Lorica Hamata vs Lorica Segmentata

Which type of armour do you think was the best?

  • Lorica Hamata

    Votes: 28 45.9%
  • Lorica Segmentata

    Votes: 33 54.1%

  • Total voters
    61
May 2011
363
Sweden
#1
Which type of Roman armour out of the Lorica Hamata and Lorica Segmentata do you think was the best in terms of defensive capabilities and overall usefulness? Why?
 

Isoroku295

Ad Honorem
Jan 2009
8,488
In the Past
#2
Segmantata was in general the best. The only issue was maintanence. It didn't take as long to make. it was cheeper (thousands of rings cost more the simple bands), and it was amazing protection. Oh and it was lighter and had easier mobility.

Hamata really only had better protection from arrows (which shields made mostly pointless), and easier maintanence. Well.. Ok Hamata also offered good protection against jabbing motions, which the Romans used (and thus obviously was a major importance do to civil war).
 
Apr 2010
16,748
Slovakia
#4
Segmentata was used for just very short period of time and than even then did not become more popular than chainmail. There must have been some reason for that. If it was superior, why Romans continue to use chainmail and forgot segmentata altogether?

It is always funny to see all those reenactment groups using segmentata. Hollywood loves it too. For some reason real Romans did not.
 
Dec 2009
5,637
Canada
#5
Segmentata was used for just very short period of time and than even then did not become more popular than chainmail. There must have been some reason for that. If it was superior, why Romans continue to use chainmail and forgot segmentata altogether?

It is always funny to see all those reenactment groups using segmentata. Hollywood loves it too. For some reason real Romans did not.
It's because it's a real cool looking armour. It's also pretty much alone in terms of grouping armour by appearance. It's the one armour that everyone knows as "Roman Armour".

Hamata was actually not that expensive to make. It took less time to make, but required experienced smiths to make it in quality. Hamata on the other hand, while it took a fair amount of time to actually make, it wasn't overly expensive. A Roman smith could easily have a couple of slaves in assembling it together.

It also had to be custom fitted to each wearer. With Hamata, you generally could make a "one size fits all" piece, and not have to worry about it not fitting properly. Hamata was also easier to take on and off, and overall a more comfortable armour to wear. (I've worn a cuirass of chainmaille underneath my clothing, as a form of strength training like ankle and wrist weights. I didn't seem to notice the weight during the day, and I felt rather fine. When I took it off in the evening, I felt very floaty and fast. It was quite an interesting feeling that you really need to experience yourself).

Segmentata also required constant cleaning to keep it effective and free from rust. Hamata, naturally would be resistant to rust just by wearing it. However, it was easily cleaned. Put it in a barrel or a bag of sand, and roll the barrel or toss the bag around (the bag also functions like a medicine ball, and is a useful way for strength training, while also cleaning the armour).

Knights had their squires toss the sand bags with chainmaille around, so it's not so unfeasible that a legionary soldier wouldn't do it while in the barracks training.

Segmentata was only really better at protecting from blunt force trauma. But if you have to worry about that, while also having a rather large shield (they could take a fair bit of punishment before breaking), then there is a fairly large problem here. Mainly... You're not using the shield properly.
 
May 2011
363
Sweden
#6
Segmentata was used for just very short period of time and than even then did not become more popular than chainmail. There must have been some reason for that. If it was superior, why Romans continue to use chainmail and forgot segmentata altogether?
The Lorica Segmentata was actually used during two centuries, so thats not really a very short period of time. As for why the Romans eventually abandonded it, thats a very good question. It was more difficult, though cheaper, to make than the Lorica Hamata, so maybe the smiths of the 4th and 5th centuries weren't as good as the ones of the 1st and 2nd centuries? Pretty far-fetched, I know, but it seems to me that the Lorica Segmentata offered better protection against all kinds of attacks, whether it be arrows, spears, thrusts, slashes or stabs. As such, why would the Romans abandon it? Admittedly, it required alot of maintenance, but wouldn't it be worth it?

It's because it's a real cool looking armour.
It is indeed. :)
 

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
13,980
Navan, Ireland
#7
My Legionary Manual tells me that Loricia segmentata is harder to clean and a pain to put on and fit well than mail but also cheaper, stronger and lighter than mail.

(all of which has already been said above).

Than begs the question why stop using it? if it was harder to make might explain it during the decline perhaps craftsman were in short supply, Can not rule out fashion.

However why not go back to it if it was better?
Read an account of the Siege of Malta and there the author describes the Knights of St Johns helmets being very similar to Roman Legionaries after hundreds of years the design was 're-discovered' for it protection etc.

Why stick with mail?

Suspect whatever armchair generals might think the soldiers voted 'with their feet'.
 
Apr 2010
16,748
Slovakia
#8
One reason could be that segmentata needs better quality steel than simple wire from which you make chainmail.

Making good duality steel was not easy back then.

...just my idea.
 
Apr 2010
16,748
Slovakia
#10
You could have quite easily made one from bronze like the Dendra Panoply
You mean lorica segmentata? I do not think metal which would bend easily would be practical given its construction (it was not made from single piece). If all those segments get bended in battle in different angles, it would be pretty dysfunctional, heavy piece of scrap metal.

That is why I think it probably needed good steel to make.

Perhaps if it would have been made on leather backing ...but it wasn't.
 

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