Page images

handle was usually fixed horizontally, but sometimes per of consideration had an attendant, whose principal business pendicularly, so that the warrior might pass his arm it was to carry the shield of his superior. And this he did through it, and grasp a spear. In marching it must have not merely when it was not wanted, but in action he somebeen thrown behind, as we see from the instance of the times marched before the warrior, to ward off the missiles margin of Hector's shield smiting his heels as he walked. which were aimed against him. The warrior of course In marching immediately to the assault, it was however sometimes took it himself, when in close action. David sometimes turned entirely in front; the warrior then ad was made Saul's armour-bearer. Jonathan's armourvanced, like Mars

bearer took a very active part in his master's exploit • Behind his broad shield pacing;'

against the Philistine garrison (1 Sam. xiv.). Goliath had

an armour-bearer who carried his great shield before him but then the length of the shield obliged the owner to walk (1 Sam. xvii, 6, 7, 45). Arrian relates that Alexander with short steps, like Desphobus:

had the shield which had been taken from the temple of • Tripping he came, with shorten'd steps, his feet

the Trojan Pallas carried before him in all his wars. The

large shields were of great service when a body of men, Shelt'ring behind his buckler.'

acting in concert, joined their shields and opposed, as it This also shews its length, and seems at the same time

were, a wall against the assault of the foe. "In attacking to prove that its weight prevented it, under such circum

fortified places the soldiers also joined their shields over stances, from being held at such a distance before the their heads, to protect themselves from the missiles which body, as to allow the free action of the feet. The weight were discharged upon them by the besieged. This was of the larger kind of shield rendered it so great an incum called the testudo, or tortoise, because the soldiers were brance to a person otherwise heavily armed, that persons thus covered from the weapons of their enemies as a tor

The TESTUDO, or Tortoise-shaped Assemblage of Shields. From the Column of Trajan, toise is by its shell. This invention was exhibited in only at the top; and as the shields of this people were, in various forms, which ancient authors describe. That it all probability, such as the Israelites continued to use for was known to the Jews is clear from its having been in some time after their departure from Egypt, they claim use among the ancient Egyptians, as shewn in the note to particular notice. In their general form they were similar Deut. xx. 12; and that they also knew it as in use among to our common grave-stones, circular at the summit, and the Babylonians, appears from Ezek. xxvi. 8, where the squared at the base; sometimes with a slight increase or king of Babylon is described as lifting up the buckler swell towards the top, and near the upper part of the outer against the city of Tyre. To render this junction of surface is usually seen, instead of a boss, a circular hollow, shields the more compact, the Roman legions had their the purpose of which it is difficult to ascertain. In some scutum, with squared sides. It was of an oblong form instances at least this national shield appears to have been (Polybius says, generally four feet long by two and a half concave within. Its size was generally about half the broad) with a convexity given to its breadth. This shield, height of a man by double its own breadth. though it seems to have been reduced by the Romans to a Another Hebrew shield was the magen, which is the comparatively moderate size, may be taken as an average first that the Scripture mentions (Gen. xv. 1), and seems representative of the class of large shields, and therefore to have been that which was most commonly in use; being may be put in the same group with the Hebrew lzinnah. | conveniently portable, and perhaps really more useful than But the square form being intended to assist united action, the large one; for although it did not protect the whole We are not to expect to find it so prevalent among Ori person, it could be turned with facility to ward off a entals and barbarians, who trusted less to the effect of coming blow or missile. This kind of shield is generally combined action than did the Romans; and to an indivi- mentioned in connection with arrows and swords; but the dual, a square shield with its sharp angles, is less con- tzinnah with spears. It was about half the size of the venient than one more or less of a rounded figure. Hence latter, as we see that Solomon only appropriated three We seldom find shields other than round or oval among the | hundred shekels of gold for the manufacture of a magen, Orientals, either ancient or modern. Those commonly in but six hundred for a tzinnah. Among the ancients, the 16e among the ancient Egyptians were, however, rounded | lesser shield seems to have been always used by horsemen Roman Combat with the Spear and the small round Shield (called parma).-- From a Bas-relief at Pompeil.


