A section of a Lorica Segmentata buckle for the Corbridge style of segmented plate armor. The standard armor for the Roman Legionary during Rome's prime.
This piece is only the front section and the hinge indicates that it matches to an unknown rear section. There is no front rivet so the buckle is weaker, and the center pin is longer than other examples. The front loop also has a more oval shape to it.
Just another set of variations visible on these similar armor attachments.
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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(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. A Fresco from the ancient Roman City of Pompeii. The interior walls of a wealthy Roman's Estate 79AD. Picture taken July 2005.