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 Museum Explorer

Warfare in
Roman Britain

Shield boss

Height: 30.000 cm
Width: 26.000 cm

P&EE 1893 12-13 1

Shield boss

From: found near the mouth of the River Tyne in 1867
Date: early 2nd century AD

If you were a Roman legionary you would hold your sword in one hand to attack the enemy and your shield in your other hand to protect your body and to push back the enemy. A shield boss like this one in the centre of the shield would strengthen it and protect the user's hand. The rest of this shield was made of wood which has decayed.

So who used this shield? The bull at the bottom was the sign of the 8th Legion Augusta, and LEG VIII means 'Legion 8'. On the left edge of the panel it says IVL MAGNI IVNI DVBITATI, which means 'the property of Junius Dubitatus, of Julius Magnus' century'.

Look for the four seasons, one in each corner, and the Roman god of war, Mars.