LEGION XXIV MEDIA ATLANTIA
UPDATED OCTOBER 23, 2003
Please consult our Lorica Armor Page for body armor.
At Left, a Ribchester Calvery Sports Parade Helmet. Click on Photo for more views and details. At Right - is an array of Equipment composed of the Legion XXIV MA Vexillum standard, a Pilum (javilin), 3 Scutum shields, 4 Cassis (metal) helmets, 2 sets of Lorica Segmentata body armor, 3 Gladius swords, a pair of Caligae sandals, a marching pack mounted on a "T" carry pole, 9 Sudis palesades stakes and other miscellaneous eating utensiles and personal items.
A display of a legionary's personal items, with a "Sudis" or palisades stake above them.
EXPANDED PHOTOS AND DETAILS
LEFT Bronze "Coolus" circa 10 AD - CENTER Italic "D" Iron with bronze decoration, circa 75 AD - RIGHT Imperial Gallic "J", Iron with bronze trim, circa 50 AD, the classic icon for the Roman Legionary helmet with eyebrows above the brow defense ridge. Note the three differing mounting slots for a crest support fork on the top of the sculls. See "Crests" below for more helmet detail views.
Roman Legionaries used a great variety of helmet styles. Early "Montefortino" types were simple bronze bowls with only cheek protection. Rear neck guards, a front brow guard and ear guards were added in the "Coolus" style during the early first century AD. Early bronze helmets, in use during the Republican Period continued to be used well into the Imperial Period. Many variations of so-called "Gallic" and "Italic" iron helmets came into use in the First Century BC, although the bronze types continued to be used. The Gallic styles featured embossed eye brows, distinctive cheek guards and ribbing on the neck guard and lower rear of the head bowl. They have become the icon of the classic roman army head gear. The Italic types lacked the eyebrow ridges and ear guards of the Gallic styles and generally had less decoration, except for the Type "D", which had ear guards and was richly decorated with brass Eagle and Temple designs.
Older style helmets continued to be used well into the 2nd Century AD, as was true with most equipment, which remained in use as long as it was serviceable.
Three underside views of helmets showing the types and styles of lining and padding. LEFT - A bronze Coolus with a four piece fabric lining covering a skull padding of wool scraps. The cheek guards are lined with two layers of leather glued into place. Note the three point attachment of the leather thong chin strap used to secure the helmet on the head and tie the cheek guards against the side of the face. CENTER - A bronze Gallic "Aquincum" style helmet with a four quadrant felt scull lining and cloth padded and leather covered cheek guards. The cheek guards were padded for comfort and for protection and cushioning against blows to the side of the face. RIGHT - An Italic type D helmet with a one piece felt liner, cut and sectioned to fit within the scull of the helmet. An extra piece of felt has been added to adjust how high the helmet sits on the head. The cheek guards are lined with three layers of 5-6 once leather. A four point attachment of the chin strap is utilized.
An Imperial Italic-G helmet (left) of the early 2nd Century AD and an Italic-H "NiederMormter" Helmet replica of a late 2nd Century to early 3rd Century AD example in the Niedermormter Rheinisches Landesmuseum in Bonn, Germany. The Niedermormter was a calvery helmet probably intended for parade and ceremonial use. Rome, at that time, was no longer waging battles of conquest. It has a large and overscale neck guard and carrying handle and is decorated with brass or bronze decorations and curious images of mice and bread loaves. Note that both helmet styles have right-angle skull reinforcement to protect against downward blows from horse mounted adversaries. The skull bands may also have covered joints in the skull assembly, as there was a trend to form helmets from multiple sections, as opposed to the very demanding and difficult method of "raising" or forming helmets from a single piece of metal, as was done in the 1st Century AD and earlier.
Three helmet crests of dyed horse hair in wood blocks. LEFT - Bronze Coolus using a fork mount that fits into a slot and locks with a 90 degree turn. The crest is tied to small rings at the front and rear. CENTER - Bronze Gallic "Aquincum" helmet set-up with the transverse mounted crest worn by a Centurion. The crest fits into a slot in the top of the turned knob permanently afixed to the crown of the helmet and is tied to rings at the sides. RIGHT - Italic-D with the standard front to rear mounted crest worn by legionaries other then Centurions. The fork fits into T-slot and twists to lock to the top of the helmet and has a center spike that fits into a hole in the bottom of the crest block for a more secure mounting. These helmet styles all date to the 1st Century AD.
