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I was reading the Vulgate, specifically Joshua 8:26 in which he stretched out his spear/shield(?) till the city of Ai had been destroyed.

The word used is Clypeum. AFAIK that means 'Shield' according to Whitaker's Words. However the KJV and other bibles have the word translated oddly as 'spear'.

Was Clypeum used for 'spear' at any time in Latin language history?

I am only familiar with clipeus (also sometimes spelled clypeum) being used as referring a shield or other protective disk (obviously 'clipeum' being in the accusative form of clipeus).
Even in biological terms 'clipeus' refers to a protective part of arthropod anatomy so I am surprised to see it refering to a spear.

I will ask my Latin tutor though to confirm

Hope this helps
Looking at the etymological dictionary of the Latin language, the word Clipeus approaches to the greek KALÝP-Ô, or later KALÝPTÔ (I hide), that postpones to the root KAL (lat. Celare - to conceal, to hide), widened in KALYP / KALUP to see in the gr. KALÝBE (hut, cabin).

Always interpreted as a metal shield covered the whole human figure, typical of the Greek heavy infantry, then in the kings' age adopted by the Romans.

I don't understand this difference in the translations…spear/shield…

hope to been useful.
Quote:I was reading the Vulgate, specifically Joshua 8:26 in which he stretched out his spear/shield(?) till the city of Ai had been destroyed.
I am not a biblical scholar, but you piqued my interest enough to go back and look at the original texts of Joshua.

It looks as if the answer to your query lies in the Hebrew (a language that I cannot read). The word apparently means "something to strike (with)".

I naturally turned to the Greek for clarification, but it isn't there! Your verse doesn't seem to appear in the Septuagint. Perhaps, if you are a theology student (?), your tutors may be able to explain why the verse was omitted.
Aha! D B Campbell I was hoping someone would stumble into that! It startled me too. I was checking the online Septuagint versions and NONE of them have Joshua 8:26. It transitions smoothly from verse 25 to 27 with no explanation. I'm not really a theology student but this is beyond intriguing so I do want to pursue it.
If Jerome translated from original Hebrew manuscripts, as claimed, then it is possible that an early version existed which did say "shield", not "something that strikes" (which is probably a much later Masoretic version). On the other hand it is also possible that Jerome made a simple mistake in translation, but somehow it doesn't seem likely. I think the sensible thing to do is to see what the Dead Sea Scrolls version says, as these are the oldest extant manuscripts available. If they say "shield" then that would explain it.
Now why the entire verse is missing in the Greek is really beyond me.

P.S I suspect the translation in the source you quoted above is theologically motivated. I have a hard time understanding how a shield can be construed as "something that strikes". Although Roman legionaries were known to use the scutum as an offensive weapon that is certainly not its primary function and the etymological transition of "something that strikes" into "shield" somehow does not seem apposite. Unless I'm really missing something here :???:
Showing the text to an Israeli friend, he told me that the hebrew word translate spear (clypeus) is בַּכִּיד֑וֹן KIDON and it means :

A wooden staff/pole with a pointed extremity intended to be thrown (the melee spear in Hebrew is KANIT).

(I apologize if I am not able to write some longest posts or better articulated, but my writing English doesn't allow me a lot of liberty of expression :-? . However, I hope being able to bring any contribution).