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Roman Battle Shield:

• worn by heavy-armed infantry

• adapted to form of human body

• main form of complete body protection

• single handed combat = soldier completely protected

• deflected arrows, darts, missiles

• protected soldier from hand held weapons

• much larger

• oval shape or rectangular shaped like a DOOR

• semi-cylindrical in shape

• 2.5’ wide x 4.5’ tall

• covered soldier, large enough to reach from the chin to the knees

• protected most of the body

• light enough to be carried in a long battle

• multiple layers of flat strips of right angled wood/wicker work/animal hide glued/tightly woven together

• almost as strong as steel

• edge bound with light sheet bronze or iron

• central raised boss was heavy bronze or iron = weapon = thrust into enemy’s face or chest -> injury/disabled, then sword thrust forward into enemy’s body

• hand grip and an inner strap, hold close to body, leave other arm free for other weapons

• attached to small clip on soldier’s loin belt around waist = readily at hand in case he needed it quickly

• extremely tough and exceptionally durable


• to keep it in shape, EVERY AM, after saturating a piece of cloth with oil, he would begin to rub a heavy ointment of oil into the leather portion of the shield to keep it soft, supple and pliable

• If failed to provide care, certain death in battle for the shield would dry out become hard, stiff and brittle

• soak in water before going on battlefield, even if flaming arrows hit, they were extinguished upon impact by the wet surface

• large size of the shields allowed the soldiers to form a "testudo’’ (Latin for “tortoise”) \tes-tü-dō\ or shield WALL/SHELL that could protect them during an ADVANCE!

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