From a Sculpture at Thebes; contrasting the common Shield of the Egyptians with the round Shields of their Adversaries.

and persons who fought in chariots, and occasionally by lightly armed footmen. The large shield was not the only one in use in the Homeric period. Neptune's advice to the Argives shews this :

* The best and broadest bucklers of the host,
And brightest helmets put we on, and arm'd
With largest spears advance.-

Ye then, who feel your hearts
Undaunted, but are arm'd with smaller shields,
Them give to those who fear, and in exchange

Their stronger shields and broader take yourselves.' And again :

With many a stroke The bull-hide shields and lighter targes rang.' Perhaps, however, there was not such a contrast of size between the smaller and larger shields mentioned here, as between the tzinnah and magen. The latter is the shield which the present text mentions, and is thought by Gesenius to be analogous to the Roman clypeus. In this opinion we concur, because both seem to have been shields of

average form and size. The Roman clypeus was a mediumsized shield, round, oval, or hexangular in figure; and

had sometimes a boss in the centre, as had the Hebrew | magen, to which bosses are assigned in Job xv. 26: The

thick bosses of his bucklers. The central boss, which was a kind of projecting dagger, does not however seem to have been peculiar to any one kind of shield. It rendered the shield at the same time an offensive as well as a defensive weapon, and was of great use in bearing down the enemy in close fight. The shield of Agamemnon had twentyone bosses, -twenty surrounding bosses, and one in the centre.

The Hebrews must have had a considerable variety of shields; for besides these two, which occur most frequently, there are others of which we know nothing dis

tinctly; but may infer that the different terms describe | peculiarities of form and size. One of these is the 1970

sohairah, which, from the etymology, would seem to hare been of a round form, which was and is a very common shape for the smaller kind of shields, and sometimes for the larger, as will appear by our cuts. It may well be

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

taken as the type of the Roman shield called parma, a small round shield much used by the cavalry and light armed foot, and now very common in the East. Another is the ow shelet (which occurs only in the plural), and as it appears, from a comparison of parallel passages, to be sometimes used as synonymous with magen, we may infer that the former was essentially the same as the latter, with

some small variation of make or ornament. See, for instance, Sol. Song, iv. 4, • Thy neck is like the tower of David, builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers (maçen), all shields (shiltai, sing. shelel) of mighty men.' The last clause is evidently a repetition of the preceding, shelet being used as a verbal change for magen. We do not notice the 117'? kidon, translated

'target' and shield,' in 1 Sam. xvii. 6, 45; because it prided themselves on keeping these plated shields bright is more than doubtful that any thing of the kind is in- | and polished, whence Homer so frequently applies to them tended.

epithets expressing their brightness and splendour. They Thus much for the different descriptions of shields. The were kept in a case, seemingly of leather, when not in use: varieties of form and size in which they were cast the and hence to uncover the shield' is an expression de

will sufficiently represent. We have now to noting preparation for battle (Isa. xxij. 6). mention the materials of which shields were made. They But although shields for action were generally plated vere sometimes of wood, as they still are in several bar with metal, those entirely of metal were also known. barous nations. Xenophon describes the bucklers of the Hadadezer had golden shields, which became the prey of Egyptians who served in the army of Artaxerxes at the David (2 Sam. viii. 7). Alexander the Great had a body battle of Cunaxa, as long wooden shields which reached of Argyraspides, or soldiers with silver shields; and Alex. dren to the feet. Plutarch, in his Life of Camillus, says, ander Severus established a troop of Chrysaspides, or solthat the Romans used wooden shields till the time of that diers with golden shields. Judging from the account of general, who caused them to be covered with plates of iron. the famous shield of Achilles, we should suppose that the This agrees with the description of Polybius, who says shields then used were not of a solid mass, but that their that the larger Roman shields were in his time composed thickness was composed of several plates of the same or of two planks glued together, and covered first with linen different metal. Of this shield we learn incidentally, in and then with hide. The extreme edges, both above and the account of the owner's combat with Æneas, that below, were guarded with plates of iron; as well to secure

With five folds the shield against the strokes of swords, as that it might, without injury, be rested on the ground. To the surface

Vulcan had fortified it; two were brass; was likewise fitted a shell of iron, to turn aside the more

