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I know about the Thracian crescent shaped shields but does anyone have any info on the Greek round peltēs? What where they made of? I have seen some reproductions using flat wood, leather and some with domed bronze/bronze facing. Where they like ‘mini aspises’?

Found this on wikipedia (sorry - I know people don’t like the site!) Big Grin

Quote:Some vases have also been found showing hoplites (men wearing Corinthian helmets, greaves and cuirasses, holding hoplite spears) carrying peltes. Often, the mythological Amazons (women warriors) are shown with peltast equipment.

I would imagine that a hoplite would not have taken part in a phalanx battle with a peltae sized shield but could they have been used in other styles of battle (naval warfare etc) or could these hoplites be petast commanders or hoplite commanders who may not have stood in the front line or perhaps ekdromoi with their lighter equipment?

I have seen a couple of these ‘hoplites’ carrying peltē sized shields in vase paintings and in Connolly’s Greece and Rome at War there is an interesting vase painting on page 52 of two hoplites with regular sized aspises and one with a much smaller one.

Also did peltēs carry insignia and sometimes use attached protective ‘curtains’ at the bottom in the same way as aspises?

Any views?

Thanks! Smile
[Image: Pelti011.jpg]
like this?
[Image: t_boston_spearman_115.jpg]
and this fella
I'm not sure that second picture is of a shield.

And as for Amazons, they're usually depicted with a curved pelte that strikes me as the inspiration for the Empire symbol in the Star Wars films.

the round pelte became more common during the Hellenistic period, if not after the proliferation of peltastai during the 4th century, since the Makedonian phalangites carried smaller versions of the aspis, called at different times the Makedonian aspis, or the pelte, which two terms may have been synonymous, or have referred to different sizes of shields phalangites carried.
So were these shields the loop and handle style like an aspis?
Quote:[Image: t_boston_spearman_115.jpg]
and this fella

Sorry, that one doesn't count, the round symbol occurs randomly as a decoration all around the vase, it is definitely not a shield. You can see part of another one in the picture on the left. The rest of the images of that vase can be seen on the Perseus site.
Quote:So were these shields the loop and handle style like an aspis?

There's a good selection of inside views of the pelte in JGP Best "Thracian Peltasts and their effects on Greek Warfare". The pelte had a strap that allowed it to be slung on the back. It could be held either in the centre or exactly like an aspis, although I suspect that those vase paintings showing it being held like an aspis may be due to the (Greek) artist assuming that barbarians held shields the same way as hoplites. Have a look at the shields section at [url:1yoyhh7k][/url]
Thanks everyone!

Unfortunately due to copyright I don’t think I’m allowed to download and attach a picture of one of the vase paintings I saw and I can't get a link to work straight to it but go here (link below) then to 'Databases' then search for 'dolphin'. It should be about halfway down the page. It is a fragment of a red figure cup from the Beazley Archive (525-475BC) from the Bucarest National history Museum. It shows a warrior in hoplite panoply carrying two spears/javelins and holding a small shield with one dolphin on it.

Link -

The example I gave from Connolly looks to be about 5th C BC and looks like it’s just a small aspis. (Again I would scan in but - copyright)

There is also an illustration (plate J) in The Ancient Greeks (Osprey book by Nik Sekunda) of a ‘Thessalian javelin man’ based on a coin from Pelinna in Thessalia Hestiaiotis. He’s carrying a small round peltē that looked like it’s made of (or covered in) bronze and has a rim like an aspis.

As far as the straps are concerned David; as well as the types Chris has already mentioned peltes where also strapped as seen in Johnny Shumate’s illustration from the Battle of Cunaxa - ... ginal.aspx

There is evidence for this in the same osprey book mentioned earlier which includes a picture of an ‘Attic skyphos’ depicting a peltast with the inside of his shield and the straps visible (Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum).

Wolfgang Zeiler (AKA Geala) has posted a pic of a round pelte here (looks like flat wood to me) - ... &start=140

It has a snake painted on it. Does this mean peltasts did carry insignia like the aspises?

Thanks for the pics Themistoklis! Smile do you have a date for the first one by any chance?
Yes, many city states did not have finaces to raise enough hoplites and the biggest proprotion of their army was open order troops (i.e Phokians).

Peltasts did carry shield devices because IFF was essential then as it was now. Each Thracian tribe also had its own emblem.

The peltast with the dolphin can be a Corinthian or a mercenary of the Delean Laegue.

Best regards
Thanks Stefanos! Big Grin

I havn't heard of these open order troops before.

Did these open order troops have a particular name or where they just hoplites.

how where they used in battle?

did they wear full hoplite panoply except for a smaller aspis and no dory as the paintings suggest? did these hoplites carry smaller aspises and a javalin or two?

Thanks! Smile
Quote:Peltasts did carry shield devices because IFF was essential then as it was now. Each Thracian tribe also had its own emblem.

As far as I know, that is pure speculation. There is no evidence for this; The few Thracian warriors shown on vases with shield designs visible usually have no shield design or a very simple shield device such as a face or eyes. Thracian peltasts are not shown on Thracian art.

With so few examples known, you can speculate that: It is obvious that certain animals (such as the boar) were very significant to Thracian warriors, so it is not unlikely that they should paint such animals on their shields. Other tribal cultures are known to have favoured certain animals as their totems so maybe the Thracians did, too. To say that each tribe painted a particular animal on its shield you would have to argue that we do not have a fair sample of the evidence, that with more surviving vase paintings we would see the Thracian shields more elaborately painted and with certain tribes favouring a certain design. However, we do have many Thracian cloak designs, which also were probably worn on a tribal basis, and it is impossible to look at the cloaks and see any tribal resemblance or difference between vases.

I assume the smaller aspises where constructed in the same way as larger ones but does anyone know the way/ways round peltes might have been constructed (what they where made of)? I know I’ve seen a couple of pictures of reconstructed peltes on the forum that look they are different materials (leather and wood).

As I mentioned earlier there is also the illustration in The Ancient Greeks Osprey book by Nik Sekunda of a ‘Thessalian javelin man’ with a round peltē that looked like it’s made of (or covered in) bronze and has a rim like an aspis.

Also does anyone have any knowledge about the open order troops previously mentioned by Stefanos?

Any views, knowledge or speculation would be greatly appreciated. Big Grin

Thracian Peltast shield devices are more difficult to pin point than hoplite ones. A lecythos in the National Museum in Athens in combination with the location of the find and a combination of Herodotus writings and 19th century books gives indication about the Dologae shield devices.
I sent the images and evidence to the editors of Ancient Warfare magazine.
If they publish it you are in for a treat.

N. Segunda reconstructed the Thessalian based on heavily on the coins of Pellina in Thessaly. We do not know how the "light" shileds were constructed.
The possibilities of how they could have been made are endless.

Kind regards