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There is a well known passage of Vegetius in which he states that after the death of Gratianus infantry no longer carried armour. In the Osprey book about Infantry it is claimed that there was a law issued around 375 that replaced the assignation of equipment to soldiers by a pay in cash, so that they had to buy their equipment out of that money. The author claims that tjis would be the main reason why infantry abandoned armour, anyone knows the text of that law? in the Osprey book there is no reference, is it maybe in the Codex Theodosianus?
I think very few people still believe that statement of Vegetius. There´s enough evidence of armour worn during the 4th century when Vegetius was writing. For example read:
Beltrán Fortes, José and Adolfo Raul Menéndez Arguín (1999): New Evidence on the Use of Armour by Roman Soldiers of the Fourth Century AD, in: Journal of Roman Military Equipment Studies 10, pp. 21-26.
Or:
Coulston, J.C.N. (1990): Later Roman armour, 3rd-6th centuries A.D., in: Journal of Roman Military Equipment Studies 1, pp. 139-60.
I know the original article of Beltrán Fortés and it is based on a single iconographic evidence, I mean for sure it is absurd to think every single soldier after Gratianus never carried armour, and I imagine it is difficult to stablish what was the proportion of even if there wwas any substantive variation of soldiers carrying armour based on archeological evidence. My interest in fact was about the law, do you know the text of that law? It remembered me of systems used by other armies, for instance in Europe in XVI and XVII century, and in that context there were in fact complains that soldiers didn´t spend most of the money in armour, so they went to battle insufficently armoured (but certainly not unarmoured)