Arming Romans for Battle

Duncan B. Campbell

in The Oxford Handbook of Warfare in the Classical World

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780195304657
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Arming Romans for Battle

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This chapter reports on the understanding on Roman armor, specifically discussing the development of Roman arms and armor. Archaeology offers actual examples of Roman arms and armor. Polybius describes a shield that was conventionally known as the scutum and which is possibly the same item as the beautifully preserved oblong shield discovered at Kasr al-Harit. The Roman soldier often utilized the shield's protruding boss (umbo) as a supplementary weapon. The pilum was designed to bend on impact. The pectorale was a well-established feature of Italian armor. Cavalry helmets are believed to have differed from infantry versions, again owing to the peculiarities of cavalry fighting. It is noted that the distinction between citizen legionaries and peregrine auxiliaries ended with Caracalla's universal granting of Roman citizenship.

Keywords: Roman armor; Roman arms; Polybius; scutum; pilum; pectoral; cavalry helmets; infantry; cavalry fighting; Roman citizenship

Article.  8366 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Ancient Roman History

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