Welcome

Please register for Total War Access to use the forums. If you're an existing user, your forum details will be merged with Total War Access if you register with the same email or username. For more information please read our FAQ’s here.

From when the Roman change the "classic" legionary armor ?

CthulhusCthulhus Junior MemberPosts: 23Registered Users
edited February 2015 in General Discussion
Hello,

On Total War: Attila, the Western Roman Empire don't have the classic "classic" legionary red armor. It's historical I guess but my question : Why ?

By armor I mean this :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_legion#mediaviewer/File:Roman_soldiers_with_aquilifer_signifer_centurio_70_aC.jpg
Post edited by Cthulhus on

Comments

  • DetailedEyesDetailedEyes Senior Member AustraliaPosts: 4,715Registered Users
    edited February 2015
    Segmentata was relatively rare, pretty expensive and not that much better than mail or scale. Someone who knows more than me can probably go into more detail but I think that's the gist of it.
    "We shall have peace. We shall have peace when you answer for the burning of the Westfold, and the children that lie dead there. When the lives of the soldiers, whose bodies were hewn even as they lay dead against the Gates of the Hornburg are avenged! When you hang from a gibbet, for the sport of your own crows, we shall have peace."

    Theoden to Saruman at Orthanc, also my total war philosophy.
  • SjirikiSjiriki Senior Member Posts: 1,370Registered Users
    edited February 2015
    Segmentata was relatively rare, pretty expensive and not that much better than mail or scale. Someone who knows more than me can probably go into more detail but I think that's the gist of it.

    Also required more upkeep, had a shorter lifespan and wasn't all that much better than well-made mail (any mail which is not modern mail for re-enactments) while being a fair bit heavier. It also takes longer to put on compared to a mail shirt.

    From what I found it might actually be cheaper than mail though (as mail is very labour intensive, both in making the wire, turning it into links and riveting those together into a shirt) but well, value of iron isn't really known and it is not known whether or not armor was made by slaves or craftsmen. OTOH mail lasts pretty much forever.
  • Nortrix87Nortrix87 Senior Member Posts: 876Registered Users
    edited February 2015
    As DetailedEyes says Lorica Segmentata was never standard equipment.
    Was not wery cost efficient, gave better protection vs missils but neded constant meintenence. Soldiers had to bay theyre own equipment and Lorica Segmentata were not so popular as people think. Is belived mail always was the most common.

    Don`t know if they ever stopped using this armor in WRE before the fall, i guess when Lorica squamata became popular Lorica segmentata no longer had any missil armor advantage and yust got outdated.
    "We men are the monsters now. The time of heroes is dead, Wiglaf - the Christ God has killed it, leaving humankind with nothing but weeping martyrs, fear, and shame."

    - Beowulf
  • ColeusColeus Senior Member Western Roman EmpirePosts: 665Registered Users
    edited February 2015
    There's plenty of evidence to suggest that chainmail never went out of fashion in the Roman legions. The Lorica Segementata armour is found much less often than chainmail in Roman sites, indicating it wasn't as popular as the history books and films would have you believe.
    "Dear God, forgive us."

    Grizzled TW veteran.
  • 59tiger9559tiger95 Senior Member Posts: 681Registered Users
    edited February 2015
    Segmentata also had a interesting disadvantage: due to the fact it was solid plates locked together in a way similar to medieval knights blunt weapons such as axes and clubs actually were more likely to hurt the solider wearing segmentata than Hamata. And what do you know the germanic tribes during the Segmentata's lifespan used axes and clubs primarily. And due to the way it is put together it is harder to maintain on the field and doesn't last as long.
    "A man who will not die for something is not fit to live"- Martin Luther King Junior