There are depictions of various styles of helmet crests and a few descriptions, but no surviving examples or fragments, other than some metal attachments, have been found. The wearing of crests by legionaries in battle seems to have been more prevelant during the Republican Period. It is believed that crests were not worn in battle during the First Century AD, except by Centurions or for parades and exhibitions. Red seems to have been the traditional color for helmet crests, although other colors may have been be used. Horsehair and feathers were used for crests. Red is preferred in Legion XXIV, although other historically correct colors may be adopted for variety.
Three helmets of various styles rest above an array of other equipment. The helmets, from left to right: are a bronze "Coolas" style from the early 1st Century AD "Imperial" period; an "Italic" style type "D" with applied bronze Eagle and Temple designs, from the late 1st Century AD; and a "Gallic" style type "J", the classic icon of the 1st Century AD Imperial Roman Army helmet. Below the helmets, from left to right, are a "Sarcina" or marching pack bag; a "Maintz" pattern gladius sword, with ivory grip, resting on the heel area of a typical "Calagae" sandal boot; a hand-held wooden food dish or drinking ladle; a small bronze "Ligula or Patera" ladle; a "Pompeii" pattern gladius sword, with wood grip, resting on a Caligae boot, turned up-side-down to show the pattern of hob-nails protecting its sole; a wooden spoon and a typical gladius scabbard, with shoulder "baldric" belt. Click on Photo for an enlargement and more details.
TUNIC or "TUNICA"
Titus Pontius Maximus (John Collins) demonstrates the usual appearance of a legionary while in camp, without lorica; but wearing his Cingulum Belt, with gladius at his right side, suspended from a narrow leather baldric . Red or Off-White tunics are authorized for use by Legion XXIV. Material is to be 100% wool or wool linen.
The basic military tunic was simply two rectangles of wool or linen hand-sewn together "tea-bag" fashion, with slits left open for the head and arms. Both sleeved and sleeveless forms were used. The issue of tunic color is hotly debated. Evidence for both white and red legionary tunics has been found. Natural white would not require the dyeing of tunics; while red would be somewhat easier to keep clean.
Military tunics reached below the knees, but were worn hitched-up by a belt to just above the knee for greater mobility. Civilian tunics were longer, being worn down to the calf or ankle.
MILITARY BELT aka "BALTEUS" or "CINGULUM"
Also known as a "Cingulum", these belts were a valuable personal possession. Although made in Army workshops and probably a required item of equipment, it was perhaps not issued at random, but more carefully chosen by the soldier according to his own tastes, budget and wealth. They were generally covered with ornate cast or stamped plates of tin or bronze. Balteus, meaning belt or shoulder strap, is the origin of our term "Baldric". It typically had an apron, also called a sporran or groin guard, which was more decorative than defensive. It had from four to eight leather apron straps 3/4" to 1" wide, decorated with iron or bronze studs or plates, with dangling terminals. A fewer number of wider straps or more of the narrow straps were used. The "Pugio" or dagger was suspended from the Balteus at the left side of the body.
CINGULUM # 1 Legionary Soldier
The first Cingulum Belt constructed by the Commander in March 1998. The belt uses embossed brass "Emperor" image belt plates by Matt Amt of Legion XX. The belt is two inches high and has a "Sporran" or apron of five one inch wide "groin guard" straps, with one inch diameter brass discs. The Sporran apron straps are secured to the back of the belt and then looped over the top of the belt. The buckle and pugio sling frogs are from Mark Graef of Legion XX and are sand cast brass, using an authentic Roman design. The "Pugio" dagger, with type B scabbard, is by Godfrey Knight of Great Britain. See "Pugio" below for more details on Pugios and close-up views of the cingulum.
