roman armor

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roman armor

Each class of Roman soldier had a particular set of armour and weaponry ("panoplia"). Much like the Roman weapons, Roman armor (written "armour" in England) underwent great change through the ages. We describe some of the items of Roman armor below:

Upper body armour:

Through the ages the preferred type of Roman armor and chain mail changed in shape and construction: The earliest type being the breast plate, then replaced by the simple chain mail (lorica hamata) which remained a long time favourite particularly with auxiliary troops and cavalry…..

A handkerchief was often worn tied around the neck in order to reduce chafing of the armour.


A belt known as "cingulum" around the waist was used both to alleviate the weight of the armour as well as to carry the gladius and dagger.


various forms of shield were used, according to need and also according to the epoch. Originally Roman shields were the large round bronze type as used by Etruscans and Greeks. This was replaced by different types of shields such as…

Bronze helmet.

The shape of this changed through the ages, starting with something closer to the greek/Etruscan/corinthian plumed helmet. The plume "peplum" could reach as high as 50cm above the helmet, with the objective of rendering the soldier taller and more fearsome to adversaries.

Shin guards or Greaves known as Ocreae.

Various Roman writers relate that foot soldiers wore 1 shin guard only on their leading leg – the left. Those who could afford it would wear two, covering the lower leg right up to and including the knee as shown in the attached image.


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"roman armor" was written by Giovanni Milani-Santarpia for - Rome apartments