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6th century AD Roman soldier
Hello! It's mine first post, so hi to all! I'm looking for all information, about clothing, armor, shield, weapons, helmet etc. of the 6-7th century Roman soldier. Thanks for all answers.
By the 6th century the Roman empire in the west had ceased to exist, and the army along with it - troops there would have been Gothic, Frankish or similar (albeit probably resembling late Roman soldiers in arms and equipment).

In the east, the empire continued in 'Byzantine' form. There actually seems to be a lot less information about the appearance of troops in the 6th-7th centuries in the east, and most of it is pictoral rather than archeological. If we can trust the pictures (like this ivory from 6th century Egypt) the east-Roman army continued to look rather 'regular' in equipment and dress. Shield patterns may have been similar to those recorded in the Notitia Dignitatum from c.AD400 (several unit titles seem to have survived, so perhaps the shield designs did too.)

Helmets in the west and the European provinces were probably of simple segmented or 'spangenhelm' type, like these 6th-7th examples from Novae, or maybe this, or more decorative 'Baldenheim' types like this one. The odd 'salad bowl' helmets that appear all over later Roman art (and on the Egyptian ivory above) are unknown in archaeology - if they existed, they seem to have been widespread.

For some more speculative reconstructions, try doing an image search on '6th century Byzantine soldiers' - you'll find various ideas, some perhaps more accurate than others!
Nathan Ross
The majority of helmets, including the ones from Novae, seem to have been basic Bandhelmets or Spangenhelmets. For example, this bandhelmet from Narona:

Many appear to have been built with Intercisa-Helmet Cheekpieces, and probably had quilted or even maille aventails. Take this example from the Brooklyn Museum (the Aventail is poorly reconstructed).

Pointed Spangenhelmets were also widespread, take for example this helmet from Jerusalem:

Or this one from Sinj:

Then, as Nathan has already mentioned, there are the elaborate Baldenheims, most of which were manufactured in the Empire and presented as gifts to Barbarians. It seems the Goths also manufactured them as well. Here are ones found within the Roman Empire: Heraclea Lyncestis and Voivoda (which is a mix of Bandhelm/Baldenheim).

There's also variations on these designs, such as the Novae helmets Nathan mentioned and the helmet from the RGZM museum:

The Romans also used Lamellar Helmets starting in the Late 4th Century. Earlier ones are of different construction, more similar to the Kispek helmet, but this 6th Century Example from the Arms Manufacturing Center at Stara Zagora is Roman:

In limited numbers, ridge helmets appear to have continued usage as well.

This is a pretty standard 6th century sword - it's what we call a Germanic Type-I. I believe this one was made by Paul Binns.

However... I'm honestly not sure if the standard Roman infantryman may have carried a sword anymore. Maurice calls it the Herul Sword, and says every infantryman should have one, but not that they do have them. Scabbards tended to have U-shaped chapes and edge reinforcements running all the way up the sides, possibly integral to the U-shaped chape. I call them the "Reinforcing-Arm U-Chape". See the guards on the Barberini Ivory or the Throne of Maximian in Ravenna:

It's possible the Romans were using Sassanian style 2-point suspension at this point, but I don't know. Scabbard slides with baldrics or swordbelts seem to have still been in widespread use.

Langseaxes of the Hunnish and Avar style (the so called narrow langseax, or the proto-saber once they start hitting 60-80cm in length, and eventually the Paramerion) were popular among cavalrymen.

This Proto-Saber is Avar, much later, probably 7th-8th century, but it gets the point across:

Long, straight, seax-style blade. These were the first Parameria, and would evolve into the true saber by the 8th century.
I should mention that much of what I'm saying here is only applicable to certain parts of the 6th century, as I'm not entirely sure how the minutiae of Sword decorations, belt fittings, etc. changed.

One of the biggest changes was in Clothing, as Shaped Tunics, button-cuffed sleeves, etc. begin to appear around 580 or so.

You can also look in 'By The Emperor's Hand' written by Timothy Dawson for details of clothing and dress.

"Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream" Edgar Allan Poe.

"Every brush-stroke is torn from my body" The Rebel, Tony Hancock.

