Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Tower-shield? Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Vegard Stomsvik Pedersen




Location: Norway
Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Reading list: 4 books

Posts: 14

PostPosted: Mon 12 Mar, 2007 1:20 am    Post subject: Tower-shield?         Reply with quote

Hi!
This is a computer game related question.

In RPG games you come across socalled towershields. Thats big shields that covers the character.

So, this is my question; did that type of shields exist, and if they did, how big were they?
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
Elling Polden




Location: Bergen, Norway
Joined: 19 Feb 2004
Likes: 1 page

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,576

PostPosted: Mon 12 Mar, 2007 2:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The real world of the D&D tower shield would be a roman scutum, large kite or large oval shield.
These shields are generally between 100 and 140 cm. A 120cm kite shield will cover you from shoulder to the lower leg.
RPG terminology is often quite misleading.

there is a feature article about shields at;
http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_shield.html

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,195

PostPosted: Mon 12 Mar, 2007 2:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are some errors in that article.

The Greek shield was never called a hoplon. "Hoplon" means tool or weapon. The word referred to the entire panoply of the hoplite, not his shield. Today the word seems to be reserved for firearms. The Hoplite shield was called an "aspis". Earlier shields were called "aspis", "sakkos", or "rhinos".

Predecessors to the hoplite shield were not the same size. Some were considerably larger. Homer describes circular shields that reach to the knees and some are even larger - such as Hektor's shield. Greek pottery illustrations support this.

No Greek shields were made entirely of bronze (except votive offerings). The bronze was just a facing for an organic shield.
View user's profile Send private message
Chad Arnow
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Cincinnati, OH
Joined: 18 Aug 2003
Likes: 21 pages
Reading list: 231 books

Spotlight topics: 15
Posts: 9,135

PostPosted: Mon 12 Mar, 2007 5:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I saw two enormous pavises at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They were about man-height. I had never seen anything like that before.
Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Mon 12 Mar, 2007 8:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Weren't the shields described in Homer supposed to be more of an oval or figure-eight? But maybe I mixed that up with an entirely different kind of Minoan or Mycenaean shield.

BTW, I've always considered "tower shields" in D&D to be a rather sloppy rendition. On one hand, they're rather too large and rigid to be a scutum or an aspis--as large as these shields were, a significant part of the protection they provided actually came from the offensive power derived from their size and weight. Imagine a solid line of large shields bearing down upon you and try to think whether you'd be able to face it without pissing your pants or running away altogether. Quite unlike the D&D tower shield, which you essentially plant down somewhere and hide behind. To be honest, this was what the huge pavises/mantlets were for--but these were so large that they should have prevented the user as well as the enemies from effectively making hand-to-hand attacks, whereas in D&D the shield's wearer is still free to attack wherever he wishes.

So it's a bastard between a scutum and a mantlet without reflecting the reality of either kind of shield. Granted, we do have accounts of some ancient Near Eastern infantrymen moving in deep formations where the first ranks carried huge shield like that while the men behind wielded pikes, but this is a massed battlefield technique and not really applicable to the single combat situations more normally encountered in D&D.

Mind that I'm an avid D&D player and DM too, but I and my gaming group tend to find the unassuming simplicity of the earlier rules more enjoyable to play--and, ironically, the way they represent their fights in a more abstract way (compared to v3 or v3.5) often makes them feel more realistic than the newer product.
View user's profile Send private message
Chad Arnow
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Cincinnati, OH
Joined: 18 Aug 2003
Likes: 21 pages
Reading list: 231 books

Spotlight topics: 15
Posts: 9,135

PostPosted: Mon 12 Mar, 2007 9:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's a picture from my trip to the Met. The sword in the middle is 49 1/4 inches long.


 Attachment: 33.35 KB
BigShield.jpg


Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Matthew Amt




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

Posts: 1,306

PostPosted: Mon 12 Mar, 2007 10:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Weren't the shields described in Homer supposed to be more of an oval or figure-eight? But maybe I mixed that up with an entirely different kind of Minoan or Mycenaean shield.