    Hey if you have the time check out my YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/59tiger95
  • CthulhusCthulhus Junior Member Posts: 23Registered Users
    edited February 2015
    Thanks for your answer! More clear now !
  • kingswordkingsword Senior Member Posts: 254Registered Users
    edited February 2015
    Plates in fact protect the wearer against blunt and axes more than chainmail, all tests prove that. Chainmail doesn't even try to absorb the blunt trauma, it doesn't even transfer most of it because all of it goes through unhindered. Axes also rip through it with sheer force. So I don't see how segmenteta can fare worse than something that doesn't even perform.
  • nodulousnodulous Senior Member Posts: 804Registered Users
    edited February 2015
    I think the change came during the 3rdC. The Praetorians were the 1st to change from Lorica Segmentata, to scale armour, Lorica Squamata. They are shown in this armour on the Arch of Constantine and the Arch of Galerius.
  • VessingerVessinger Senior Member Posts: 741Registered Users
    edited February 2015
    I would think the Segmentata would be cheaper to make than chainmail, because they had to physically make each one of those rings, loop them together, and seal them for an entire shirt. That seems to me like a much larger time investment than hammering out maybe a couple hundred plates and fastening them together with leather or whatever. But I guess materials must have influenced cost more than labor, because a shirt made of interlocking rings would logically take up less metal than a shirt made of solid metal plates. Still, I prefer the look of segmentata.
  • GamgeeGamgee Senior Member Posts: 864Registered Users
    edited February 2015
    I think the fact that it is expensive is the biggest factor. With Rome in decline how could anyone possibly afford such an expense? I can't imagine the Roman economy would be all that well, and considering soldiers had to foot the bills. Well... you can put two and two together. Not to mention it had some trade offs. In such a poor economy constantly fixing it could be a problem.

    However you have to realize why would fixing it be a problem? During the later Roman times many legions were guarding forts and more defensive in nature. So it would be easy to keep the supplies around to repair it at least in those legions. So I suspect cost was the biggest factor in its decline of usage. As well as cost over time ie upkeep was much higher to burden. It definitely would be more effective in melee against blunt weapons and axes. Not to mention from a fort they will constantly be shooting at you so I suspect having heavy armor that could hold up to clubs wasn't a major factor anymore since so much of the battles were fought more defensively.

    I suspect if Rome was not in a decline and actively pushing and expanding its borders on all sides I almost guarantee we would see much different gear and equipment in widespread use.

    This is personal theory.
  • ErminazErminaz Senior Member Las Vegas, Nevada, USAPosts: 5,039Registered Users
    edited February 2015
    kingsword wrote: »
    Plates in fact protect the wearer against blunt and axes more than chainmail, all tests prove that. Chainmail doesn't even try to absorb the blunt trauma, it doesn't even transfer most of it because all of it goes through unhindered. Axes also rip through it with sheer force. So I don't see how segmenteta can fare worse than something that doesn't even perform.

    While some what correct, as the plates do absorb some of the impact, it can also be a problem as a dent will continue to put pressure on the injured area until removed. This means that you would be discarding all of your armor while the battle is going on (until repaired or replaced), also keep in mind that the they were iron and mild steel and not even medieval steel so it shouldn't be completely compared to later, medieval counterparts.. Chainmail while taking the full brunt of the impact into the padding and body underneath will not stay deformed. Either way, a solid hit causing an injury would most likely have the soldier leaving battle no matter which type of armor they are using..

    _____

    On cost, while the initial construction might have been more to produce mail over the Lorica Segmentata do to the amount of labor, the repair labor was more intensive. Each plate had to be reforged (heated and reshaped), while mail just required the replacement of the broken rings which could be done quickly and field repairs more practical.
    Tacitus Quotes:
    Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium; atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.
    They plunder, they slaughter, and they steal: this they falsely name Empire, and where they make a wasteland, they call it peace.

    Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges.
    The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the government.

    I found Rome a city of filth covered marble and left it a pile of rubble. -Erminaz
  • mmurray821mmurray821 Moderator Posts: 5,100Moderators
    edited February 2015
    I've seen some ideas from weapon and armor historians.

    Segmenta came about from fighting the Germanic barbarians to help protect against the axes and longswords with the huge overhand swing the barbarians used. It protected the Romans very well against it. However, it had a huge drawback as the armor was very demanding in maintenance (had to be polished with sand and oil every day or rusted) and could not be repaired in the field easily unless you had a portable forge (which many legions did).

