[Runequest] Armor Question in RQ3

Sven Lugar vikingjarl at gmail.com
Sat Aug 1 19:01:47 EST 2009


Thank you Pete for your response:
The shaped body armour you are referring to is called a Musculatta & was 
generally parade armour & yes it was sometimes made in bronze. There is 
archaeological evidence for hammered iron plate musculatta & decorated 
courbouli versions. The only bronze ones we find are ones that were 
obviously not meant for combat but merely to look good. I've never heard 
of any that were made for combat, but who knows, maybe someday, they'll 
find one. Combat armour (bronze, iron, or steel) tends to be fairly 
smooth so blows are more likely to glance off it. Besides it's cheaper 
that way.

The gladiatorial helms you refer too are very much like modern Hollywood 
armour - designed to look good & fail dramatically for the audience. In 
50 years of being a sword jock, I have yet to strike sparks off of a 
blade or armour despite having been in thousands of fights & witnessed 
even more. Armour rarely fails gloriously like it does in movies, 
usually you just notice it later on as in "Gee!, when did that plate 
fall off?" The less armour has to catch, the better it lasts & the 
better it protects. Anything to keep the blow from "sticking", LOL.

Skal,
Sven

Pete Nash wrote:
>
>     As to the molded cuirass of the Roman General it was Cuir Bouilli
>     because it was impossible to manufacture that level of complex
>     curves & decoration in a heavy metal plate at that time. They
>     could arguably do it in very light metal similar to gold leaf.
>     Even if they cast it it would be decorative only due to
>     brittleness. (Coor-boo-lee)
>
>
> I'd disagree with you here. The moulded cuirass was a holdover from 
> the armour of the early Republic, and commanders wore it out of a 
> sense of tradition. You can get all the curves and decoration you can 
> imagine if it is /cast in bronze/, like the originals.  You should 
> also look at some of the exquisite gladiatorial helmets of the 1st 
> Century AD which are full of moulded details, yet even at that time 
> were still being made of bronze.
>
> Of course that's not to say that wimpy commanders wore gilded leather 
> versions for sake of comfort, after all most officers avoided direct 
> combat by the Imperial period... but personally (in the context of the 
> times) I'd see it as a sign of weakness, undermining their Roman 
> virtues and send warnings to the legionaries under their command! :)
>
> Pete
>
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