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Crests and Roman Soldiers
#1
Hi guys,
I was wondering about your thoughts and research on Roman soldiers wearing crest. I have read several(and I mean tons)of books on roman equipment and there always seems to be an argument whether or not the legionaries wore crest and when they wore them. there are lot of columns and reliefs show no crests on regular soldiers, but most(not all) Soldier helmets found have crest attachment hardware on them. Some research claims that they wore them during triumphs and parades in rome and other research says that absolutely no military equipment besides belts were allowed to be worn in Rome at anytime. It seems odd and silly to me that they would put the hardware on the helmets in hopes that one day they would be promoted, especially since you hear about soldiers being promoted to Optio or Centurians buying new equipment to fill the part.

I didn't find this topic doing a search, so if I reposted please link me to the right post.

Mike
Mike Young
<Always remember that there is always someone with a
bigger and better army who wants to be Emperor>
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#2
Well, there are plenty of cities other than Rome itself for soldiers to parade through...
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Ross

[url="http://galeforcearmoury.blogspot.com"] Working on a segmentata.[/url]
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#3
Hi Ross,
That is true, but you never see Crest in packs or kit both in books or reenactors. I do understand that most reenactment of Roman Legions are modern impressions of what people can't prove didn't exist, rather than they can prove did(except in some cases), because there is much information on Roman Legions missing or not yet found. If they did use Crest in other places than Rome were they carried by the soldier or handed out by the Legion for specific use and then returned afterwards?
Mike Young
<Always remember that there is always someone with a
bigger and better army who wants to be Emperor>
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#4
I can invent several fanciful theories as to why most of the found helmets have fittings, but the honest answer is that I don't know. Hopefully someone else can provide a real answer.

baseless conjecture #1: The helmet which gets lost or left behind is the helmet that you don't wear every day (e.g. your flashy parade helmet), and this is what archaeology tends to uncover.

baseless conjecture #2: The fittings were just part of a standard pattern used for helmet production

baseless conjecture #3: People expecting to get promoted buy ahead.

baseless conjecture #4: The archaeological finds are biased towards higher-quality (i.e. officer) helmets, which are less likely to be passed around from owner to owner until they disintegrate from use.

etc.
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Ross

[url="http://galeforcearmoury.blogspot.com"] Working on a segmentata.[/url]
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#5
I know relying on modern practices is not a reliable way to infer ancient practice but one can image special occasions such as visits from officials, promotion and award ceremonies
religious occasions etc where falling out in parade order might be required.
John Kaler MSG, USA Retired
Member Legio V (Tenn, USA)
Staff Member Ludus Militus https://www.facebook.com/groups/671041919589478/
Owner Vicus and Village: https://www.facebook.com/groups/361968853851510/
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#6
Josephus (Jewish War V.9) describes a four-day pay parade held before the walls of Jerusalem, with the whole army in full regalia - it was intended to overawe the Jewish defenders. Payday came four times a year, so we must assume that these parades were at least that frequent, and that crests would probably be worn.

As John says, there would be plenty of other occasions for dressing up in full fig. The Roman calendar was packed with religious festivals, at least some of which would be celebrated in military camps, then there was the emperor's birthday, the arrivals and departures of senior officers, and the beginning and end of the official campaigning season.

Whether crests were worn in battle or not is another question. They would certainly have looked impressive, and good for intimidating the barbarians :wink:
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#7
I was pondering the same question actually. If I may add another baseless conjecture, the Romans were very fashionable people. Just as all the Imperial helmets (excluding Gallic A) all had brass edging for no reason other than because it was in fashion, the little plume tunnel may just have been another part of the fashion, surely it isn't anymore work then adding the tunnel than it is the adding all the brass edging
Quintus Furius Collatinus

-Matt
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#8
I believe that in JC bello gallico there is a section which says that the attack came that fast the soldiers could not attach their crest to the helmet (correct me if i'm wrong)
vale
AgrimensorLVCIVS FLAVIVS SINISTER
aka Jos Cremers
member of CORBVLO
ESTE NIX PAX CRISTE NIX
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#9
Quote:I believe that in JC bello gallico there is a section which says that the attack came that fast the soldiers could not attach their crest to the helmet (correct me if i'm wrong)
vale

That is some very interesting information, The discussion on this is great. I appreciate the replies and all the awesome speculations!
Mike Young
<Always remember that there is always someone with a
bigger and better army who wants to be Emperor>
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#10
Quote:I believe that in JC bello gallico there is a section which says that the attack came that fast the soldiers could not attach their crest to the helmet (correct me if i'm wrong)
vale

This incident occurs in de Bello Gallico 2.21. The idea that the soldiers did not have time to affix crests to their helmets possibly derives from the Penguin translation, which speaks of "crests or decorations". In fact, there is only one word in the Latin, insignia, which means "badges" or "decorations". In the context, it seems unlikely that it can refer to crests as Caesar also says that the soldiers did not have time to put on their helmets or take the covers from their shields.
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
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#11
I might be wandering off topic a bit, but how long does it really take to put on a helmet? Does this mean they would normally put on some kind of arming cap or wrap rags around their heads first, or does it just mean that the helmets were in their tents or something?
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Ross

[url="http://galeforcearmoury.blogspot.com"] Working on a segmentata.[/url]
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#12
Quote:I might be wandering off topic a bit, but how long does it really take to put on a helmet? Does this mean they would normally put on some kind of arming cap or wrap rags around their heads first, or does it just mean that the helmets were in their tents or something?

They were on the march, so the helmets were not in their tents. They were on their furca or on the front of their body though. But as you're marching with your shield on your back and spears and furca over that, first thing when attacked is to get rid of your furca, so you can get to your shield. Next would be your helmet, but when the attack is really unexpected and close you may already want to defend yourself at this moment, no matter the shieldcovers are still on the shields and your helmet is packed for the march.
________________________________________
Jvrjenivs Peregrinvs Magnvs / FEBRVARIVS
A.K.A. Jurjen Draaisma
CORBVLO and Fectio
ALA I BATAVORUM
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#13
Quote:
Agrimensor post=293761 Wrote:I believe that in JC bello gallico there is a section which says that the attack came that fast the soldiers could not attach their crest to the helmet (correct me if i'm wrong)
vale

This incident occurs in de Bello Gallico 2.21. The idea that the soldiers did not have time to affix crests to their helmets possibly derives from the Penguin translation, which speaks of "crests or decorations". In fact, there is only one word in the Latin, insignia, which means "badges" or "decorations". In the context, it seems unlikely that it can refer to crests as Caesar also says that the soldiers did not have time to put on their helmets or take the covers from their shields.

Those were different helmets. With most Montefortino type helmets the crest which was a horses tail would have been very easy to install. The Imperial Gallic Helmets probably had different crests alltogether.

M.VIB.M.
Bushido wa watashi no shuukyou de gozaru.

Katte Kabuto no O wo shimeyo!

H.J.Vrielink.
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#14
Quote:I might be wandering off topic a bit, but how long does it really take to put on a helmet? Does this mean they would normally put on some kind of arming cap or wrap rags around their heads first, or does it just mean that the helmets were in their tents or something?

It appears that the soldiers were engaged in fortifying the camp, so they would not have had their shields and helmets with them. As the enemy attacked with the great speed, they only managed to grab their shields as they were, with the covers still on, but not to do anything else.
M. CVRIVS ALEXANDER
(Alexander Kyrychenko)
LEG XI CPF

quando omni flunkus, mortati
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#15
ah, all right then.
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Ross

[url="http://galeforcearmoury.blogspot.com"] Working on a segmentata.[/url]
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