Saturday, August 1, 2009

crocodile armour

click on images to enlarge These pics are of an armour made from crocodile skin. They were Roman armour, and as far as I know, unique. They were on display in the British Museum, and date from fourth century Roman Egypt.
Just thought my readers would like to see the incredible range of materials and designs which have been turned into body armour over the years.

I suspect that a standard spun bronze infantry helm was fitted under that.
So who would wear such an armour? An actual Roman legionaire? Unlikely a regular soldier. Possibly a special say, a Chief Warrant Officer (Centurion). They generally wore a lion skin cloak with the head of the lion mounted on the helmet and the feet wrapped around the shoulders and tied in front. We know this from bas reliefs of the time. I would not for an instant put it past a creative commander to think to himself...."these crocs are pretty cool! Wonder if a croc skin could replace that musty moth eaten lion skin I was issued."
Personally I could see that happening with an auxiliary troup...say a small regiment of Egyptians who wanted to retain their distinctivness. Later in the forth and fifth centuries, such troups were allowed to retain portions of their distinct regional iconic dress...the Persian troops were allowed to retain their phyringian caps for instance.
Well, this is only speculation. Isn't it amazing how the mind runs wild with speculation when all you have is a suit in a glass case?

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Anonymous said...

Now THAT is cool armor.

Claudio Setti Studio said...

I have a picture of this armour in one of my books and it says that it was worn by Roman soldiers garrisoned in Egypt because the crocodile was thought to posses magical powers and was a highly revered animal at the time...

I think the look is very cool if anything and must have had a great intimidating effect on the enemy!


STAG said...

Still a lot of respect, especially if you happen to be swimming in their territory.