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
Feb 2011
6,379
As usual you have completely missed the point. The Romans used this armour for over three hundred years. They had the capacity to make it more protective, yet chose not to. It was obviously fit for purpose and this discussion about how many joules it may have stopped it pointless. It is pretty arrogant of you to think that you know more about this subject than the people who actually developed, manufactured, and wore it. And it is insulting to people like Matt and myself who have dedicated most of our lives to studying this subject and have given up a lot of our time to help others learn about this.
Did I deny that the Romans used this armour for over three hundred years? If so, where?
Did I deny that they had the capacity to make it more protective, yet chose not to? If so, where?
Did I deny that it was fit for a purpose? If so, where?

However, it is less resistant to projectiles than the hamata. If it wants to more as resistant, then it needs to have thicker plates and hence heavier. The points you made does not change that fact. If that is pointless to you, then I'm not forcing you to join the discussion. If you find it insulting, that's not my problem. This is what I find interesting, if it's pointless to you, you are free to talk about something else. If you want to talk about arrogance, I'm not forcing you to only talk about what I want to talk about. You are angry when I'm talking about things you deem pointless, I'm not forcing you to join in. So far I'm getting a lot of self-promotion but no hard data. If you are going to say you know this-much-and-that-much, then get the evidence to prove it. Simply saying how much you know, without sharing what you know, that's not good enough.

I don't understand why some people are so upset over this. If the lorica segmentata want to be just as resistant to projectiles as the lorica hamata, then the former needs to be heavier <----- Why is that simple concept so upsetting?

Moving on, I'm afraid I misquoted Crispvs, as that was him quoting about a separate test on the same armor. This was what he said about the test on the cheiroballistra, he said pretty much the same thing so the conclusion won't change:

We did a test on segmentata a few years ago, although at the time we we testing artillery rather than archery. The test results are included in the article 'Scorpio and Cheirobalistra' in JRMES 11 (2000). Without wishing to relay the entire test information to you, we shot a bolt from the cheirobalistra over a distance of 50 metres at a set of segmentata which had been padded and propped up in a way which was intended to provide a similar level of resistance to being pushed back as would be found in a person standing normally. The draw weight of the catapult was 732psi. The bolt only penetrated the armour slightly, piercing one plate but not the plate it was overlapping. However, the force of impact buckled the plates, pushing the armour inwards in such a way as to have caused broken bones and massive internal injuries in a real body. Obviously archery would not be able to reproduce this same level of power. I doubt therefore that arrows would be effective at penetrating segmentata. A caveat here is that our segmentata was made from modern mild steel rather than pure iron, but given the tantalising possibility of case hardening on actual armour the difference might not be as great as might at first be thought.
-Crispvs


And from Alan Wilkin's article itself:
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 it. 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 (Fig. 21). –Scorpio and Cheiroballistra by Alan Wilkins

^These people care about it, they have first hand experience. Why can't I care about it?
 
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Mar 2018
711
UK
This is my last reply here, this thread has become too venomous (and I accept my share of responsibility in it). I have no interest in ever lasting tit-for-tat replies on the internet.

I don't doubt Alan Wilkins results, and I never intended to give the impression that I did doubt them. What I state clearly several pages ago was that I didn't like the notion that there is a certain energy of projectile which determines the breaking point of armour. You cannot say "This armor will resist up to 100J, but this armor will break at 80J." The physics is more complicated than that. It is useful in all academic disciplines to simply and reduce the number of variables to make things easier to understand, but if you go to far with this you lose the ability to say anything correct or even meaningful. For example, it could well be the case that with 1cm of padding a certain piece of chainmail can resist a more energetic impact than a piece of plate, but at 4cm padding the relation is reversed. Or that it depends on impact momentum rather than impact energy. I have no evidence that that is the case, but it is certainly plausible, and there has been so far no evidence provided to the contrary, so it shouldn't be ignored.

