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Was the Lorica REALLY polished?
#1
I have often wondered this and having seen it come up on a unit list, I am again intrigued. I mean seriously, ther eis NO WAY that soldier sint he field are going to be putting a high polish on their armor -- not only do they lack the time, but also the materials. I am just wondering (and I am SURE some will consider it blasphemy) if perhaps they left the armor forge blackened or blued or something. Perhaps even (gasp!) painted? All this makes a <strong>LOT</strong> more sense than putting a high polish on the Lorica. Hell, just from a rust standpoint -- keeping rust off of bare metal would be a nightmare in the field.<br>
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So anyway, what do <strong>you</strong> think? <p>DECIMUS MERCATIUS VARIANUS<br>
Netscape Aim/AOL screen name: Sturmkatze<br>
<br>
Alteris renumera duplum de quoquo tibi numeraverunt.</p><i></i>
DECIMvS MERCATIvS VARIANvS
a.k.a.: Marsh Wise
Legio IX Hispana http://www.legioix.org

Alteris renumera duplum de quoquo tibi numeraverunt

"A fondness for power is implanted in most men, and it is natural to abuse it when acquired." -- Alexander Hamilton

"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress.... But then I repeat myself." ~Mark Twain

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#2
A later example: at the Berezina crossing, the worst episode of the russian retreat, the Russians noted a regiment of french cuirassiers, half starved and on foot, that faced them with shining, polished cuirasses and whitened baldrics.<br>
It is a question of Honour. If you have a chance, you try to die looking pretty. <p></p><i></i>
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#3
if they painted it, it was probably painted red (or white)<br>
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<p></p><i></i>
gr,
Jeroen Pelgrom
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#4
I think they were covered in leather ?<br>
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Conal <p></p><i></i>
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#5
Seriously though ... why go to the trouble of fancy hinges etc if it wanst going to be set off by a nice polished kit.<br>
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Conal <p></p><i></i>
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#6
The only culture to paint their armour that I know of off hand, was the japanese samurai. They would use lacquer from trees to paint either metal, or the water buffalo hide.<br>
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I don't think the Romans "polished" their armor per se. I think I have heard somewhere, that they used olive oil and pumus to keep the metal clean...thus giving it a shiny but satin finish. I don't think there's been any painting or frescoes showing "dark" armor either. It's usually all painted light yellows, light greys, white, etc.<br>
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Connol brings up a good point about the hinges....and I'd like to mention the fact that they tinned, and silvered much of their equipment. That is very shiny, and easy to maintain. Besides, it's a soldier's job to look after his kit. When in garrison, they likely had plenty of time to do this, and even while on campaign, there would have been time alotted. <p>Magnus/Matt<br>
Legio XXX "Ulpia Victrix" Coh I<br>
<br>
"I know I was born, and I know that I'll die. But the in between is mine."<br>
<br>
- Number of posts: current +1248</p><i></i>
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#7
Actually the greeks painted their helmets.. At least some of them. Spiral and checkerboard designs as well as black and white style were found. <p></p><i></i>
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#8
Avete omnes....<br>
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Actually, most medieval armors were originally painted... Victorian collectors thought that was wrong, that the references to their ancestors wearing "gleaming armors" meant that everything was polished to within inches of it's demise Surface analysis of armors that were not subjected to that type of "restoration shows evidence of quite a bit of painting on them, and bright and shiny colors at that.<br>
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As far as looks go, I have seen a forge-blued segmentata done by a chap out of Colorado (who was with us at the testudo shoot for the History Channel's "The Most" episode) that looked quite impressive, even a bit menacing. The hinges on his seg were very well set off by the bluing, and all it required was a light coat of oil (try almond oil, olive oil will get very rancid and damage your leather REAL quick). As we really don't have much in the way of a complete umblemished armor this may be a good interpretation of the historical evidence. Also, if memory serves, the Kalkriese segmental bits had traces of tinning - the Roman equivalent of chroming!<br>
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Hey, that's an idea - nice Corbridge A, tinned, with brass edging (nah, the contubernales would think I'm a praetorian and knock me over for my milk money)<br>
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Well, that's my two sestercii!<br>
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Optime vale in pace Deorum,<br>
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Marius Cornelius Scipio<br>
LEG IX HSP COH III EXPG CEN I HIB <p></p><i></i>
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#9
I'm a long time advocate of forge blued armor.<br>
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That fellow in CO is Titus Valens Peregrinus, one of ours.<br>
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I had one that was 'blued". Fought in it until it exploded... at a combat practice I had major strap failure, internal straps, buckle straps... all at once, in a pile up of bodies.... straps at the end of their life span, plus 90°F+ heat. The seg was hanging off of me! Way cool. Canis Scotus still has a blued seg. All our refurbished segs are going to be forge blued. It's a nice way to neutralize and disguise the wear and tear, the old rust damage etc<br>
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Scythius is working on perfecting his tinning skills. He refuses to take stuff to a tinning shop.<br>
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Sean Richards<br>
619.563.5700 PST 9am- 8pm, most days<br>
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Gaius Valerius Tacitus Hibernicus, Centurio<br>
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Hibernicus

