MAIN LIMES MUSEUMS

World HeritageLimes MuseumsLimes TownsTopicsMapsMediaNewsContact

The shield ("scutum, parma") was the most important defensive weapon for the Roman soldiers. They were also actively used in fights and as a tactical weapon, with several soldiers using their shields to build a wall, or the well-known "turtle" (testudo). The curved, rectangular shield, c. 110 cm x 70 cm large and up to 9 kg in weight, was used by legionary soldiers in the 2nd century AD.

The auxiliary troops were equipped with oval or hexagonal shields of celtic origin. These were made of bonded wood. The cavalry carried lighter, oval or round shields.

Every shield had a boss of iron or bronze which could deflect enemy weapons. At the back of the shield a shackle was attached with a handle.

Illustrative sources, such as Trajan's Column, show that the shields were often painted.

Literature:
"Schild", Limes-Lexikon 2009, 116f.

"testudo", Vindelici cohort in Großkrotzenburg 2004
1
Oval and round shiled, Vindelici cohort, Großkrotzenburg 2004
2
Parade shield boss, reconstruction
3
Shield boss, Museum Bürgstadt
4
Soldier of an auxiliary troop, 1st century, Museum Schloss Steinheim
5
1 "testudo", Vindelici cohort in Großkrotzenburg 2004 © Photo Christof Flügel, München 2 Oval and round shiled, Vindelici cohort, Großkrotzenburg 2004 © Boundary Productions, Photo Eric Dobat 3 Parade shield boss, reconstruction © Museum der Stadt Miltenberg 4 Shield boss, Museum Bürgstadt © Museum Bürgstadt 5 Soldier of an auxiliary troop, 1st century, Museum Schloss Steinheim © Museum Schloss Steinheim

Bavarian State Conservation Office Landesstelle für die nichtstaatlichen Museen & Bavarian State Archaeological Collection with the support of the Bayerische Sparkassenstiftung