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Hi there!

I was wondering what kind of shield design an italian hoplite would have on his shield? Is there anything known about this? I have my aspis nearly ready to paint now so if anyone could help out... :-) )

Best regards,
What hoplite? Greek colonist or Etruscan? (probably Early Roma too).

Kind regards
Greek colonist :-) )
I can tell you of Taras (Modern Taranto) because I researched it an it was pulished last week as part of my Pyrros army article.

Shields had white background as authors call speak of "white shields".

The Tarentine aristokrats would probaly sport a 2-bodied sphinx as it is always found on their grave and votive art.

The common folk would have the Hippocampos of Poseidon.
Some coins of Taras show the founding hero Tara - son of Poseidon to sport a miniature version on his buckler(!) while riding a dolphin.

Remember though that "smart colonists" hired "maimland country bumcins" to do their fighting for them.
For a period they hired Argive exiles hence a white shiled with no markings.

If you have a colony in mind I will look it up.

Kind regards
Are there shield designs known that are suitable for early Roman hoplites too?

Best regards,
Well to be honest I have not delved into the early Romans.

If we trust some sketscy grave stelle a medusa variant existed (Probaly Etruscan legacy). Some people argue a Chimera variant becasue of the links that the Corinthian Backhiadae family had in the area. Very speculative.

Probably these symbols disapear with the abolition of monarchy in rome.

Most people take the safe side and belive that the four ancinet legion symbols of eagle , wolf , boar and bull were initally the 4 phalanx taxeis symbols.
Again speculative.

Truly sorry that I cannot help much here.

Kind regards
Quote:Truly sorry that I cannot help much here.

It's already very informative! Thanks Stefanos!
Thanks Stefanos! Looks like you know A LOT about the subject :-) )
So if I were to show an impression of an early roman hoplite I could use for example a bull as symbol on my shield? (it would be nice because one of the sacred symbols of our eleventh legion was probably the bull... )

A have seen a number of reenacters that have a bull painted in black on a red background. Is there any evidence/speculation concerning colours used?

Best regards,
The Italiotic Greek Colonists started initialy with the shield devices of the mother city. As each colony was "standing on its feet" and in some case it was composed from people of various localities a new emblem was chosen.
The Italiotic Hoplites as the city states aquired wealth were well attired and even hat "unsuall" items in their kit. "Barbaric art" objects would not be uncommon. Threir weapons and armor more decorated.
Their prime time of glory was between 500 and 400 when they repulshed the Carthagenians, crushed the Etruscans and subjugated the local tribes.
After that mass negligence brought their own subjucation to the Romans.

The "three military colours" red black and white dominated in the archaic era but lated more variation started. Usually the "basic three" come from pottery with all the reservations that this might bring.

The "solar bull" existed in Europe and middle east as military symbol from the Bronze Age and most likely was the symbol of one of the 4 Roma initial core units.

I suggest we create a Roman hoplite shield devices in Romans section to have the help of people who know Romans better.

Kind regards
After all,most colonies were created in such early an age that even in Greece there were not standard shield devices for each city state,rather than tribal or personal. Isn't it right?
Stefane,in most ancient coloured paintings the shields seem to be depicted with blank(bronze) background,and this is confirmed my comments like "shiny" aspises or "polishing" their aspises etc. I don't know the extend of the colours used as a background,I don't even know the percentage of shields covered in bronze -who knows!- but isn't it unlikely that one who did have a bronze faced aspis would cover its shiny surface with any kind of paint? I mean to say...would you do it?!
Shield devices were standarized at the colonies round the same time as in the mainland.
"Red faced pottery" gives less info than "black faced" pottery.
White lykithoi are sometimes a better source and text fragments especially pottery and comentators on text.
Description of religious ceremonies is another indirect source.

Spartans did cover the bronze with paint and also some Athenian hieratic clans. Not to mention the "white shielded" Argives and Tarentines.

Kind regards
Is it not possible that they even covered bronze shields to protect them from corrosion? I was under the impression that most metal/armour was painted (well into the middle ages) to protect it from corrosion?

Quote:Shield devices were standarized at the colonies round the same time as in the mainland.

By what time was this? I'm afraid I'm rather new to greek reenactment :oops:

Quote:but isn't it unlikely that one who did have a bronze faced aspis would cover its shiny surface with any kind of paint? I mean to say...would you do it?!

hehe I wish I had the skill to do it! Given it a lot of thought but can't seem to figer out a practical way of doing it :S

Best regards and thanks,
The first units with symbols are probably the Tyrants boguards roughly from 650 B.C. At the same time the Spartans after the Messenian Wars start using unit emblems for their morae.

The fall of Tyrants round 500 B.C. brings the new standard "national" emblem as the people feel confident in their new liberty.

The mess created by the Peloponesian War created new factors and forced changes in the shield devices. The "national" emblems lost ground gradually in favor of the commonwealth emblems.

Kind regards
Stefanos asked if I would post this illustration: ... Aspis1.jpg
Thanks Johhny,

Second line left and center is Taras.

The rest are Hellenistic from Epeiros

Kind regards