Full Version: Legionary shields in the Second Punic War
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Hi guys! Could anyone point me to a good resource on the painting on legionary shields of the second Punic War? As some of you know, I'm in the middle of my illustrated novel project Darkness over Cannae and I would love to have some variety on Roman shields, if possible, so well documented that the average ever-picky history geek can't find any fault with it. Wink

Any ideas?

(And if I may, can I plug the crowdfunding link, in case anyone here wishes to support the project?) Smile
This thread might be useful:

There are not many surviving republican scuta artifacts that I know of and very few sculptures show much detail as to their decoration. I don't think you have much to worry about, as long as you do not romanticize it too much you should be in the clear.

Your project sounds very interesting and I am looking forward to seeing the final product! Hannibal is amongst my favorite historical figures so anything about the 2nd Punic War is eagerly welcomed. Good luck!
As Sean says, there are not many artifacts left. Just some umbos, and none of them from the 3rd C BC, the earliest umbos we can consider Roman without doubt are from the 2nd c BC. But that isn't what you are asking for! Concerning decoration, we just don't know. We know nothing. So you can just make it up, but keeping it plausible. How? IMHO the best (and coolest and probably more accurate) way would be to use motifs from Republican coins from the 3rd C BC. Victories, eagles, the Dioskuri, horses, Mars... look for the user Andrew McCabe (Ahala) in Flickr, you have all the coins there! - this might give you some plausible ideas for patterns, although the stelae referenced is definitely later than 3rd century.
Thank you, all - very helpful pointers and links! Yes, there's very little to go by, isn't there? I love the idea of referencing coins - so simple and elegant. Very nice! And there's a proper 3rd century pilum at that link too - that'll come in very handy as well. I'll find myself drawing so many pila it's not funny anymore...

If you'd like to get involved, here's the link to the crowdfunding. We've reached a flabbergasting 230% in just three days, and have arrived at a deluxe hardcover edition. :woot: I had hoped, of course, that there would be a lot of people who would like to see the thing in print, but I never reckoned with this sort of support!
The closest we have to a mid-Republican shield are the poorly preserved images on the Esquiline historical Fragment. Two soldiers (who may be Samnite, not Roman) are depicted with blue scuta, with no apparent emblems. Traces of a spine can be seen on another shield, which seems to be golden in color.

If a bronze plaque from Pergamon depicts the Battle of Magnesia (190 BC), then we have a pretty clear depiction of shields with vertical spines and circular umbones (n.b. I very much thinlk this is the battle of Magnesia, but some scholars think the Romans are Gauls).