Since I started to interest myself in history of the northen Europe, and especially the history of Celtic people, I read a lot about their inventions, in terms of warfare.

The quote from wiki

The use of mail as battlefield armour was common during the Iron Age and the Middle Ages, becoming less common over the course of the 16th and 17th centuries. It is believed that the Roman Republic first came into contact with mail fighting the Gauls in Cisalpine Gaul, now Northern Italy, but a different pattern of mail was already in use among the Etruscans. The Roman army adopted the technology for their troops in the form of the lorica hamata which was used as a primary form of armour through the Imperial period.

I really started to doubt that, because armor of course is a huge advantage. But yet, most of the encounters of the Celts with the Romans were a defeat to the Celtic side.

Is there any actual source or finding to support that Celtic tribes have produced mail armour? Is there for example any evidence, that the Brennus of Senones and his troops used mail, when they attacked the early Roman Republic?

  • 3
    For some reason you seem to assume that the romans had no armor. They were actually pretty famous for banded mail, made out of strips of steel, among others. There's more than having armor that leads to win or defeat, too. Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 8:27
  • There were actually quite a lot of battles between Celts and Romans which were won by the Celts. Hannibal had a lot of Celts in his army, Brennus defeated Rome early on and even Vercingetorix won the Battle of Gergovia. There is also evidence that Celts created plate armor out of bronze, but was probably not wide spread because of how expensive it was to make. Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 9:55
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    @MarkC.Wallace - Well, he did list a reason in the last paragraph. Being a bit generous, basically it seemed odd to him that a people with better military tech would get wiped out.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 16:05
  • Removed "mail" tag since the other questions that use it refer to postal mail, not chain mail.
    – MCW
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 18:50
  • 1
    I haven't gotten any mail from the Celts yet.
    – jjack
    Commented Dec 29, 2017 at 5:00

1 Answer 1


There is extensive documentary and archeological evidence for Celtic chain mail; one Classical writer (Varro) even specifically named the Celts as the inventors of chain mail.

You can take a look at this (PDF) article, for example, which includes quotations from Classical authors, contemporary depictions from archeological relics of Celtic warriors wearing chain mail, and fragments of chain mail recovered from Celtic graves dating back to the 3rd Century BC (especially in Eastern Europe and Asia Minor.)

  • 4
    Also noticed in that Hauberk link that the earliest archeological finding of one was from Romania around 4BC, which is in fact when Celts are believed to have been living there. So modern archeology so far appears to back Varro up.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 15:56

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