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Late Roman belt
#46
I'll give you the Villa Armerina one, that does look like a wide belt.

The second one doesn't look like a wide belt to me, but then I don't think it's mail either. Just a tunic.

Third one doesn't look like the sort of wide belt we're discussing.

Fourth one is interesting. As you say, looks earlier but does look like it's got propeller stiffeners.

Alright....the vast majority of depictions of things that are definately 4th century wide belt sets are shown being worn over tunics.

This one looks like he might have a baldric on his belt.


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"Medicus" Matt Bunker

[size=150:1m4mc8o1]WURSTWASSER![/size]
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#47
Quote: The second one doesn't look like a wide belt to me, but then I don't think it's mail either. Just a tunic.
Perhaps, but then it seems as thick as the man's wrist, so it's not a small one eother. Given that these belts were not of single shape, I'd go for a wide® one.
Funny that you don't see the hamata, that's the usual interpretation. A dotted tunic would be odd, while dots were used in Roman art to indicate mail.
Quote:Fourth one is interesting. As you say, looks earlier but does look like it's got propeller stiffeners.
Indeed. Perhaps ring buckles continued into the 4th century? Or propellor stiffeners were seen already in the 3rd?

Quote:Alright....the vast majority of depictions of things that are definately 4th century wide belt sets are shown being worn over tunics.
In your opinion, what would be easier to wear over a squamata, a wide one or a narrow one?
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#48
Quote:In your opinion, what would be easier to wear over a squamata, a wide one or a narrow one?

Dunno, don't wear it...awful stuff. Wink

However......

Why would you need to wear a belt (other than your sword belt)over any armour at all? The chaps on the Dura synagogue frescos don't seem to need one.

Like most re-enactors, I always wore a belt and seperate sword belt when wearing mail for no other reason than everyone else did. I told people that the wearing of tight belt helped with the weight of the mail but then, when I started wearing rivetted/solid mail rather than butted, the weight stopped being an issue anyway.
Then Stuart 'Monkeyboy' Davies pointed out that it's very rare to find someone in an early medeival (410-1066) context depicted as wearing anything other than a sword belt or baldric over mail; I looked, expecting to find plenty of examples and discovered that he's right.
You CAN find some if you look for them but they're often ambiguous and they're quite rare.

So, I tried wearing mail without the tight belt and found that it makes no difference to the feel of the weight, and that the free movement of the mail actually makes it feel more comfortable and less restrictive.
Then I thought about it. For mail to be as effective as possible, it needs to hang free. When it's hanging loose, the gap between each link and it's horizontal neighbour is kept as small as possible and has much better energy absorbtion properties.

So I don't wear one now.
"Medicus" Matt Bunker

[size=150:1m4mc8o1]WURSTWASSER![/size]
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#49
You don't need to wear a belt for the armour, you're right about that. But the most typical features of these belts are the rosettes, to attach stuff to your belt. I use mine for a purse, a knife and sometime smaller stuff. That could be carried by other means, of course, but then I think this belt is mainly about fashion, bling-bling if you want.
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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#50
"So, I tried wearing mail without the tight belt and found that it makes no difference to the feel of the weight, and that the free movement of the mail actually makes it feel more comfortable and less restrictive."

You're not alone. Here are some other , earlier Romans from the Adamklissi tropaeum, c AD 107/108.

[Image: 500px-AdamclisiMetope.jpg]

[Image: 454px-AdamclisiMetope15.jpg]

But others go the two belt route. Or the single waist sword belt. You pays your money.....[Image: 463px-AdamclisiMetope9.jpg]

[Image: 450px-AdamclisiMetope41.jpg]
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aka Paul B, moderator
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#51
Quote: I use mine for a purse, a knife and sometime smaller stuff. .

Exactly, all stuff that you might want on your person when you're in camp or in town, not when you're on a battlefield.
"Medicus" Matt Bunker

[size=150:1m4mc8o1]WURSTWASSER![/size]
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#52
Quote:
Robert Vermaat post=295445 Wrote:I use mine for a purse, a knife and sometime smaller stuff. .

Exactly, all stuff that you might want on your person when you're in camp or in town, not when you're on a battlefield.

Whilst I see the logic in your argument couldn't you also postulate that in a possession poor society you're not going to leave your valuable goods such as a knife, coinage etc behind in your baggage but actually want it with you.

What happens if the battle goes badly and you have to beat a hasty retreat or are separated from your baggage train or camp, you've lost all those vital bits and pieces which would be useful e.g. tinder box, coinage and other trinkets and personal valuables. Hence doesn't a belt seem the easiest way to carry them?
Marc Byrne
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#53
Quote:Whilst I see the logic in your argument couldn't you also postulate that in a possession poor society you're not going to leave your valuable goods such as a knife, coinage etc behind in your baggage but actually want it with you.

What happens if the battle goes badly and you have to beat a hasty retreat or are separated from your baggage train or camp, you've lost all those vital bits and pieces which would be useful e.g. tinder box, coinage and other trinkets and personal valuables. Hence doesn't a belt seem the easiest way to carry them?

Counter argument.

Scenario 1.
I'm Limitanei. I'm billeted in a house or barracks. I have a chest with a lock on it to keep my valuables in. If I go out to fight, I'm home by tea time.

