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Aspis Design
#1
Hello all,
I have two questions on the painted designs of Aspis shields in the late archaic and early classical period. I just saw a reproduction of the hoplites riding dolphins by Oltos (hopefully the link will still work) and there is an octopus on one of the hoplite's shield. 
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ancient-Greek-Ps...1901030482

I found the high resolution image of the original in the Met's online collection, but it only shows one side. I have seen other modern reproductions with octopuses on shields, but have yet to see any original depiction of this. Are there any original depictions of octopuses on aspises? (is that the plural of aspis?) Also does anyone have full images of the original piece by Oltos?

My second question is, what did the shields of Athenian hoplites of the same period have on them? I have seen a few original pieces of art with the little owl on them and the gorgon as well, but I was wondering what was the most common.

Thanks,
Chris

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#2
(03-16-2016, 04:05 AM)Chris95242 Wrote: Hello all,
I have two questions on the painted designs of Aspis shields in the late archaic and early classical period. I just saw a reproduction of the hoplites riding dolphins by Oltos (hopefully the link will still work) and there is an octopus on one of the hoplite's shield. 
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ancient-Greek-Ps...1901030482

I found the high resolution image of the original in the Met's online collection, but it only shows one side. I have seen other modern reproductions with octopuses on shields, but have yet to see any original depiction of this. Are there any original depictions of octopuses on aspises? (is that the plural of aspis?) Also does anyone have full images of the original piece by Oltos?

My second question is, what did the shields of Athenian hoplites of the same period have on them? I have seen a few original pieces of art with the little owl on them and the gorgon as well, but I was wondering what was the most common.

Thanks,
Chris

The plural of aspis is aspides

There is no standardization as regards shield blazons before ca. the period of the Peloponnesian War. I've seen octopuses on shields before. There's quite a variety as regards shield blazons for the Archaic and Early Classical periods. Motifs included lions, drinking cups, legs, pegasi, roosters, scorpions, helmets, anchors, and so forth. 

Of course, the source for these shield blazons are often vase-paintings, so it's not clear if they were all ever used in reality. There are also some bronze shield blazons recovered from e.g. Olympia that look like the face of a gorgon, etc.
Josho Brouwers
Editor, Ancient Warfare magazine
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#3
Thanks for the correction! Still trying to learn the original terms for the equipment in the panoply.

Not having a standard blazon is what I thought, but I wanted to ask. What was Athens' blazon during the Peloponnesian war then? If they had one that is.

I did eventually find a vase painting with what I think is an octopus. Sadly the artist preferred to draw a winged boar over the octopus... Still good to know that it is not just a modern depiction.

Thanks,
Chris


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