Lorica segmentata

A reenactor dressed as a Roman soldier in lorica segmentata
A reenactor dressed as a Roman soldier in lorica segmentata

The lorica segmentata was a type of armour primarily used in the Roman Empire, but the Latin name was first used in the 16th century (the ancient form is unknown). The armour itself consist of broad ferrous (iron or steel) strips ('girth hoops') fastened to internal leather straps. The strips were arranged horizontally on the body, overlapping downwards, and they surrounded the torso in two halves, being fastened at the front and back. The upper body and shoulders were protected by additional strips ('shoulder guards') and breast- and backplates. The form of the armour allowed it to be stored very compactly, since it was possible to separate it into four sections. During the time of its use, it was modified several times, the currently recognised types being the Kalkriese (c. 20 B.C. to A.D. 50), Corbridge (c. A.D. 40 to A.D. 120), and Newstead (c. A.D. 120 to 250) types.

So far as is known, only legionaries (heavy infantry of the Roman legions) and Praetorians were issued with the lorica segmentata. Auxiliary forces would more commonly wear the lorica hamata which is mail (frequently called chainmail) or lorica squamata (scale armour).

It fell out of use during the 3rd century A.D., but similar armouring techniques were used during the 16th century, employing sliding rivets and this was known as anima.

Lorica manica

Lorica Manica (or simply manica) is a segmented metal armguard worn with lorica segmentata, to protect the wearer from the falces used by the ancient Dacians, which could cut through or around the shields employed by the Romans. Although no examples of manica have been found to date (although some believe pieces found near Newstead are in fact manica), it is, however, seen on several sculptures including The Tropaeum Traiani at Adamclisi and Trajan's Column, which also depict the Romans wearing metal greaves during Trajan's Dacian campaign. Manica is known to consist of fourteen overlapping plates (12 narrow plates and 2 large ones at the ends), lined with leather, and had four buckles and laces to hold it in place.

Like the lorica segmentata, it seems that the lorica manica was only issued to Roman-born legionaries, and only during the campaigns in Dacia (but it is it possible, and commonly accepted that it was issued elsewhere), but it was even rare then.

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