CINGULUM # 2 Legionary
The Commander's second Cingulum belt (May-2002) is 1-5/8 inches high and utilizes belt plates, apron studs and apron terminals from Albion Armorers. The buckle and pugio frogs are by Mark Graef. The belt's construction is similar to the belt above. The pugio, with type A scabbard, is from Deepeeka of India.
CINGULUM # 3 Legionary Soldier
Cingulum #3 constructed by the Commander in October 2003, using cast bronze belt plates, buckle and pugio frogs. The belt is two inches high with a pugio and type "B" scabbard by Godfrey Knight of Great Britain. Note the difference in color between the bronze belt plates and the brass discs and terminals on the apron straps.
Close up views of the belt plates, buckle and pugio frog, supplied by www.quietpress.com for Cingulum #3. The buckle and frog hinges are integral with and are cast as a part of their respective belt plates.
Details of the apron terminals and mounting of the apron straps and belt plates of Cingulum #3. The terminals were made by the Commander, using sheet brass, 1 inch disks stamped from 1/16 inch thick brass sheet and 1/8 inch rivets. The 1 inch disks were also used on cingulum #1 above. Note how the apron straps are secured to the back side of the belt and then looped over the top.
CINGULUM # 4 Civilian or Officer's Parade / Off-Duty Legionary
A 2-3/4 inch high cingulum style belt with sets of three alternating pattern belt plates made in India by Deepeeka. Such alternating plates may not be historically correct, as it is thought that the belt plates on military cingulum belts were usually of a single pattern or design. The belt above is fitted with a Type A brass-beaded pugio, also from Deepeeka and has no groin guard apron straps. With or without a pugio attached, this belt would probably be used as a parade or dress belt by a civilian or officer, or possibly a soldier "on leave" away from his military camp. Still, this is a beautiful belt that any legionary soldier, or Roman citizen would be proud to own and wear. Although proper as to style and design, the buckle may be inaccurate in being oversized.
CINGULUM # 5 "Centurion"
Views of the Commander's Centurion Cingulum, of March 2004, showing the method and enhanced style of mounting the Pugio. On this belt, the pugio is mounted for placement on the right hip, as Centurions wore their gladius and pugio opposite from that of legionary soldiers, with the gladius on the left and the pugio on the right. Note also that there are no groin guard apron straps, as centurions generally did not have them.
A gathering of Cingulum belts from Legion XX of College Park, MD. All of these "military belts" were custom made by their owners and illustrate the differing styles of these decorative items. The left and center aprons utilize the 1 inch diameter apron studs from Albion Armories. The center-right apron uses 1 inch brass discs that were punched out by a local foundery and are secured with separate 1/8 inch rivets. The terminals of all the belts were cut from shim brass. The elements on the center-left belt are "tinned" brass. The left and right legionaries show these belts as they were worn "in camp" without body armor. All the belts illustrate the pride of their owners.
"PUGIO" or DAGGER
A historically correct pugio with type "B" scabbard crafted by Godfrey Knight of Great Britain. Note the raised center rib on the blade and the manner in which the pugio is slung from the cast brass frogs on the cingulum belt. Note also the details of the "Emperor" image belt plates and "sporran" apron straps with riveted decorations. See Military Belt above for details on this much prized and decorated item of legionary equipment.
The Pugio was adopted as an additional sidearm during the late Republican Period (mid 1st
Century BC). It could also serve as a utility knife. Most items of
Roman military equipment were decorated to some degree, but it is the pugio scabbard that
the individual soldier paid most attention to. The amount and nature of this
decoration appears to have been determined by the amount of money the legionary was
prepared to pay, thus reflecting his pride and wealth. Like
other items of legionary equipment, the dagger was undergoing some changes in the 1st
century AD. Generally, it had a large, leaf-shaped blade 7" to 11" long
and 2" or more in width. A raised midrib ran the length of each side,
either simply standing out from the face, or defined by grooves on either side. The
tang was wide and flat initially, and the grip was riveted through it, as well as
through the shoulders of the blade.
About 50 AD, a rod tang was introduced, and the hilt was no longer riveted through the shoulders of the blade. This in itself caused no great change in the pugio's appearance, but some ot these later blades were narower (under 1-3/4" wide), and/or had little or no waisting, and/or had reduced or vestigial midribs.
Throughout the period the outline of the hilt remained basically the same. It was made with 2 layers of horn or wood sandwiching the tang, each overlaid with a thin metal plate. Occasionally the hilt was decorated with engraving or inlay.
Front and rear views of a pugio with a type A scabbard, from Deepeeka of India . Note that the back of the scabbard is flat, as some of these scabbards were. The pugio has a raised center rib on both sides to strengthen the blade. Note how the apron straps of the cingulum military belt are secured to the rear of the belt and looped over the top of the belt. The rivets and washers used to fasten the apron studs and terminals are also shown.
Pugio Scabbards in the 1st century BC, were constructed much like sword
scabbards: wood covered with leather, in a metal frame with decorated metal
panels. Early in the 1st century AD, two new types of scabbard came
into use, known for convenience as type A and type B.
Type A Brass B eaded Pugio from Deepeeka of India for use on the Commander's Centurion cingulum belt.
TYPE "A" had a metal shell consisting of a front and back
plate with the edges worked over and soldered together. Inside was a wood or leather
liner. Four suspension loops were held on by driving small nails through the shell
and the liner, and clenching them over in back.
TYPE "B" scabbards were leather-covered wood, with a metal plate
fastened to the front by the same nails which secured the suspension loops.
Presumably there were leather thongs or tabs on the suspension rings which tied or
"buttoned" to the frogs on the balteus.
The type A scabbard disappeared after c. 50 AD, but the type B continued in use.
An article by Ian Scott implies that type A and B scabbards were always made with iron plates, and that they were always inlaid, type A with enamel and either brass or silver (or tin), type B with just silver or tin. Peter Connolly, however, shows a "1st century AD" bronze scabbard, apparently type A, decorated with simple lines of dots in repousse (punched from the back). See Type A views above.
He also describes type B scabbards as having bronze plates, rather than iron. According to other sources, the metal of the dagger hilt matched that of the scabbard. Michael Simkins suggests that many dagger scabbards were not decorated at all.
The Pugio remained a useful and apparently necessary, though less decorated, item of equipment into the 3rd Century AD.
"SCUTUM" or SHIELD
Roman shields came in many shapes and sizes, being made from three layers of thin wood glued together at right angles to each other... similar to our modern plywood; which was covered with leather or fabric. The shields were generally edged with bronze or leather, having a hand grip in the center, protected by an iron or bronze boss. Typical decoration was stylized eagles wings, lightning bolts of Zeus and unicorn horns; either painted or of embossed iron or bronze.
The early "Republican" (4th Century BC) shields were flat ovals, which later were curved for greater strength. Toward the end of the 1st Century BC, and the beginning of the "Imperial" period, a curved oval shape with the top and bottom margins squared off, was adopted. During the 1st Century AD, the classic curved, squared corner, rectangular shield became standard, until superceded by a flat oval shield in the 3rd Century AD.
HISTORICAL EVIDENCE ON SCUTUMS by Matthew Amt, Optio of
Polybius' description, mid-2nd century BC: Curved, layered wood, covered with leather and linen. Top and bottom rimmed with metal, iron boss. Four feet tall, 2-1/2' wide (in the early oval shape).
Fayum scutum, 1st cent. BC: Curved oval, 52"x25". Three layers of birch strips, totalling c. 1/2" thick at the middle, c. 3/8" at the edges. Wooden "spine" boss, horizontal handgrip. Front and back covered with felt which is folded over the edges and stitched through the wood. Weight, 22 pounds.
Dura Europas Scutum, c.
250 AD: Curved rectangle c. 41"x33", quite deep.
Three layers of wood strips totalling 1/4" thick overall. Wood back bracing, "half-round", middle horizontal brace thickened to form grip. Front and back covered with thin leather, and front has additional layer of linen. Leather or hide rim stitched on. Whole shield painted red, and front heavily decorated with intricate painted designs and figures. Boss
missing, but had rectangular base. Total weight c. 12 pounds.
A second scutum from Dura Europas, less well-preserved, is 37"x25".
