he Scutum was the iconic large Roman shield held by the soldiers in a Roman legion.
While oval and circular shields were used in the Roman military by different members of the armed forces and at varying times during the entire period of ancient Rome, the curved, rectangular scutum was the primary protective shield used by the legionaries during the height of Rome's military
A scutum was typically red in color, as red was the color of the Roman god of war, Mars. It was decorated with an iconic image such as a winged eagle to represent victory and lightning bolts, the scuta (scutum) provided essential protection and were a vital reason for the military successes of ancient Rome.
The curved design, combined with the umbo (the little circular piece in the center of the shield), helped to deflect blows much more effectively and the slightly curved edges could overlap with the shields of the legionaries on either side. This provided almost complete protection against enemy blows for those on the front line, and this style of fighting in formation in close quarter combat, using the gladius sword to thrust forward, become the classic fighting style for legionaries of the later Republican period and for most of the Imperial period.
Reconstruction of a so-called scutum, the typical shield of the Roman legionaries during the Roman Empire.
This shield is made of wood and is hand painted. The edge is protected with a brass reinforcement. The center of the shield is made of metal. The shield is reinforced at the rear with thin strips of wood. The handle is located inside the umbo.