Strictly speaking, Homer only describes circular shields. The tower and figure-8 shields were out of date by the Trojan War era. Aias is often said to carry a tower shield, but that's not actually what Homer says. There do seem to be other types of shield in use at the time of the Trojan War, and some were pretty big, Homer just doesn't describe them.

Here are some decent images of tower and figure-8 shields:

http://www.salimbeti.com/micenei/shields1.htm

They're big, all right! From feet to chin, typically. Either type can be carried on a neck strap, leaving both hands free for a large spear, or just to take some of the weight if you're using a one-handed weapon.

The oval-shaped scutum of the Roman Republic could be quite large, too. The Fayum shield is that type, and is 50 inches tall. Not bad if you're a typical runty Roman. The Ahenobarbus relief shows 2 of these scuta, one noticeably taller than the other.

Khairete,

Matthew
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,195

PostPosted: Mon 12 Mar, 2007 2:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Is the Fayum shield Roman or Celtic? If Roman then there is another error in that article.
View user's profile Send private message
Patrick Maclaine




Location: Scotland / Argentina
Joined: 06 Feb 2006
Reading list: 11 books

Posts: 26

PostPosted: Mon 12 Mar, 2007 8:13 pm    Post subject: Aspis         Reply with quote

Good observations Dan,

The same old confusion between Hoplon = weapon and Aspis = round shield.

Matthew: Good point, just a few people know about the correct plural form for “scutum” ( i. scuta) although I understand the typical Roman “scutums” sound much more familiar to ‘ History Channel eaters ‘ … I am one of them by the way!.

Elling : To the best of my humble knowledge the kite shields don’t belong to this category ( tower ) since they had an arm loop and single or X shaped hand grips, they rather belong to ‘targets’ category.

I would like to add some humble comments.

Although never for sure, as all these references come from several sources of unknown origins; the earliest Greek forms for shield were both Skouton ( which later derived to the Latin = Scutum ) and Thyreos : a large shield.
As you said Dan, aspis , sakkos and "rhinos" are all encountered in History.

As for the Greek Aspis ; I know of three different types.

Aspis koilé : The round curved shield used by legionary heavy infantry - ex . the Spartan’s shield with the Lambda ( Greek letter for L – a sort of inverted V-) .

Aspis platea : the flat shield used by legionary light infantry.

Aspi (s) diské : a small round shield probably used by the Greek Cavalry.

I took this photo at the Musei Civici Veneziani… no scuta here… just curious shields .


I have been very much into shield research and find this post of great interest indeed.
In fact, I am working on a large – Celtic- oval shield.
I look forward to seeing more interesting comments when I come back from my well deserved holydays.

Thanks for sharing this photo with us Chad.



 Attachment: 90.63 KB
Sgiathan -an Eadailt.jpg


Slàinte
Pat Maclaine.

Targe constructor - Fear-cèirde.

Official Representative of the Clan Maclaine of Lochbuie

"Chan ´eil fhios ciod an claidheamh a bhios ´san truaill gus an tàirnear e "
"It is not known what sword is in the sheath till it is drawn"
View user's profile Send private message Yahoo Messenger
Elling Polden




Location: Bergen, Norway
Joined: 19 Feb 2004
Likes: 1 page

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,576

PostPosted: Tue 13 Mar, 2007 1:53 am    Post subject: Re: Aspis         Reply with quote

Patrick Maclaine wrote:
Good observations Dan,
Elling : To the best of my humble knowledge the kite shields don’t belong to this category ( tower ) since they had an arm loop and single or X shaped hand grips, they rather belong to ‘targets’ category.


The reference was to what would qualify as a D&D tower shield; IRL, kites are best described as kites.

Alternately, could one come up with a good term for large enarmed shields, including the kite, wedge and large heater shields of the 10th-13th century?