Doncaster shield, 1st century AD: Flat rectangle with slightly convex top and bottom edges, roughly 2'x4'. Three layers of oak and elder, covered with hide. Bronze boss is dome on cross-shaped base with large ornate arms. Four rows of nails in X pattern. Iron handle wrapped with leather. Weight 20+ pounds.
Tyne Boss, 1st cent. AD: Brass; hemispherical dome on rectangular base 10"x10-1/2", curved to radius of c. 18". Decorated with punched and
engraved designs. Iron bosses of same shape also known.
Brass rim pieces, found on numerous 1st cent. sites: thin metal (less than 1/32"), so purpose was cosmetic rather than defensive. Dimensions show that the scutum edge was c. 1/4" thick.
Other finds: Thin metal stars, moons, lightning bolts; thin cast bronze motifs with flat backs and rivet holes; fragments of leather from shield facings or covers with stitch holes in decorative patterns. There are numerous depictions of the scutum from the 1st century, but some details are still unclear. It is most often rectangular, but sometimes has curved sides. Sometimes corner "L"s are visible: those and other features could have been applied or painted. From the few colored illustrations that survive, it seems that shields were often red.
"CALIGAE" or MILITARY BOOTS
These heavy sandals are the classic Roman Army boot. The uppers and soles are cut from leather. Iron "hob-nails" protected the bottom of the boot and were "clinched-over", to secure the uppers to the soles.
Simkins - Gr. Britain M. Amt - Legion XX G. Metz - Legion XXIV
Patterns for recreations of Caligae
A more "closed" design was used in colder weather along with wool socks and leggings. Contact the Commander at email@example.com with your snail-mail address for full size caligae patterns.
Consult "Caligae" on the "Standards" Page for details on the construction of Caligae.
MESS GEAR The patera is an
all-purpose mess pan, for cooking, eating, and probably drinking. It
was made of bronze (brass may be used instead), and was apparently often spun from a blank
which included the handle. Some examples do have handles added on in various
ways, and some are hammered. The patera can be the "simple"
style with a flat bottom and fairly straight sides, or have base rings to distribute
heat while cooking. Either type can be from 4" to 8" in diameter.
The cookpot or bucket (vas or situla, etc.) came in a variety of shapes and sizes, about 5" to 8" in diameter by 7" to 10" tall. The handle could be attached by 2 riveted loops or by means of a wire with loops in it around the rim of the pot.
Several iron flasks with bronze fittings have been found, at least one of which has a locking cap. The seem to hold between a pint and a quart, and may or may not have been a standard issue item.
Spoons may be iron, bronze, wood, bone, or horn. A small knife is useful, and can have a folding blade.
Two Sudis (Palisades Stakes) flank a wooden equipment chest supporting a set of Newstead Lorica armor, Imperial Gallic style helmet and Maintz pattern Gladius (sword). Note the lack of hinges on the shoulder plates of the Newstead armor. A Baltius (military belt) is surrounded by another Gallic Helmet on the left; an Italic Helmet, on the right; and a Sachel (marching pack bag). Note that the Italic Helmet has no eyebrow ridges
PALISADES STAKES The palisade stake was known as "Sudis" or "Valles", and is sometimes incorrectly termed a "pilum murialis" (wall spear). It is about 5 feet long and can be made from a 2x2 to 4x4 inch lumber, preferably oak or other hard wood. It tapers straight to a point at both ends, and the middle is milled or cut-out to form a handle". A legionary may have carried one or two or these stakes, although most of the "Sudes" required for protecting a camp were probably carried by the pack mules assigned to each unit.
TOOLS Josephus says that every legionary carried a pick-axe (dolabra), a basket, a saw, a sickle, a leather strap, and possibly a chain (the translation is questionable). Other tools included the entrenching tool (ligo) and several types of shovel. (The popular "turf cutter" is probably a bark stripper.) Most likely each man had a digging tool plus one or two of the other items. The leather strap would be useful for carrying turf blocks, as seen on Trajan's column. Baskets may be willow, reed, or split oak, and often looked much like modern wicker wastepaper baskets.
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