Scenario 2. I'm in the field army. I live in a tent (or I'm billeted on some unfortunate local). I have a chest with a lock on it to keep my valuables in. If I go out to fight, I don't want lots of dangly crap hanging off my belt, getting in the way and giving the other bloke something to grab onto. If the battle goes so badly wrong that we don't get to surrender in a civilised manner and reclaim our baggage etc then I've got worse things to worry about than the few coins I might have taken with me or being able to start a fire.

Anyway, I'm not really disputing that you might have a few essentials with you in the field, in a drawstring pouch stuffed inside your tunic (which is where any sensible person keeps their money), just not suspended from one of those belts. I love them, but I'm not convinced that they highly decorated examples with stuff dangling from them were worn on the battlefield.
Many, many small drawstring pouches have come out of the Illerup bog, containing combs, fire lighting kit, bits of shiny stuff...all stuff being carried by a defeated army.
"Medicus" Matt Bunker

[size=150:1m4mc8o1]WURSTWASSER![/size]
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#54
Matt, you've suddenley made me see things n a very different light. I've had a look myself at armoured folks in the 4thC, and many do not wear any kind of belt.

Definately made me think again. Thanks! :grin:
Paul Elliott

Legions in Crisis
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/17815...d_i=468294

Charting the Third Century military crisis - with a focus on the change in weapons and tactics.
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#55
Quote:Exactly, all stuff that you might want on your person when you're in camp or in town, not when you're on a battlefield.
Ah, but then I did not say I meant to bring it all to a battlefield, did I? :wink:
I think this belt is a fashion product, and the use of it (apart from being a trademark of the soldier) is (I think) not for war in the first place. But remember, soldiers do not spend all their time fighting, by far the most time they are either in a camp or in a town, or (if comitatenses) on the march. The belt will do just fine for that.
You're talking practical use (no belt needed, trinkets not on the battlefield) and that's good, but if the belts need to be for practical use first and foremost, then why do we find so many being silvered etc.? I thinbk the wide belt (which appeared in the 4th c. and disappeared in the 5th) was a handy thing, and a fashion statement.
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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#56
Quote:I think this belt is a fashion product.

Me too.
And Paul seems to have had a Damascus moment.

Marc, you're on your own. :wink:
"Medicus" Matt Bunker

[size=150:1m4mc8o1]WURSTWASSER![/size]
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#57
Really good discussion- but I disagree that the belt is a fashion item. It is a part of the insignia of a Roman official/ soldier and so is more a status identifier than a pure fashion item. It means that you are part of the hierachy. As evidence, look at the repairs done on teh Dorchester belt buckle. Practically, it would make more sense to discard it and melt the metal down- but the owner wanted to preserve the belt itself- implying to me that it had a symbolic value separate from the practical value.

In battle, this status could be seen by the gilded helmet/ quality of armour/ quality of sword etc rather than the belt. Similarly, today's army officers wear different belts and insignia when off duty or on parade than in action in Afghanistan or elsewhere.

However, I don't buy the silvered nature of a belt as an indicator that it wasn't used in action. There is a long tradition in the Roman army of wearing silvered (and gilded) items on the field.

On the other hand, I see the Armerina mosaic as a sash, not a belt. But some of the other statues do seem to indicate a belt could worn over armour.

So, I'm still on the fence on this one, but its really got me thinking and questioning accepted practises.

And I've have to agree that "the vast majority of depictions of things that are definately 4th century wide belt sets are shown being worn over tunics."
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#58
Quote:I disagree that the belt is a fashion item. It is a part of the insignia of a Roman official/ soldier and so is more a status identifier than a pure fashion item. It means that you are part of the hierachy.

So the belt could be a way of identifying a man as a soldier when he wasn't wearing armour? Hmm, interesting... :-o
Nathan Ross
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#59
Quote:Really good discussion- but I disagree that the belt is a fashion item. It is a part of the insignia of a Roman official/ soldier and so is more a status identifier than a pure fashion item.

I was taking 'fashion' in the context of it being a distinctive style.

And, to clarify, I don't think that it's the expensive nature of the belt that precludes it from being standard ware on the battlefield because, as you say, much more expensive items seem to be have been worn.

Anything that gets us questioning accepted practice and going back to appropriate sources can only be a good thing. It's what seperates us from the LARPers. Wink
"Medicus" Matt Bunker

[size=150:1m4mc8o1]WURSTWASSER![/size]
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#60
Hi Paul,
Quote:Really good discussion- but I disagree that the belt is a fashion item. It is a part of the insignia of a Roman official/ soldier and so is more a status identifier than a pure fashion item.
Yes and no.
As I wrote earlier, it’s definitely an insignia – without the belt it’s not a soldier. I don’t think we argued against it’s use in battle either, only that it does not seem to have been necessary in battle. The discussion here is I think more about the shape and use – the rosettes, the width, the silvering of the parts – all part of a fashion statement.
I agree with you about the belt being typical for the soldier, but that goes for all the military belts. And as the balteus of the 1st-c. legionary is a typical fashion product of this age, the very wide belt of the 4th c. is a fashion product is typical for that one. Neither is more practical or less practical for use on the battlefield.
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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