Talk:Lorica segmentata

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Deleted Erroneous information[edit]

Deleted this portion: "So far as is known, only legionaries (heavy infantry of the Roman legions) and Praetorians were issued with the lorica segmentata. Auxiliary forces would more commonly wear the lōrīca hāmāta ("hooked armour" - so-called because of the two hooks that secured the shoulder doublings) which is mail (frequently, though erroneously, called chain mail) or lōrīca squāmāta (scale armour). "

This is incorrect, since lorica hamata (chinamail) was the MOST widespread armor of the Roman empire. Even during the height of the lorica segementa's use (1st-2nd cent), there were still just as many heavy infantry legionaries that were wearing lorica hamata. The lorica hamata was FAR more popular than the lorica segementa.

Intranetusa 02:29, 18 August 2007 (UTC)


I still do not understand why the perfectly acceptable and commonly used term "segmented armour" has been replaced with "laminar armour". Cons: 1- Laminar-laminated armour is unfortunately often used to designate "plated mail": possible source of confusion. 2- Laminar-laminated armour is unfortunately often used to designate "lamellar armour": possible source of confusion. 3- Laminated armour is in fact accurately used to describe sandwich armour constructions made from layers of different materials (metals, textiles, carbon, ceramics, liquids, etc.), and not just in an armoured vehicle context: possible source of confusion. 4- Why then talk about a "lorica segmentata" when this name is not derived from Roman sources, but a modern invention? Do we now have to change that into "lorica laminata" too? And where is this alledged lorica laminata in the sources coming from I would like to know? (talk) 13:37, 19 January 2014 (UTC)

I made a set of lorica segmentata and find that it collapses like a collapsable cup, with the top ring of plates on the outside and each other ring of plates concentrically inside. I didn't do much research on this armor, but I find it hard to believe that they would take it apart for transport when the correct leather strapping of the metal plates will let the armor be just as compact.

Short version: How do you know they took the armor apart when they wanted to save space? -Tom Cerul

What is listed above is accurate, it does fold down quite compact without disassembling the four parts. With that said, if you ever had to pack a lorica, it takes up still less space when disassembled into the four quarters (both halves of the shoulder assembly, and both halves of the torso assembly) for transport. As for how do you know they took the armor apart to save space, see Corbridge Hoarde and look at the diagrams showing exactly how the hoarde was uncovered by archeologists.. It was designed to be stripped down for transport when not in use. (Reference) M.C. Bishop Lorica Segmentata vol 1 AND H.R. Robinson's Armour of Imperial Rome.

The link to Anima goes somewhere nonsensical.

The sliding rivet sentence in this article (called anima) is idiotic. Yes the romans did use sliding rivets.. Yes they were not used for hundreds of years after the fall of the Roman empire when the technology was rediscovered (at least documented use).. There are no known lorica segmentata that use sliding rivets.... 

The authoritative website for the three early forms of the this type of armor (Kalkreise, Corbridge and Newstead) is located here: The website author, M.C. Bishop, has also published a monograph (Lorica Segmentata: A Handbook of Articulated Roman Plate Armour, Armatura Press, 2004 ) that reviews critical works in the study of all forms of the lorica and also reviews the archeological evidence.

Persons interested in reconstructing their own lorica can visit this site for full-sized patterns: Lorica Hamata and Lorica Squamata reconstruction information are available at: and respectively.


leather lorica?[edit]

I've heard, from admittedly unreliable sources, that in many cases, for the sake of cheaper manufacture, relative lightness, and bearability in hot climes, variants of this armor were made with the big plates being of boiled leather rather than metal, and issued in southern Italy, Greece, Africa and the East. Would anybody be able to confirm that, or is this an unverifiable (and probably false) crackpot idea ? --Svartalf 13:48, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

RE: leather lorica[edit]

Leather segmentata is advocated especially by Ars Dimicandi in Italy, who claim the construction work seen on relief sculpture cannot be done with metal segmentata. However, many who have metal segs can prove them completely wrong. Also, there is no archaeological evidence for leather segs at all, whereas many many ferrous examples have been found far widespread locations.

