Mike Bishop deposited Trapp’d in silver: Roman cavalry equipment revisited in the group Roman Frontier Studies on Humanities Commons 5 months, 2 weeks ago
At the Fourth Roman Military Equipment Conference in Newcastle in 1987, I first explored the reconstruction of Roman cavalry harness, attempting to harmonise the evidence from sculptural representations and archaeological excavation. Much has been learned since then, and this paper attempts to review how some of the principles expounded back then can be extended to other periods beyond the 1st century AD, as well as looking at new directions in which the evidence can take us. Salvatore Ortisi’s important work on the horse harness from the Bay of Naples sites is an important first step in a detailed consideration of the relationship between civil and military harness, but the evidence can be teased out to provide a much richer and nuanced impression of what we can and cannot say about cavalry equipment. Moreover, hints of ethnic specificity can be pursued to provide interesting sidelights on the similarities and differences between cavalry units serving within the Roman army.
With the Hadrian’s Cavalry exhibition being hosted at multiple venues along Hadrian’s Wall in 2017, cavalry equipment in all its forms made headlines. It was time to show an enthusiastic potential audience just how much we know, but also where the challenges lie for the future study of Roman cavalry equipment.