"..I sweated in that damn dirty armor....TWENTY YEARS!', Charlton Heston, The Warlord.
"By the Emperor's Hand" and "Roman Military Clothing 3" (Osprey) are both good, although some of Raffaele D'Amato's interpretations of armor should be taken with severe scrutiny.
Hi! Thanks alot for all answers, I will check all.
Here are some 6th and 7th century Romano-Byzantines illustrations:
Byzantine soldiers on the Throne of Archbishop Maximian of Ravenna, Constantinople or Alexandria, 545–553AD
Justinian as world conqueror. The Barberini Ivory, Byzantine, mid-sixth century
Byzantine Horse on a textile, 6th century, The Walters Art Museum
St Theodore, Coptic Icon from the Monastery of St Catherine, Mt Sinai, 6th-century
Romano-Byzantine Soldiers on the Sitten Pyxis, Ivory, 6th Century, Museum of Valere, Sitten
Pyxis Showing Scenes from the Story of the Three Youths of Babylon, Byzantine, 6th century. State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, W-7
Pyxis Showing Scenes from the Story of Joseph, Byzantine, 6th century. State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, W-8
Pyxis Showing Scenes from the Martyrdom and Sanctuary of St Menas, Byzantine, 6th century. British Museum, 1879,1220.1
The Rabbula Gospels Evangelia characteribus Syriacis exarata Northern Syria, 586AD, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Firenze. Plut.01.56
6th-7th century Romans in the Ashburnham Pentateuch, BnF MS NAL 2334
Byzantine or Lombard Armoured Cavalryman on a plate from Isola Rizza, late 6th-early 7th centuries AD
Byzantine Warriors on Terracotta icons from Vinica, Macedonia, 6th or 7th century
Byzantine plates with biblical characters in Byzantine costume & armour of the reign of Herakleios, early 7th century
The Sacrifice of Jephthah's Daughter - Coptic Icon in the Monastery of St. Catherine, Sinai, Egypt, 6th-8th century
Victorious Emperor. Coptic-Byzantine Ivory Relief, 7th century. The Walters Art Museum.
The Syriac Bible of Paris, BnF MS. Syriaque 341, Syria or Turkey, 7th Century

Byzantine Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers
Welcome back! 
Could "Byzantines" use this type cover? In 6-7th century ?

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That helmet is more or less totally made up.
(07-16-2017, 10:32 PM)Agaton Wrote: Welcome back! 
Could "Byzantines" use this type cover? In 6-7th century ?

That's an artistic rendering of a Sassanid Persian helmet worn by Khosro II (570-628).

Robert Vermaat
FECTIO Late Romans
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
How long could be mail hauberk or lorica hamata? Are there any finds to that period?
There are germanic examples that survive, such as one from Gammertingen. They usually have 1/2 or 3/4 length sleeves and extend to the knees.

The shortest ones are depicted on the Apamea mosaics, which extend to the upper thigh and are sleeveless, almost like Principate armor, but they lack the doubler.
Padding vests (subarmales) were certainly still in use. The Anonymus peri Strategias (6th century AD?) mentions so called peristaethídia (rough translation: 'chestsurrounders') with a thickness of at least one daktylos. This, however, seems to be a bit much, since a daktylos - at least AFAIK - is about 1.95 cm. According to this author, these undergarments are there to make it easier to carry the armour AND to offer aditional protection in combat.

If you want to find out more about 6th century tactics and logistics, try to get an English copy of the 'Strategikon'. The original book is in Greek, but interestingly the commands are almost all still in Latin.
Florian Himmler (not related!)
The Anonymous De Rei Militari has been re-dated to the 9th/10th century according to the recent research of Phillip Rance.

Quote:This, however, seems to be a bit much, since a daktylos - at least AFAIK - is about 1.95 cm.

Not really. This is about what 25 layers of linen comes out to, which is where a quilted gambeson should be. Other Roman sources mention quilted garments around 2cm thick.

The Peristithridion wasn't the only one. The primary one was the Kavadion, which was a thick, quilted gambeson developed from the Kaftan which by the time of the De Rei Militari, was used for a primary defence mostly.

Quote:If you want to find out more about 6th century tactics and logistics, try to get an English copy of the 'Strategikon'. The original book is in Greek, but interestingly the commands are almost all still in Latin.

Shuvakov suggests that the Strategikon may be an update of a work dating to the 5th century attributed to a man named Urbicius. I'd imagine it was commissioned under one of the 5th century military figures or emperors, probably Aspar, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was done under Aetius. I'd have to see if there's any possible candidates for "Urbicius" from the time period.

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