On the actual Wiki entry:[edit]

I also do not know where the idea that segs are more expensive than hamata (chainmail) to make comes from? I believe it is quite the opposite, which can be seen reflected in today's comparative prices, decent hamata usually being at least three times the cost of a decent seg. Hamata is much more time consuming and labour intesive to make, whereas there are re-enacters who can bend and construct, to fit an individual, pre-cut seg plates in no time at all, by hand, at re-enactment events. Perhaps field repairs are easier, but a Roman legionary hardly spent every day in battle, giving ample time to repair any breakages. There are also plenty of repairs visible on actual found segs. unknown user

Well, the thing is that this is the case... now, when chainmail is work intensive to make whereas modern technology helps greatly in shaping the plates for segmentata. In ancient time, the positions were reversed, because, although time and labor intensive to make, hamata could be made by relatively unskilled slave labor, whereas the fabrication of segmentata needed skilful metallurgists and artisans, who were generally free and had to be paid, rather handsomely. --Svartalf 20:13, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Response to that ;-)[edit]

Well, the thing is that all a seg needs is... a pattern, ferrous plate sheets, and basic metalworking tools. Once cut, the plates can be bent to shape over your knee (16 gauge at the the thickest for the chestplates and upper shoulders, 18 or even 20 gauge thickness for the rest). Then you just need to punch holes in the appropriate places, add the brass fittings, and put it together using the leather strapwork and rivets. the most complicated part would be rolling the edges over at the neck and bottom girthplates. I'm even considering doing it, and I haven't done any metalwork for many years. Making a hamata is much more complicated as is any chainmail armour. You cannot just take a whole sheet of pre-prepared chainmail and cobble it together to make a shirt. It's far more complicated than that and takes a very skilled artesan to do it properly. One theory on why the seg was introduced was because of the need to equip a rapidly expanding and expensive army under Augustus, without breaking the bank. Besides, a hamata (or squamata, or plumata)was the preferred choice of centurions who had more funds available, and a higher standard of kit than the common miles, which by itself suggests that hamata was more expensive. unknown poster

You don't have at all the same working conditions as the Romans. a) you may have access to hotter fires b) you have access to prerolled sheet steel, which they did not and c) hou have access to steel that would likely be much more easy to fashion without having it lose on some desirable properties, since our mastery of precision metallurgy is far more advanced then theirs...

Don't assume that things that WE, in our industrial age of highly developed chemistry find something easy, it was so in ancient times... just remember that it took 5 to 7 centuries for Western metallurgists to learn how to make high carbon steel that even remotely resembled that used by the Saracens ... and that even modern metallurgists are still arguing about the actual materials and processes used.--Svartalf 17:48, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

It's an old discussion, but just reading the original (unknown) poster's uninformed opinion that implies that iron and modern mild steel are just as easy to cold-forge annoys me. They probably think modern mild steel and roman iron look the same too. RayBarker (talk) 17:36, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

The Fact Is...[edit]

"Also, it was expensive because making a segmentata required an experienced smith with good facilities, while Lorica Hamata (chain mail) could be made by any slave." Regardless of your opinion, it is only that. The quote above is pure speculation, and has no evidence whatsoever in original sources which are stated as fact in the article. It should be removed from the Wiki entry as it has no foundation whatsoever in evidence at all. Modern reconstruction proves the exact opposite, if anything.

just spotted this. No. Your "modern reconstruction" (i.e. Manufacture by modern re-enactors using modern materials) shows it takes longer to make a set of lorica hamata, and that untrained persons can easily perform the task. IIRC The Corbridge Segmentata are wrought iron, so do you believe hot forging iron plates is easier than drawing wire and riveting hoops? Smithing is skilled work, and cold forging plate iron is an poor idea as although it is ductile it becomes more brittle (there is little or no work hardening in wrought iron due to the slag inclusions) - it needs annealing to avoid this. bonus fact for re-enactors: roman steel was carburized iron, which is black and remains quite dark even with a mirror polish. (talk) 21:35, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

Added a section from another wiki article regarding chainmail vs segmenta, auxillaries[edit]