    Once the Germans were not actively at war and the borders started to become fixed, the armor fell out of use and chainmail and leather came back into fashion. While chainmail was more expensive to produce initially, the maintenance costs were minimal and the individual soldier could easily repair his own armor with a few extra links and the maintenance labor was a lot lower with chainmail.
    Total War Forum: Terms and Conditions
    I've never seen the Icarus story as a lesson on the limitations of humans. I see it as a lesson about the limitations of wax as an adhesive.
  • GamgeeGamgee Senior Member Posts: 864Registered Users
    edited February 2015
    You make a good point Erminaz. If a soldier died his chain mail could be refitted for a new soldier at his expense. Or even used to repair others in the legions. Or if any did get damaged it's easier to repair them and keep rings around for them. Much much easier.
  • Galvanized IronGalvanized Iron Senior Member Posts: 2,058Registered Users
    edited February 2015
    59tiger95 wrote: »
    Segmentata also had a interesting disadvantage: due to the fact it was solid plates locked together in a way similar to medieval knights blunt weapons such as axes and clubs actually were more likely to hurt the solider wearing segmentata than Hamata. And what do you know the germanic tribes during the Segmentata's lifespan used axes and clubs primarily. And due to the way it is put together it is harder to maintain on the field and doesn't last as long.
    Actually at least when it comes to blunt weapons chainmail offers much less protection. It is becuase since chainmail is completely flexible it does nothing to absorb the impact, but simply transfers the entire blunt trauma to to wearer. That's why helmets were almost always made from solid metal or even leather rather than chain. Leather on the other hand is like the opposite of chainmail, it greatly absorbs blunt damage, but is really weak to piercing and slashing damage.
    |Sith|Lord|Galvanized Iron
  • nodulousnodulous Senior Member Posts: 804Registered Users
    edited February 2015
    The Imperial armies were equipped and supplied by the state. There are 35 Fabricae named in the Notitia Dignitatum producing weapons, clothing and armour, not to mention stud farms. By the timeframe of the game allowances were starting to be paid to the men in lieu of issue, possibly as a result of the new mobile field armies.
    Much scale armour was bronze.

    Anyone interested in Roman shield patterns, the Bodleian Library has a copy of the Notitia online plus it includes every office of the WRE and ERE.
  • dermaxdermax Member Posts: 89Registered Users
    edited February 2015
    There's a theory going around - which makes sense to me - that the segmentatas were actually "browned" much like gun barrels until "bluing" was invented. In "browning" you actually create a controlled layer of rust over the surface of the item and then oil it. The "rust" prevents additional rusting and cuts down on upkeep substantially.

    One clarification about cost being an issue. Roman soldiers after Marius did not *buy* their equipment although they did *pay* for it. A legionnaire was issued equipment by the state with a portion of his pay withheld to cover the cost. So it wasn't as if a soldier could decline a segmentata because he couldn't afford it. It's similar to, say, a modern electrician... they are issued required tools and the cost is subtracted from their first few checks. If cost was an issue it was at the state level, not the individual.

    I've built a segmentata myself and it's really surprisingly easy for even a mediocre smith - the class where I certainly fall. Chainmail, on the other hand, is incredibly time consuming, but when you've got thousands of slaves working on it, suddenly it's not quite so daunting.

    As for why it fell out of favor; that's a question we might never be able to answer. The only negative that I found particularly is that the shoulder plates can cut the hell out of your bicep. If I had to be hit by anything, I'd take a segmentata over mail. Apparently, however, the Romans felt otherwise!
  • TomiceTomice Senior Member Posts: 302Registered Users
    edited February 2015
    Wasn't blunt damage best absorbed by the "undergarment"? Wearing padded underclothes under chain mail seems like a very effective (and comfortable) protection vs. blunt weapons.
    Sjiriki wrote: »
    I kinda feel like the total war siege AI is taking revenge on my for abusing it for 10+years :(
  • nodulousnodulous Senior Member Posts: 804Registered Users
    edited February 2015
    The best way of absorbing blunt damage is to maintain formation, keep your shield up and your spear levelled.
    Battle and gladiatorial combat are very different disciplines.
  • ashmizenashmizen Senior Member Posts: 299Registered Users
    edited February 2015
    I think the key may be the lack of physical strength of the legions at this point.