The two interior, tin; the midmost, gold.' violent strokes of stones, spears, or other ponderous wea For the reason already stated, it is important to note pons. But the ancient shields with which we are his. further the materials of the Egyptian shields. From the torically best acquainted, were made wholly of bull's hide paintings, they appear to have been commonly covered doubled or tripled, or even more thickly folded. A pre with bull's hide, having the hair outwards, sometimes vious extract from the Iliad shews Hector's shield to have strengthened by one or more rims of metal, and studded been of this material; and this seems to have been the with nails or metal pins; the inner part being probably case with the shields of most of the Homeric heroes, wicker-work, or a wooden frame. See Wilkinson, i, 288. whether Greeks or Trojans. These shields were often The mention of this shield leads us to notice the ela. anointed and rubbed, to keep them in good condition, and borate and costly ornamental work with which the higher prevent cracking or injury from wet, as were also those of class of shields were ornamented, and which, very prometal, to preserve them from rust. To which there are bably, belonged to the golden shields of Solomon. There allusions in Scripture, as in 2 Sam. i. 21, 22; and in Isa. was, in fact, no part of their armour which the ancients xxi. 5:- Arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield.' These prized so highly and took so much delight in ornamenting. shields of skin had often a metallic border, to preserve the They adorned its broad disk with all sorts of figures margin from injury. The hides were often plated and with birds, beasts, and the inanimate works of natureotherwise strengthened and ornamented with metal; most with representations of their own or other exploits-with commonly brass, but often silver and gold. Such were historic scenes, with the picturesque circumstances of many of the shields of Homer's heroes. That most fully life--and with the effigies of gods and heroes. Like the described is the shield of Ajax, and the description is most gorgeous works in metal described by Spenser, they instructive. It is given in the account of the fight between werethat hero and Hector :

• Wrought with wilde antickes which their follies play'd, • Ajax approach'd him, bearing, like a tow'r,

In the rich metall as they living were.' His seven-fold bracen shield, by Tychius wrought

We have endeavoured to make this note as complete, for With art elaborate ; like him was none

the purposes of Scripture illustration, as our limits would In shield-work, and whose home in Hyla stood; allow. We have given such particulars concerning the He fram'd the various shield with seven hides

shields of the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans as our object Of fatled beeves, all plated o'er with brass.'

required. With those of ancient Persia, the Hebrews were

certainly at one time acquainted, and we therefore give Hector hurls his spear at Ajax :

specimens taken from the existing sculptures of that • It struck the shield of Ajax; through the brass,

country. We have little to add to the information which Its eighth integument, through six of hide

the cuts afford. It will be seen that the shields were It flew, and spent its fury on the seventh.'

round or oval, those for the cavalry being, as usual, the

smallest. From ancient authors we only learn that some Afterwards, Hector

of their shields were light, being formed of common osier • Retiring, heav'd

work: but they had others of brass, and of very large A black, rough, huge stone-fragment from the plain, size. Which hurling at the seven-fold shield, he smote

Under the impression that the forms of the ancient Its central boss ; loud rang the brazen rim.'

offensive and defensive arms are in general well preserved

in the East, we give a group of modern Oriental shields We beg to direct attention to the circumstance, that this and spears. Those of Arabia deserve particular attention. shield is called a brazen shield, though seven of its eight The shields now used by the Arabs are generally round, integurnents were of skin. We may therefore infer with and may vary from ten to eighteen inches in diameter. probability that the brazen'shield of Goliath was merely The most valued are made of the hide of the wild ox or covered with brass; for if it had been of solid metal, and the hippopotamus: they have also a sort made of the skin had been, like his other weapons, proportioned to his of a fish, which Sir William Ouseley could only get them gigantic bulk, it is not easy to understand how his armour-| to describe as . a great fish;' Morier says it was the whale; bearer could have supported its weight. This conjecture | but we have no doubt it was the manat (Trichechus mamight also apply to the golden shields which were made natus, Linn.), with the skin of which the Arabs make by Solomon; and for which, after they had been taken shields said to be musket-proof. They have, besides, away by Shishak, king of Egypt, Rehoboam substituted shields of metal, generally copper, and also of hard wood : shields of brass. However, we will not insist on this, the latter are sometimes plated with copper, or covered because such shields, hung up for display in armouries with iron bars. The others require no remark, unless to and sacred places, were often, among the heathen, of solid direct attention to the general resemblance of the Mameluke metal. (See 1 Kings x, 16, 17; and xiv. 25-28.) Men | shield to the scutum of the Romans.

MODERN ORIENTAL SHIELDS AND SPEARS. a, Large Arabian Shield; b, small do.; C, side view of the same; d, large Turkish Shield; e, Mameluke Shield; J, Arabian Spear;

9, Turkish ; h, Mameluke.

SPEARS.-Spears, as offensive weapons, are as ancient were afterwards employed in pointing and decorating and as universal as the shield is for defence. In fact, the spears, these two seem, of all others, to be the most general of offensive and defensive arms. The origin of a spear is very easily traced. A stick sharpened" at one end, and hardened in the fire, was probably the first spear, and continues to be the only offensive weapon of some savages. Attention would of course be directed to the improvement of its point, in order to render it a more complete instrument of destruction; and, for this purpose, horn, fish-bone, flints, etc., were employed, as they still are by the rude people to whom the use of metals is unknown. Brass, or rather copper, was no doubt the first metal used for this and other purposes, and it continued to be employed long after the use of iron was known. The epithet 'brazen? is continually applied to spears in Homer; and we might almost suspect that they were wholly of brass, were it not probable that he merely intended to describe them as having the head and heel of that metal, the wooden shaft being also perhaps covered or decorated with it. It seems certain, at all events, that the spearheads were of brass; for all those that are not simply mentioned as “brazen spears' are, with some variety of expression, like that of Teucer,

* Rough-grain'd, acuminated sharp with brass.' Even the gods in Homer are furnished with brazen spears. Herodotus, in speaking of the Massagetæ (Clio, 215), tells as that their spears, the points of their arrows, and their battle-axes, were of brass. From this it is clear that the whole was of brass, or covered with brass, else he would

Ancient Persian Shields and Spears.-From Sculptures at Persepolis. have said, as well of the spears as of the arrows, that they were headed with that metal. Such seem to have been We know little about the construction of the Hebrew known to the Hebrews, since the spear is, in the Hebrew spears; and, in so simple an instrument, nothing very pe poetry, sometimes called, as in Homer, the 'glittering culiar is to be expected, as we find the same forms, with spear,' which seems to imply that something more than

little variation, in nations the most remote from each other. the head was of polished metal. Indeed, the lance which Our wood-cuts will exhibit the forms of those which were Goliath carried, besides his great heavy spear, is ex- | anciently in use, and the manner in which they were empressly described as a brazen lance (improperly rendered ploved. Like other nations, the Hebrews seem to have target,' i Sam, xvii. 6). Iron, steel, and other metals, I had two kinds of spears--one a missile, to be discharged at the foe, and the other for giving thrusts. It would | by an Arab to a short distance, and when he is sure of his secm, however, that the same weapon was often made to aim,-generally at a horseman whom he is pursuing and serve both purposes on occasion, as it certainly did with cannot overtake. To strike with the lance, he poises it for Homer's heroes. They begin their combats with throwing a time over his head, and then thrusts it forward, or else their spears at each other; then each endeavours to re holds and shakes it at the height of the saddle. A pursued cover the spear he has thrown, and falls to close onset. It Arab continually thrusts his lance backward to prevent the is evident that, in this case, a person who could not recover approach of the pursuer's mare, and sometimes kills either his own spear, would, in most instances, be able to secure pursuer or his mare by dexterously throwing the point of that which had been thrown by the other; and as, no his lance behind. It will be observed that the weapon has doubt, every one preferred his own weapon, there was at the lower extremity an iron spike, which alone is often perhaps an understanding between the combatants, that sufficient for these purposes. The Hebrew spears were each should be allowed to recover his own, if both had furnished in the same manner, and applied to exactly the been ineffectually thrown. It is else difficult to understand same uses. Abner was pursued by the swift-footed Asahel, how it happens that the heroes so long retain possession of who would not be persuaded to desist :- He refused to turn the same favourite spear, which they are continually aside, wherefore Abner with the hinder end of the spear throwing away. Some of the heroes came into action, smote him under the fifth rib, that the spear came out behowever, like Goliath, with two spears, one carried behind hind him, and he fell down there and died.' (2 Sam. ii. the buckler, and the other in the right hand. Probably 23.) This spike at the lower end is intended for the purone was a lance intended to be thrown in the first instance, pose of sticking the spear into the ground when the warrior and the other a spear for closer action; or, it is possible, is at rest. This is a common custom in the East; and it that the one was merely intended as a provision against the was usual among the Hebrews. When Saul pursued David loss of the other. So far as the spear and javelin were dis into the wilderness of Ziph, he is described as asleep in his tinct, the former seems to have no determined size any encampment, with his spear stuck in the ground at his more than the latter. We read of them as long and short bolster (1 Sam. xxvi. 7). This also was the custom among different people or individuals. Great length in the among Homer's warriors, whose spears were similarly spear was, however, usually affected. Of Hector, it is spiked at the nether end for the same purpose. Thus, when said :

