- GETTING IT RIGHT
"300" gave viewers an exciting story portraying the legenedary
battle of Thermopolae. The costuming however was copied from a comic
book version of the story and got it wrong. Below, a member of Legion
Ten has made a persona based from an actual Spartan soldier bronze statue.
impression I am wearing linen cuirasses of three different designs.
Each cuirass starts off as 1/4" thick leather and then has two
layers of glued-linen on top of it. The tunics are a mixture of red
and white long sleeve linen tunics and red, white and brown wool tunics.
The Medusa head in the third example is done in the ancient Greek grotesque
Phrygian helmet has a crest running down it's length and
feathered side plumes. This design is copied from a rare coin
minted in ancient Bactria depicting the helmet and armor of Alexander
the Great during his Indian campaign. On the front of this coin,
King Porus is seen on an elephant being chased by Alexander on
small lion's head device on the brow was influenced by the helmet
found in the tomb of King Philip
Macedonian star on the shield was the ancient symbol of
the Macedonian royal line. The shield rim is designed from the
cable-patterened rim of a Greek shield from Bari.
greaves are gold plated half round muscled design, influenced
by the gold-gilded greaves also found in King Philips tomb.
arm guards or bracers are like those seen on a Spartan statue as pictured
in Greece and Rome at War (p. 59) and the falcata sword
has the head of a horned bull.
Greek warriors were armored from head to toe--no less then a Medieval
Knight would have been!
ARMOR OF JULIUS CAESAR
was influenced by two original three dimensional sets of Roman armor
carved in marble.The first was part of a panoply of arms or trophy of
arms I took pictures of at the Museum of Italian Civilization
built by Mussolini just south of Rome.
helmet is decorated with a griffin in the front of the
crest. This was done before in a smaller size but I went ahead
and took it up a few notches with this new larger more detailed
design which really grabs your attention when compared to the
first one. It is closer to the original in size and a lot more
majestic looking. The armor decorations come from the early Imperial
tunic is white wool and--while most Roman thought today
is that pteruges were either linen or leather--I used neither
one here as there is no proof that leather or linen was always
used red woolen felt about 1/8 thick as it was a common material
of the time and known to have been used by the Romans.
you glue a couple of these together, it is just as strong as any
linen pteruges and one can actually shape or form woolen felt
into shapes unlike linen.
Roman military use of felt for other than helmet padding should
not be overlooked. Several Roman soldier hats have been found
made of felt and Julius Caesar himself mentions that his soldiers
made felt tunics for protection along with other materials
during the battle of Dyrrhachium in 48 BC with Gnaeus Pompeius
Magnus. So, felt is a legitimate material to use for pteruges
if one desires.
military use reaches from the ancient up to the modern times.
Napoleonic officers hats were woolen felt which can be made pretty
hard as I have owned a couple in my collection.
problem is, they used mercury in the process. That was about as
good an idea as using lead in Roman makeup.
all brass Roman Consuls helmet.
few years later I decided the Griffin was not an essential part
of the helmet and removed it and did away with the tail as well.
of cast brass, it is now plated in gold. The first ones you
had to handle with latex gloves to keep them from tarnishing.
Gold never tarnishes.
few months ago I took 180% turn and then decided to make it even
nicer with a larger more detailed and more accurate Griffin and
fuller crest with a fuller tail.
sword I gave this officer is an eagle headed spatha which
makes more since to me as an officer would have been on horse
back and he needed the extra reach to protect himself as well
as his horse. The shield is of the Praetorian or Republican style
and is not the new Deepeeka one. The shield boss has a strengthening
rib down it's center.
greaves here are gold plated. Many ancient military items
have been found that are silver and gold plated or gold gilded
according Dr. Ernst Künzl, curator of the Römisch-Germanisches
Zentralmuseum. Not all were officers or Kings either as several
items have been found that would have belonged to every day soldiers.
Julius Caesar implored his men to put their money into their equipment.
That may be why you find silver work on so much Roman military
have seen some cingulums where the belt parts are actually solid
silver as well as gladius and pugio parts. I own a Roman pugio
with inlaid silver on the handle that is so fine and so perfect,
it is work of art unto itself. Each line of silver is unbelievably
straight with the width of a writing pen line. I will do a study
on it someday.
shield I have done was actually made a couple of years
ago and is more Praetorian looking then the new Deepeeka Republican
ones. The shield boss has a reinforcing rib down the middle of
it with in effect doubles it's strength. The wings on the shield
are done in high relief instead of being painted on. Dan Peterson
as well as myself believe this was done. How they did it or what
materials were used are not known.
that chainmail was painted onto many grave stelae which was done many
times by just drilling holes when sculpted. Why would they paint on
chainmail but then go to the trouble of carving out in high relief marble
all the detailed feathered work and lighting bolts on the same grave
stelae? Brass has been suggested for these but I also think these parts
could have been cast in molds. Wood pulp, plus glue and other fibrous
materials could have been cast in a molds, making it a mass production
the only evidence to support this is thousands of sculptures in Rome
and on the frontiers but in this same sentence I can also say not one
rectangular scutum or shield have even been found for the entire first
century AD and entire second century AD and we all base those we use
now entirely on sculpture.
of the brass shield rims that have been found are for oval shields.
The only true rectangular shield was found at Dura Europus and that
was third century and in a time they were out of use. The thickness
of that shield also leads to the fact, that it was most likely used
for parade only and not for battle.
this just great. The more we know, the less we know for sure. . . .
was a late comer to the gladiatorial games and is not seen in Roman
Republican or early Empire depictions. He did not fit in with the more
armored or more military equipped looking gladiators. He carried no
shield and wore no helmet. The galerius or shoulder guard was
his main defense along with the sometimes-used manica. Most of these
shoulder guards went straight up and not bent outwards as most grave
stelae and Roman figurines show. The manicae also seems to be normally
of metal or possibly leather and not cloth when used based on these
they were easily identified by their nets, these retiarius seemed to
have a macho problem with that, so they are depicted many times only
with trident and dagger or fighting with mainly the trident and dagger.
Experts will tell you that the only gladiator that fought the retiarius
was the secutor with the rounded helmet.
In my personal
collection of four gladiator oil lamps, one shows a retiarius fighting
a murmillo which is one of only two examples known to show this
line up of gladiators. The other is in a museum in Germany. No net can
be seem but the retiarius trident is about go into the belly of the
murmillo. The retiarus is also fighting with a dagger. His dagger is
about to go up into the neck of the murmillo with his left hand as the
right arm holds the trident at his belly.
muddles the relief, so I added a black and white which helps to show
better distinction. This lamp also shows the retiarius wearing a tunic
which is a little different.
say never" is my motto. . .
Mark Churms depicts Caesar's landing on the beaches of Britain in this
painting from his series "The Art of History." In fact, this
is the very moment when Legion Ten's Aquilifer takes the lead to storm
the beaches, thereby motivating the other troops to follow him. Losing
the Legion's eagle to the Britons would have been a tremendous humiliation
and the risk of it was enough to prompt the men to disembark from their
ships for battle and to protect their eagle. Mark Churms' wonderful
art strongly influenced my construction of the accompanying standard.
comments or remarks concerning any of the above, you can email me at