Roman soldier shields were used as part of the Roman army tactics to create an impenetrable barrier which lead to much of their success. Facts about Roman Shields 5: clypeus. The combat formation used by the Greeks and Romans was called the phalanx. Facts about Roman Shields 4: the shape of Roman shields. Just before contact with the enemy, the soldiers moved in very close together so that each man's shield helped to protect the man on his left. They could be in rectangular, circular or oval. Philip Rance, in the article I linked, argues quite strongly, though, that it should be seen as the evolution of the testudo instead. The Romans also used shield walls, this was in fact their standard fighting formation. This involved the soldiers standing side by side in ranks. The scutum of the first century was rectangular in shape and rounded on the ends. The infantry was placed into a wedge-shaped formation and would push into the enemy with a wall of shields. Historically used with cavalry, the formation involves a mass of troops in a triangular wedge with the tip charging at the enemy. The scutum (English: / ˈ s k uː t əm / SKOO-təm, Classical Latin: [ˈskuːtũː]; plural scuta) was a type of shield used among Italic peoples in antiquity, and then by the army of ancient Rome starting about the fourth century BC. During the viking age, most north Europeans used a type of shield wall. In the Roman history, the soldiers had carried a number of shields. This protected the soldiers from overhead projectiles. Along with looking ridiculously cool, the formation was also so strong that it could double as a bridge. The Roman shield, or scutum, was a central part of the soldier’s defense. By locking their shields together like […] They served completely different purposes. It was typically made from two sheets of wood that were glued together, then covered with canvas and leather. In the past, this formation has been considered to be a variation on the Germanic shield-wall and thus a symptom of the "barbarisation" of the Roman army. When surrounded, the Romans formed a square formation with interlocking shields. Another formation was known as the pig's head. Also known as the tortoise formation, it is still the most famous formation known about the Roman army. When laying siege to a fort, they used a formation … Here, the front row of soldiers would hold their shields in front of them to protect soldiers from projectiles. The testsudo formation, AKA, the tortoise, is probably one of the most famous military manoeuvres in history right behind flying directly into the enemies death cannons to clog them with wreckage. Clypeus was carried by the Roman soldiers in the early days of ancient Rome. The Romans adopted it when they switched from the military formation of the hoplite phalanx of the Greeks to the formation with maniples. 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