Shields were once a common tool in ancient warfare, and they came in all shapes and sizes. In Ancient Rome, there were 3 types of shields that were frequently used, and each of them had a specific purpose. If you’re looking to buy a Roman shield, keep reading to learn more about the different types and their functions, so that you can choose the right one for your purposes.
The scuta are a well-known type of Roman shield. These large shields were usually either rectangular or oval in shape, as well as having a concave curve to them that provided foot soldiers with excellent protection. Their size and shape allowed soldiers to protect their entire bodies from enemy attacks, and allowed legions to form the well-known testudo, or tortoise formation. In this formation, soldiers gathered close together and align their scuta in front of them and over their heads, protecting the group from frontal assaults and attacks with projectiles. However, this restricted arm movement and made it difficult to counterattack.
While perfect for legionnaires, a scutum was far too bulky for soldiers on horseback. For this reason, mounted soldiers would use smaller round shields called parma. These were typically only 36 inches across or less, and were made from a variety of materials including iron, wood, and leather.
The clipeus was the most common type of shield used in Rome after the 3rd century. They were typically made of vertical planks held together with a type of glue. The planks were then covered with painted leather and bound around with edges with rawhide. These shields were the standard shields of Roman soldiers, and often used among gladiators in the arena. In gladiatorial fights, the shields were frequently decorated with elaborate designs in order to heighten the spectacle of the fight.
If you’re searching for a Roman shield for an event or party, make sure you know which type of shield will best suit your costume in order to give it an authentic air!