"The view that auxilia were light troops originates from Vegetius' comment that "auxilia are always joined as light troops with the legions in the line".[1] It is true that some specialist units in the auxilia, such as Syrian archers and Numidian cavalry wore light armour (or none). But they were a small minority of the auxilia. Most auxiliary cohortes contained heavy infantry similar to legionaries.[2] Much has been made of the clear difference in armour between the two corps shown on Trajan's Column. This is a monument erected in 113 in Rome to commemorate the conquest of Dacia by Emperor Trajan (ruled 97-117): its bas-reliefs are a key source for Roman military equipment. Auxilia are generally shown wearing chain mail (lorica hamata) cuirasses or simple leather corslets, and carrying oval shields. Legionaries are depicted wearing laminated-strip armour (lorica segmentata) and with curved rectangular shields.[3] But on another Trajanic monument, the Adamclisi Tropaeum, the lorica segmentata does not appear at all, and legionaries and auxilia alike are depicted wearing either chain mail or scales (lorica squamata). There is general recognition that the Adamclisi monument is a more accurate portrayal of normality, [4] with the segmentata used rarely, maybe only for set-piece battles and parades. The figures in Trajan's Column are highly stereotyped, in order to distinguish clearly between different types of troops.[5][note 1] In any event, both corps were equipped with the same weapons: gladius (a close-combat stabbing sword) and javelins, although the type of javelin known as a pilum seems to have been provided to legionaries only.[6] Goldsworthy points out that the equipment of both corps were roughly equal in weight.[7] If there was a difference in armour, it was probably due, again, to non-military reasons: by providing legionaries with more protective (and expensive) glamorous armour, the army was highlighting their social superiority, just as it did with higher pay. During the 3rd century, when all peregrini were granted citizenship, and therefore legionaries lost their social superiority, the lorica segmentata and the rectangular shield disappeared.[8] " Intranetusa (talk) 15:36, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

More information[edit]

The re-enactment group Legio VI Victrix quote around 15-20 hours to make a Newstead seg. Another re-enactor gives 40 hours for a fully completed seg. Average of, let's say, 30 hours.

A modelling website, which cites its references so is researched, quotes 180 man hours to make a lorica hamata from 22,000 1/4"" rings. Another source on a forum took 50 man hours using 1/2" rings, which means it would have taken 200 hours with 1/4" rings (twice as many across and vertically). Let's call that 190 hours.

That makes hamata 6.33 times longer to put together than segmentata. That's more than 6 times the personnel to be paid, maintained, whichever, depending on if they were slaves or freemen.

Henry Cleere, in his chapter on Ironmaking in the 1976 book Roman Crafts (edited by Strong & Brown), believes that refined iron was a cheap commodity. Given that both seg plates and stamped rings underwent the same process of flattening, and riveted rings had to undergo a more intricate process in order to give their shape, I am reluctant to say that preparation of the raw materials of a seg was a longer process - the opposite if anything. The number of rivets for a seg is hugely less also. As for how the armourers acquired the raw iron blooms, it would seem they simply bought them in pre-prepared from foundries.

I have to say, I think the comparison between costs of a seg and hamata today stand up. Ergo, hamata is more expensive to make. Even the argument that slave labour could not make segs holds no ground with me. It was common practice to use slaves as accountants, cooks, and in other skilled jobs and labour, and I don't see why segmentata manufacture would be an exception. The origins of the artesans making either is surely irrelevant.

The article is misleading as it states as fact what cannot be actually known, and where actual reconstruction contradicts it completely in the area discussed here.

Addendum: Apparently the next edition of JRMES (Journal of Roman Military Studies) will have a paper on the evidence of foundry manufactured steel plating, both rolled and cast plate, thus further eliminating the need for armourers to hammer their own blooms. It also turns out that the article here was originally contributed to by probably the leading worldwide authority on segmentata, which was then edited and deleted ad hoc. I shall be redressing the article to reflect the latest findings and expert opinion.

Interesting. I remember reading speculation that the plates of a sementata were produced by water power and that was the reason why they were so very consistent and also why with the fall of the empire, europe reverted to chain-mail - ie. an assumption of lost technolgy. At the time all this was just speculation. Gaius Cornelius 15:57, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps not. It's a "technique for producing liquid iron which is then worked into flat plate (not the usual cast iron), possibly using rolling mills or trip hammers". I'm sure the paper in JRMES will talk about it in detail.

You're speculating the time to produce each. Lorica segementa is still a type of proto-plate armor. And plate bands of iron would still be far more difficult to repair and produce than chainlinks. Furthermore, lorica segementa is a highly overrated form of armor.
"the reason why they were so very consistent and also why with the fall of the empire, europe reverted to chain-mail"
That's erroreous, because before and after 1st-2nd century CE, the Romans used chainmail as their standard form of armor. The Byzantines, heirs to the Roman legacy (who later surpassed the Romans) also used chainmail armor.
Also, the quality of iron bands would have varied greatly. It is highly doubtful the Romans would could have produced any type of quality steel in enough quantities for use in mass production of armor.
Intranetusa 02:37, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
I am not quite clear what you mean. Although the Romans never stopped using chainmail, there was a period of at least a couple of hundred years when the segmentata was widely used and the Romans evidently found it possible to produce the plate in sufficient quantities. I am sure I recall reading that while the thickness of the plates varied from one to another, each individual plate was quite consistent. Gaius Cornelius 09:44, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

