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SCUTUM (θυρεός), the Roman shield worn by the heavy-armed infantry after 340 B.C., instead of being round like the Greek CLIPEUS was adapted to the form of the human body, by being made either oval or of the shape of a door (θύρα), which it also resembled in being made of wood or wicker-work, and from which consequently its Greek name was derived. Two of its forms are shown in the woodcut at p. 80. That which is here exhibited is also of frequent

Scutum. (Bartoli's Arcus Triumphalis.

occurrence, and is given on the same authority: in this case the shield is curved so as in part to encircle the body. The terms clipeus and scutum are often confounded; but that they properly denoted different kinds of shields is manifest from the passages of several ancient writers (Liv. 8.8; Plut. Rom. 21). In like manner Plutarch distinguishes the Roman θυρεὸς from the Greek ἀσπὶς in his life of T. Flaminius (p. 688, ed. Steph.). In Eph. 6.16 St. Paul uses the term θυρεὸς rather than (ἀσπὶς or σάκος, because he is describing the equipment of a Roman soldier. These Roman shields are called scuta longa (Verg. A. 8.662; Ovid, Ov. Fast. 6.392). Polybius (6.23) says their dimensions were 4 feet by 2 1/2 , or slightly more. The shield was held on the left arm by means of a handle, and covered the left shoulder.

[J.Y] [A.H.S]

hide References (5 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (5):
    • Polybius, Histories, 6.23
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 8.662
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 8, 8
    • Plutarch, Romulus, 21
    • Ovid, Fasti, 6
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