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Scutum
Time Period: 6th century BC to 3rd century AD
Location: Rome
Common Construction: Leather and Wood with a Bronze or Iron rim

The scutum is the original "tower shield" measuring four feet high and 2.5 feet wide. It comes in many shapes, from rectangles to ovals to intermediate shapes with squared off sides, and generally curves around the soldier. Exact styles and needs changed over the 700 year period of its usage, but the general idea of the scutum remained constant throughout its use in the Roman Empire.

The scutum is made from overlapping layers of plywood covered in leather. The entire shield may be rimmed with bronze or iron, or possibly just the top of the shield.

The scutum was used like a body shield, or a wall from which the soldier fought behind. Once the initial charge had concluded and general melee ensued, the soldier typically rested the scutum on the ground and fought from behind it.

The scutum could also be used in a "testudo" or tortoise formation. The front row of soldiers would rest their shield on the ground in front of them and the second row would place their shield over top of the formation, creating a box. This was extremely effective against ranged attacks, leaving very few possible openings for an arrow to penetrate.

BCE 01st Century, BCE 02nd Century, BCE 03rd Century, BCE 04th Century, BCE 05th Century, BCE 06th Century, CE 01st Century, CE 02nd Century, CE 03rd Century, Gladiator, History, Rome, Shield


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