SHIELD

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SHIELD ; a piece of defensive armor, borne on the left arm, to screen the body from the blows of the enemy; afterwards superseded, in a great degree, by the useof more convenient armor. (See Breastplate.) Shields were composed of different materials, and were of various figures. The ancient clypeus was round, and of brass; the scutum, or danU, was of an oblong shape, rectangular, generally made of wood, covered with skins; the parma was made of skin; the pelta was crescentshaped. In the centre was the umbo, an iron boss projecting forward, to glance off missiles, or to press the enemy. They were often highly ornamented, and the ancients esteemed it a great disgrace to leave them on the field of battle. ""With it, or on it," was the exhortation of a Spartan mother to her son, giving him the buckler of his father, as he went to war. In time of peace, they were hung up in consecrated places, and those taken in war were often suspended in the temples as trophies, (Potter's Antiquities ; Vegetius, ii, 17.) The Tartar shield is made of leather. Both in France and in England and Scotland, round leather shields\vere used. Many of these shields had wood wicker work or metal plates below the leather. There was a particular kind of shield used several centuries ago, called pavois or tallevas, of extraordinary dimensions, and borne by an attendant. This in sieges was interposed between the archers and the besieged. The most ancient and universal form of shields, in the earlier ages, seems to have been the triangular, vulgarly called the heater SHIELD. Numerous instances of this are seen in the monuments and gems of antiquity. This was the shape of the Norman shields. The shield, though not entirely relinquished while the use of the longbow and crossbow continued, underwent some alteration in its form, the triangular shape gradually giving place to the circular or rectangular. They seem to have been used in affrays as late as the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. The target and broadsword were the favorite arms of the Scotch Highlanders as late as 1746, and even later.