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Alexis Bataille




Location: montpellier
Joined: 31 Aug 2014

Posts: 95

PostPosted: Tue 04 Nov, 2014 2:50 am    Post subject: Hoplite shield cords         Reply with quote

I was reading & searching information about shields during Roman republic and one thing come to my mind.
In melee fight you can be stuck in one place with enemies in front and comrade in back.
You want to have your shield in the better position possible.

Perhaps the cord inside of the shield was used by the right hand to keep the shield in place ?
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Matthew Amt




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

Posts: 1,306

PostPosted: Tue 04 Nov, 2014 7:21 am    Post subject: Re: Hoplite shield cords         Reply with quote

Alexis Bataille wrote:
I was reading & searching information about shields during Roman republic and one thing come to my mind.
In melee fight you can be stuck in one place with enemies in front and comrade in back.
You want to have your shield in the better position possible.

Perhaps the cord inside of the shield was used by the right hand to keep the shield in place ?


I'm not sure I'm understanding. You're talking about the carrying cord inside the Greek aspis, presumably, as in this photo of mine:



You can't grab the cord with your *own* right hand, since that has a weapon in it! Are you talking about grabbing the cord of someone else's shield? There is no evidence that such a thing was ever done, and not only would it be a tricky thing to do but it would actually limit movement. I wouldn't want to try to block a blow coming from my right and have my shield jerk to a halt halfway because my buddy has hold of the cord! Not exactly the best teamwork.

The aspis is perfectly maneuverable as it is, if it needs to be. You do not have quite the range of motions that you do with a scutum or thureos, of course, but it's more than enough for use in a phalanx. An open melee was an unusual event, but it should never be said that the aspis was "useless" for such work (as I have seen in print!). It's a big shield, works just fine.

Bottom line, the cord is just for slinging it on your back. That works fine, too!

Matthew
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R. Kolick





Joined: 04 Feb 2012

Posts: 111

PostPosted: Tue 04 Nov, 2014 2:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

if your talking about the roman shields the cord is to sling the shield on your back with shields like the aspis its purpose is the main grip so that when you place your arm through the strap (the greek name escapes me) and pull the cord tight it locks your arm in the proper position to both move the shield and brace it on your shoulder. the Roman shields to my knowledge was mostly center grip shields so using the strap to grip it would be pointless
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Matthew Amt




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

Posts: 1,306

PostPosted: Tue 04 Nov, 2014 6:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The handgrip (antilabe) on the Greek aspis is separate from the carrying cord. As is often shown in artwork, on my shield the grip is thick and braided, and runs between the two bronze loops. The carrying cord starts and ends at those loops, but is *not* part of the grip itself. It is always shown loose in artwork, so there is never any tightening of it when the shield is carried. With the forearm through the central band (porpax), the inner rim of the shield rests neatly on the shoulder, supporting the weight. The cord is only used on the march, to sling the shield on the back. There are clear vase paintings that show this.

On the other hand, I am currently working on Macedonian shield, which is basically the bowl of an aspis without the flat rim. In this case I will be using the carrying cord to support the shield in combat, since both hands are needed to hold the pike (sarissa). So far I have installed the same sorts of fittings that you see in my aspis, but it may take a little fiddling to get the cord just the right length.



I'm painting it tonight, though, so you'll have to wait for those experiments!

The Roman scutum also had a carrying strap, at least fittings have been found to imply that. But again, that was only for slinging it on the back on the march. In battle, it was held by the single central horizontal grip.

Matthew
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Alexis Bataille




Location: montpellier
Joined: 31 Aug 2014

Posts: 95

PostPosted: Wed 05 Nov, 2014 4:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

sorry i was talking about early roman shield like greek hoplite one.
ho, ok it's just to carry it on the back Razz, my bad ^^
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