Decorated Roman Armour
by Raffaele D’Amato and Andrey Evgenvich Negin
Decorated Roman Armour is an absolutely beautiful book! It is filled with color photography throughout and wonderful descriptions. The photographs are from private collectors and museums. Pieces are shown in sections of type, like shields, cuirass, etc., and in chronological order, showing the changes in technology and social norms at the time. Most of this text discusses the use of armour as either used in battle or parade use, meaning it was only ceremonial only. Each piece is deliberated in detail and accompanied with photographs of said armour.
Many if not all of these pieces are works of art. The meaning of one’s armour in Ancient Rome is more than just a show piece. So, it has social ramifications as well as battle utility. Great care went into motifs and details in armour. This book goes into the use of social space used and the advantages of having such extravagant armor in some cases.
My favorite part of this book was the greaves, helmets and the face masks. There are so many here. However, the feminine face masks stand out to me. The authors state very matter-of-factly that they were used by men and could not have been used by women at all because there are no sources to suggest such. I don’t know enough about gender identity of ancient Romans to comment either way. But, it’s certainly something that I will be looking for in future books.
This is a great book just to have out for a conversation piece for people that just want to browse the pictures, but the narrative is just as enticing. Loved this!