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One Belt for Pugio and Gladius
Hi all,
After recently being in Holland for 9 days I decided to try wearing my Gladius on the same belt as my Pugio. Nothing new to some. I noticed, wearing mail armour, that this did not affect the position of the Gladius at all. The belt being worn tight around the midriff. The pommel stayed in the same position and was even easier to draw the Gladius as it was only mounted on a figure of 8 leather tie, more flexibility than a Baldric. A friend tried this with Seggies, he said the pommel tended to get stuck under the inner shoulder plate but did not hinder him in any way. The Gladius was "held" firm under this plate when marching and when required to draw, he knew where it was and reached for it, found it, without hindrance.
A Gladius can be worn without a Baldric with both Seggies and Mail on a single belt without any problem, as long as the belt is really tight, as it should be anyway, in our opinion.
I would be interested to hear of other peoples experiences of using this method please?
Yeah it's a bit of a head-scratcher. Not sure what's going on.

We might be missing information on how we wear L. Seg. armor. Maybe we're supposed to have a tight(tighter?) belt to set the plates onto the hips and help transfer the weight, not unlike wearing maille. Perhaps some of our reconstructions/copies need to be adjusted for this, but then again, we only have the surviving pieces in the archaeological record. We don't have any kind of literature or "user's manual" for their arms & armor.

I'm willing to go with the "whatever works for you" mentality with some of this stuff. I happen to like wearing my gladius slung on a baldric when wearing L.Seg. it's just something I've become accustomed to, and, actually, still making little adjustments here and there as I'm trying to move away from using the balteus to "hold" the gladius to my hip/side of the armor, as it bangs around and gets caught under the plates, as mentioned, if I don't do this, but then I risk getting yelled at and accosted for daring to put my balteus over the baldric, which is blasphemy according to some. But I'm also not at all looking to kick a bee's nest either with that.
(I will say when I'm not in armor, I've been wearing the gladius/baldric "loose", over the belt, and seem to have little problems with it dangling around, unless I'm leaning over or doing a lot of moving around, but I'm probably just needing to get used to wearing a sword more often, and while un-armored. I have made the baldric adjustable to draw the gladius up "higher" when in just a tunic, which seems to help a bit but I digress)

If [your] interpretation of the very little bits of evidence points you to being able to wear both sword & dagger on one belt, even when wearing L. Seg., then, great. But if others still want to continue using a baldric, I don't see the problem with that. I'm a big supporter of being up-front and honest with the questioning public, as well as the context. We just don't know for sure, but we're still trying different things to figure out what seems to be what the Romans were doing and why they did it that way.

Until we build that time-machine...


Your post did get me thinking of the images seen on Trajan's Column and why we see images of not only TC but of others that seem to show some soldiers wearing no belt at all, but have just a sword on a baldric. It's confusing yet intriguing. Sometimes I wonder if wearing a decorated/plated belt is a -Roman Thing-, and these other dudes we see with just a sword slung on a baldric are Non-Romans. (also considering it appears that Auxiliaries tended to have more elaborate balteus compared to Legionaries, at least going from tombstone depictions; Auxiliaries trying to be "more Roman looking" than the Romans!) It seems like there are more layers of Roman "troop types" than just Legionaries and Auxiliaries, yet the distinctions seem to be terribly blurry to us. And at that, Romans may have gotten the idea of a belt around the waist perhaps from the [Celts], since the earliest Romans seemed to have worn a pectoral plate and very rarely a belt (I am thinking the "Villanovan" all-metal "belt"), although wearing a tunic "properly" one does need some kind of tie or belt across the hips. But I also think of Hoplites who didn't seem to wear a sword on a belt, but instead seemed to have preferred to wear a sword slung from a baldric, incidentally.
Andy Volpe
"Build a time machine, it would make this [hobby] a lot easier."
Legion III Cyrenaica ~ New England U.S.
Higgins Armory Museum 1931-2013 (worked there 2001-2013)
(Collection moved to Worcester Art Museum)
Thanks for your input Andy.
Today a few of us, in kit, attended a book signing in Waterstones Exeter with Mr Ben Kane. I wore my seggies for the first time using only 1 belt, no baldric. Here is where it all goes to pot. The weight on 1 belt was a little too much for it on seggies. Cranked right up as far as it could, the belt still could not hold its position. It slipped.
So I would say that 1 belt with Gladius attached is fine on Mail armour but "dubious" on seggies.
I think I am right in saying that around the time of the introduction of seggies, we start to see baldrics being used? Please correct me if I am wrong This makes sense to me now.
Anyone else have experiences with this?
Quote:around the time of the introduction of seggies, we start to see baldrics being used?

Yup. That seems to be the general [accepted] consensus, based on what little bits of info we have.

On a side note, I have a leather tie that I've looped through between the two bottom plates on my seg. on my left
side and use that to tie the belt. It does help prevent the belt from falling down. I also try to "hook" the bottom edge
of the belt to the first brass lacing loop on the Seg. as well as try to have the belt as 'tight' as possible.

There was some experimenting done with what were colloquially called "Marius clips" based on a [random] archaeological bit found that was a small piece of metal bent into an "S" like shape, that seemed to fit well between Seg. plates and had been interpreted as a kind of "belt hook / keeper", not unlike the ones seen on some modern uniforms.
Of course, we have no real idea IF that's what the hooks were used for, but they did seem to work really well for some.
Andy Volpe
"Build a time machine, it would make this [hobby] a lot easier."
Legion III Cyrenaica ~ New England U.S.
Higgins Armory Museum 1931-2013 (worked there 2001-2013)
(Collection moved to Worcester Art Museum)

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