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In the military of classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...
, a clipeus
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...
"Aspis" is the generic term for the word shield. The aspis, which is carried by Greek infantry of various periods, is often referred to as a hoplon .According to Diodorus Siculus:-Construction:...
) was a large shield
A shield is a type of personal armor, meant to intercept attacks, either by stopping projectiles such as arrows or redirecting a hit from a sword, mace or battle axe to the side of the shield-bearer....
worn by the Greeks
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....
as a piece of defensive armor, which they carried upon the arm, to secure them from the blows of their enemies. It was round in shape and in the middle was a bolt of iron, or of some other metal, with a sharp point.
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...
also describes the custom of having a bust-portrait of an ancestor painted on a clipeus, and having it hung in a temple or other public place. From this round bas-reliefs in a medallion on sarcophagi and in other forms are known as clipeus portraits.
The legionary scutum
Scutum is the Latin word for "shield", although it has in modern times come to be specifically associated with the rectangular, semi-cylindrical body shield carried by Roman legionaries.-History:...
, a convex rectangular shield also disappeared during the 3rd century. All troops adopted the auxiliary oval (or sometimes round) shield (clipeus
). Shields, from examples found at Dura and Nydam, were of vertical plank construction, the planks glued, and faced inside and out with painted leather. The edges of the shield were bound with stitched rawhide, which shrank as it dried improving structural cohesion. It was also lighter than the edging of copper alloy used in earlier Roman shields.
Latin for 'shield of bravery'. In ancient Rome award for a soldier who had saved the life of a comrade in battle.
- William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D. "Clipeus". A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. John Murray, London, 1875.