Rome only had a limited selection of armor, and not all troops wore torso armor. Light infantry, especially among the auxiliaries, wore little or no armor. This was both to allow swifter movement for light troops and also as a matter of cost.

Light Armor Cost Armor Class Strength Stealth Weight
Manica 5 dn 11 + Dex modifier 8 lb
Hide armor 15 dn 12 + Dex modifier 10 lb
Thracian armor 40 dn 13 + Dex modifier Disadvantage 13 lb
Medium Armor          
Leather breastplate 10 dn 13 + Dex modifier (max 2) 12 lb
Lorica squamata 50 dn 14 + Dex modifier (max 2) Disadvantage 45 lb
Samnite armor 100 dn 15 + Dex modifier (max 2) Str 13 Disadvantage 20 lb
Bronze breastplate 750 dn 15 + Dex modifier (max 2) 40 lb
Heavy Armor          
Lorica hamata 200 dn 16 Str 13 Disadvantage 40 lb
Lorica segmentata 400 dn 17 Str 15 Disadvantage 60 lb
Parma 10 dn +1 6 lb
Scutum 25 dn +2 Str 13 Disadvantage 20 lb

Bronze Breastplate. A partial suit of bronze plate first introduced by the Greeks, it was worn by Roman soldiers until about 450 AUC. From then on, only military tribunes and higher ranks used it. The breastplate is often highly ornamented with mythological scenes, and some cast to fit a specific wearer's torso and designed to mimic an idealized physique.

Leather Breastplate This is a molded breastplate of hardened leather used by both legionaries and gladiators.

Lorica Hamata. This suit of partial chain mail is the standard for members of a legionary army and consists of a chain shirt and a studded leather skirt. Although labor-intensive to manufacture, with good maintenance a suit can be continually used for several decades. Its utility is such that the later appearance of lorica segmentata—which afforded greater protection for a third less weight—never led to the disappearance of the ubiquitous mail.

Lorica Squamata. This type of scale armor is made from small metal scales sewn to a fabric backing. It is typically worn by standard bearers, musicians, centurions, cavalry troops, and even auxiliary infantry, but could be worn by regular legionaries as well.

Lorica Segmentata This light and flexible suit of partial banded armor was introduced at the end of the Republic and remained in use for centuries. It consists of a breastplate of banded mail and a studded leather skirt. The form of the armor allows it to be stored very compactly, since it is possible to separate it into four sections.

Manica This is a type of protective sleeve with curved and overlapping metal segments or plates, fastened to leather straps, worn by Roman gladiators.

Samnite Armor. This is mainly used by gladiators. It is comprised of double manica, greaves, protective metal belt (balteus), and a large ornate helmet (cassis crista).

Thracian Armor. This is leather armor typically used by gladiators and Roman auxiliary troops. It includes a protective metal belt (balteus), a soldier's helmet (galea), manica, and leather greaves.

Parma Shields. These are round shields reinforced with iron in their frame. The parma was used mainly by auxiliary infantry and cavalry, the legionaries preferring the heavier but more protective scutum. It was used also by signifers (standard bearers).

Scutum Shields. The scutum is a large body shield made from three sheets of wood glued together and covered with canvas and leather. During the early Republic they were oval in pattern, but later evolved into a curved rectangular shape. A scutum was typically decorated with the legion’s insignia.


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