia.edu/513011/Lorica_S...ate_Armour
To be brief (relatively speaking):

Kalkriese armour: The leather straps were riveted directly to the iron plates. The shoulder hinges were also of a simpler shape, sometimes referred to as being 'sub-lobate'. Only two rivets were used to attach them to the plates. You have to remember that this is the least well-known of the types. A complete set has so far never been recovered.

Corbridge armour: the weakness of the leather straps was identified. The straps were now sandwiched between a folded brass plate and the rivets were passed through this sandwich and thence through the iron plates. Also, the lobate shoulder hinges were now much more ornamental, with volutes at the top. They were attached with five rivets. There were three sub-types, which differered only in how the girdle plates were suspended from the upper chest and back guards. The girdle plates were closed by means of a tie-hook attached to the upper edge of the girdle plates, back and front. Laces were then used to bring the two rows of hooks together.

Newstead armour: The tie hooks were replaced with tie loops on the girdle plates. The loops looked like an Egyptian 'ankh' device. The shank was passed trough a hole in the plates on one side only, before being hammered over behind the plate. The loop was then passed through a slot (sometimes this slot was protected by a brass plate) in the adjascent plate, where it was secured by something like a split pin. The lobate shoulder hinges were now much larger, about twice the size of the Corbridge types. Also, the top volutes were much more angular in form and there was a triangular 'fret' (like that on the early Corbridge lobates) in the centre of the plate. The number of girdle plates was reduced, with the bottom plate being much deeper. The upper back plates were reduced from three on each side to only one on each side.

There may have been a fourth type, known only from a statue in Romania and known as the Alba Iulia type. In this case the girdle plates were much deeper with only three on each side. Also, the upper shoulder guards seem to have been replaced by a scale 'cape', in effect a form of composite armour.

Hope this helps. As Crispianus says, a much fuller description is to be found in Mike Bishop's monograph on the armour.

Mike Thomas
(Caratacus).
And this is only what we know, and what we know is likely the tip of the iceberg. There were likely many different variations with subtle differences and maybe some more drastic changes. We should never allow ourselves to think of Roman gear and typical or standard, because the truth is that was a lot more fluid than that. Changes were constantly being through repairs, variations based or where something was produced, or the need of the situation.
Quote:I know that lorica segmentata had 3 different models,
Brandon just pointed it out-in reality we dont know how many models were developed over the years.Those 3 main types you mentioned are just what is known today.But we have evidence for other types also in existence.There were certainly more models than just 3.
(10-09-2015, 09:12 AM)AMELIANVS Wrote: [ -> ]
Quote:I know that lorica segmentata had 3 different models,
Brandon just pointed it out-in reality we don't know how many models were developed over the years. Those 3 main types you mentioned are just what is known today but we have evidence for other types also in existence. There were certainly more models than just 3.

I cannot agree with that. You certainly cannot say that there were more than three versions of this armour out there, just waiting to be uncovered. I know of some 2,000 lorica segmentata fittings, in 11 different categories. What strikes one is the remarkable consistency of these things, throughout the Roman Empire. It doesn't matter whether you find the fitments in Britain or from somewhere down the Rhine/Danube frontier, or from western France, or Spain or North Africa or Syria/Palestine - they all look the same. I've described the four types known above (Kalkriese, Corbridge, Newstead & Alba Julia) - and that's it! No other variants have been found. If there were any such, they would have had to be very minor adjustments indeed to remain hidden.


