Thursday, March 25, 2021

Lorica squamata

Lorica squamata, was  a type of scale armor used during the Roman Republic and in subsequent periods. It was made up of small metal scales sewn together to form the armor. It is commonly seen in illustrations of banner bearers , musicians, centurions , cavalry troops, and even auxiliary infantry images, although it could have also been worn by regular legionaries. This type of armor was the same length as lorica hamata, with the same doubled shoulder straps.

The individual scales were made of iron or bronze , and sometimes both metals were alternated in the same armor.  Some scholars have also suggested the use of hardened leather as well.  The scales were tied with wires in horizontal rows, these being in turn sewn or tied to the inner lining.  A complete example of lorica squamata has never been found.  Loose scales, on the other hand, have been found in numerous excavations including those in a non-military context.

While looking through my images from the Capitoline Museum I found this beautiful relief of a cavalryman wearing lorica squamata. I can only assume it is from the Republican period because I did not photograph any identity cards, could not find it using the Capitoline Museum's collections search or find it among Wikimedia Commons reliefs in the collections of the Capitoline Museums. 

The second image is a reconstruction of a centurion wearing lorica squamata photographed by Wikimedia Commons contributor Wolfgang Sauber at the Museum Quintan, an archaeological museum in Kuenzing, Germany.



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