Nestor and Ulysses go in the night to Diomede-
Eleven cubits' length
Of massy spear he bore, its brazen point

• Him sleeping arm'd before his tent they found
Star-bright, and collar'd with a ring of gold.'

Amidst his sleeping followers; with their shields

Beneath their heads they lay, and at the side This was a moderate length of spear, compared with the Of each, stood planted in the soil his spear sarissa of the Macedonians, which is stated, by different On its inverted end; their polished heads ancient authors, to have been of the scarcely credible All glitter'd like Jove's lightning from afar.' length of sixteen cubits, that is, about eight yards. That some of the Hebrew spears were of great length (perhaps

The Arabs have also a shorter kind of lance, which we the length was a token of dignity) will be inferred from

may properly call the javelin, perhaps answering to that of the fact, that Joshua's spear, when he held it up, served as

the Hebrews, and which can be hurled to a considerable a signal to the ambuscade in the affair of Ai (Josh. viii.

distance. This, among them, is chiefly used by those who 18-26). The Romans reduced their spears to more moderate

act on foot. The ancient darts and javelins were too length. Those used in the time of the emperors were gene

various for us to describe particularly. The cuts exhibit rally between six and seven feet long, including the point.

the principal forms of these missiles. We are perhaps best acquainted with those of the Romans, which may be fairly taken as types of the rest. One of them was a light kind of dart, about three feet long, and not more than an inch thick, with a point four inches long. It was a sort of handarrow. The point was made to taper to so fine an end, that it bent at the first stroke, so as to prevent the enemy from throwing it back again. These weapons were used by the light-armed troops, who carried several of them in the left hand, with which they held the buckler, leaving the right hand free either to throw the darts or use the sword. Something of this sort, but probably less delicate, may have been the darts. Of this kind 'seem to have been the darts' ( ugr shebatim) of which Joab took three in his hand, and struck them through the heart of Absalom, as he hanged in the tree (2 Sam. xviii. 14). Besides these slender darts, the Romans had other javelins longer, and stronger, and heavier. The two principal sorts were between four and five feet long; and the metal was carried halfway down the haft, which in one sort of javelin was square, and in another round. These weapons were discharged at the enemy in commencing an action; but if there was no time or distance for this, the soldiers

threw their missiles to the ground, and assailed the foe Roman Attack, with Spear, on a Barbarian protected by a large Shield sword in hand. There are many allusions in the Greek of very ancient form. From an antique Gem.

and Latin poets and some in Scripture to poising of the But we incline to think that perhaps the most probable re

javelin, its whistling motion through the air, and the clash presentation of the Hebrew spear is that still retained by

of the adverse missiles striking against each other. So the Arabs, and which serves both for thrusting and for

Virgil :throwing to a short distance. It is about twelve feet long, • Pois'd in his lifted arm, his lance he threw; with a pointed head of iron or steel. It is often quite The winged weapon, whistling in the wind, plain; but sometimes it has two balls or tufts of black Came driving on, nor miss'd the mark design'd.' ostrich feathers, as large as fists, placed at a short distance from each other towards the top; the upper ball being

And again :fringed with white ostrich feathers. These ornaments give Thick storms of steel from either army fly, the weapon a rather elegant appearance. It is only thrown || And clouds of clashing darts obscure the sky.'

« PreviousContinue »