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Full Version: Auxiliary shield on Trajan\'s column
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http://www.stoa.org/trajan/buildtrajanpage.cgi?435

Is that a strap for supporting the arm? I never saw something like this in a Roman auxiliary shield. Also, the handgrip doesn't seem to be in the middle of the shield either...


Can someone tell me something about this? Smile
That indeed seems as a strip to fasten the shield to the underarm. This is also seen on greek shields. As you want to carry your shield on 2 points (as is the case here, it seems) you don't want to be you maingrip in the middle, as that means the 2nd attachment is far off-centre.
Quote:This is also seen on greek shields. As you want to carry your shield on 2 points (as is the case here, it seems) you don't want to be you maingrip in the middle, as that means the 2nd attachment is far off-centre.

In the Greek hoplite shield, aspis, the main grip is in the middle, with the hand-grip near one rim. This is an odd placement and the placement you describe above makes much more sense for many reasons. This is something that is often simply ignored by those studying the greek shield. Are you aware of any other double-grip shields where the main grip is in the center?

I would caution that the grip shown in the image from Trajan's column might be artistic invention.
Ave Fratres,

We always have the caution about artistic invention when dealing with details on the column. However, it seems that the artist had at least seen a shield like this before. It is surprising though to see this sort of grip on one of our Roman shields,.... as it limits / negates the mobility and projection of the shield.

Our previous police shields had this sort of double arm grip but we have now converted over to the central Roman style grip, as it provides better stand off and protection. It also allows shield projection to inhibit an adversaries mobility. For the Legions and auxiliaries a shield smash and stab were basic tactics.

I can't imagine a commander allowing that double grip modification to an auxiliary shield. Perhaps if the figure was a dismounted cavalry type it would make sense. I am not much up on mounted issues, but didn't they retain a multiple grip system on their shields. ??

I am sure others will be able to comment more on this.

Regards from a very dark and stormy Balkans, Arminius Primus aka Al
Quote:Our previous police shields had this sort of double arm grip but we have now converted over to the central Roman style grip, as it provides better stand off and protection.

Thanks, that's a very useful piece of information to me. I have been argueing about the limitations of double-grip shields as compared to single grip shields to point out that the greek aspis owes its shape to more simply protection. When weapons are brought into play, you reduce the amount of your body covered by the shield by holding it close. I diagrammed it here: http://hollow-lakedaimon.blogspot.com/2 ... hield.html
you may find a more detailed pic here: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Traja ... ius_Plates
As an experiment I tried adding a similar strap to an Auxiliary shield some time ago after seeing the one on Trajan's Column. There seemed to be no obvious advantage to it in a combat situation, in fact, by having to use the shield with your arm bent 90 degrees at the elbow was generally more awkward - however, it did come in handy when holding the shield when carrying it about or marching with it. When carried normally, just using the centre grip, Auxiliary shields, unlike legionary ones, don't seem to hang naturally straight up and down, but rather swing in towards your leg at the bottom - however, using the strap did cure this problem and made it much more easy to carry in the hand for any distance. Could it have been that the guy that carved the one on the column saw one that had been made or modified (officially or unofficially) for this purpose, but assumed that it was also carried this way in combat?
Quote:Auxiliary shields, unlike legionary ones, don't seem to hang naturally straight up and down, but rather swing in towards your leg at the bottom
They donĀ“t if you have a reconstruction based on the finds :/ They swing towards your upper body.
Perhaps only slightly off topic is this question:

Some of the TC clipeii seem to be very small, some are larger. What would be a good size to make a reproduction of one of average size. Seems to me a reasonable guess might be about 28" x 44" (71cm x 112cm), or 24" x 40" (61cm x 102cm). It's sort of hard to make that guess, based on unknown sizes of the soldiers depicted, and whether the proportions of the shield to soldier are correct anyway. If those numbers are not "average", what might be a good size? The people carrying these shields will be about six feet tall. (183cm)

From my own experience, the swing in/out has to do with whether the hand grip is placed exactly in the center, or slightly above or below center, as well as how heavy the boss is, and how far offset from the plane of the shield face the center of the handgrip axis is.
Quote:Some of the TC clipeii seem to be very small, some are larger. What would be a good size to make a reproduction of one of average size. Seems to me a reasonable guess might be about 28" x 44" (71cm x 112cm), or 24" x 40" (61cm x 102cm). It's sort of hard to make that guess, based on unknown sizes of the soldiers depicted, and whether the proportions of the shield to soldier are correct anyway. If those numbers are not "average", what might be a good size? The people carrying these shields will be about six feet tall. (183cm)

The leather shield cover found at Valkenburg (Netherlands) suggest a clipeus of about 1200mm x 600mm
Thanks! I'm glad my sculpture to monitor screen to real life estimator is still calibrated fairly well. I was in the right general area. :!: