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

Matthew Amt

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
2,966
MD, USA
Sure, the basic circumference will matter. And some guys are simply longer in the torso than others. A couple inches might not have been crucial, in many cases. Of course, some guys may have insisted on a better fit than others! And there isn't any adjustment in fastening a plate bronze cuirass, it's just "open" and "closed". There's a little more forgiveness in a segmentata, but it's possible that 3 or 4 "standard" sizes would do for almost everyone, with no need for XXL and XXXL, etc.

Matthew
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,756
Australia
Longer torsos seem to be an Asian trait while Caucasians tend to have proportionally longer legs. When I was training in Seoul the first thing the instructor did was to stand me next to a Korean of exactly the same height. He pointed out to the class that my hips were several inches higher than the Korean's and said that my longer legs meant that I was better off concentrating on different techniques than the locals.
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,744
USA
How many of these do you think would be in a Roman army? Freaks like this would be in a gladiator school.
Probably a good number of officers. Since mid Republic, weightlifting was something many did. Quite a few generals were famous for their muscular physiques.
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,756
Australia
This is the physique you get from a Roman diet and a Roman weight training program.


Not this
 

HackneyedScribe

Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
6,494
Alan Wilkins shot a 113 joule quarrel at a Lorica Segmentata and this was what happened:
The cheiroballistra went on to achieve significant results at 50 metres against a replica of a lorica segmentata cuirass, piercing one of the 1.25 mm thick steel hoops and almost punching through the one underneath. The 70 g bolt's unhardened bodkin point hit the dummy legionary at or slightly below his bottom rib, severely denting both plates and the bottom plate below them.

Note that lorica segmentata don't tend to have hoops as thick as 1.25mm, in fact it's closer to half that thickness, in which case the quarrel would have penetrated instead of almost penetrated. Ergo Lorica Segmentata weren't as protective as mail, unless if it had thicker hoops which would have made the armor heavier. The armor was light in weight because its plating was thin, and coverage wasn't as good as Lorica Hamata. To get the same protection and same coverage, it would need to be heavier.
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,744
USA
This is the physique you get from a Roman diet and a Roman weight training program.


Not this
Based on what?

A Roman of the Equestrian class or Senatorial would never want for food a day in their life. The idea they didn't eat meat is not true, they had a well balanced diet full of complex csrbs and various animal and plant proteins. They'd live a life of leisure, in the sense they had no real job they had to do every day, more so managing/supervising estates and business endeavors, dealing with clients, etc. They had a slave for nearly every task, giving them lots of free time. They are reported to be the ones who trained the best gladiators (and thus taught them their techniques). They regularly trained for warfare at the Campus Martius on a daily basis, exercised at home gyms or at the baths, where they performed numerous exercises, including various types of cardio, plus gymnastics, and weight lifting, learned from the Greeks. Because of their good diet, especially growing up, they would generally taller than average, and larger with more muscle mass and maybe even a decent level of fat (depending on age, dietary lifestyle, and level of activities).

They differ with lower classes, who often ate sparingly, more carbs less proteins, did more high rep low weight physical activities involving labor, so likely shredded and wiry, mediocre cardio but Farm Strong, and tough from a life of toil, as the ancient sources say. Likely shorter from early childhood nutritional deficiencies, more disfigurements, teeth, eye, skin, bone issues, etc from lack of medical care availability and hazardous and arduous lives.

This

Vs

This guy
 

Matthew Amt

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
2,966
MD, USA
Alan Wilkins shot a 113 joule quarrel at a Lorica Segmentata and this was what happened:
The cheiroballistra went on to achieve significant results at 50 metres against a replica of a lorica segmentata cuirass, piercing one of the 1.25 mm thick steel hoops and almost punching through the one underneath. The 70 g bolt's unhardened bodkin point hit the dummy legionary at or slightly below his bottom rib, severely denting both plates and the bottom plate below them.

Note that lorica segmentata don't tend to have hoops as thick as 1.25mm, in fact it's closer to half that thickness, in which case the quarrel would have penetrated instead of almost penetrated. Ergo Lorica Segmentata weren't as protective as mail, unless if it had thicker hoops which would have made the armor heavier. The armor was light in weight because its plating was thin, and coverage wasn't as good as Lorica Hamata. To get the same protection and same coverage, it would need to be heavier.
I don't think anyone is claiming that any armor is impenetrable! My usual mantra is "Most armor protects against most weapons most of the time." In this particular case, how often were Romans in segmented armor (and lacking shields?) being shot at by ballistas? And did their buddies in mail or scale feel significantly less vulnerable? Armor tests can be fun, but all too often, that's all they are.

Matthew
 
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HackneyedScribe

Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
6,494
113 joules isn't that high, can probably be reached by a javelin or a very strong bowman. Alan Wilkin's replica ballista was on the very small side and wasn't that powerful.

I made the statement because some said the segmentata was just as protective as the hamata, which I disagree with. Decent chainmail with under-padding probably could resist a 113 joule quarrel. If the segmentata had the optimal weight to protection ratio, then the hamata was seriously overweight. The Romans could have saved a lot of iron by making them lighter, if that was the case.
 
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Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,756
Australia
It takes a certain amount of energy to compromise armour. It takes considerably more to compromise armour AND incapacitate the wearer
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,744
USA
It takes a certain amount of energy to compromise armour. It takes considerably more to compromise armour AND incapacitate the wearer
If you mean a penetrating would like an arrow or bolt, the wounding effect would be related to blunt force trauma, of the force transmitted through even a partially penetrated plate into flesh and bone.

Much worse for the head, where no fleshy fat and muscle acts as a buffer for thin skull bones, then the brain.