Lorica Hamata vs Lorica Segmentata

Which type of armour do you think was the best?

  • Lorica Hamata

    Votes: 28 45.2%
  • Lorica Segmentata

    Votes: 34 54.8%

  • Total voters
    62

Thegn Ansgar

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
5,637
Canada
Thank you for the answer; but to follow up will high carbon iron do the job/has it been tested?

Conventional wisdom has always been the iron makes poor armor so I am genuinely curious.
If it's been work hardened, it performs acceptably well. Though that only seems to apply to plate. Roman (and later Medieval) maille was also made from wrought iron, but in the drawing and coiling process it became work hardened. They then had to reverse this process, as it seems that maille that hasn't been work hardened and is softer performs better than if it was steel or put through any hardening process.
 
Mar 2014
1,994
Lithuania
They then had to reverse this process, as it seems that maille that hasn't been work hardened and is softer performs better than if it was steel or put through any hardening process.

This probably true for low quality material. I somewhere in this tread already posted link about tests on 16 examples of medieval chainmail. 3 examples from XIV century were made from very hard steel 530-590, when examples made from wrought iron were almost as soft as bronze 80.

So if quality of metal is doubtful it may be better to soften in trying to prevent brittleness, but if you can make real steel then spring steel is the way to go.
http://gladius.revistas.csic.es/index.php/gladius/article/viewFile/135/135
 
Aug 2013
148
USA
Mrbsct said:
Both the Trajan Trophy and Trajan's Column are propaganda. Both show Dacians as unarmored savages when archeological evidence finds that they were well armored in scale and proffesionalized close to Roman Legions.
There is some problems with Trajan's column, but some:

Lino Rossi-“Trajan’s Column and the Dacian Wars” said:
The great army, probably 100,000 men strong, will be considered in detail later, when we examine the spectacular and precise representations of it that the Column has preserved for us through the centuries. Pg.28
This being said there is nothing to my recollection that supports your view that the Dacians " were well armored in scale". Just like the 'Celts' and others the nobility and some of the better warriors were better armored, but certainly not "all".

Jane Penrose-“Rome And Her Enemies” said:
Dacian shields, as shown on the pedestal, were heavily decorated with floriate, braided, geometric designs. The helmets on the pedestal fall into two categories: one with a neat, rounded cone-shaped shell, the other with its apex curved forward into the characteristic ‘Phrygian’ peak. Both are highly decorated in the same fashion as the shields. The body armour of the Dacians is represented in three ways on the pedestal - Mail, leaf-scale and banded construction- and the Dacian costume is the ubiquitous tunic and cloak combination of this time. Armour was probably not widely worn, and indeed the figures on the column show no signs of body armour, their only defence being the shield. pg.213-214
Lino Rossi-“Trajan’s Column and the Dacian Wars” said:
The Dacians, in their turn, in conjunction with related and allied peoples, in chief the Bastarnae (of German stock) and the Roxolani (of Sarmato-Scythian stock), mustered a large army partly equipped and trained in the Roman way, but employing very special and heavy forms of armament, namely the battlescythe used by the infantry and the complete suits of armour worn by the cavalry. The Dacian warriors were, moreover, masters of their own territory (little known to the Romans), which was rich in steep hills, thick woods and rapid rivers. pg.22
It wasn't untill Decebalus that the Dacians were trained in the fashion of the Romans but even then I very much doubt it was a large number trained. I can't recall who, though I believe it was Dio who said that the best troops among the Dacians was the Roman deserters.

Mrbsct said:
However I have quesions for the Trajan Column skeptics.
-How do you know the people wearing chainmail are not Legions and people wearing Segmentata not Auxilia
This is where one of the failings in accuracy of the column comes up. There is an effort in distinguishing auxilia from Romans, thus the difference in the armor. How do we know, by the arms and symbols also portrayed on the column.
Mrbsct said:
-Auxilia did most of the fighting. Why would a piece of propaganda portray that rather than the glorious citizens of Rome crushing the Dacians?
Better to shed the blood of the auxilia then that of the citizen from my readings is the most accepted view. On the major battles is when the citizen comes into play.

Mrbsct said:
-We can conclude that the Lorica Segmentata would stand up to the Falx if it was struck on the shoulder. However I question the two-handed Falx is wieldy enough to make a hooking attack to the thighs or armpits. Certaintly the 1 handed Falx(as Trajan's columm depicts) would be me more suited to defeating the Segmentata. Decabulus I believe was said to have adapted to Roman warfare, the 1 handed Falx seems to be a better completment to the Gladius since you can use a shield.
Both could have been used, as well as other weapons. Again the falx could be used to designate (stereotype) Dacians from others.
 
May 2019
2
Colombia
I think the segmentata is better, The Hamata may have better mobility, but the Segmentata is stronger and also has some mobility, but in case of resistance is much better the Lorica Musculata but is very uncomfortable, something heavy and has bad mobility.
 
Sep 2017
757
United States
Looks like this is a thread brought back from the long since dead, but another thing I'd like to point out without coming to a conclusion, is that one factor on why LH remained popular in the era of LS is that they already had huge amounts of it.

Hamata has been used since the early Republic; and thus, by the time of Segmentata's creation, it's likely countless troops across the Empire were already wearing Hamata. Why waste all that recently produced Hamata to swap everyone with Segmentata?

In the field of actual effectiveness as it comes to blows, I doubt the significance was enough to change meaning other factors are at play. Metal armor is metal armor, blades have tons of trouble with it. Most attacks would be aimed at exposed areas like the face, feet, etcetera anyway.

But damn, Segmentata looks far better than Hamata.
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,772
Australia
Mail saw continuous use for two thousand years; segmentata saw use for around three hundred years.
Both types of armour provide similar protection, which was more than sufficient to stop most of the attacks that Romans faced in battle.
Mail covers more of the body such as the lower stomach, groin, and armpit, which segmentata leaves exposed.
Mail requires 3 individual components to manufacture while segmentata requires 19-26.
Mail is more flexible and comfortable.
Mail is faster to don and remove.
Mail is easier to store and transport.
Mail is easier to maintain.
Mail is easier and faster to repair.
Mail more easily fits a range of body sizes.
Mail has greater longevity.
Segmentata is lighter than mail.
Segmentata is cheaper and faster to make than mail, which is probably why it was developed in the first place. There isn't a single depiction of an officer or NCO wearing it, which suggests it was munitions armour only worn by soldiers who couldn't afford anything better.
 
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Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,772
Australia
The falx is just a pruning hook. It can't cut through any kind of armour. This weapon has been over-hyped almost as much as the katana.
 

Davidius

Ad Honorem
Dec 2010
4,995
Pillium
The falx is just a pruning hook. It can't cut through any kind of armour. This weapon has been over-hyped almost as much as the katana.
I agree completely about these weapons being over hyped but...

After the Dacian campaign the Romans added cross bracing to helmets (imperial italic style) because of the number of penetrating head wounds delivered by the falx, so it can cut through some armour.
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,772
Australia
I agree completely about these weapons being over hyped but...

After the Dacian campaign the Romans added cross bracing to helmets (imperial italic style) because of the number of penetrating head wounds delivered by the falx, so it can cut through some armour.
The cross-bracing had nothing to do with the falx. Cross-braced helmets (and segmented armguards) were used in Britain, Spain, Syria, etc., where there were no falxes. In addition, there are a few examples of these helmets that have been dated decades before the Dacian campaign. If they were made in response to the falx, the earliest examples would be contemporary with the Dacian campaign, not before.
 
Last edited:
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