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"Augustus"... What Now?
#1
So I'm reading the book... Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor by Anthony Everitt. What do I see a quarter of the way through the book (a biography mind you that is supposed to be accurate):

(Reference to a Legionary) "A soldier's armor consisted of a bronze helmet, a cuirass of leather or metal, an oblong or oval shield made of sheets of wood covered by ox-hide..."

Hang on there... a metal or leather cuirass? Am I missing something or were there never Lorica Hamata/Segmentata?

Is this a common misconception? That they had armor liked the ancient Greeks? I guess the General's (Senators) could or would wear armor like that, but he was referring to the standard soldier. I have heard that some sort of padding was often worn underneath the armor but that none have been found intact (either leather or wool).

So I wonder where he got that reference from. Seeing something like that makes me question the rest of his supposed accurate information in the biography of Augustus.
"It is the brave man\'s part to live with glory, or with glory die."
- Nomen: (T.J. Young)
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#2
- How old is the book?
- Generally, historians don't give a hoot about the exact equipment of a Roman soldier and, to be honest, it very likely makes no difference for their argument anyway.
Greets!

Jasper Oorthuys
Webmaster & Editor, Ancient Warfare magazine
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#3
I should also warn you that there are modern writers who believe that most any metal armor is "ceremonial" or for "parade", and that anything actually used in combat must have been leather. Obviously we know this is silly, but you don't need to know anything about real armor and weaponry to be a certified historian! As Jasper says, don't even bother trying to get technical details from a general history book like that one. Things have been improving slowly, but still...

Vale,

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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#4
Quote:- How old is the book?
- Generally, historians don't give a hoot about the exact equipment of a Roman soldier and, to be honest, it very likely makes no difference for their argument anyway.

Book was written in 2006. One would think if you're going to be talking about it, that you should know what it is you're talking about. Which is why now I question the rest of the book. Something so simple as a soldiers armor which is widely known should be easy to get... but he goes into conversations, and talks about what a certain person did in a certain situation... I just find that hard to believe now.

I guess this probably happens a lot.
"It is the brave man\'s part to live with glory, or with glory die."
- Nomen: (T.J. Young)
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#5
Apparently the author's focus was heavy on Augustus and not an inkling on soldiers or accurate details. Unfortunate. But it happens.

Although part of your question:
Quote:That they had armor liked the ancient Greeks?

very early Roman/Latin history had the citizen-soldier armed and trained like Greek Hoplites, but that's like 300's BC, centuries before Augustus is born.
;D

bronze was a common metal for helmets I'd say up to the Punic wars, but then brass seems to become more popular...And it is correct from what very little surviving shields show they were made in a few different shapes and sizes over the years (but predominately oval), and sport a cross-grained 'plywood' with some kind of leather, linen, felt covering.

Quote:I have heard that some sort of padding was often worn underneath the armor but that none have been found intact (either leather or wool).
Quote:I guess the General's (Senators) could or would wear armor like that

Matthew Amt's / Leg XX's page has information on both of those: www.larp.com/legioxx

Just from wearing armor, you need some kind of padding. The lighter weight the armor, you probably don't need as much padding (like linothorax), so it too could be lighter weight. Whatever it was made of we don't know for sure, but it can easily be a combination of leather, wool, linen components...Whatever you find affective and comfortable. The problem is it's possible soldiers made their own padding and had modified it, repaired it, replaced it so often until the garment was just shreds and scraps. And, those kind of materials just don't survive for thousands of years, unfortunately. But, whichever way you go about it, padding is essential for armor.

I also have to say kudos for spotting some potential errors, and willing to check other sources to double-check the material you're reading! Much better than some people I've run into now and again (like those who think Hollywood is 100% accurate even when you show them an actual record that proves otherwise) - So keep checking this author's footnotes and bibliography to see where he's getting the information. Take some scrap pieces of paper and jot down notes to where he is inaccurate, but reference books or other notes for the corrections and bookmark those notes in the book. That way you have a body of (counter?) research to compare with this book. It'll make you look way smarter! Big Grin

And yes, it IS a common misconception, and we can thank TV and Hollywood for that. They're cheap and leather is apparently way cheaper than metal to suit up a few dozen extras. And why make new expensive ones when you can rent cheap old ones that have been around and have worked just fine for 15-20 years?
Andy Volpe
"Build a time machine, it would make this [hobby] a lot easier."
https://www.facebook.com/LegionIIICyr/
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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#6
Most historians use only written sources, not archaeological ones, and there is very little written material from original sources about Roman arms and armor. Almost all we know on the subject comes from archaeology.
Pecunia non olet
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#7
If a historian quotes heresay, lets himself be shaped by hollywood movies, if he is superficial about things he is not a specialist about and does not even bother to contact a specialist or at least brouse the literature, then he has betrayed himself (as historian). :evil:
Jeff Wyss (Goffredo)
Jeffery Wyss
"Si vos es non secui of solutio tunc vos es secui of preciptate."
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