I'm saying it is the Romans didn't produce "steel" plates. Whether or not they produced iron plates in sufficient quantities for the segmenta armor is the issue. Roman metallurgy varied greatly, and all of the lorca segmenta uncovered has been made of cheap iron, not steel. (the Romans didn't have true steel, just carburized iron) Even then, the segmenta wasn't used in great numbers until at least the 2nd century CE due to Trajan's column. And even depiction of the segmenta on Trajan's is debatable. Intranetusa (talk) 15:36, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

One of the main problems with trying to decide whether armour was of any more worth than another is that, usually, factors apart from the ability to stop a blow are often ignored. The lorica segmentata was still in use in Spain by the end of the 3rd-C AD, as evidenced by finds in excavated legionary workshops there (it's also likely it went into the early 4th-C AD). Since the earliest dated find of segmentata is 9 BC (which puts its actual introduction to a much earlier date), that gives it a lifetime of over 300 years. As for the idea that segs weren't used in great quantity, the archaeological evidence which comes from all extents of Roman territory (over 100 sites) seems to contradict that. Tarbicus 04:08, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

It wasn't popular because even at its height, it was used in conjuction with chainmail. Chainmail was used during every period of the Roman civilization. The LS was only used in any quantity during the 1st-3rd centuries. Also, some speculate that it was mostly used for ceremonial purposes rather than actual combat - people walking around in their best gear parading their shiny armor.

As for the excavation sites you mention. That just proves the armor was produced in different areas in the empire, not that it was widespread - the fact remains that from excavations, archaeological findings and historical texts, the common armor of choice was chain mail while the segmenta was relegated to a 2ndary role (and rarely mentioned as well). Intranetusa (talk) 21:22, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

"Also, some speculate that it was mostly used for ceremonial purposes rather than actual combat - people walking around in their best gear parading their shiny armor" - A typical example of *pure* speculation! -- (talk) 22:55, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Yeh, that's why it has the words "some speculate" ---> "speculate" But if you want to talk about speculation, then go ask why Hollywood likes to portray the LS armor for everything Roman from 400 BCE to 400 CE. Intranetusa (talk) 06:05, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Still in use in early 4th century[edit]

The armor is depicted in Arch of Constantine ( [1] ), erected by Emperor Constantine I to commemorate his military achievements. --Kurt Leyman (talk) 21:44, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Actually, no. The reason it is depicted is that the Arch of Constantine made extensive use of reliefs from earlier, 2nd century monuments. These naturally depict the seg., but it does not mean that it was used in the 4th century. If you check out the relevant panels, you'll see that they depict stylized 2nd century legionaries and auxiliaries, while the difference in style with the lower reliefs from the time of Constantine is evident. Cheers, Constantine 09:02, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

I am not the first member who mentioned the armour's use to 4th century, scroll up a bit. That's your PoV. --Kurt Leyman (talk) 20:22, 24 August 2008 (UTC)


Ptryie lied ba la nonka? Faeasa sue marta...Beas. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:59, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

3D google warehouse model[edit]

See , a snapshot could also be made for this article —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:16, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

Pop culture section.[edit]

There is no citation for anything in this section and the assertion that locria segmentata has become synonymous with Roman armour is dubious. Does the populace even have a conception of Roman armour as detailed and specific as locria segmentata? Surely, such an association is not as ubiquitous as it would be with the gladius, scutum or galea. Also this section contained a reference to its erroneous use in the TV series Rome. This is false as locria hamata, leather armour and the muscle cuirass are the only types of armours used in this series.

Do yourself a favor-talk to some random people on the street, ask about "roman armor." They'll start talking about that cool looking stuff with the shoulders more often than not. They'll also think it's leather a lot of the time, because people somehow still think leather stopped swords. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:23, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Regarding the division of legions[edit]

In de Bello Gallico, Caesar clearly has his legions split up among the various towns to act as a garrisoned force. In fact, until the concept of comititanses and limitanei came about, I don't recall there being a difference between these. Thoughts? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 1068411lck (talkcontribs) 06:24, 7 March 2013 (UTC)

  1. ^ Vegetius op cit II.2
  2. ^ Goldsworthy Roman Warfare 127
  3. ^ L. Rossi Trajan's Column and the Dacian Wars (Thames & Hudson 1971) 102
  4. ^ Mattingly op cit 207
  5. ^ Rossi op cit 59
  6. ^ Goldsworthy Complete Roman Army 136
  7. ^ Goldsworthy Roman Warfare 127
  8. ^ Goldsworthy Complete Roman Army 209

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