Scale armour

Sarmatian or Alan mounted warrior wearing scale armour.
Sarmatian or Alan mounted warrior wearing scale armour.
Dacian scale armour on Trajan's column.
Dacian scale armour on Trajan's column.

Scale armour (sometimes erroneously called scale mail) consists of many small scales.

The material used to make the plates include bronze, iron, rawhide, leather, boiled leather, horn and even the scales of animals.Image

There are many different methods of construction:

During Roman times scale armour (lorica squamata) was a very popular alternative to mail (lorica hamata) as it offered better protection, especially against blunt damage. It was also very popular in Middle Eastern empires such as Persia and Byzantium where scales were commonly dished (armouring term used to describe hammering a depression into a flat piece of metal in order to create a 'bowl' effect, as seen in the elbow and knee cops of the European Middle Ages) in order to benefit from the extra protection offered by a rounded scale.

Historically, scales for such armour have been made of leather, bronze, iron, or steel; the use of a given material influenced primarily by the time period, geography, and purpose of the armour.

The Byzantine-style lamellar corset is called klibanion. It was often worn over mail, or with limb protectors made from metal splints. Sometimes a quilted surcoat (epilorikion) was worn over klibanion.

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