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Tue 13 Mar, 2007 10:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The official D&D sourcebooks for v3.5 actually mention the kite shield as an example of a "tower shield" in game terms. My gaming group interprets it as a "large shield" instead, though, since despite its size it doesn't seem to have been used by planting it passively on the ground. The Bayeux tapestry certainly doesn't show them being used in that way, even though it is granted that the tapestry might not be the most accurate source about arms and armor, let alone tactics.
View user's profile Send private message
Matthew Amt




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

Posts: 1,306

PostPosted: Tue 13 Mar, 2007 7:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Is the Fayum shield Roman or Celtic? If Roman then there is another error in that article.


It's debated. I don't think anyone is pushing hard for Celtic, since it's cuved and made of plywood--same as Polybius' description of the scutum. Quite possibly it's a local copy of the scutum, since many cultures were copying the Roman military at that time (1st century BC), just as they had copied Greeks and Macedonians before that. Go with whoever is kicking butt the hardest, eh? But it *could* be Roman.

Matthew
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Elling Polden




Location: Bergen, Norway
Joined: 19 Feb 2004
Likes: 1 page

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,576

PostPosted: Wed 14 Mar, 2007 2:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
The official D&D sourcebooks for v3.5 actually mention the kite shield as an example of a "tower shield" in game terms. My gaming group interprets it as a "large shield" instead, though, since despite its size it doesn't seem to have been used by planting it passively on the ground. The Bayeux tapestry certainly doesn't show them being used in that way, even though it is granted that the tapestry might not be the most accurate source about arms and armor, let alone tactics.


Well, neither does D&D 3.5 :P Big Grin
The idea of planting a large shield in front of you is rather silly. To me, it sounds like a game designers intrepitation of a third hand account of a roman scutum, overheard at a 3am nachspiel.

Edit:
My favorite, however, is the Gyrspike!
Swords are cool. Morning stars are cool... so, what would be cooler than a sword with a morning star on it?

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,195

PostPosted: Wed 14 Mar, 2007 2:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That chain's too long. It needs to be a few links shorter so that the ball smashes into the fingers. Wink
View user's profile Send private message
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,195

PostPosted: Wed 14 Mar, 2007 3:46 am    Post subject: Re: Aspis         Reply with quote

Patrick Maclaine wrote:
Although never for sure, as all these references come from several sources of unknown origins; the earliest Greek forms for shield were both Skouton ( which later derived to the Latin = Scutum ) and Thyreos : a large shield.

"Earliest"? According to Chadwick, there are no words or symbols in the Linear B evidence that can be linked with shields. The Iliad uses only the three words I mentioned. I would be very interested if Skouton or Thyreos appears earlier than this.
View user's profile Send private message
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,195

PostPosted: Wed 14 Mar, 2007 4:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
It's debated. I don't think anyone is pushing hard for Celtic, since it's cuved and made of plywood--same as Polybius' description of the scutum. Quite possibly it's a local copy of the scutum, since many cultures were copying the Roman military at that time (1st century BC), just as they had copied Greeks and Macedonians before that. Go with whoever is kicking butt the hardest, eh? But it *could* be Roman.

But if it is a copy of a Roman shield, why do people think it is Celtic and not, say, Egyptian? It was found in Egypt after all.
View user's profile Send private message
Hugh Fuller




Location: Virginia
Joined: 01 Oct 2003

Posts: 256

PostPosted: Wed 14 Mar, 2007 7:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Matthew Amt wrote:
It's debated. I don't think anyone is pushing hard for Celtic, since it's cuved and made of plywood--same as Polybius' description of the scutum. Quite possibly it's a local copy of the scutum, since many cultures were copying the Roman military at that time (1st century BC), just as they had copied Greeks and Macedonians before that. Go with whoever is kicking butt the hardest, eh? But it *could* be Roman.

But if it is a copy of a Roman shield, why do people think it is Celtic and not, say, Egyptian? It was found in Egypt after all.

Didn't certain of the later Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt use Gauls as their personal bodyguards? I remember reading somewhere that the Fayum shield was thought to have belonged to one of them. But I also seem to remember that it was termed as speculation in the book that I was reading.

Hugh
Still trying to walk in the Light
Please see 1 John 1:5
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Tower-shield?
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum