LORICA SEGMENTATA "NEWSTEAD" TYPE
Diagram from "Armor of Imperial Rome" by H.R. Robinson
Illustration by Peter Connolly
Enlarged isometric diagram (now out of date due to new finds) of the "Newstead" Type Lorica Segmentata body armor, adopted by the Roman Legions in the latter years of the First Century AD. The initial example was recovered from a well in the headquarters building at the Newstead Fort in Scotland in 1905. It was a simpler and easier to produce version; having fewer components than the earlier "Corbridge" type. The Newstead lorica had only six girdle plates, with the bottom unit being twice the depth of the others. The six small independent upper back plates of the Corbridge lorica were replaced by a single shoulder and upper back plate on each side. The right and left halves of the shoulder assemblies were joined using a stronger, but less flexible system of loops and pins, as shown in the detail view on the right of the diagram above.
As shown in the isometric diagram above; the "Newstead" design was originally thought to have lacked the "hinged" three piece shoulder defense of the Corbridge lorica, but recent evidence from "finds" at Carlisle England, have indicated that the "Newstead" actually had larger and wider hinges on the shoulder defense than those of the "Corbridge". The larger and wider hinges, shown in the photo below, were stronger and less prone to breakage; which was a weak point of the smaller and more delicate hinges used on the Corbridge design.
A reconstruction, by Matt Amt of Legion XX, of a collar section showing the enlarged hinges now thought to have been used on the Newstead type lorica, based on the recent finds at Carlisle, England.
The "Newstead" was probably less comfortable to wear as it had fewer; but, larger plates; thus being less flexible and less conforming on the wearer. Loop fasteners riveted to the front and back girdle plates, as used on the Corbridge lorica, are replaced by simpler flat loops of bronze secured like paper clips; their ends being inserted through slots in the ends of the girdle plates and bent outwards against the backsides, as shown in the small detail at the left center of the diagram above.
Front (above) and top rear (below) views of the Commander's "updated" Newstead Lorica assembled by Joe Piela of Lonely Mountain Forge. Note the angled inner rear hinges which differ from the Matt Amt recreation above. This version is based on the plans of M.C. Bishop in his JRMES Monograph No. 1 "Lorica Segmentata Vol. 1".
As in our current times; when there where large numbers of soldiers to be out-fitted; simpler, easier, cheaper and quicker ways were found to manufacture the equipment they needed or required. Ancient Rome was no different when faced with providing equipment for its thousands of legionaries. The "Newstead" was the final form of this "laminated" type armor; which fell out of favor in the early Third Century AD, when the Roman Army returned to the use of the earlier Lorica Hamata "ring" maile armor.
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