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Stephen Renico




Location: Detroit
Joined: 01 Feb 2009

Posts: 51

PostPosted: Sat 04 Jan, 2014 5:20 pm    Post subject: Roman Shield Symbol         Reply with quote

I saw this shield in the biblical film, "King of Kings". The design on the shield looks more like something that someone in the prop department saw in a history book rather than something completely made up. Does anyone have any idea what this design might be?

Thanks in advance, and sorry for the picture quality- took it from the TV screen.


"The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting by fools." -Thucydides.
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
Joined: 01 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: Sat 04 Jan, 2014 6:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A quick web search of 'Roman shield designs' will show you many very similar designs....the up and down turns appear to be wings of a double eagle. I think the shield in your photo may have had some 'artistic liscense'. Just my two cents.....Roman-era things are not big in my knowledge-base. Cheers!...........McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

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PostPosted: Sun 05 Jan, 2014 5:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I plead ignorance of knowing this film, or the 1927 de Mille movie (there is a 1927 prop shield out there, just as fantastical).

It seems to me the romans never used such a shield, which would probably mean the design/symbol is just as made up. It looks more like two wing nuts than any double eagle one might imagine.

What scene is the capture from?

http://biblefilms.blogspot.com/2006/05/king-o...guide.html

There is a sphinx prop out there as well and I am sure digging deep might yield a pile of stuff but the sphinx is even more fantasy than the shield pictured in this thread.

Cheers

GC
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,298

PostPosted: Sun 05 Jan, 2014 7:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry, the image isn't showing up. The rule of thumb is this: Everything in the movies is WRONG. There are exceptions that slip through now and then, but try not to let those spoil your enjoyment of the film.

That said, a lot of Hollywood "Romans" are loosely based on Trajan's Column, or more likely on Victorian interpretations of it. So the general emblem may have some basis in fact, though it's probably done in raised metallic relief on a flattish undersized shield with big bolts around the rim, all finished in dark "antique" gray/brown/black apparently because it all happened 2000 years ago...

Sorry, didn't mean to froth! Can you repost the image somehow?

Matthew

PS: http://www.larp.com/legioxx/scutum.html
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Stephen Renico




Location: Detroit
Joined: 01 Feb 2009

Posts: 51

PostPosted: Sun 05 Jan, 2014 10:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
Sorry, didn't mean to froth! Can you repost the image somehow?

Matthew

PS: http://www.larp.com/legioxx/scutum.html


No worries. Happy Here's the picture I had in the first post:



 Attachment: 36.65 KB
Roman Shield 1.jpg


"The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting by fools." -Thucydides.
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Stephen Renico




Location: Detroit
Joined: 01 Feb 2009

Posts: 51

PostPosted: Sun 05 Jan, 2014 10:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was wondering more about the symbols on the shield than the shape (although the shape is nothing I've seen before in books on the Roman Army).

I'm a bit new to the study of the Roman army. I know, for example, that jagged lines are Jupiter's thunderbolts, and that wings are eagles' wings. This shield:
http://www.imperiumancientarmory.com/customscutum.jpg
has something cylindrical on the left and right side, projecting out horizontally from the center. I'm not sure what it is.

I believe these items in the center are conch shells, although I'm not sure what their purpose is (homage to Neptune?).
http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/x/roman-scutum-shield-16776567.jpg

"The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting by fools." -Thucydides.
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,298

PostPosted: Sun 05 Jan, 2014 1:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah, got it now, thanks! Yeah, the basic shape is utter fantasy, I'm afraid! The emblem seems to be just a "melt-down" from a generic Trajan's Column style.

The spiral features we generally call "spines". They seem to date back to the wooden spines that were part of the boss way back into the late Bronze Age. Such features survived to the end of the Republic, at least, and after that became part of the painted motif (or applied thin metal, etc.). These are roughly 2nd to 1st century BC:



The rectangular features on that one shield are tabulae or tablets, shaped like a writing tablet. You can see them in artwork and carvings of various sorts. But there should be lettering or text of some sort in them, presumably the unit number and/or name, etc.

One subtlety that I see going wrong quite often is that the Romans never seem to have any horizontal feature projecting from the boss without a vertical feature. You *do* see vertical spines with nothing projecting horizontally, but not the other way around. I suspect folks are still copying the Ermine Street Guard, who got it wrong 30 years ago and haven't changed.

Also, people tend to over-size the wings, but they generally have to fit next to diagonal lightning bolts, which limits their size.

Vale!

Matthew
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Harry Lindfors





Joined: 07 May 2008

Posts: 45

PostPosted: Mon 06 Jan, 2014 1:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just to muddle the waters a little more, this is a prop from the "Gladiator". That movie and it's historical accuracy has been talked to death, but at least the legionnaire scutums looked pretty good...

[/img]
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,298

PostPosted: Mon 06 Jan, 2014 7:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, the shields in Gladiator were surprisingly good. But again, why the grime and "antiqued" look? Color and shine was the whole point of painting shields. Some were even decorated with gilded silver! And every shield had a drawstring leather marching cover, so the "campaign grime" argument is no good. It's another case where they went to much greater effort and expense to get it wrong! Very strange.

Matthew
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Bartek Strojek




Location: Poland
Joined: 05 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Jan, 2014 8:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To be fair to them, I don't think that any amount of leather covers and maintenance would help in the middle of hard campaign in Germania forest, in muddy spring/autumn that it was supposed to be?

Obviously, it would look different, but that's given, Hollywood dirt and wear always looks way more majestic than actual one. Wink
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Shahril Dzulkifli




Location: Malaysia
Joined: 13 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Tue 07 Jan, 2014 8:33 am    Post subject: Roman Shield Symbol         Reply with quote

To me the most popular designs on Roman shields are 4 wings and arrow-shaped thunderbolts. The thunderbolts are the weapons of Jupiter, the chief Roman deity, while the wings represent his bird, the eagle.

“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength”

- Marcus Aurelius
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Ryan S.





Joined: 04 May 2012

Posts: 132

PostPosted: Wed 08 Jan, 2014 7:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are variations to the thunderbolt design. here are some on Greek coins


and here is a more modern representation used in heraldry Napoleonic eagle also has the thunderbolt, and so the thunderbolt is on the Swedish coat of arms. [/url]
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