Of course, having said that there was a time when we did not know of the four (possibly only three if we exclude the Alba Julia type) variants - so there may be a 5th type (or a 6th, 7th...) lurking out there - somewhere! That, however, is very far from being a certainty. What does seem to happen is that the various fitments of the armour may go through a series of developments. Thus, there are indications that the lobate hinges went from the so-called sub-lobate form that we see in the Kalkriese type, to the fully lobate forms of the Corbridge type, to the much larger and more angular form we see in the Newstead type. There are also indications that the early forms of the Corbridge armour were more carefully constructed and they became cruder over time. These, however, were not variants, merely differences between a Monday-morning shift and that of a Friday afternoon, if you see what I mean. What we do not seem to see is any cross-matching going on. Thus, Corbridge armour contains only Corbridge fitments - there are no Newstead fitments (which is what you would expect because the one form preceded the other) but Corbridge shows no indication of re-using any Kalkriese bits. Again, Newstead armour shows no indication of re-using Corbridge stuff. Admittedly there are far fewer examples of the latter type known - but surely there would have been some indication that they would have come to light by now?

Mike Thomas (Caratacus)
But there are at least three different versions of the corbridge, so that would mean there are currently 6 different variations of the lorica segmentata. And there are differences between the finds at Newstead and at Stilfreid, so are those different variations of one model or different models all together?

This classification system has the same issues as the Robinson Helmet classifications, (Gallic/Italic insert letter here) if you assume there are only certain designs in use, then you force a find or example into one of those categories rather than truly looking at it for what it is.
(05-13-2016, 04:59 PM)M.VAL.BRUTUS Wrote: [ -> ]But there are at least three different versions of the corbridge, so that would mean there are currently 6 different variations of the lorica segmentata. And there are differences between the finds at Newstead and at Stilfreid, so are those different variations of one model or different models all together?

This classification system has the same issues as the Robinson Helmet classifications, (Gallic/Italic insert letter here) if you assume there are only certain designs in use, then you force a find or example into one of those categories rather than truly looking at it for what it is.

My point exactly. There are three different variants of the Corbridge armour - but they are variants, not different species of armour (i.e. what we call lorica segmentata). There are minor differences as to how the girdle plates are attached to the upper chest and back plates with Corbridge - but all are regarded as being Corbridge types. Newstead armour, however, is of a radically different design, with different numbers of plates, different design of the lobate hinges and a different way of linking together the girdle plates.

Given enough samples from as wide a distribution (time, place) as possible, eventually it should be possible to produce a fairly reliable typology for pretty much anything (pottery, brooches, swords, daggers, etc.) You can see this with Robinson's typology for Montrefortino helmets. Back in 1975 there were only a few dozen known examples - now there are over 300. This, however, has not really invalidated what Robinson put together. Indeed, it seems more likely to me that we need to rethink the E variant of the Montefortino as being the E-type of Coolus but that's about it. I think that Robinson's system for helmets is much better than what is sometimes referred to as the 'Continental' system, where we use the initial find site as a "type". This gives rise to multiple names, such as "Montefortino-Carnosa". If you don't know what these types look like, then making such a comparison is pretty useless. Robinson's 'types' are actually pretty exact descriptions of what each type contains in the way off features, so a "D" Coolus is distinguished from an "E" Coolus because of the different ways in which the brow guard is formed.

Mike Thomas (Caratacus)
Mike, what is your take on that relief carving which appears to show seg shoulders combined with scales?
I am assuming that you are referring to the partial statue (missing the head) from Romania, known as the "Alba Julia" armour sub-type?

I saw the statue about 18 months ago. Unlike the cavalry relief from Arlon, which is open to interpretation as to whether the shoulder protection is actually armour strips or a poorly rendered shoulder doubling in mail and leather, this one is pretty definite. There are several differences between this armour and the Corbridge/Newstead varieties (such as the number of girdle plates, for example). However, the shoulder armour depicted is definitely cape made up of scales and cannot be interpreted as a poorly-rendered attempt to represent the 'normal' set of 6 shoulder plates on each side.

At present, this seems to be a "one-off". However, there are persistent rumours that the segmentata armour recently recovered (within the last two years and currently being conserved) from Leon in Spain may also include this Alba Julia type. We will know when the finds from this site are eventually published!

Caratacus
(Mike Thomas)