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Auxiliary Shields 
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Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:46 pm
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Post Auxiliary Shields
Up until now my own EIR list for the period 150-200AD (Aurelian) has been sat in the middle between Scarab and Gravesend although leaning more towards Scarab. I have a regular opponent now who has several ancient armies and they are all based on Scarab lists, so I am on the cusp of biting the bullet and going full Scarab to fight these. I have accepted that my Auxiliary 'line' infantry will have their morale reduced to 6 from 7, however I would like to put a case for these guys being upgraded to large shield. The shield used by these troops is well documented and has almost the same dimensions as the legionary scutum and the later, late Roman oval shield, which is classed as a large shield.

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Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:20 am
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Joined: Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:50 pm
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Post Re: Auxiliary Shields
I'll second that George! :)

It's not just the shield dimensions, it's also the fighting style of the men (and women, Reg) behind them.


Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:56 am
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Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:46 pm
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Post Re: Auxiliary Shields
And women, Reg. Like it.

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Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:11 pm
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Post Re: Auxiliary Shields
Thats interesting information on the shield, any useful references? My models have shields comparable with scutum in size so its an interesting point.

Morale wise, I have taken the view the legion would be better than the auxiliary and to make the differential although theres a good case to make the 'regular' aux morale 7

We are fighting a fair bit of Roman army down here at the moment, so its a good time to raise the points and I will review the list

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Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:29 pm
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Post Re: Auxiliary Shields
Auxiliary shields: The evidence mainly comes from sculptures, the large oval seems the most popular for auxiliary infantry although one from Doncaster shows a shield very similar to the scutum but flat, a shield cover from the Netherlands again has a scutum shape but this could also cover a curved shield. Trajan's column also shows auxiliaries with oval shields, these although small for the sake of artistic design are nevertheless shown as the same size as the legionary scutum.

While I think it a fair point for most auxiliary troops to have Mo6 I do feel that the cohorts expected to stand in the line along with their legionary counterparts should have the option to up morale to Mo7.

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Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:04 am
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Post Re: Auxiliary Shields
I shall try and tinker with the list over the weekend, although that seems to be running out rapidly already!

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Sat Sep 09, 2017 2:57 pm
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Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:39 pm
Posts: 230
Post Re: Auxiliary Shields
I hope the following is of use to interested parties.

Looking at some source materials I have to hand the Auxiliary shields are depicted as being smaller than the Legionnaires in both length & breadth. There is text mentioning that the Auxiliary were favoured for operating in rough terrain at the expense of their arms & armour.

It isn’t until 4th/5th century that Auxilia Palatina are depicted with comparably larger shields.

As for Mo, my general understanding is the Auxiliary was looked down upon and discriminated against by Legionnaires and the establishment, so were probably less motivated than Legionnaires.

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Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:34 pm
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Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:46 pm
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Post Re: Auxiliary Shields
I would beg to differ on Old Git's interpretations.

Apart from sculptures if is difficult to find definitive evidence of the size of the shield, the best known source is of course Trajan's Column where the shields are depicted to fit, even the legionary scutum is small. Other sculptures as I said show the shield as being fairly large. I have checked several re-enactor websites (http://www.cohibat.co.uk/page14.php) and if anyone is a bit OTT on getting it right it is those people. All have large shields, the one I have given the website for is particularly large.

I am not talking about skirmish or light auxiliaries but the line cohorts expected to take their place at the front of the queue, Goldsworthy gives them large shields, and points out their equipment i.e. armour was just as heavy as a legionary's. You cannot run about the hills in mail armour carrying a large shield.

The auxiliaries of the early and mid Imperial periods are not Auxilia Palatina, although it has been mooted that some of these elite regiments were formed from among the best auxiliary troops, although this, like many things, cannot be proved. The term auxiliary like many other terms by the 4th/5thC could mean anything as the Roman Army was not quite as neat and modern as we think it was.

I propose that the slights suffered by auxiliary troops from legionaries etc. is like the modern soldier or sailor looking down on the TA or reservists, this usually disappears once each has seen the other in combat or working alongside. Volunteers with something to look forward to i.e. citizenship, and a desire to better themselves do not necessarily have a lower morale than regulars.

From a wargame point of view, the shield is large for line infantry, for cavalry and skirmish types less so I would venture.

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Mon Sep 11, 2017 4:56 pm
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