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Leather Cuirass Lorica Musculata, I used to think no way but
Quote:That non metallic musculata existed, though perhaps very rare, and that metal cuirass' were the norm, otherwise why mention him wearing a linen one?
More importantly; why paint it metallic? To deter anyone having a go, perhaps, which perhaps speaks volumes about the material of choice for a cuirass?
TARBICvS/Jim Bowers
A A A DESEDO DESEDO!
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Here's the excerpt from Epitome of Dio Cassius, book 79, para. 3:

"...For, though he was most bold with his threats and most reckless in his undertakings, yet he was the greatest coward in the face of danger and the greatest weakling in the presence of hardships. He could no longer bear great heat or the weight of armour, and therefore wore sleeved tunics fashioned more or less like a breastplate, so that, by creating the impression of armour without its weight, he could be safe from plots and at the same time rouse admiration.

Italics are mine.

Now, this translation reads somewhat differently than the version I've seen, which I'm pretty sure says "he wore a breastplate of linen fashioned to look like a metal one," or something quite similar.

In any case, the impression I get here is that true armor was heavy-- i.e. metal, but that Caracalla wore this kind of fabric "faux" armor because he was a "weakling." Dio seems to be implying that any real emperor worth his salt would wear the real deal.

I'll see if I can get out my original Loeb edition and find the Greek. Be interesting to see what Greek words are used for "breastplate" and "armor" and such.

Another interesting passage from the same biography shows this affectation for fabric armor may have had something to do with his idolization of Alexander the Great:

Book 78, para. 7: "He organized a phalanx, composed entirely of Macedonians, sixteen thousand strong, named it "Alexander's phalanx," and equipped it with the arms that warriors had used in his day; 2 these consisted of a helmet of raw ox-hide, a three-ply linen breastplate, a bronze shield, long pike, short spear, high boots, and sword."

Interesting that the materials for each item are specified -- raw ox hide for the helmets, three-ply linen for the cuirasses. Linen cuirasses are well-attested in the Greek world (though three plies seems a little light), but not ox hide helmets. It would appear that ox hide was regarded as having some defensive qualities if one were to make a helmet out of it... unless Dio is trying to point out how ridiculous this anachronistic enterprise was.
T. Flavius Crispus / David S. Michaels
Centurio Pilus Prior,
Legio VI VPF
CA, USA

"Oderint dum probent."
Tiberius
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T. Flavius Crispus wrote :-

Quote: raw ox hide for the helmets, three-ply linen for the cuirasses. Linen cuirasses are well-attested in the Greek world (though three plies seems a little light), but not ox hide helmets.

...just some trivia points of note here. Rawhide headgear was never used by Macedonians, but there may be Homeric references. Rawhide 'bascinet' type helmets were used in Spain in the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C. ( and presumably earlier).
Similarly, linen corselets were described in the Classical Greek world, but only as being worn by Asiatics, not Greeks. Linen corselets are in addition mentioned in use archaically in Spain, and again in Homer.( there is a significant debate about this in the Greek threads, on a par with the Great Tunic Debate)

The armour seems to be 'Homeric' inspired more than actual Macedonian....
"dulce et decorum est pro patria mori " - Horace, ODES
(It is a sweet and proper thing to die for ones country)

"No son-of-a-bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country" -GeorgeC Scott as General George S. Patton
Paullus Scipio/Paul McDonnell-Staff
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Ave Centurio Flavius,

Quote:Here's the excerpt from Epitome of Dio Cassius, book 79, para. 3:

"...For, though he was most bold with his threats and most reckless in his undertakings, yet he was the greatest coward in the face of danger and the greatest weakling in the presence of hardships. He could no longer bear great heat or the weight of armour, and therefore wore sleeved tunics fashioned more or less like a breastplate, so that, by creating the impression of armour without its weight, he could be safe from plots and at the same time rouse admiration.


Nice job, thanks for posting the excerpt. And to continue the quote exactly where you left off, Dio says : "He often used these garments when not in battle." This would seem to cast even more doubt on the "armor's" usefulness, at least to me.

Vortigern,

Quote:There is no evidence of emperors leading from the front in this period.

What about Constantine the Great ? According to the Anonymus Valesianus (5), during the second war against Lincinius :

Licinius himself had covered the slopes of high mountain near Hadrianopolis with a huge army. Hither Constantine turned his march with his entire force. While the war went on slowly by land and sea, although Constantine's army had great difficulty in scaling the heights, at last his good fortune and the discipline of his army prevailed, and he defeated the confused and disorganised army of Licinius; but Constantine was slightly wounded in the thigh.

