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Anonymous

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Ok guys, sorry if you've answered this before, but did the Romans where that Greek phalanx style breastplate/backplate in the Punic Wars, or did they where the hamata/squamata style armies that early too? <p></p><i></i>
Ave!<br>
According to Polybius, legionaries with less wealth wore a "pectoral" or small bronze breastplate about 9" square (round ones have also been found), plus a helmet and a greave on the left leg. Richer men wore hamata (and two greaves). Scale armor was also known, and officers probably still wore the traditional muscle cuirass.<br>
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Best place for this info is still Peter Connolly's Greece and Rome at War, and the 2 Osprey books (I think they are "Early Roman Armies" and "Roman Republican Armies"). John Warry is pretty good, too, and of course volume 8 of Journal of Roman Military Equipment Studies, though that deals mainly with weaponry.<br>
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Vale,<br>
Matthew/Quintus <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

I really wish I had a scanner because my copy of <i> Caesar's Legions</i> has a couple of great photos of breast plates from that period. One of them is shaped vaguely like a torso with embossing on the pects and a relief of Minerva's head on the abdomen. The book calls it a "pectorale".<br>
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The other one is a full-torso cuirass, solid bronze plate on the front and one on the back. It's attached at the shoulders and goes over the head like a sleeveless shirt. <p><BR><p align=center><font color=gold><font size=3>
__________________<BR>
CASCA TARQUINIUS<BR>
<a href=http://www.legio-ix-hispana.org> LEGIO IX HISPANA</font></font><BR><font color=gold><font size=3>
__________________</font></font></p><i></i>
Matthew's hit the nail on the head. Get hold of the Peter Conolly book if you can, as a basic info source it does the job very well, and the pictures are gorgeous.<br>
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the differences in equipment may also to some extent be tied up with hte different roles of the legionaries in the legion, ie the triarii seem to have been more heavily armoured in hamata etc and equipped with a spear, the principes and hastati equipped with less armour and pila(or maybe spear in the case of the principes, there is some debate I think).<br>
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The velites of course were very lightly armoured, possibly a helmet, a wicker shield, light javelins.<br>
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All kit was owned by the individual and consequently must have given the legions of the Punic wars a slightly motley look. <p></p><i></i>

Guest

Salve,<br>
<br>
For some reason the statement that the type of body armour was linked to the various types of legionary heavy infantry seems to be copied by modern authors without properly checking the sources. It has spread like an oil spill and can now be found in several publications. According to Polybius the difference in body armour was not based on the division between <i> hastati</i>, <i> principes</i> and <i> triarii</i>, but on the wealth of the individual soldier. Those rated above ten thousand <i> drachmae</i> wore mail, whereas those below this census rating used the <i> kardiophylax</i> or <i> pectorale</i> instead.<br>
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Translation of Polybius book 6<br>
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It is good to trust, but better to check up.<br>
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Regards,<br>
<br>
Sander van Dorst <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

I think Sander's right about this. That's what my own research indicates...Kind of like how only rich men could cavalry because only rich men could afford horses.<br>
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The cuirass that I described above would've been far and away out of the price range of the average soldier, whereas the simple breastplate I described would be relatively cheap. <p><BR><p align=center><font color=gold><font size=3>
__________________<BR>
CASCA TARQUINIUS<BR>
<a href=http://www.legio-ix-hispana.org> LEGIO IX HISPANA</font></font><BR><font color=gold><font size=3>
__________________</font></font></p><i></i>
Note that I carefully said 'may' Sander Clearly i wasn't clear enough, I never liked the suggestion that much, it doesn't fit with the idea of age divisions for the different cleasses well, but it seemed so prevalent that I htought it was worth a mention. <p><i>Unless the Persians fly away like birds, hide in the earth like mice, or leap into a lake like frogs, they will never see their homes again, but will die under our arrows</i></p><i></i>

Guest

Salve,<br>
<br>
I noted that and it was not my intention to attack you in any way. My annoyance is aimed to the writers who fail to check references in other books and leave out the cautionary remarks, certainly not at you. It is one of several theories that seem to spread due to people not checking up the source references. There are several books around that state this as a fact and flatly ignore the description by Polybius. There are several erroneous ideas about the Roman army that seem to have gained acceptance in a similar way and these form some of my pet irritations.<br>
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Regards,<br>
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Sander van Dorst <p></p><i></i>
I don't feel attacked in the slightest Sander, you're right to pick up on this sort of thing. what i wonder about htough is where this idea is drawn from in the first place. <p></p><i></i>

Guest

Salve,<br>
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Perhaps the reasoning behind this might be the assumption that older men might be richer than the younger ones, which could be true (the passing away of a <i> pater familias</i> would have given a son finally full legal property rights), but it appears unlikely that all the <i> principes</i> and <i> triarii</i> would qualify for this quite high census rating. The repeated lowering of property requirements for service in the military might indicate that the average wealth of republican era legionaries may have decreased over time, but this seems at odds with the evidence for later republican times when it appears that the use of mail and scale was more widespread than in the days of Polybius, if not universal. One wonders what may have caused this, though succesful warfare must have added considerable amounts of wargear (some 200.000 sets of equipment were allegedly taken from Carthago alone), which may have lowered the cost of equipment like mail shirts. That such captured equipment may have been used by Roman troops could be supported by the fact that in the second Punic war several legions raised after Cannae were equipped with the spoils of victories over the Gauls.<br>
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Regards,<br>
<br>
Sander van Dorst <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

I think everybody's right about that one. Indeed it is mentioned only that those who could afford it wore mail. No mention is made of giving a particular type of armour to a particular type of warrior.<br>
However, the triarius was probably wearing more mail that the hastatus or the princeps simply because being the oldest generation in the legion the triarii were statistically the wealthiest. <p></p><i></i>