Roman Shields

As with roman shields, the Romans readily used the improvements in armor and shields (called "scutum") of other populations. Although the shield of legionaries was essentially the large rectangular shield (shown in the lower left hand side of the picture to the right) other types of shield were also used, for example cavalry would use rounded shields.

The exact shape of the shield of standard legionaries varied through time but essentially retained its underlying shape, construction and function. It was large and curved so that the impact of incoming blows would be partially deflected and hence reduced. A metal semi-sphere in the centre of the shield allowed it to be used offensively in a similar manner to the crowd control techniques of modern police forces.

The shield is believed to have been constructed very much like modern plywood curved over steam. The cross-grain of successive sheets adds strength whilst keeping overall weight to a minimum. There are no existing examples to prove this though.
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