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Roman Armor Facts

Updated April 17, 2017

Roman armour was fundamentally standardised throughout the history of both the republic and the empire. It was essential to the famous victories and provided a distinct advantage over Roman enemies of the era. The basic design remained the same throughout the period, but it was also adapted by information gathered from combat with a variety of other armies.

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Function

Roman armour was primarily used by the infantry. It was designed to allow for strong protection against traditional weapons of the era and was identical among all troops.

Torso Armor

Appearing around 9 B.C., the basic torso protection of the Roman infantry consisted of broad iron strips fastened together with leather straps on the interior of the armour. Called lorica segmentata, it could be separated into four pieces, making storage convenient.

Shield

The scutum was a rectangular shield that featured a semi-curved shape that allowed for nearly full-body protection. The shields could also be interlocked to create overall protection for the groups of legionaries.

Helmets

Roman helmets were called galea. A few varieties of these existed throughout the course of time. The helmets were designed to protect the neck and the head down to eye level.

Considerations

Roman clothing, including tunics, trousers and cloaks, were made from wool. While this helped prevent chafing from the armour and helmets, it was also treated with natural oil to help repel water in a sort of armour against the elements.

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About the Author

Jason Chavis has been a professional freelance writer since 1998. He is the author of four books, two movies and a play as well as numerous articles for "Scientific American," The History Channel, City Pages and "The Onion." In 1996, Chavis won the award for "best science fiction/fantasy" from the River Valley Writer’s Conference.

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