Wouldn't this seem to imply an active role in the battle ?

And I also remember reading about Constantine leading the cavalry against the Sarmatians and personally throwing the heads of many he had slain at the feet of Galerius. Of course, Constantine wasn't emperor at the time - only an officer in the Eastern armies. Still, he seems to have been a true warrior who was more than capable of leading men from the front.

Aurelian has a similar past as described by the HA in 'Aurelian' [18].

Then there's Maxentius during the battle of the Milvian Bridge. Didn't he lead his men out of Rome to confront Constantine ?

In fact, many of the Ilyrian emperors seem to have been great warriors which is why moderns refer to them as soldier-emperors. So, Julian doesn't really stand out against this background. He was merely the last of the Ilyrians.

~Theo
Jaime
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Quote:Vortigern,
Vortigern Studies:sb37li7h Wrote:There is no evidence of emperors leading from the front in this period.
What about Constantine the Great ? According to the Anonymus Valesianus (5), during the second war against Lincinius :

Wouldn't this seem to imply an active role in the battle ?

And I also remember reading about Constantine leading the cavalry against the Sarmatians and personally throwing the heads of many he had slain at the feet of Galerius. Of course, Constantine wasn't emperor at the time - only an officer in the Eastern armies. Still, he seems to have been a true warrior who was more than capable of leading men from the front.

Aurelian has a similar past as described by the HA in 'Aurelian' [18].

Then there's Maxentius during the battle of the Milvian Bridge. Didn't he lead his men out of Rome to confront Constantine ?

In fact, many of the Ilyrian emperors seem to have been great warriors which is why moderns refer to them as soldier-emperors. So, Julian doesn't really stand out against this background. He was merely the last of the Ilyrians.

Hi Theo,

All true, but you're preaching to the converted. :wink: The point here is 'from the front'.
You are certainly correct about Constantine, Licinius and Maxentius, who were all with their armiesin active roles, as were Valerian, Valens and others.
However, the claim that I refuted was that these descriptions also meant that these men were also in the front ranks. This, apart from (probably) Julian, is not reflected in the sources.

Constantine the general is of course (as you already said) not the same as Constantine the emperor. So on campaign, yes, but in the front ranks, no.
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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I see, Vortigern.

The parameters were more restrictive than I thought. At first it sounded like you were going to the other extreme, saying that emperors played a completely passive role in battles. Of course this isn't historically accurate and you were not saying that it was - just that they didn't lead from the first rank.

So, Julian is thought to have led the infantry from the front rank ? Constantine and most other Ilyrian emperors seem to have been cavalymen and, so, would not have fought with the infantry which has many disadvantages besides, perhaps, more personal danger. Being able to ride to trouble spots to rally the men is a great advantage of staying mounted, for example.

Anyway, next time I'll read the thread's context more carefully. :wink:

~Theo
Jaime
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So than perhaps what Dan is saying could be true afterall. Perhaps what is being shown in the sculptures is not armor at all, but designed to look like armor like the example with Caracalla. Perhaps before getting their portraits they had special linen cuirass' made? Who wants to stand in front of a sculptor for hours all day in heavy bronze armor, when you don't really need the protection? Perhaps on the statue of Antoninus, that is his faux-armor beside him and not his subarmalis?
Dennis Flynn
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Quote:Who wants to stand in front of a sculptor for hours all day in heavy bronze armor, when you don't really need the protection? Perhaps on the statue of Antoninus, that is his faux-armor beside him and not his subarmalis?
Do you need the Emperor's body for the portrait, and not just his head? Looking at the heroic statues of Augustus, he does tend to look a bit 'beefed up'. But that said, your last comment is viable.
TARBICvS/Jim Bowers
A A A DESEDO DESEDO!
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Well, at least some kind of pre arrainged uniform or outfit for the image they want to subject, like Augustus' prima porta, loaded with propaganda and symbolism, that I'm guessing the sculptor did not imagine up, but I could be wrong, my life has shown a strong pattern towards that direction.
Dennis Flynn
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I'm not saying the whole panoply isn't based on a real panoply, just that the Emperor need only sit for the head part. A bit like when aristocrats had their portrait painted of them sitting on a horse, but they actually sat on a wooden frame for the sitting. I still maintain Augustus looks rather butch, and I wouldn't be surprised if someone else's body was used as the body model from the neck down. There isn't any actual need for the armour to be worn by anyone; it also could have been modeled by itself after initial sketches are made of it being worn by a stand-in.
TARBICvS/Jim Bowers
A A A DESEDO DESEDO!
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Hi Theo,

