Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
"Linothoraxes" in the army of Aetius?
#1
I never noticed this before:

Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, Arch and Nave Mosaics, completed 429-431 AD

[Image: 3ik8nFM.jpg]

[Image: T8gwnws.jpg]

[Image: yoR5c2H.jpg]

[Image: NKiyQxU.jpg]

Thoughts? Interpretations?

Could they be Lamellar Cuirasses?

The presence of the Phrygian helmets in the second image makes me want to think its a classicization, though. Many of the helmets are "Greek" style.
Reply
#2
So it is linen armour because it is white?

These shields must be made from linen.
[Image: 16329224426_9ce4e46a35.jpg]
[Image: 717px-Hoplitodromos_Louvre_MN704.jpg]
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
Reply
#3
(03-29-2016, 08:25 PM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: The presence of the Phrygian helmets in the second image makes me want to think its a classicization, though. Many of the helmets are "Greek" style.

I think so too, although some bust(s) of Valentinian (III?) have brought some in the reenactment field to add shoulder pieces to their armours.
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
Reply
#4
The first three make me think of a combination of iron and brass/bronze scale or maybe iron mail and brass scale. But I wouldn't feel confident in any interpretation based on the mosaics alone.
Dan D'Silva

Far beyond the rising sun
I ride the winds of fate
Prepared to go where my heart belongs,
Back to the past again.

--  Gamma Ray

Well, I'm tough, rough, ready and I'm able
To pick myself up from under this table...

--  Thin Lizzy

Join the Horde! - http://xerxesmillion.blogspot.com/
Reply
#5
(03-30-2016, 07:26 AM)Dan Howard Wrote: So it is linen armour because it is white?

These shields must be made from linen.

Umm... you can quite clearly see that it's not white from the images. I used the term "Linothorax" in quotation marks due to the shape of the armor in the mosaics, which regardless of whatever it was made of most people will understand what I'm talking about. The quotation marks indicate that I do not think it is actually a Spolas ("Linothorax").

(03-30-2016, 10:45 AM)Robert Vermaat Wrote:
(03-29-2016, 08:25 PM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: The presence of the Phrygian helmets in the second image makes me want to think its a classicization, though. Many of the helmets are "Greek" style.

I think so too, although some bust(s) of Valentinian (III?) have brought some in the reenactment field to add shoulder pieces to their armours.

No busts, in fact no depictions at all, of Valentinian III survive except through coinage. Possibly the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore depicts Theodosius II, a young Valentinian III, and Galla Placidia, but we cannot say that with certainty.

(03-30-2016, 11:52 AM)Dan D Wrote: The first three make me think of a combination of iron and brass/bronze scale or maybe iron mail and brass scale.  But I wouldn't feel confident in any interpretation based on the mosaics alone.

Yeah this is why I've been thinking it's lamellar. There are a ton of examples of combinations of Brass and Iron lames used in different patterns and combinations in lamellar cuirasses from central asia.

Furthermore the second image depicts both scale and maille, which is why I don't think it could be either of those.

~ Aetius
Reply
#6
Usually I'm quite in favour of the possible verisimilitude of artistic representations; too many things get discounted as 'classicising' or even 'artistic license' if they don't fit our expectations. However, in this case I'd be more cautious: Rome had been demilitarised for over a century by the time these mosaics were made, excepting the brief influx of Alaric's Goths a few decades before, and the artist's ideas of what a soldier, particularly a 'Roman soldier' might look like could hardly be expected to be accurate.

The depictions here are probably based on stylised military kit of the sort that appears on coin images, perhaps with some details from the various arches and monuments that would still be visible in Rome at that time.

Having said that, there are some odd details - those helmets with the inverted V brim at the front (again!), and what looks like knee-length mail breeches in the second image (and interpretation of the legwear on Trajan's Column, maybe?). And some of these figures do closely resemble the ones in the Vatican Virgil manuscript, which might suggest they were both drawing on the same source(s)...
Nathan Ross
Reply
#7
Where you can see greek forearm held shields on supposed late roman soldiers, that should be a hint to take that picture as an archaizing one.

Nathan: the inverted V brim is not really odd in the 5th century, if we mean lack of frequency by oddity.

Ceterum censeo I oppose separate pauldrons and treat the reconstructions as a symptom of wishful thinking.
Kis György Márk (by western standards, György Márk Kis)

Legio Leonum Valentiniani

http://www.legioleonum.hu
Reply
#8
(03-30-2016, 12:56 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote: Usually I'm quite in favour of the possible verisimilitude of artistic representations; too many things get discounted as 'classicising' or even 'artistic license' if they don't fit our expectations. However, in this case I'd be more cautious: Rome had been demilitarised for over a century by the time these mosaics were made, excepting the brief influx of Alaric's Goths a few decades before, and the artist's ideas of what a soldier, particularly a 'Roman soldier' might look like could hardly be expected to be accurate.

The depictions here are probably based on stylised military kit of the sort that appears on coin images, perhaps with some details from the various arches and monuments that would still be visible in Rome at that time.

