A shield is part of protective armor which has been used for many centuries and ancient Roman shields were used in Roman times. The shield was the first piece of equipment that was used during times of battle, and it is even older than body armor. The first shields were made of animal hides, which were laced together using sticks; as the hide hardened it made a good defense against enemy weapons. It wasn't long before all male warriors and hunters began making their own shield.
Shields have become so valuable at helping to protect the body, that we can even see them in use today. The Iron Age brought about the Battersea shield, which was used very effectively by the Greek soldiers. Throughout history shields have been made with every kind of metal that can be thought of. Each shield had its own unique shape and design. During the Middle Ages shields showed the emblem of the owner of the shield. The emblems depicted whether a man was a king, or a knight, or a common soldier. These emblems from the shields were eventually written down in a book by scribes from the ruler's castle, and were later used to give a person a surname. The shields of today however, are made with mostly very hard plastic, such as riot control shields. However, there are even newer bullet proof shields that are used now.
It wasn't until man learned to forge metal that shields became more valuable as body protectors, for armies all around the known world. During the Bronze Age, shields took on a very particular meaning and purpose. Some armies designed shields that could protect a person's entire body, while other armies used a more circular type of shield which was used more for brushing away or blocking oncoming blows from the enemy. The size and weight of the shield varied from country to country. As each age of metal came and went; shields went through a great deal of changes for offering better protection, and lighter weights. New ways of fighting also brought about some dramatic changes in shields.
The Roman Legions carried a large shield called a Scuta, which provided the most protection of all. It originally had an oval shape; however, as time passed improvements were made. It soon became the square roman shield that we know of today. The Romans used these new fighting techniques which involved using their shields to completely enclose an entire group of solders inside of an armored box. This technique worked great whenever there was an onslaught of arrows descending from overhead, or an army with charging horses was coming toward them.
Ancient Roman solders which were experienced in spears, soon began cutting slots in their shields which allowed the solder to stick his spear through the slot while he continued to protect the rest of his body. They learned that they could create a wall of armed shields for oncoming attacks by enemy soldiers.
The Romans valued their shields so much that if a soldier died their bodies were placed on their shield and brought back to camp. You can see why ancient roman shields have made a very big impact on how certain armies won wars. Also how shields, along with new fighting techniques has saved many lives over the centuries.
The tunics that were worn by members of the Roman military units could also be considered as part of their weaponry arsenal. These were created from metal and leather. The breastplates were made of metal plating so that the most vulnerable areas of the body could be protected. There were also some coverings that could be used as covering for the arms and legs.