("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.
"Schild", Limes-Lexikon 2009, 116f.
Bavarian State Conservation Office – Landesstelle für die nichtstaatlichen Museen & Bavarian State Archaeological Collection with the support of the Bayerische Sparkassenstiftung