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View Poll Results: Lorica Hamata vs Lorica Squamata
Lorica Hamata 5 62.50%
Lorica Squamata 3 37.50%
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Old June 19th, 2014, 01:49 AM   #1
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Lorica Squamata vs. Lorica Hamata


The Lorica Squamata(Scale) and the Lorica Hamata(mail) are the two armors that were used the majority of Rome's Imperial history. Even in Trajan's time, troops were still wearing Scale and Mail armor as shown in the Tropeum Trajani in Dacia. Also later in the Late Rome Empire, both were very common. Which was more common? I believe Lorica Squamata was depicted more on Trajan's Dacian monument while Lorica Hamata is more on Marcus' Aurelius Column.

Also which was better? Squamata was probably cheaper but prone to breaking or rust.(although it was easily repaired than Hamata). Also Squamata provides better protection against blunt trauma and arrows.(I believe)
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Old June 19th, 2014, 03:31 AM   #2

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You are correct about scale armor providing better protection against arrows than mail, which is why it was used mostly in the east. Lorica Hamata was more common than Lorica Squamata. Beside superior protection against arrows, I don't think either one was much better than the other. I could be wrong, but I believe that scale and mail are very similar to each other.
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Old June 19th, 2014, 03:37 AM   #3
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Trajan's monument in Dacia shows Squamata more. Michael Smitt says Trajan personally adapted to Legionairy equipment to face the Falx.

Roman Cataphracts(who were the elite) in the Eastern Roman Empire seem to wear Squamata or an Lammelar armor. That says a lot.
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Old June 19th, 2014, 06:27 PM   #4
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I think Lorica Hamata because despite being harder to build, more expensive in man hours to make, it was favored by the "barbarians" who existed after Rome who knew how to make both.

I think that says a great deal that the people who's lives depended on it picked Lorica Hamata. Being favored during and after the Roman Empire despite being the tougher thing to build says a great deal about it's effectiveness.
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Old June 20th, 2014, 12:32 AM   #5
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According to Goldsworthy:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian Goldsworthy"The Roman Army at War 100bc-ad200"
Scale armor was less flexible than mail, and easeir to penetrate, but was worn frequently. It's use may habe been due to availability (it was easier to manufacture than mail), but the ability to polish this type of armor to a high sheen may also have appealed to a soldier wishing to look impressive. pg.216
I also believe this is the same sentiment of Bishop and Coulston, though I cannot be 100% on that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrbsct
Trajan's monument in Dacia shows Squamata more. Michael Smitt says Trajan personally adapted to Legionairy equipment to face the Falx.
From my recollection lorica segmentata was used more on the column. As for the falx, there was the one handed version and the two handed version. I cannot recall the dimensions of either but I believe to much is made of their ability. Yes it was a fierce weapon, but it was not the sole cause of changes to Roman armor:
Quote:
Originally Posted by M.C. Bishop and J.C.N. Coulston-“Roman Military Equipment”
Adoption of additional limb-defenses in the face of Dacian scythe-weapons (falces), as seen on the Adamklissi metopes, would at first sight provide a clear example of short-term innovation. However, greaves and armguards were in use on other frontiers, earlier or contemporaneously, without the involvement of Dacian adversaries(see Chapter 5). Pg.203
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Old June 20th, 2014, 01:35 AM   #6
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Frostwulf, I mean the Tropaeum Trajani(Adamklissi) not the Trajan's Column. The Segmentata isn't depicted at all on that monument.

Scale armor being good or bad realy depends on quality of metal. While for Mail, high quality was a must have since low quality mail would break upon making it. Early Scale was probably bronze while Imperial scale was iron.
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Old June 20th, 2014, 10:40 PM   #7
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Sorry for that error on my part, and that being said I would agree with you, at least from what I can remember of it .
As for the scale I'm sure that quality did mater, both for scale and chain. I will have to find what Bishop and a few others said.
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Old June 21st, 2014, 12:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MagnusStultus View Post
I think Lorica Hamata because despite being harder to build, more expensive in man hours to make, it was favored by the "barbarians" who existed after Rome who knew how to make both.

I think that says a great deal that the people who's lives depended on it picked Lorica Hamata. Being favored during and after the Roman Empire despite being the tougher thing to build says a great deal about it's effectiveness.
While mail (Hamata) took more labor to make, that doesn't mean it was harder or more expensive to make. The act of linking the rings together it relatively simple task, and you could probably "weave" a mail shirt while sitting around a fire in a manner analogous to the way you knit a shirt. The hardest part was making the wire for the rings, and if you used modern techniques of drawing it through a die, you could make relatively large amounts of wire. The skill to forge and make all the metal scales of a scale armor, or the plates for the Lorica Squamata may have been greater than making mail. Which is why the barbarians might have preferred mail. The labor cost to make the mail may not have been as much a problem for the barbarians. Especially in the north, there are long winter nights that would be perfect to linking all the rings together.

But it does mean that the protection offered by mail armor must have been comparable to other styles, otherwise the barbarians would have adopted the other style armor. I suspect that the protection offered by any of the armor styles was comparable, with other factors being the reason one kind was adopted over another. Cost, flexibility, ease of maintenance, would have been factors. And cost may not have been the same everywhere. In some regions, it might have been less costly to make mail, in some areas scale might have been cheaper.

Last edited by Bart Dale; June 21st, 2014 at 12:14 PM.
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Old June 21st, 2014, 08:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart Dale View Post
While mail (Hamata) took more labor to make, that doesn't mean it was harder or more expensive to make. The act of linking the rings together it relatively simple task, and you could probably "weave" a mail shirt while sitting around a fire in a manner analogous to the way you knit a shirt. The hardest part was making the wire for the rings, and if you used modern techniques of drawing it through a die, you could make relatively large amounts of wire. The skill to forge and make all the metal scales of a scale armor, or the plates for the Lorica Squamata may have been greater than making mail. Which is why the barbarians might have preferred mail. The labor cost to make the mail may not have been as much a problem for the barbarians. Especially in the north, there are long winter nights that would be perfect to linking all the rings together.

But it does mean that the protection offered by mail armor must have been comparable to other styles, otherwise the barbarians would have adopted the other style armor. I suspect that the protection offered by any of the armor styles was comparable, with other factors being the reason one kind was adopted over another. Cost, flexibility, ease of maintenance, would have been factors. And cost may not have been the same everywhere. In some regions, it might have been less costly to make mail, in some areas scale might have been cheaper.
Interesting; but can't you make effective scale out of bronze?
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Old June 29th, 2014, 08:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MagnusStultus View Post
Interesting; but can't you make effective scale out of bronze?
Yes, but bronze is a whole lot more expensive. Iron is much cheaper, since iron is a much more common element than copper and especially tin.

Iron swords replaced bronze not because they were better (although steel swords are), but because they were cheaper, and good enough.
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