    There's a text somewhere by a general in 300-400AD to the effect that Roman soldiers went to war without wearing their armor complaining that they were too heavy. As a result, during the battle against the Goths, they got slaughtered by the arrows, being unarmored. The Roman general basically said their soldiers are totally out of shape, and lacked the disciplined physical training that a real soldier should have.

    Given that, mail is going to be a lot lighter, and these out of shape soldiers are going to prefer that.
    Warhammer TW wish list:
    1. allow building during other player's turn in co-op.
    2. Autoresolve damage shifted to more on regular melee units, less on lord/heroes/monsters
    3. AI stop building armies of only 8 pistoliers
  • Galvanized IronGalvanized Iron Senior Member Posts: 2,058Registered Users
    edited February 2015
    Tomice wrote: »
    Wasn't blunt damage best absorbed by the "undergarment"? Wearing padded underclothes under chain mail seems like a very effective (and comfortable) protection vs. blunt weapons.
    Yeah that's quite right, but those wearing plates also tended to have that padding.
    ashmizen wrote: »
    I think the key may be the lack of physical strength of the legions at this point.

    There's a text somewhere by a general in 300-400AD to the effect that Roman soldiers went to war without wearing their armor complaining that they were too heavy. As a result, during the battle against the Goths, they got slaughtered by the arrows, being unarmored. The Roman general basically said their soldiers are totally out of shape, and lacked the disciplined physical training that a real soldier should have.

    Given that, mail is going to be a lot lighter, and these out of shape soldiers are going to prefer that.
    The myth of the energetic general shaping up lazy and undisciplined soldiers is actually a constant tradition in Roman history writing. You find figures like Scipio and Corbulo allegedly doing the same thing.
    |Sith|Lord|Galvanized Iron
  • Bane1778Bane1778 Member Posts: 34Registered Users
    edited February 2015
    I believe the main factor was the cost, as the previous armor wasn't that much better than chainmail and was much more expensive and difficult to maintain.

    I do have a question for any Roman history buff though, why did they switch from rectangular shields to oval and round shields? Anyone know?
  • Galvanized IronGalvanized Iron Senior Member Posts: 2,058Registered Users
    edited February 2015
    Bane1778 wrote: »
    I believe the main factor was the cost, as the previous armor wasn't that much better than chainmail and was much more expensive and difficult to maintain.

    I do have a question for any Roman history buff though, why did they switch from rectangular shields to oval and round shields? Anyone know?
    Oval shields are more practical for actual fighting, as the Roman army began shifting from larger pitched battles to smaller operations there were less sieges and field battles so a more flexible shield was required.

    Roman army kinda had more oval shields during Caesars time as well. The rectangular shields were really a principate thing, probably to better form up in a testudo.
    |Sith|Lord|Galvanized Iron
  • rawnuklesrawnukles Senior Member Posts: 136Registered Users
    edited February 2015
    At a glance the late roman infantry look like cheap imitations of Classic roman solders don't they?

    The truth is Lorica Segmentata is much cheaper and and quicker to make than Chain Mail. Think about it how long would it take to link the thousands of links in chain mail, compared to 20 or 40 plates...

    The plate armour looks cooler and makes the legionary look more muscular and looks are important to the psychology but the the truth is chain mail was always better. The scale armour is the best compromise. More strength and flex but not so expensive as true chain mail.

