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Accurate Roman Scutum Designs?

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In the spoiler is a 200mm Bust which I will buy soon...


The Centurion carries a Scutum ( rectangal shield).

Here is the thing.


Mostly we see the red shields with yellow thunderbolts and eagle wings.

Hollywood and most books and artwork show this design.


However I found this piece of info.


Lest the soldiers in the confusion of battle should be separated from their comrades, every cohort had its shields painted in a manner peculiar to itself. The name of each soldier was also written on his shield, together with the number of the cohort and century to which he belonged.


The boxart shows different designs also.



Is there anybody out there that can point me to more Historical Accurate Roman Scutum designs ( so not for the oval shields or cavalry diamond shields).


For instance I would really like to know what colour and designs were used by the Spanish Legions Julius Ceasar commanded or the desgins that were used by Scipio's Legions?

Or maybe Marc Anthony?


I would appreciate any input about this.





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I think the thing about this is that no one really knows, just like what color tunic did Romans Legionaries wear? The big question I have about your quote above is who said it and what time period were they referring to? The Roman civilization persisted from 753 BC (supposedly) to 476 AD (or you can argue until 1453 or 1461 when the Byzantine empire finally collapsed -- they all thought of themselves as Romans!), so a huge period of time with a lot of potential variation. ISTR that quote referring to the Republican period.

Personally I would paint it whatever color suits your palette. I usually paint my Romans with white tunics and red shields, but I have a Republican Roman force I am getting ready for that I may paint their shields yellow. If I get around to expanding my Marian Romans, I'm thinking about giving the new guys blue shields instead of red. The only exception are my early Republican Romans (the hoplite army) that I may paint the hoplites tunics red, to show the wealth of them in contrast to the 2nd or 3rd class spearmen and their undyed linen tunics (warm whites, of course).



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I know the Roman Empire spans a long period.


And very little is known about colours and such.


I could do whatever I want, like Fantasy..


But if I could find a real historical and cool design, I would like that a lot.


The Red Eagle/Lightning shield has been done by almost everybody...

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I know the Roman Empire spans a long period.


And very little is known about colours and such.


I could do whatever I want, like Fantasy..


But if I could find a real historical and cool design, I would like that a lot.


The Red Eagle/Lightning shield has been done by almost everybody...

I read somewhere that Caesar's legions did not have the rectangular scutum. The oval pre-dated it. But was retained for cavalry after the rectangle was introduced.

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I know the Roman Empire spans a long period.


And very little is known about colours and such.


I could do whatever I want, like Fantasy..


But if I could find a real historical and cool design, I would like that a lot.


The Red Eagle/Lightning shield has been done by almost everybody...

How far away is the Leiden Museum? (My google-fu is strong today...) They have a leather shield cover from a Roman Shield in their collection.


Link: http://www.romancoins.info/MilitaryEquipment-Shield.html


romancoins.info is a good place to scour for info. I would suggest digging through every link.

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The reason the lightning bolt design is so widespread is because it is one of the designs we know the Romans actually used on their scutum. This is because it is depicted on Trajan's column.





A lot of what we know about armor, weapons, uniforms, etc., is not from finding the actual pieces, but from contemporary artwork.

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I think this is a battle re-enactment group, however;

the research that they have done on the Gallic Legion assembled by Caesar is most interesting.

The author Alludes to Feathers, and Elephants on the shield.

Here is a link, read down the thread.

It appears the Julius Caesar created the V Legion himself out of natives.

They were later recognized as a Roman Legion Group.

(This is the group that went to Spain).

They were all killed in a later Campaign. 



Edited by Jasonator
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Awesome guys!


Thanks for the input.




I'm aware of the reason of the Thunderbolt / Eagle artwork.

There are theories that these are actually Praetorians who modelled for the artist, and not common legionnaires.

But who can tell for sure?


I know I can paint anything that looks cool on this bust and people will like it.

But it would be great to paint an alternate design that both looks good and has really existed.


Appreciate the input.

It's a bit surprising how much we know about the Roman Empire and yet how little we know about how they really looked like in battle.



The Shield that has been shown in the museum seems to be the only existing one from the period.

There is a little controversy about this one too.

One theory is that this is the whole shield, an other theory states that this shield is composed of found pieces that could have belonged to several shields.

Anyway, this is a great find!


@ Jasonator,

Very interesting stuff.

An Elephant sounds cool.

And I've read somewhere about a Bull being used too.


I have been surfing the net myself too of course and I've seen some Osprey books.

Still there are many designs known for the oval and round Auxiliary and Cavalry shields, a few for the diamond shaped later Cavalry shields, but for the Scutum there seems to be less information, while this has been the main shield for the Infantry for a very long period.

And the Roman Army relied heavily on Infantry.


It's an interesting search at the least.


looking at the boxart, I wonder if the artist did a "fantasy"impression or has knowledge I don't ..

The Blue shield with the Neptune design on it is wonderful.

But is it historically accurate I wonder?

Edited by Xherman1964
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Google  pompeii art  .   They have uncovered a lot of artwork that is well preserved, including colors.  Warning!  The Romans liked risque art so a lot of the images are NSFW.  You might not get shield designs but you might get some authentic color ideas.  



I see what you mean, the style and colours are good inspiration.

NSFW indeed, but that's the ancient Romans for you...

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