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Typology and chronology of roman military equipment from the principate period in the area between the Krka and Cetina rivers


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Ivčević, Sanja. (2016). Typology and chronology of roman military equipment from the principate period in the area between the Krka and Cetina rivers. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Archaeology.
(Poslijediplomski doktorski studij arheologije) [mentor Sanader, Mirjana].

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The geographical territory covered within the framework of this doctoral dissertation encompasses the interfluve of the Krka and Cetina Rivers, an area which during the time of the Roman conquests was inhabited by the Delmataean (Delmati) tribe, who fiercely resisted Roman military might. The time covered is the period of the Principate (27 BC – 284 AD), from the ascension of Emperor Augustus to the throne to the reign of Emperor Diocletian and the establishment of the Dominate, i.e., from the final quarter of the first century BC to the end of the third century AD, which encompasses the period of subjugation of the indigenous populations, Romanization and the permanent establishment of Roman power in this region. The foundation of this work is a typological/chronological analysis of Roman military equipment, which is used as the basis for verification and supplementation of facts already known mainly from historical sources, and new insights tied to the Roman conquest of the aforementioned section of the Roman Empire in the territorial, administrative and also civilisational sense. The systematic analysis of military equipment is used to explain mutual relations between military and civilian sites within the region, as well as the relationship between this region and other parts of the Roman Empire. This work consists of an analysis of finds of Roman military equipment from several museum institutions: the Archaeological Museum in Split, the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb, the Cetina Regional Museum in Sinj and the Trilj Local Heritage Museum in Trilj. The finds are divided into five basic categories: weapons, protective equipment, equine equipment, personal accessories and other equipment, which are further sub-divided into subcategories. A total of 486 items are processed, of which 46 were classified as weapons, 39 as protective equipment, and 89 as riding equipment. The most numerous group is personal accessories, with a total of 283 finds, and a total of 29 items were examined as other equipment. In the chapter “Typological-chronological analysis,” the artefacts are analysed within their typological groups regardless of the site from which they originated, and the focus is on setting a chronological framework for the finds in addition to their use and type. Six categories of weapons are present in the total number of 46 exponents (Fig. 2). Pieces of swords and daggers are close-quarter weapons, while the ranged weapons include ballistic projectiles, plumbatae, bows and arrows and spears, although the latter were both thrown and used in close-quarter combat, particularly when the spearheads were larger and heavier. The highest number of these items, twelve, belong to the spear category, although most, with eight examples, are actually butts. Ten tips have been set aside in the javelin and ballistic projectiles group. Bows and arrows underwent particular analysis. Three bone reinforcements belong to the category of composite bows, while five arrowheads can be classified into two basic types; three are trilobe arrowheads, while two are flat-headed (leaf-shaped). Among the swords, the Mainz and Pompeii types, and cavalry spathae have been preserved, while in the dagger category, besides a link for a sheath and two rivets, an almost entirely preserved dagger in its sheath was found in the bed of the Cetina River in Trilj. With the exception of a single javelin tip from Andetrium, all of the finds in the group are from Tilurium and Salona. All of the weapons that could be dated more precisely to the Roman period can be placed within the framework of the 1st century, with the exception of two butts which appeared during the 1st century, but which had a longer duration of use (Fig. 6). Protective equipment encompasses a total of 39 components of armour, helmets and shields. With only three finds, one cheek-piece and two plume holders, helmets are least represented. These are all components of the Weisenau helmet. Two armour types are present: chainmail, to which four pieces belong (three fastening hooks and an armour fragment consisting of five chain-links), and Corbridge segmented armour, to which the most items belong (two fastening loops, six strap fittings, five armour belt mounts, thirteen buckle components). Six items (one rivet and umbo fragment, three pieces of outer rim reinforcements and part of a handle) have been distinguished as shield parts. Most finds, 31 in all, are by far from Tilurium, six are from Salona, and two finds indentified as protective equipment are from Andetrium. Materials that appeared during the first century largely prevail, with a small number of items having a longer duration through the 2nd and also 3rd century (Fig. 11). Equine equipment, divided into several groups, consists of 89 items. The most numerous group consists of riding harness pendants, of which there are 58, and they account for two thirds of the equine equipment finds. The pendants are further sub-divided into ten different types, which have mainly been dated to the 1st century (Fig. 12). Besides pendants, the standard components of harnesses were found, such as different types of connecting hooks, belt catches and mounts, which are the most numerous (Fig. 14). The parts of equestrian parade equipment stand out in terms of quality of craftsmanship: a blinder and saddle strap mount; the rather luxurious lunular and three-piece foliate riding harness pendants may have also belonged to parade equipment. With the exception of a single harness belt catch, from Prugovo, all of the finds fare from Tilurium and Salona (Fig. 15). Generally this is equipment that has been dated to the 1st century, with the exception of the mounts, mainly from Salona, which have been dated to the 2nd and early 3rd century (Fig. 21). The personal soldier equipment include parts of military belts and aprons, and hobnails used to reinforce marching boots (caligae). As belt components, 94 items of various uses were distinguished and divided into eight basic groups (Fig. 22). As in the case of the overall materials, finds from Tilurium and Salona (Fig. 3) also predominate here. The hobnails for crafting marching boots, 205 in all, were classified on the basis of the stamp on the lower side of the head, and all of them were found during archaeological excavations in the Tilurium military camp (Fig. 24). The hobnails consisting of ribs and semi-spherical protrusions have been dated to the Late Republic/Early Augustan era, while those with a row of small balls along the edge but otherwise unadorned have been dated from the end of the 1st century BC to the end of the 1st century AD, since caligae fell out of use by the end of the 1st century and at the beginning of the 2nd century. Later-phase hobnails whose appearance has been set at the second decade of the 1st century BC are more numerous than those from the earlier phase, while unadorned hobnails are the most numerous (Fig. 24). The chronological framework for the personal accessories category shows that this is the group that contains the earliest materials thanks to the finds of hobnails for caligae, and this group also contains the best representation of items dated to the 2nd and 3rd centuries, if compared to the remaining categories of equipment (Fig. 29). The group of other equipment includes buttons with eyeholes and pickaxes (dolabrae) which generally date to the 1st century (Fig. 30, 31). In the Concluding Considerations, I compare the presence of Roman military equipment at individual sites, and determined dating frameworks given the find sites. Out of the total number of 486 finds, as many as 476 were found in the areas of Tilurium and Salona, and 9 and all other sites (Fig. 34). Out of that latter number, most of the finds, five, are from Andetrium, two were found in Podgrađe, at Podstrana in Poljice, and one each is from Balina glavica, at Umljanović, Čaporice, near Trilj, and Prugovo (cat. no. 153), which is situated on the road from Klis to Muć (map 2). A comparison of the finds from Tilurium and Salona has shown that at both sites materials from the 1st century are best represented, but as opposed to the virtually complete absence of 2nd and 3rd century finds at Tilurium, at Salona the materials so dated are only slightly less numerous than the materials from the 1st century (Fig. 37). In Tilurium, finds from the Late Republic/Early Augustan era have been confirmed, which is the first time this phase of the camp has been ascertained in a layer. The materials from this period were not recorded in the area of Salona. In Andetrium, five items ranging from the 1st to 3rd century were found, while in Prugovo, Čaporice and Balina glavica, the finds date to the 1st century. In Podgrađe, the belt buckle and pendant have been dated to the 1st century, although the pendant belongs to a type that appeared at the beginning of the 2nd century. The highest quantity of finds is from the 1st century, when the military was the most numerous in the province of Dalmatia, and its encompasses a period of warfare, camp construction and the residence of legions in them. At the end of the 1st century, legionary units departed from Dalmatia, and security was provided by auxiliary units. The reduced number of military formations in the 2nd and 3rd century resulted in a lower quantity of equipment, except in Salona, in which members of the military stayed throughout the Principate, either performing various services or living as veterans. In this study, some questions remain unresolved, although thanks precisely to this study they have actually been defined. In the first place, this pertains to the question of military equipment from the period after the 1st century in the area of the Tilurium military camp, and to the absence of finds from Salona in the Early Augustan period. The typological/chronological analysis of the finds not only serves as a platform for further research, it also sets forth the guidelines for future work.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: Roman military equipment, weapons, protective equipment, equine equipment, personal equipment, other equipment, Tilurium, Salona, Andetrium, Podgrađe, Balina glavica, Prugovo, Čaporice
Subjects: Archaeology
Departments: Department of Archaeology
Supervisor: Sanader, Mirjana
Additional Information: Poslijediplomski doktorski studij arheologije
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2016 13:21
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 13:21

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