I would be glad to have a discussion about what an appropriate set of variables are to model a missile hitting armor, but I accept that a history forum (and this thread in particular) is not the right place to do it. Especially when my primary interlocutor doesn't understand that arrows hurt because they exert forces when they hit us (how many times has HackneyedScribe stated that there are 0 relevant forces and pressure in this scenario?). I'm also happy to say that I have no idea what is being referred to by penetration or shock. All I was worried about is how missiles hitting armor transfer energy and momentum to the armor, how said armor and the wearer behind it might react, and how this complicated physical event shouldn't be reduced to a single number.

As for my PhD, which HackneyedScribe has referred to 11 times more than I have for some reason, I only mentioned it such that my credentials in basic physics wouldn't be questioned (Is that a reverse ad-hominem on myself?). What ever qualifications I may have obviously don't prevent other people from knowing things and doing things correctly.

@ Dan Howard. I entirely agree that the Romans thought it was good enough. I don't see why that should preclude us trying to find out how tough it was. For a start, it's interesting to know what hits the Romans thought armor should be able to resist, and what hits they didn't think were so important. It's also interesting to know where the Romans considered a good trade off between strength, mobility and weight was. As important as it is, there's more to history than finding out what people at the time thought was good enough. For a start, finding out how "good" good enough was.


I have reported my own post on this, and let this be a warning as to the dangers of necromancy.
 
Aug 2014
4,343
Australia
Both types of armour were fit for purpose. Both types of armour obviously stopped whatever threats the Romans faced on the battlefield. The reason why they chose one type of armour over another had nothing to do with how many joules they stopped.

I feel compelled to participate in discussions like this to help stop readers, who might be genuinely interested in this subject, from believing some of the nonsense here.
 
Feb 2011
6,379
This is my last reply here, this thread has become too venomous (and I accept my share of responsibility in it). I have no interest in ever lasting tit-for-tat replies on the internet.

I don't doubt Alan Wilkins results, and I never intended to give the impression that I did doubt them. What I state clearly several pages ago was that I didn't like the notion that there is a certain energy of projectile which determines the breaking point of armour. You cannot say "This armor will resist up to 100J, but this armor will break at 80J." The physics is more complicated than that. It is useful in all academic disciplines to simply and reduce the number of variables to make things easier to understand, but if you go to far with this you lose the ability to say anything correct or even meaningful. For example, it could well be the case that with 1cm of padding a certain piece of chainmail can resist a more energetic impact than a piece of plate, but at 4cm padding the relation is reversed. Or that it depends on impact momentum rather than impact energy. I have no evidence that that is the case, but it is certainly plausible, and there has been so far no evidence provided to the contrary, so it shouldn't be ignored.

I would be glad to have a discussion about what an appropriate set of variables are to model a missile hitting armor, but I accept that a history forum (and this thread in particular) is not the right place to do it. Especially when my primary interlocutor doesn't understand that arrows hurt because they exert forces when they hit us (how many times has HackneyedScribe stated that there are 0 relevant forces and pressure in this scenario?). I'm also happy to say that I have no idea what is being referred to by penetration or shock. All I was worried about is how missiles hitting armor transfer energy and momentum to the armor, how said armor and the wearer behind it might react, and how this complicated physical event shouldn't be reduced to a single number.

As for my PhD, which HackneyedScribe has referred to 11 times more than I have for some reason, I only mentioned it such that my credentials in basic physics wouldn't be questioned (Is that a reverse ad-hominem on myself?). What ever qualifications I may have obviously don't prevent other people from knowing things and doing things correctly.

@ Dan Howard. I entirely agree that the Romans thought it was good enough. I don't see why that should preclude us trying to find out how tough it was. For a start, it's interesting to know what hits the Romans thought armor should be able to resist, and what hits they didn't think were so important. It's also interesting to know where the Romans considered a good trade off between strength, mobility and weight was. As important as it is, there's more to history than finding out what people at the time thought was good enough. For a start, finding out how "good" good enough was.


I have reported my own post on this, and let this be a warning as to the dangers of necromancy.
I'm not questioning that joules in itself was enough to show whether armor would be penetrated or not.
That's why I mentioned, in addition to energy (joules):
1. Armor thickness (1.25 mm plates)
2. Armor metallurgy (mild steel)
3. Type of area of impact/deformation (unhardened bodkin arrowhead)
4. Momentum (4.8)
5. Padding and leeway (intended to provide a similar level of resistance to being pushed back as would be found in a person standing normally)

^Last time I checked you broke down the most important variables to points 3/4/5 and Energy. There's also points 1 and 2. They've all been mentioned and provided either by Alan Wilkins himself or by his student or by both of them. If you think there are more important factors feel free to share them and explain why. I apologize if I was rude before. As for mentioning your PhD, that's because other people brought it up to me and I was addressing their statements, that should be obvious.

Dan Howard said:
Both types of armour were fit for purpose. Both types of armour obviously stopped whatever threats the Romans faced on the battlefield. The reason why they chose one type of armour over another had nothing to do with how many joules they stopped.
What purpose? And why can't one of the purpose be sacrificing protection for cheapness/lightness? This is just vagueness.
 
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Edratman

Ad Honorem
Feb 2009
6,565
Eastern PA
The detailed discussion here makes me recall all the footage that I've seen of patrols in Vietnam. No one would argue against the safety merits of a helmet, but it was common to see soldiers on patrol wearing only bandannas. As Dan Howard has pointed out a few times, comfort often trumps personal safety. It is important to remember that at least 99% of the time the foot soldier is not in combat or danger and comfort is a huge factor. Not to say that the choice may have turned out to be a bad decision for many, but hindsight is often a harsh judge.
 
Feb 2011
6,379
I'm not denying that, although I don't see how segmentata was more comfortable than mail. But I can say that the design sacrificed thickness (protection) for lightness. Now I never claimed the design choice was a bad choice. Maybe when the segmentata design became thinner, they weren't as concerned with heavy hitting projectiles, or wanted lighter armor, or wanted to save cost. However, if we don't talk about this, then that prevents us from talking about why the segmentata became so thin in the first place. I'm talking about one factor, I never claimed it was the only factor.

After all, Dan Howard mentioned a lot about armor "protection to weight ratios" like the below quotes:
If you are going to make a fair comparison regarding weapon resistance then you need to pick variants that are of a similar weight. Pound for pound, plate armour (solid plate followed by segmented plate) is the only type that provides better protection than mail.

The whole point of using metal is that, pound for pound, it provides better protection than any other alternative.

A hauberk that covers this much of the body weighs at least 20 lbs. Plate that provides similar protection only needs to be 1mm thick and weighs a lot less than this.

^A lot more where that came from. So I don't know why it's considered so insulting if I talk about the exact same thing (and at least I've provided evidence from a trial test), nor why suddenly the issue is no longer relevant even though it was clearly relevant enough to be mentioned before. If he wore a lot of replica armor, that's great. But he needs to explain how wearing replica armor taught him that "protection to weight" ratio is unimportant for segmentata, yet he deemed it important enough to be mentioned for plate armour, mail, lamellar, and cloth armor. I'm not seeing how his experience can lead to the conclusion, that requires a more detailed explanation than "I have the experience".

And when other advantages of mail over segmentata has been mentioned, such as ease of maintenance/comfort/cost, why isn't "both types of armor were fit for a purpose" any less of a rebuttal? You can use that rebuttal against any type of advantages mail had over segmentata and vice versa. Why specifically use the rebuttal only for "protection to weight ratio"? Why not use the rebuttal for the mail's maintenance advantage? There needs to be a better explanation than "I have experience". I find this to be an unsatsfactory answer, because it doesn't explain HOW did that experience allow one to come to that specific conclusion. There needs to be an explanation to tie the premise to the conclusion, and an explanation for why the same rebuttal wasn't used for all the other advantages listed.
 
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