Over the centuries, the Ancient Roman legionaries wore three types of armour to protect their body trunk against different kinds of weapons.
1. Lorica hamata. It was a chain mail armour, which consisted of small steel rings that were linked together by rivets into a protective metal cloth. Although it was light and flexible, compared to other armour types, the lorica hamata only protected against cutting or slashing blows, but it did not offer protection against stabbing and piercing arrow strikes. It was used from the 5th century BC onwards, until the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th centruy AD.
2. Lorica squamata. The scale armour was made up of small, leaf-like pieces of steel or bronze sheet that overlapped one another tighly, leaving no open spaces in between. Introduced in the late 4th century BC, it was usually worn by the cavalry and high ranking officers.
3. Lorica segmentata. It was composed of overlapping iron or steel bands held together by leather strips. Introduced in 10 BC, during the reign of Augustus (Octavius), it was used by the Roman heavy infantry. Images of legionaries wearing the lorica segmentata can be seen in bas relief on the Trajan’s Column, depicting the Roman victory in the Dacian Wars. It protected not only against cutting blows but also against knife or sword stabbing.