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wicker shield - Printable Version

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wicker shield - agrimensor - 10-25-2017

Just some toughts, as Romans trained with  double weight arms (wooden gladii, and a wicker shield) my thought are that maybe the wicker shield is attached to the scutum to make it heavier and protect the scutum from blows by the rudis. Who can help me on this?


RE: wicker shield - Dan Howard - 10-25-2017

More likely it was a shield that was specifically made for training, not a retrofitted military shield..


RE: wicker shield - Flavivs Aetivs - 10-26-2017

Wicker shields were commonly used areas where they didn't have the material for planked or strip shields, like the Eurasian steppes. It must have been made extra-thick as wicker was very light. That's why the Huns used it for their battering Rams - so they could carry them on their shoulders and use them as cover.


RE: wicker shield - Crispianus - 10-26-2017

I think theres no real way to determine how heavy or how well made a "wicker" scutum is without finding one, as you could use a variety of different woods to make it, ordinary willow wicker commonly used for course baskets would probably weigh 3-4 kilos dry if made in a basket fashion, but theres no guarantee thats what was used, a denser material would be proportionally heavier....

Willow, green 54lbs per cubic foot, air dried 27lbs per cubic foot
Ash White, green 48lbs per cubic foot, air dried 41lbs per cubic foot.

Theophrastus "Enquiry into Plants" is older but an interesting book:

https://archive.org/stream/enquiryintoplant01theouoft#page/248/mode/2up/search/basket

Coppiced Hazel would produce rods that could be used, its also common, very tough, flexible and hardwearing.
I use a piece as a walking stick! thicker rods can be split to create a hurdle like shield...


RE: wicker shield - Crispvs - 11-06-2017

Interesting Ivor. Thanks.

It would probably also be possible to attach weights to a wicker shield, so the choice of wood, although a serious consideration, might not be the only solution to the issue of the double weighted shield. It could be weighted with lead, bits of scrap iron or brass, or even bags of stones fixed in place so as not to swing about and unbalance the shield.

Crispvs


RE: wicker shield - Dan Howard - 11-06-2017

You would need weights so that the wicker shield had the same feel and balance as a wooden one. You couldn't reproduce it with wicker alone.


RE: wicker shield - agrimensor - 11-07-2017

So my thought could hold ground, attach it to a scutum just to ad weight?


RE: wicker shield - Dan Howard - 11-07-2017

It would throw off the balance. You'd need to start with a wicker shield and then add the weights.


RE: wicker shield - Graham Sumner - 11-08-2017

Hi

I think Frontinus mentions wicker shields covered with leather. Certainly when the E.S.G. made new wicker shields covered with leather they were much much heavier than the older ones they had used previously which were wicker alone.

They also last longer.

Graham.


RE: wicker shield - Crispianus - 11-09-2017

(11-08-2017, 03:44 PM)Graham Sumner Wrote: Hi

I think Frontinus mentions wicker shields covered with leather. Certainly when the E.S.G. made new wicker shields covered with leather they were much much heavier than the older ones they had used previously which were wicker alone.

They also last longer.

Graham.

That sounds like a solution to me, but would be I think rather expensive both now and then.... how about thick felt?


RE: wicker shield - Renatus - 11-09-2017

(11-08-2017, 03:44 PM)Graham Sumner Wrote: I think Frontinus mentions wicker shields covered with leather.

You may be thinking of Strat. 1. 7. 6: ' Spartacus and his troops had shields made of osiers and covered with hides.' (Loeb translation)

The word translated as 'osiers' (ex vimine) is the same as that which Milner translates as 'wicker' (viminea) and 'withies' (de vimine) in Vegetius. However, the chapter in Frontinus that the quoted passage comes from deals with expedients to be employed when proper equipment is not available, not training.


RE: wicker shield - Graham Sumner - 11-10-2017

That is quite correct Michael but in the context of this thread it is a known technique and not a speculative one and one Spartacus was undoubtedly familiar with via his gladiator training.

Given the amount of goat hides the Roman army used I do not see they would think it too much of an expense to cover training shields.


RE: wicker shield - Crispianus - 11-10-2017

(11-10-2017, 12:32 AM)Graham Sumner Wrote: That is quite correct Michael but in the context of this thread it is a known technique and not a speculative one and one Spartacus was undoubtedly familiar with via his gladiator training.

Given the amount of goat hides the Roman army used I do not see they would think it too much of an expense to cover training shields.


Did ESG use goat?
As untanned hides or skins I would agree and there must have been plenty available, there are the Dura Europos shields which sound like contenders for a shield made from "Osiers" covered in "Hide", although this does not exactly describe them the techniques seems to be well known at least in the east, to someone who may not have made such a shield it might seem appropriate...

Complete Tanned Goat skin is 1-1.5 kilos per skin in its natural thickness (an average of 5) I think rawhide goat dried would be a fair bit less, you would need at least two for an oval shield(but there would a lot of waste), an untanned calf/young cattle hide may be thicker stronger and heavier (depending on the age) and would have the advatage of producing the entire thing in one piece...

As materials go, the most interesting question for me though is how many animals would be needed to produce the Hides/Skins overall and still maintain an acceptable level of breeding stock... since this is going to limit the supply, particularly when you consider how much leather is generally used in the Roman military, which in itself would require a massive investment in time to produce the tanned end product... but perhaps thats something for another thread...


RE: wicker shield - Renatus - 11-10-2017

(11-10-2017, 12:32 AM)Graham Sumner Wrote: in the context of this thread it is a known technique and not a speculative one

I agree with that but the problem is that Spartacus' expedient was to produce a shield suitable for combat, whereas training shields are supposed to be double the weight. The question is, therefore, were the ESG's leather-covered wicker shields double the weight of their standard ones?


RE: wicker shield - Gunthamund Hasding - 11-11-2017

Now it also largely depends if the wicker is dry or not. If fresh it has a lot of water and I suppose is pretty heavy.