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Hi , Can you help with this question please . Did a Spartan Aspis have to be red or bronze with the famous white insignia ? Could the shield be another colour - say for example - White with a red Insignia ? This is just something I was asked and couldn't really answer 100%


Thanks ,

Julius . :wink:
I do not believe that is correct. I am not the resident expert so I am sure Stefanos, Giannis, or one of the others will chime in soon, but for a quick answer, the lambda was not always used on Spartan shields. The earlier periods had individual insignia and I believe there are several threads in this section discussing colors and symbols used. The lambda was adopted as a simple shield device in later times. I am basing this answer off of similiar questions I posed a while back while making an Aspis and Boeotian shield.

http://www.romanarmy.com/rat/viewtopic.php?t=6019
Thanks chris , I think Stefanos and Giannis will know but any input is good.

Thanks mate ,

Julius .
Black colour is ascociated with the Nether Gods (Chthonioi Theoi). It inicated clan or family ability to prove land rights from the Heroic Age due to their patroa (Rember Peisistratos exiled the Alkmeonides and destroyed their patroa i.e. trying to erase their clams in ancestral land!)

Example of colours:

1 Aigrdae clan - coiled serpet.
Black background for those born in to he clan - name written on the patroo and the nether gods invocked as witnesses.
Red background for those married in to he clan - name written on the fmily altar wnd covered with the blood of the animals sacrificed for the gods protectors of marriage and oaths.

2 Limnatis Mora - the goose on alert.
Those who had land rights before the first Messenian war had the goose on black background because their names were written on the patroa under the protection of Artemis Limantis (Diana of the Lakes) who was view as nether goddess.
Those who got the lands of the Messenians after the battles had their names written on patroa with sacrifices to the godess as Artemis Agrotera viewed as "Reverent Mistress of the Hunt" and war goddess and had red background on their shield proudly displaying that they got their rights with their valor in battle.

Pausanias and poetry fragment speak about this.

Similar case appears with the Beotian Spartoi that appear in pottery with white snake on black background and those married into the ckan with red snake on white background.

Many a spartan emblem appears on pottery with hoplites that carry bows and arrows. Since it is known that Spartans were strongly prejudised against them probably these are perioikoi having the mora emblem as black or red on the bronze background

Hope I answered your questions

Kind regards