    I was surprised when I learned this as the lorica segmentata looks better than chain mail. I suspect the plate would be better at absorbing a blow from a mace than chain would though.
  • SuliotSuliot Senior Member Posts: 364Registered Users
    edited February 2015
    Lets not forget by the 3rd century AD the roman army underwent huge structural changes, Diocletian started them in order to be able to shift the troops around the territory easier in order to fight the barbarian incursions. Hamata and Squamata armors are more practical when covering large areas and not fighting pitched battles against huge regular armies but instead fighting against marauders that move quickly.

    Also by this time the Romans started to borrow heavily from the barbarians not just equipment but soldiers too, this is when the roman army starts to become more "barbarized" due to the foederati system that's why the roman soldiers look similar to the barbarian troops.

    As much as I love the segmentata armor I think the later hamata, squamata and oval shields look cool too.
  • slapnut1207slapnut1207 Posts: 18Registered Users
    edited September 10
    I wonder about the boots, even though I don't have the game. Because I see in some Attila images that Roman Legionaries had different types of boots besides the great old caligae, is it due to the modern belief of the fact that Roman Legions of the 3rd Century were getting what they could in a short amount of time? I wish that Attila had a
    feature in which you could upgrade your tech tree or whatever it has for progression in the game and get a upgrade called the Restoration of the old Army (something like that) in which you could get Lorica Segmentata and earlier Imperial Helmets. (By that I mean units that won't replace the 3rd century Soldiers but will complement and have the appearance of the 1st Century to 2nd Century Legionary.) But it would be nice if some guy was lucky enough to discover Lorica Segmentata that was from the 3rd century.....
    Roma Invicta!!! - The People of Roma
  • MercatorMercator Posts: 6Registered Users
    Shift of center of power. After 1st century, Italy is no longer the major military power in the Empire. Legion had to rely on local people for equipment and man power, result in a great diversity in the army of the East and the West.
  • ESKEHLESKEHL Senior Member Posts: 309Registered Users
    Interesting thread for sure! The typical depiction of a roman soldier is usually based upon the Lorica Segmentata armor which I argue have created a stereotype that can be seen when the roman army is depicted in popular culture.

    One thing to bare in mind is the difference between legionaries and auxiliary troops. The legionaries were recruited from the citizens of the roman republic and later in the roman empire. Auxiliaries were recruited from the local population.

    Given that emperor Caracalla issued the edict of the new Antonine constitution that extended citizenship to all free men of the empire, that might have been a cause for implementing a more low-maintanence armor?

    This is just speculation of course, but the fact that the manpower available to the legions was drastically increased and the fact that legions could theoretically be activated anywere in the empire suggests that the legions opted to have more cost-effective equipment?
  • MarcusIuniusBrutusMarcusIuniusBrutus Senior Member GermanyPosts: 1,235Registered Users
    Lorica Segmentata was difficult to repair, a lorica hamata is cheaper and easier to repair and not much worser than a segmentata.
  • slapnut1207slapnut1207 Posts: 18Registered Users
    edited September 16
    But the Roman Legions should have a helmet for each Soldier at least. In fact some legions in the 3rd century probably had Imperial Italic and Gallic Helmets around since helmets can pass from a generation to another one. (Also those helmets might have been still in production) There wasn't any exact uniform for the Romans but the Soldiers were most likely expected to have some armor. For example Roman Soldiers in the 1st Century would most likely being wearing a coolus helmet rather then a Italic or Gallic since those might have been less uncommon.
    Just because it wasn't the 3rd century didn't meant the Roman Generals didn't care about what the Soldier wore.
    The Soldiers when they got helmets and weapons would most likely get a subtraction from their wage. I would find it crazy for a Roman Legatus or a Senior Tribunus to accept the quality of the Roman Legions looking like a bunch of mixed up forces of barbarians and romans with either helmets or none. The only thing I would accept is that the Roman Legions in the 3rd Century AD looked like a mix of the first, second and third century.
    Roma Invicta!!! - The People of Roma
  • slapnut1207slapnut1207 Posts: 18Registered Users
    edited September 17
    Also just one more question does Total War Attila still have Roman Legionaries without helmets? If they did, that would be
    unrealistic.
    Roma Invicta!!! - The People of Roma
Sign In or Register to comment.