Monday, October 20, 2014

Be Prepared to Enter the Gladiator Arena with Roman Armor

There was no other time quite like when the Roman Empire was running the world; when the Colosseum was alive with entertainment, excitement, gladiators and debauchery. Gladiator weapons and Roman armor were seen everywhere from the streets to the arenas and places in between. Even though it is many decades later, we still see a lot of the most popular pieces of Roman armor at festivals, faires and other historical events. Some of the most popular pieces of Roman armor and Gladiator armor we see represented today are:

Roman Gladiator and Officer Helmets: There are many types of helmets worn during the Roman times. From the officer’s helmets with red plumes that you see in the movies to Gladiator helmets you see with visors and maybe even spikes, the Roman styles of galea or helmets were nothing if not extravagant. The red plumes, made of horse hair dyed red, on the Roman Centurion helmet serve two purposes. The first was to make officers easily identifiable to their soldiers while the second was to serve as an intimidation factor to other armies because of the added height.

The Roman Gladiator spiked helmet shown above, is a replica of the helmet Russell Crowe or Maximus wore in the movie Gladiator. A lot of the other arena gladiators during the Roman times were very intimidating in their own right wearing more simple, flat faced (aside from the nose) helmets with no decoration.

Roman Cuirass Armor: First used by the Greek Hoplite, this piece of chest armor was later adopted by the Romans. The Romans then used this type of armor for their soldiers. As time went on, this form of chest armor was only authorized to be worn by Roman officers. Some variations of muscle cuirass or heroic cuirass were embellished with decoration while others were simply adorned with the muscle indentations you see in the photo of the Spartan Roman Steel Muscle Breast Plate Cuirass to the right.

Roman Lorica Segmentata Armor: Another kind of body armor used in the Roman times was the Roman Segmentata armor. Unlike the Cuirass, the Lorica Segmentata is assumed to be completely of Roman decent and offers more flexibility because of the plate design. This form of armor was specifically reserved for the heavy infantry of the Roman army often referred to as the “Legionnaires”. The plates of this armor were made of a mild steel on the outside and had a soft iron on the inside.

Roman Medieval Crusader Shields: The shield is arguably one of the most important part of the front lines’ armor. There are three distinct kinds of shields, the parmula, clypeus and scutum.

  • Parmula: This is a smaller, lighter shield which was usually round but occasionally square. This shield had a handle and a shield boss. Typically this was carried by flag bearers, auxiliary foot soldiers or thraex gladiators.
  • Clipeus: This is a large, oval shaped shield often used on horseback with a lance. The middle was typically made of a bolt of iron and would have a sharp point. The smaller versions of this shield were also carried on the arm.
  • Scutum: The largest of the shields, the scutum was used entirely for the front lines during battle. They were extremely heavy so they weren’t very mobile. The front lines would run directly into the enemy with the scutum resting on their left shoulder and their arm stretched straight out in effort to knock them over.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do; and clearly, the Romans are always prepared for battle. Whether it be in the biggest gladiator arena of all time or war on a grand scale, the Roman army was ready to take down their enemy. With Roman armor from SwordNArmory, you can dress as a legendary gladiator or a fierce Roman officer. Take your pick!

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