Quote: At first it sounded like you were going to the other extreme, saying that emperors played a completely passive role in battles. Of course this isn't historically accurate and you were not saying that it was - just that they didn't lead from the first rank.
I understand. Big Grin D

Quote: So, Julian is thought to have led the infantry from the front rank ?
I don't think so, no. He was close enough to be killed by a (stray?) javelin, but I don't think he was at the time actually fighting hand to hand with the Persians.
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
Reply
Here's Ammianus' account of Julian's last battle:

"2. And while our flanks were strongly guarded, and the army proceeded onward in as good order as the nature of the ground would allow, being formed in squares, though not quite closed up, suddenly news was brought to the emperor, who had gone on unarmed to reconnoitre the ground in front, that our rear was attacked.

3. He, roused to anger by this mishap, without stopping to put on his breastplate, snatched up his shield in a hurry, and while hastening to support his rear, was recalled by fresh news that the van which he had quitted was now exposed to a similar attack.

4. Without a thought of personal danger, he now hastened to strengthen this division, and then, on another side, a troop of Persian cuirassiers attacked his centre, and pouring down with vehemence on his left wing, which began to give way, as our men could hardly bear up against the foul smell and horrid cries of the elephants, they pressed us hard with spears and clouds of arrows.

5. The emperor flew to every part of the field where the danger was hottest; and our light-armed troops dashing out wounded the backs of the Persians, and the hocks of the animals, which were turned the other way.

6. Julian, disregarding all care for his own safety, made signs by waving his hands, and shouted out that the enemy were fleeing in consternation; and cheering on his men to the pursuit, threw himself eagerly into the conflict. His guards called out to him from all sides to beware of the mass of fugitives who wore scattered in consternation, as he would beware of the fall of an ill-built roof, when suddenly a cavalry spear, grazing the skin of his arm, pierced his side, and fixed itself in the bottom of his liver.

7. He tried to pull it out with his right hand, and cut the sinews of his fingers with the double-edged point of the weapon; and, falling from his horse, he was borne with speed by the men around him to his tent; and the physician tried to relieve him."

A couple of interesting points: Julian "had gone on unarmed to reconnoitre the ground in front," which seems to imply he left his usual position in the column, which isn't specified. Julian was impetuous by nature and by this point had become rather fatalistic (he'd earlier had a dream which he interpreted as meaning the gods had abandoned him). His actions here— going "unarmed" to the front, then charging into an action without bothering to don his breastplate, almost seem to indicate to me that he was seeking out a glorious death to extricate himself from the disastrous trap into which he'd led his army.
T. Flavius Crispus / David S. Michaels
Centurio Pilus Prior,
Legio VI VPF
CA, USA

"Oderint dum probent."
Tiberius
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Hi there, sorry I know this is a forum more about the armor's usefulness but I am finding it really hard to get information from someone who had used the water hardening technique for this kind of thing. Do you think the process would allow the leather to mould enough for a women's breastplate (i.e. boobs n curvy bits) you got some good definition for the muscle tone.. also did the paint crack with wear? and do you think thinner leather would hold shape as well? (I don't need it to be effective armor it is for a costume I am making)
again I know this is a little off topic but any help you can give me would be so much appreciated!!!!
Thanks! Georgie!
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Ave!

Probably the best place to ask would be the Armour Archive.

http://forums.armourarchive.org/phpBB2/

There have been plenty of threads there on shaping leather. Note that soaking and shaping leather is a separate process from hardening it, which requires heat, although you can certainly do both at once (at least for easier shapes) by using hot water. The shapes you want may take several steps of wetting and stretching/forming. But I know other folks have done it, so it's certainly possible.

Thinner leather may shape more easily in some ways, but might not have as much potential for deeper shaping. For example, a bronze age leather shield from Ireland was shaped by hammering wet leather into a wooden mold to form the dome in the center. It's several inches deep, and I'm not sure you could get thinner leather to stretch that far without tearing. Don't know!

Paint durability will depend on the paint! Leather dyes won't flake. But again, lots of good experience on the Armour Archive about painting leather.

Good luck!

Matthew
Matthew Amt (Quintus)
Legio XX, USA
<a class="postlink" href="http://www.larp.com/legioxx/">http://www.larp.com/legioxx/
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Ave,
Antonia putting in my 2 drachma , the reason ,in my opinion, the accurate well made pieces of armor are investment pieces and artworks. The person who created it put their blood, sweat, tears,cusswords and soul into each piece. I have no experience creating roman era equipment only small medievel pieces and comission jewelry but even I know artwork when I see it.
Salve,
Antonia........aka Jaqui Mager
Larry A. Mager
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