A shield is a type of personal armor, meant to intercept attacks, either by stopping projectiles such as arrows or redirecting a hit from a sword, mace or battle axe to the side of the shield-bearer.
Shields vary greatly in size, ranging from large panels that protect the user's entire body to small models (such as the buckler) that were intended for hand-to-hand-combat use. Shields also vary a great deal in thickness; whereas some shields were made of relatively deep, absorbent, wooden planking to protect soldiers from the impact of spears and crossbow bolts, others were thinner and lighter and designed mainly for deflecting blade strikes.
In prehistory and during the era of the earliest civilizations, shields were made of wood, animal hide, woven reeds or wicker. In classical antiquity, the Migration Period and the Middle Ages, they were normally constructed of poplar, lime or another split-resistant timber—covered in some instances with leather and/or reinforced with a metal boss, rim or banding—and carried by foot soldiers, knights and cavalry.
Shape wise, depending on time and place, shields could be round, oval, square, rectangular, triangular or scalloped. Sometimes they took on the form of kites, flatirons or figures-of-eight, or had rounded tops on a rectangular base with perhaps an eyehole inserted. The shield was held by a central grip or by straps which went over or around the user's arm
Often shields were decorated with a painted pattern or an animal representation and these designs developed into systematized heraldic devices during high-medieval times for purposes of battlefield identification. Even after the introduction of gunpowder and firearms to the battlefield, shields continued to be used by certain groups. In the 18th century, for example, Scottish Highland fighters liked to wield small shields (known as a targe), and as late as the 19th century, some non-industrialized peoples employed them (such as Zulu warriors) when waging war.
In the 20th and 21st century, shields have been used by military and police units that specialize in anti-terrorist actions, hostage rescue, riot control and siege-breaking. The modern term usually refers to a device that is held in the hand or attached to the arm, as opposed to an armored suit or a bullet-proof vest.
Other articles related to "shield, shields":
... Gorgon used a mirror-shield, akin to the aegis of Athena, as her weapon and can turn herself into either a nāga or a giant snake to devour her enemies ... When her turn begins, Gorgon scatters uses her shield to conjure forth snakes and scatter them so that when there's enough of them, they would bite everyone ... Gorgon grew large to trigger her Divine Punishment only for Travelion to incinerate her shield, dispelling all of the snakes she conjured before she ...
... depicting a Mycenaean Greek "figure eight" shield with a suspension strap at the middle, 15th century BC, National Archaeological Museum, Athens -The faces of figure eight shields were quite ... (so denoted by the visible pattern of the ox hide) of the shield A hoplite by painter Alkimachos, on an Attic red-figure vase, c ... Shield has a curtain which serves as a protection from arrows Sword and buckler combat, plate from the Tacuinum Sanitatis illustrated in Lombardy, ca ...
... The center of the seal is a shield, whose upper portion bears the image of a book with the words “Tolle Lege Tolle Lege” (“Take up and Read”) across it ... Incorporated in the shield are wavy lines and a cross, superimposed on a trimount figure at the bottom ... Encircling the base of the shield on a silver background is a golden scroll displaying the college’s motto “Per Scientiam Ad Sapientiam” (“Through Knowledge to Wisdom”) in blue letters ...
... Route shield, a six-point white shield over a black square background ... New Hampshire does not use elongated route shields for U.S Routes, except on the occasional guide sign from a freeway ... US-1 Bypass is signed in a similar fashion to Route 28 Bypass, a standard US-1 shield with the word 'BY-PASS' over the numeral ...
... The shield of Cúcuta was adopted in 1958 by Decree 032 on February 3, 1958, after a request by the History Academy of North Santander ... The shield is a classic shape, and carries the title conferred to the city by Royal Decree of the Emperor Carlos IV Very noble, valiant and loyal Village of San José of Cúcuta ... The lower part of the shield displays the weapons that the National Congress adopted for Colombia by the Law of October 6, 1821, at its meeting in the Villa ...
Famous quotes containing the word shield:
“The lichen on the rocks is a rude and simple shield which beginning and imperfect Nature suspended there. Still hangs her wrinkled trophy.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“Vice is its own reward. It is virtue which, if it is to be marketed with consumer appeal, must carry Green Shield stamps.”
—Quentin Crisp (b. 1908)