A working bronze Lorica Segmentata strap buckle for the Corbridge (earlier) style of segmented plate armor. The standard armor for the Roman Legionary during Rome's prime.
All the rivets are still in place with the scribed concentric rings surrounding them, from when the buckle was hammered to the armor.
The reverse side of the buckle still shows remnants of the iron armor plate around the rivets where it would have been attached to.
This design is simpler, yet higher in quality in some sense as the very strong central hinge indicates. The extra rivet in the front section is there to re-enforce the buckle, further adding to its superiority. Artistic value had to make way for a more practical and better suited buckle. This is a superbly preserved example and represents the high point in the buckle development.
This type of armor had many advantages over scale mail and chain mail, primarily being that it could withstand much harder impacts from pointed weapons while still allowing a good amount of flexibility. The only inherent weakness, at least on these earlier versions was that all the buckles and hinges could easily break and required constant repair. Furthermore the leather straps trapped in moisture on the iron, making it harder to keep corrosion free. This early version was also relatively hard to put on and invariably required a second person to do the buckles up. It was not until the Newstead type that the buckles, hinges and laces were largely done away with. (1)(2)(3)
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Front view close up
(1) References to similar items: FEUGERE, Michel; Weapons of the Romans, page 103 2002.
(2) References to similar items: CONNOLLY, Peter; The Legionary, page 24 2000.
(3) References to similar items: CONNOLLY, Peter; Greece and Rome at War, page 229-230 1998.
*Image of Segmentata by P.CONNOLLY
**Note on background. Close up view of the wall of the Colosseum of Pula, Croatia. Picture taken 2014