Having said that, there are some odd details - those helmets with the inverted V brim at the front (again!), and what looks like knee-length mail breeches in the second image (and interpretation of the legwear on Trajan's Column, maybe?). And some of these figures do closely resemble the ones in the Vatican Virgil manuscript, which might suggest they were both drawing on the same source(s)...

I would initially agree but we also have images like this from the same mosaics where they even go so far as to put the eyes on the ridge helmets, and distinguish the upper rectangular plate on the Berkasova-style cheekpieces:

[Image: 6-Slaughter-May05-DS2791sAR.jpg]

This is from the triumphal arch mosaic, but the nave mosaics also depict ridge helmets and other contemporary military features too.

More images:

http://www.paradoxplace.com/Perspectives...osaics.htm

http://www.paradoxplace.com/Perspectives...aics_T.htm
Reply
#9
Differences in one building or set of representations should not be so surprising. They almost exclusively depict Biblical stories, which feature a handful of different armies. It is not surprising that New Test. Romans are depicted as period romans, while Old Test. armies are depicted as Greeks, with Eastern and Barbarian enemies starring in roles for bad guys.
Kis György Márk (by western standards, György Márk Kis)

Legio Leonum Valentiniani

http://www.legioleonum.hu
Reply
#10
Well I'm not seeing any eastern or barbarian enemies at all in these mosaics.
Reply
#11
Seems like you're avoiding my reason on purpose. Well then commission a linothorax for your later kit. Be sure to incluse an aspis and an Attic helmet as well, since they are on the representation as well, and as we know it, they just cannot depict old stories with old people.
Kis György Márk (by western standards, György Márk Kis)

Legio Leonum Valentiniani

http://www.legioleonum.hu
Reply
#12
Quote:Seems like you're avoiding my reason on purpose. Well then commission a linothorax for your later kit. Be sure to incluse an aspis and an Attic helmet as well, since they are on the representation as well, and as we know it, they just cannot depict old stories with old people.

No. I'm saying it probably is classicization. I'm just posting here for ideas about alternatives etc.
Reply
#13
(03-30-2016, 01:25 PM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: we also have images like this from the same mosaics where they even go so far as to put the eyes on the ridge helmets, and distinguish the upper rectangular plate on the Berkasova-style cheekpieces:

(03-30-2016, 01:04 PM)M. Val. Naso Wrote: the inverted V brim is not really odd in the 5th century, if we mean lack of frequency by oddity.

Yes, sorry - I meant odd as in 'occasional' (or meant to; could have been clearer!...)

But I agree - these helmets show up in Roman art very frequently from the 3rd century onwards. I still don't think they're intended to be Intercisa or Berkasova types, but some other version currently unknown to us. Why they're so common in art I don't know - perhaps the distinctive shape just made them easier to represent? [Image: smile.png]

Looking at a few 4th-5th century coins showing soldiers, there does seem to be a lot of 'archaic' looking military equipment on them. Perhaps that's just the way the artists of metropolitan Rome had decided to depict 'soldiers'?

But the images from these mosaics do seem to show different styles of equipment - the guys with the blue shoulder doublers in the first picture, the men in scale or mail (who look very much like the troops on the Arch of Galerius!) in the second, and so on. I don't suppose it's impossible that the artist(s) intended some of them to look 'foreign' or even 'ancient'. It would help if we knew which Bible story each picture relates to, but my knowledge of such things is scanty. Anyone got any ideas?
Nathan Ross
Reply
#14
I, like Nathan, am not disposed to dismiss out of hand artistic representations as merely 'classizing', there are far too many similar images to say they were not drawing upon contemporary styles. I maintain that due to the very nature of mosaics it would be difficult to represent the typical artistic representation of the Late Roman helmets we see which include the 'Attic' brow guards, which I believe are what the artists are trying to depict here. The other thing to mention is that the infantry have either round or oval shields, some with the 'Star' design on them that are also found on monuments such as the Arch of Arcadius.
The first depiction that Evan has put up is interesting in that the shoulder pieces are obviously coloured blue to represent iron, as the cuirasses and mail representations are, but the helmets are coloured to represent a much lighter colour, possibly brass or highly polished iron ('their helmets shone with scintillating light...'). There are other stone monumental works, with no surviving colour sadly, that show similar representations in the Museum in Istanbul that I put links to the photo's I took there a few years ago now.
Adrian Coombs-Hoar
Reply
#15
(03-31-2016, 03:36 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote: It would help if we knew which Bible story each picture relates to, but my knowledge of such things is scanty. Anyone got any ideas?

The Nave mosaics represent scenes from the Old Testament indeed, and here's a key.
According to that, the first scene is Joshua at the battle of Gibeon (he orders the sun to stand still). Second is a battle between Israelites and Amalekites, watched by Moses, Aaron and Hur. Third picture has Moses sweetening the water at Marah, below the Amalekites refusing the Isrealites access to their territory. Last picture shows the conquest of Jericho (note the tumbling walls).
Tilman
Reply


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Roman Army of Aetius at Chalons Mrbsct 32 5,074 11-05-2013, 01:15 PM
Last Post: Flavivs Aetivs

Forum Jump: