Early in Rome's history men wore bronze plate armor in the Greek hoplite
style. In later years, it appears chest plates were reserved for those of
higher rank. These were well decorated with animal, mythological and chest
muscle designs. Roman sculpture shows them being used into the 1st century
AD. The rectangular strips dangling at the sleeves and waist in this illustration
are called Pteruges, they were made of leather and were added to protect
the arms and legs, without using too much metal.
Scale armor consisted of overlaping bronze or iron scales. Some examples
of scales have been found with ridges down the middle, which make them stronger.
Scales were easier to produce and less expensive. The downside was it was
less flexible and it offered far less protection. It was especially vulnerable
from an upward stab.
This armor was made up of many pieces of laminated iron all bound together
to form a very flexible and strong protection. A coat of mail takes considerably
longer to produce, so perhaps this came about as a speedy way of making up
for time consumption from the chain mail. There were 2 main types of
segemnted armor: Corbridge A and B. The main difference between the two is
the way the shoulder plates fasten to the torso plates. Scarves were worn
by the men to keep the metal collar from scraping their necks
The belt helped to take some of the weight off the soldier's shoulders.
In the first half of the 1st century AD it was common to wear two belts in
the army: one to hold the sword and one to hold the dagger. Foot soldiers
wore their sword on their right, officers on their left. The belts were rather
narrow and were decorated with bronze plates all the way around.
Roman military sandals used iron hob-nails as treads, like the cleats of
a modern-day athletes. These were used for the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. After
that time boots became more popular.
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