ROMAN CHAIN MAIL (LORICA HAMATA)

    ROMAN REPUBLIC and EMPIRE

    Used from: Ca. 225 BC-AD 476

    (Shoulder doubling in use ca. 225 BC-AD 130)

    Used by: Legionary infantrymen,

    officers and specialists of of all ranks,

    auxiliary cavalry and infantry.

 

Deepeeka Roman Soldier’s Hamata (pictured left), butted 8-9mm wire rings with leather-lined shoulder doubling (fits up to a 50 inch chest, length 31 inches)          Price: $265.

NEW! SUPER-ACCURATE ROMAN HAMATA, riveted wire rings interspersed  with punched flat rings, available in 8mm and 6mm interior diameter (authentic Roman construction), with leather-lined neck opening and shoulder doubling (fits up to a 50 inch chest, length 31 inches)

Prices: Starting at $478 (8mm ID) and $760 (6mm ID); Inquire on prices for chest sizes larger than 46 inches.

Authenticity Rating: 7.5 (Deepeeka butted) and 10 (riveted-punched models).

The Celts pioneered the usage of linked wire rings to form a flexible form of armor since approximately the middle of the 1st millennium BC. After some attested usage by Greek armies during the Hellenistic period, the Romans adopted chain mail as their optimal form of infantry armor shortly before the Second Punic War (218-202 BC). The evidence for its use is both artistic, such as the so-called Altar of Domitius Ahenobarbus, which shows mail-clad legionaries ca. 100 BC, and also literary. The historian Polybius, in his discussions of the Roman legions during the 2nd century BC, states that the wealthier legionaries were able to afford chain mail armor to complete their panoplies (Histories VI, 23). According to the artistic evidence, the lorica hamata of that time was cut very much like the Greek linothorax, with sleeveless torso, ending mid-thigh, and having a shoulder doubling that added protection to the torso against overhead blows.  In the early Imperial period, the artwork attests to the addition of short sleeves to the armor, protecting the deltoid and upper arm of the wearer.  In the second century, the shoulder doubling appears to have disappeared, as seen in the artwork, and the sleeves grew in length. While the use of segmental plate armor was quite widespread, chainmail never disappeared, due to its versatility and overall protection.  Even against the dreaded war scythe, the Dacian falx, many of Emperor Trajan’s soldiers appear to have been equipped with chainmail, as seen on the Adamklissi monument. Roman non-citizen soldiers, or auxiliaries, appear to have worn chainmail almost exclusively, although their mail shirts are usually shown as lacking shoulder doubling and as sometimes having a dagged (or zig-zag) hem, as seen at right.

The Deepeeka version conforms most nearly to the style in use during the early Imperial period (1st to 2nd centuries AD), sporting short sleeves and shoulder doubling.  Some Celtic mail was fashioned of rings butted at their closure. Roman mail was predominantly constructed of round-wire riveted rings interspersed with solid punched rings of a flat cross-section. Deepeeka’s mail is constructed of butted round-wire rings of about 8mm interior diameter to save in labor costs and does not detract substantially from the armor’s appearance.  The rings are galvanized, which prevents rust; reenactors may wish to strip off the galvanization using a mild acid such as vinegar to improve accuracy.

While not one of our most accurate forms of armor, the Deepeeka soldier's hamata has a good appearance and is an excellent value at only $265.  We keep Deepeeka mail shirts in stock and shipping is virtually immediate.

For reenactors willing to spend a bit more and compromise less, we also offer a new Roman mail shirt of highly accurate construction--that is, riveted links interspersed with flat solid rings. The image at left is of one of these shirts. At right is a close-up showing the construction of this mail and the studs and chest-hooks, which are based on an actual archaeological find. These shirts average slightly smaller than the Deepeeka, fitting up to a size 46 chest and about 31 inches in length. Larger mail shirts are available for a slight surcharge. Our custom shirt also comes with leather-lined shoulder doubling. The shirt comes in two ring sizes: 8mm interior diameter, and 6mm ID. These shirts are amazingly accurate, and the prices are astonishingly affordable: $475 for the 8mm ID version, and $760 for the 6mm shirt!

BOTH 8mm AND 6mm SHIRTS IN STOCK NOW and ready for immediate shipment!

Consider that only a short time ago, obtaining an accurately made Roman mail shirt required a custom commission of $10,000 or more!  The revolution in the production of accurate reproduction Roman armor has raised the Roman reenactment movement to a whole new level in just the last year or so!