Browse our selection of historic battle shield replicas.
The first historic use of the shield was protection by blocking attacks by hand weapons, such as swords, axes and maces, and thrown weapons like spears and arrows. Battle shields have varied greatly in construction over time and place. Some shields were made of metal, but wood or animal hide construction was more common.
Shield size and weight varied greatly. Warriors relying on speed and surprise would generally carry light shields that were either small or thin. Heavy troops might be equipped with large heavy shields that could protect most of the body. Many had a strap called a guige that allowed it to be slung over the user's back when not in use or on horseback.
Heavily armored Roman legionaries carried large battle shields that could provide good protection, but slowed movement. The scutum originally had an oval shape, but gradually the curved tops and sides were cut to produce the familiar rectangular shape most commonly seen in the early Imperial legions. The Romans used their shields to create a tortoise-like formation called a testudo in which entire groups of soldiers would be enclosed in an armoured box to provide protection against missiles.
In the early European Middle Ages kite shields were commonly used; these were rounded at the top and tapered at the bottom. They were easily used on horseback and allowed easier leg movement when dismounted. Tower shields were common among front-line troops, often spearmen with shorter spears. The largest were almost as tall as a man.
Add these beautiful shields to your decor as a unique decoration and conversation piece.