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Cingulum

Евсеенков А.С.

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Cingulum (Latin: cingulum militare) is a Roman military belt decorated with metal plates. It was one of the signs of belonging to the military class ("Who wore this belt, was a soldier" — "Omnes qui militant, cincti sunt", Moor Servius Honoratus). The belt was a symbol of the legionnaire's honor and could be withdrawn for official crimes and misdemeanors, which was considered a disgrace for a warrior. Also, cingulum was a mandatory part of the legionnaire's equipment and was often worn together with suspensions. The belt had not only symbolic and traditional functions, but also practical ones: the cingulum made it possible to secure the armor itself, gladius and pugio more securely on the human body. Sometimes purses or other personal items were attached to the belt. Interestingly, during the early Empire period, several cingulums could be worn-one under the other or crosswise. In addition to the legionnaires, the auxilia warriors wore cingulum .

Tombstone bas-relief of Gaius Largennius from legio II Augusta. Found in the vicinity of Strathsburg. Inv. Nr. 2431. 1st century AD
Part of a stele to Annaius Daverzus with a belt, a military man from the 4th Cohort of Delmatarum. Early 1st century AD
Legionnaire with short suspensions, early 2nd century. Trajan's Column

A suspensorium is a set of leather strips with metal plates that was attached to the cingulum. The type of suspensions depended on the warrior's rank and time period. The number of leather bands varied from 3 to 8. At the beginning of the second century AD, their length began to decrease, and later suspensories were no longer included in the traditional legionnaire's equipment set . Interestingly, as officers advanced through the ranks, starting with centurions, they stopped wearing suspensions. Legates and other senior officers no longer even used cingulum, instead wearing cloth bandages over their armor.

Reconstruction

Evidence of the use of cingulum by soldiers of the Roman Empire is mainly provided by numerous bas-reliefs. High detail allows you to often determine not only the very fact of the presence of cingulum, but also its type, number of suspensions, patterns and other characteristics. In combination with archaeological finds, the following components can be identified: leather base, metal plates both on the balteus itself and on suspensions, metal tips on suspensions, belt buckles for attaching the belt, special fasteners for buttons. Plates and ornaments on suspensions are usually attached to a leather base. It should also be noted that the most frequent material of archaeological finds is brass, but there are also metals and their alloys. Often, in addition to chased jewelry, there are silver and gold coatings.

cingulum with three suspensions, reconstruction

Literature

Roman Military Equipment In Croatia, Ivan Radman-Livaja et al., 2010

The Roman Military Belt, Stefanie Hoss, published in: Koefoed, H., M.-L. Nosch (eds), Wearing the Cloak. Dressing the Soldier in Roman Times. Ancient Textiles Series vol. 10, Oxford 2011, 29-44.

Related topics

Legionnaire, Balteus, Auxiliaries, Centurion, Legate

Gallery

Roman cingulum. Found in the Roman burial ground of Haltern am See. 1st century AD
Belt set with buttons. Found in the Roman burial ground of Haltern am See. 1st century AD
Vindonissa Museum, CH; various early principate cingulum
Vindonissa Museum, CH; various early principate cingulum
Vindonissa Museum, CH; various early principate cingulum
Vindonissa Museum, CH; various early principate cingulum
Vindonissa Museum, CH; various early principate cingulum
Vindonissa Museum, CH; various early principate cingulum
Belt set with pugio, Mainz, 1st century AD
Buckle from cingulum, 1st century AD.
Plates for cingulum. I-th century AD, Vindonissa
I-century AD, Saint-Germain-en-Laye Museum
Mount for buttons. I-th century AD Herculaneum
Mount for buttons. I-th century AD Herculaneum
Belt set with pugio and gladius. First century A.D. British Museum. London.
Bronze Suspension Pendant, 43-100 AD Museum of London, 001450
Catalog of finds from Vindonissa, 1st century AD.
Kingulum of Herculaneum and Pompeii 79
Catalog from the book of Bishep, 1st century AD.
Catalog from the book of Bishep, 1st century AD.
Buckle from cingulum, 1st century A.D. Gardun's catalog-Ancient Tilurium
Buckle from cingulum, 1st century A.D. Gardun's catalog-Ancient Tilurium
Buckle from cingulum, 1st century A.D. Gardun's catalog-Ancient Tilurium
Buckle from cingulum, 1st century A.D. Gardun's catalog-Ancient Tilurium
Tongue buckle from cingulum, 1st century AD Garduna Catalog-Ancient Tilurium
Mount for pugio, 1st century AD Garduna Catalog-Ancient Tilurium
Buckle from cingulum, 1st century A.D. Gardun's catalog-Ancient Tilurium
Tongue buckle from cingulum, 1st century AD Garduna Catalog-Ancient Tilurium
Buckle from cingulum, 1st century A.D. Gardun's catalog-Ancient Tilurium
Mount for pugio, 1st century AD Garduna Catalog-Ancient Tilurium
Decoration for suspensories, 1st century AD Garduna Catalog-Ancient Tilurium
Decoration for suspensories, 1st century AD Garduna Catalog-Ancient Tilurium
Decoration of cingulum, 1st century AD Gardun's catalogue-Ancient Tilurium
The buckle. I-th century AD, Burnum-a military center in the province of Dalmatia
Plate of Cingulum, first half of the 1st century AD, Burnum-a military center in the province of Dalmatia
Plate of Cingulum, first half of the 1st century AD, Burnum-a military center in the province of Dalmatia
Tip of Suspenzoria, first half of the 1st century AD, Burnum-a military center in the province of Dalmatia
Plate of Cingulum, first half of the 1st century AD, Burnum-a military center in the province of Dalmatia
Mount for Pugio, first half of the 1st century AD, Burnum-a military center in the province of Dalmatia
Tip of Suspenzoria, first half of the 1st century AD, Burnum-a military center in the province of Dalmatia
Tip of Suspenzoria, 1st century AD, Burnum-a military center in the province of Dalmatia
Tip of Suspenzoria, 1st century AD, Burnum-a military center in the province of Dalmatia
Tip of Suspenzoria, 1st century AD, Burnum-a military center in the province of Dalmatia
Tip of Suspenzoria, first half of the 1st century AD, Burnum-a military center in the province of Dalmatia
Tip of Suspenzoria, 1st century AD, Burnum-a military center in the province of Dalmatia
Tip of Suspenzoria, first half of the 1st century AD, Burnum-a military center in the province of Dalmatia
Tip of Suspenzoria, 1st century AD, Burnum-a military center in the province of Dalmatia
Tip of Suspenzoria, first half of the 1st century AD, Burnum-a military center in the province of Dalmatia
Tip of Suspenzoria, first half of the 1st century AD, Burnum-a military center in the province of Dalmatia
Cingulum and gladius. Second half of the 1st century AD, Catalog of finds of the Croatian part of the Danube Limes
Sketch of belts from the book The Roman Military Belt
Tombstone bas-relief with cingulum and pugio. 3rd quarter of the 1st century AD, AMI Pula, inv. no. A-301
Republican overlays on the belt. Tavrika. 2-1 century BC