Roman Shields

Roman Shields

The utilization of Roman shields during battle comes all the way from pre-history and has always been present in the earliest civilizations.

During any armed combat, the shields were utilized specifically to block and protect the wielder from attacks produced by various hand-held weapons such as swords; it also works to deflect arrows which are known to be projectile weapons.

The earlier types of shields were mainly constructed out of animal hide and wood then was later on reinforced with a much better material which is metal.

Roman shields complete and makes up the army and without these, the Roman soldier acts just like a walking target. The wars and battles of the past were not like the battles in today’s movies, where weapons and shields simply hit each other with clanging sounds and such.

The battles from the past were some of the most deadly events in history and Roman shields and weapons were used to protect themselves and kill the enemies.

The Roman shield is one of the best and most effective lines of defense that soldiers, legionaries, and warriors could utilize; there were instances when large oval Roman shields could be locked together in order to create a defense barrier which would help the soldiers launch spear attacks while simultaneously repelling enemy charges.

There were other instances when Roman shields of the whole unit were utilized to create a strong shield wall, and the whole frontline crouched behind this while the second and third lines would lift their shields to create a roof to protect themselves from missile firing.

When the foulkon maneuver was created, the whole unit could easily move closer towards the enemy since the troops are boxed in and protected by the Roman shields.


Roman soldiers were also called the legionaries and they used certain equipment such as leather, helmets, iron armor, and shields to protect themselves when heading out to war. This type of Roman shield is one of the more popular pieces utilized during the battle since these were large shields that were either oval or rectangular in shape.

The earlier type of this Roman shield exhibited an oval shape which later on evolved into a rectangular and semi-cylindrical shield; these were mostly utilized by the Empire’s foot soldiers.

Furthermore, the concave characteristic of these Roman shields also offered excellent protection but the soldiers then utilized weapons that were difficult to use since it restricted them from moving their arms freely. Making use of the shield ended by the third century AD yet it continued to survive until the Byzantine Empire.

The scutum had a weight of about ten kilograms while featuring the appearance of having a huge rectangular, curved shield that is made out of three wooden sheets; these were then glued together before being covered with leather and canvas. It was common to utilize a spindle-shaped boss right along the shield’s vertical length.

However, there are some uncertainties regarding the use of the Roman shields and whether soldiers truly utilized these during battles; this is because the shield does not necessarily match the numerous descriptions that were shown on the Trajan column.

Roman Shields

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Scutum

This type of Roman shield is light enough to be carried with a single hand and is very efficient for entirely concealing the user due to its adequate height and width.

The shape and form of this Roman shield protected the soldier from getting hit by blows from enemy weapons, as well as by missile fires.

The metallic boss that can be located in the center of this Roman shield is also made up of an auxiliary punching weapon, and its composite construction and form only meant that its earlier versions could easily fail from heavy and intense cutting or piercing blows.

These kinds of attacks were often experienced during the Roman Campaigns against the Carthage and Dacia where certain types of weapons could easily assault, hit, then rip through this Roman shield.

Because of the effects of these types of weapons, changes in the design and style of this Roman shield have been prompted to make the scutum more resilient and durable, providing thicker metal edges and planks.

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The Different Roman Shields

There were different kinds of Roman shields utilized by the soldiers, depending on their needs and requisites for battle. Here are some of the most popular pieces during the medieval period:


The Parma, which is also called the parmula, was a specific kind of rounded Roman shield that was utilized by the Roman army, mostly during the later period of the Imperial era. Most soldiers on horseback utilized the Parma since these were Roman shields that provided excellent balance and movement to make it easier for them to execute a variety of attacking moves.

Typically, these Roman shields had a measurement of about thirty-six inches while its iron frame was strong and durable. However, despite the efficiency, these shields were eventually discarded for much lighter shields that are made from leather and wood.

When the Republican era came, numerous foot soldiers continued to utilize a specific type of parma but was eventually replaced by the much longer scuta Roman shield, offering more protection to the warriors on the battlefield.

Roman Shields


This is one of the Roman shields that is said to be the version of the Greek’s aspis; although this shield was utilized together with a rectangular-shaped legionnaire or great scutum, the rounded or oval clypeus eventually became the Roman soldier’s standard shield right after the third century.

These types of Roman shields featured a rounded shape and right in the middle of this was an iron bolt with a sharpened point.

Roman Shields for Sale

The Renaissance shield was considered to be a very important part of the Roman soldiers, and just like the Macedonians and Spartans, the Roman soldiers also attempted to head out into battle as a unit where they would all head out to the battlefield while forming a strong line of defense using their shields to provide a completely undefeatable body of protection.

Today, there are numerous online shops that sell Roman shields for sale and re-enactors of historical scenes, or those serious collectors can simply purchase their preferred equipment.

However, before making a purchase, it is always best to do a background check on the seller or shop to ensure that the items they are selling are safe and made from high-quality materials.

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