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Scutum Rounded Corners- Is There Concrete Evidence?
#1
Avete omnes,

I've just been noticing that every single piece of artifactual evidence I have images of (fragments, edging, etc.) shows sharp corners on rectangular scuta- not one suggests the rather rounded corners that are usually seen on reenactors' scuta and this begs the question- is there any concrete reason to think that scuta ever had rounded corners? Even looking at iconographic sources, I see the vast majority or scutum corners depicted as being sharp, and only a very few are curved at all. Can anyone provide the evidence I seem to be unable to find, or is this the experience of others as well?
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#2
Quote:Avete omnes,

I've just been noticing that every single piece of artifactual evidence I have images of (fragments, edging, etc.) shows sharp corners on rectangular scuta- not one suggests the rather rounded corners that are usually seen on reenactors' scuta and this begs the question- is there any concrete reason to think that scuta ever had rounded corners? Even looking at iconographic sources, I see the vast majority or scutum corners depicted as being sharp, and only a very few are curved at all. Can anyone provide the evidence I seem to be unable to find, or is this the experience of others as well?

It's a good point, but I don't think you should view it as an 'either... or' question rather than a 'both... and'. There are examples of both rounded and angular 90-degree binding. There are two corners of actual shield boards I know of (Dura and Masada) that are angular, whilst a second fragment from Dura is, arguably, rounded, but we are scarcely talking a statistical sample here. Moreover, how rounded is rounded? The Dura fragment does not have as great a radius as many reconstruction shields, but curvature is curvature. The Roman army thrived on heterogeneity and I see no reason why there would not be both rounded and angular corners in the same unit (and probably lots of 'sub-rounded' and 'sub-angular', eloquently subjective words archaeologists like to use when describing the shape of stones), let alone the same army.

Mike Bishop
You know my method. It is founded upon the observance of trifles

Blogging, tweeting, and mapping Hadrian\'s Wall... because it\'s there
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#3
Oh, I never suggested it had to be a case of either or- I just realized that I acually hadn't in fact seen one example of rounded edging or any other piece of direct evidence for rounded corners, so I wondered if anyone had. My question was truly more of a was it an 'and' or is the rounded corner more of a postulate. And by rounded I mean as is seen on most reenactors' scuta- i.e., clearly not angular.

Okay, so there are examples of rounded corner edging then- are they simply not nearly so common as the angular ones then? Common in the population of artifacts, not in the sense of the army. I've seen a second rectangular scutum corner from Dura (631 in James's book) that has an angular corner, but not the one you say is arguably rounded Mike- or is that the one you mean? That one I wouldn't include as the chord is barely 3cm- I mean rather more where the corner piece would be mostly rounded end-to-end.
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#4
I've found this when doing WW2 reenacting, that there is never, BUT NEVER, a clear cut way to rectify an issue like this. There has never been a case as far as I'm aware where it has been possible to re-equip an army simultaneously; there will always be some "carry over" from older styles or models.
In WW2 US kit, there is a big debate over green or tan webbing, which is correct? It was usually felt that green was used later, and tan was used in earlier models of kit, but it transpires that there are some pieces that were never made in tan, and never made in green, regardless of type. And, there are some "transitional" pieces, with tan body and green reinforcing throughout the war.
I think the same situation can be applied here, that there is no absolute as such.
Jack
Up the Augusta!
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#5
Absolutely Jack, but once again I'm not looking for absolutes, just what's known as far as evidence- inferences from that are generated from that are certainly far from certain :wink:
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#6
Ah! I get you, sorry. I'm not sure I can give an archaeological opinion, that area is not my forte
Jack
Up the Augusta!
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#7
No worries :wink: I asked about the frequency of rounded vs. sharp corners in the archaeological record because one of the explanations for any sizable difference could be differences in shield population- of course the intricacies of deposition, preservation, site time period, etc. could also explain any difference, but it's fun to speculate Wink
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#8
Ah the possibilities ... Wink
Jack
Up the Augusta!
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#9
and dont forget the collection of rounded scuta edges from the Netherlands! which at the moment are either in the RMO or Army museum vaults......

M.VIB.M.
Bushido wa watashi no shuukyou de gozaru.

Katte Kabuto no O wo shimeyo!

H.J.Vrielink.
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