LEGIO IX HISPANA, USA

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#10
Avete!<br>
Soldiers have armor for two reasons: So that they'll have something heavy to carry, and so that they'll have something to clean. Every once in a while you might get involved in a fight, and at some point it's possible that a bad guy might take a prod at you with something pointy, and your armor might keep that from hurting you. But that's purely a side effect!<br>
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Okay, the evidence.<br>
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Roman color depictions of Roman armor (and other ancient armor, for that matter) show it as yellow or white/gray/silvery. Many surviving pieces, including helmets and some lorica parts, show traces of tinning or silvering. And there are literary references to armor shining in the sun, even to the point of giving away an ambush! (Though that may be a Greek reference, don't recall exactly.)<br>
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Conclusion: they seemed to like bright metal. There are suggestions that helmets or armor had covers to protect it on the march, but no suggestion that the armor itself was darkened or painted. How shiny it might have been is another question! I agree with a satin finish for steel (fine sand, ashes from the fire, etc.), but brass and bronze are pretty easy to keep at a near-mirror polish.<br>
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One's daily campaign routine would be to wake up, clean and oil the armor, have breakfast, pack up gear and tent, strike camp, march, stop and make camp, have supper, clean and oil the armor and pack it away for the night, and go to sleep. In garrison it's even easier, since you don't have to protect it from moisture as much. And heck, if your lorica is tinned, it's a cake walk!<br>
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The Romans very clearly thought that color and shine were very important parts of military display, even on the battlefield. Men whose armor shined looked godlike to them, and I'll bet a gleaming legion of armored Romans would scare the crap out of any barbarian force. THAT would be menacing!<br>
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Shine that armor up. Valete,<br>
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Matthew/Quintus, Legio XX <p></p><i></i>
Matthew Amt (Quintus)
Legio XX, USA
<a class="postlink" href="http://www.larp.com/legioxx/">http://www.larp.com/legioxx/
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#11
Avete omnes!!!<br>
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Eh, I like the references to the art, but I can tell you one thing from wearing an O-yoroi and seeing quite a few depicted on fumi-e - artists do take a lot of license with how they depict the military<br>
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I think I agree with tinning the plates and making them look pretty ( the belt plates from Hod Hill come to mind, if memory serves right) and I would bet niello and other effects might have been used by the notables. However, the issues of cost and resources may have driven the Romans to more practical solutions than the shiny loricas all around.<br>
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I agree that most Legati probably thought that armor was something for you to carry and shine up - but I very seriously doubt the gregarii shared this enlightened view<br>
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Another reason why I consider the art suspect is one of the major pieces often referenced by folks seeking to re-create the "look" of the legionary - Trajan's Column. It's the reason why Hollywood always uses the same mugly armor and helmets, and generally horribly mangles the soldier's image. While it does depict quite a few very interesting and realistic things (artillery and siege engines come to mind), there are way too many things wrong with the depictions shown to really depend on it to be "100%" accurate. ALso, keep in mind that this is a political propaganda pamphlet on a collossal scale - the damn Dacian Wars were quite a drain on the treasury, and their ultimate value to the Empire can be hotly argued. They were good press for the Imperator, though<br>
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Anyway, that's another II sestercii<br>
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Optime vale, et Iuppiter nos protegas<br>
Marius Cornelius Scipio<br>
LEG IX HSPA COH III EXPG CEN I HIB <p></p><i></i>
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#12
Marius, did you make the o-yoroi? I plan on making an Okegawa-do possibly this winter....<br>
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Back to the roman things...Sure, it is possible some artistic license was taken with the painting, but there's a HUGE difference between yellow/white/light grey, and blue, dark grey, black and or brown. That would be some stretch of artistic license. Especially concerning the pigments used to make the paints, they are derived from different source materials. <p>Magnus/Matt<br>
Legio XXX "Ulpia Victrix" Coh I<br>
<br>
"I know I was born, and I know that I'll die. But the in between is mine."<br>
<br>
- Number of posts: current +1248</p><i></i>
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#13
Avete omnes!<br>
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Make an O-yoroi? Are ye mad, man? Actually, I was priviledged to know a crazy coot known as Hideo Tomita, who actually wanted a bunch of crazy Puerto Ricans to help him re-create the Takeda cavalry (got to play with his toys - hated when he had to go back home 'cause his dad left him the family farm on Honshu...<br>
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Okegawa-do? Not bad. Me, I like the tatami gusoku or a do-maru laced in kebiki-edoshi. Kabuto with large danden-fukugaeshi, large haidate and sode, and a big honking bisen-to to lay around with. Gotta love the Sengoku Jidai!<br>
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And I'm really seriously considering doing a Lorica Plumata - how's that for a sanity check?<br>
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Gotta go, I'm starting on 2 pila (me and some ash, a spokeshave and a plane are going to have a party tonight). I finished a tunica and put button and loop fastenings on my paenula this week (talk about having wayyy to much time on your hands). My muliere is kicking me out of the domus if this continues... Gods, I'm going to miss her!<br>
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Optime vale, et Mars nos protegas<br>
Marius Cornelius Scipio<br>
LEG IX HSPA COH III EXPG CEN I HIB<br>
CONT III SCIPIONES <p></p><i></i>
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#14
Ow Ow Ow!<br>
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My brain is hurting with all of this mish-mangle talk in English, Latin and Japanese! Make it stop! OWW!<br>
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I really like Matt's idea that Armor was made to be carried around, nice and heavy like, and to be polished ad nauseam to look damned spiffy in. I'm not quite sold either way on how Roman armor was finished. I am a big fan of Pistolier/Cuirassier armor in the 16th+ centuries, and I know Black and White armor can have some damned nice looking effects. At Higgins there is a Pistolier armor from the English Civil War, which is darkly blued with a hint of silver edging, and I think it looks Sweet. I'm sure a blued Lor.Seg must look really stunning.<br>
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As for Romans, I'm leaning towards the polished shiny deal, as well as a Satin finish, both to me look awfully impressive.<br>
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Anything to take time off from polishing and to put it back into training and marching I think may have been on the back of a Roman officer's mind, so tinning and other such tricks I'm sure was accepted and welcomed. But we don't have solid evidence for that yet...So anyways I'm sticking with polished and maybe Satin finished. Awww yeah<br>
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-ANDY <p></p><i></i>
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#15
Quote:</em></strong><hr> Seriously though ... why go to the trouble of fancy hinges etc if it wanst going to be set off by a nice polished kit.<hr><br>
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I don't know... that's a bit much. Perhaps, but would they have really polished it all up? <strong>Tinned</strong>, I might believe, but polished, I think it is just too labor intensive.<br>
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Really, I mean just <strong>how <em>many</em> people</strong> here have <em>actually</em> done that -- polished their armor by hand? I don't mean w/ neverdull or a buffing wheel either, but actually got out the ol' sand and wood ashes and polished their Lorica? Try it and see how long it takes. You <strong>certainly</strong> ain't gonna be getting an ESG, super-duper mirror finish that way.<br>
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White or yellow paint? Maybe... but it just seems to me that people put a lot of justification into something there is no real proof of. But hey, what do I know? It's not like they have ever found a nice set of Lorica just a sittin' in a cave somewhere all ready to go. <p>DECIMUS MERCATIUS VARIANUS<br>
Netscape Aim/AOL screen name: Sturmkatze<br>
<br>
Alteris renumera duplum de quoquo tibi numeraverunt.</p><i></i>
DECIMvS MERCATIvS VARIANvS
a.k.a.: Marsh Wise
Legio IX Hispana http://www.legioix.org

Alteris renumera duplum de quoquo tibi numeraverunt

"A fondness for power is implanted in most men, and it is natural to abuse it when acquired." -- Alexander Hamilton

"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress.... But then I repeat myself." ~Mark Twain

[img size=150]http://www.romanobritain.org/Graphics/marsh_qr1.png[/img]
(Oooh, Marshall, you cannot use an icky modern QR code, it is against all policies and rules.)
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