Monday, April 1, 2013

Two Truths and A Lie Take Two

My alternative to the tradition of playing practical jokes on April 1st seemed to be popular last year, so I'm repeating it. Below are two truths and a lie about Sarmatians. Which do you think is the lie? No cheating! Resist the temptation to google before guessing. :) One subject will be discussed each Monday for the next three weeks.

Sarmatians carried around already-erected tents on their wagons.

Roman draco standards are Sarmatian in origin

Some Sarmatians wore head-to-toe scale mail in battle.


  1. Hm. My guesses:
    1-True. How anti-aerodynamic would that be? But if it wasn't easy to disassemble the tents and the wagons were open, it's sort of like having a camper, right?
    2-True. The Romans had to steal it from somewhere.
    3-Lie. While it would seem like a good idea and from sheer numbers seem sensible to assume someone would eventually think it was a good idea, it's unlikely anyone made a record of such an experiment if it never became a cultural norm. Plus, then they couldn't wear their nifty caps. Nothing's more important than style.

  2. 1. False, I think the tents would have been packed on the wagons with all the other equipment like cooking utensils,horse gear etc. and assembled when they arrived at their destination. Would have consisted of framework, felt walls if they were wealthy, probably bark for poorer nomads or leather.
    2. False, lot of debate on another website over this. Some claim Dacian origin for Draco but probably Central Asian as would have been handy as a windsock for horse archers. Sarmatians probably picked them up from other Central Asian tribes. Parthians, Persians used it which makes me think Central Asian rather than Sarmatian.
    3. False, Sarmatians wore conical metal helmets, a lamellar or scale haulberk reaching down to upper thighs with possibly 2 or 4 splits for horse riding, for leg protection they would have worn lamellar or scale chaps to knees and metal or lamellar greaves to protect lower leg. They would have worn a medium width leather belt with straps to hold sword scabbard with scabbard slide, possibly arkinakes (shorter sword or dagger) and possibly a sagaris which was like a tomahawk where one side would be a spike and the other side a mallett type head and a longer shaft. Very deadly weapon in right hands. Rich nobles could afford the better quality armour but I think the majority would have worn leather armour. Just my thoughts anyway.
    Michael Kerr