Jump to content

Rectangular Ptolemaic Shields

Recommended Posts

  • 4 weeks later...
On 1/6/2020 at 1:20 PM, Nescio said:

@Sundiata, you know I don't necessarily disagree with you. What I'm fundamentally saying is be careful and critical (as the approach should be towards all sources). If something appears in 2nd C BC Egypt or later then it doesn't automatically mean it's an Egyptian innovation; it could easily be the result of Roman, Celtic, Macedonian, Persian, Kushite, etc. influence.

But I never said, or insinuated that these shields must have been invented by the Ptolemies. I'm honestly not that interested in who invented them. What I'm interested in is that the Ptolemies used them, making them a valuable art reference for Ptolemaic units.

I agree with being cautious about sources, but,

On 6/13/2020 at 12:12 PM, Nescio said:

To clarify, I'm neither against nor in favour of giving Ptolemaic units in 0 A.D. those rectangular shields. I simply don't know, I'm not an archaeologist. My point is the mosaic on its own is not a reliable depiction of Ptolemaic Egypt (though it could be used to support what is known from Ptolemaic sources, if any)

This keeps coming up. But in my opening post I said:

On 1/5/2020 at 3:03 PM, Sundiata said:

I noticed that Ptolemies used pretty unique looking, curved rectangular shields alongside the more traditional types. 

I first noticed them in the Palestrina Nile Mosaic from Italy, quite a while ago, but didn't know what to make of them. Now I've come across enough examples, including local Egyptian sources to feel relatively confident in my suggestion. 

Which I followed by providing 4 primary Egyptian sources in the form of terracottas depicting rectangular shields, now followed by a 5th marvelous example shared by Genava55. In hindsight I realize that I didn't provide the links to their original sources, which I should have done. I guess I thought people would just reverse image search them if they needed to. 

The Palestrina Mosaic was simply what alerted me to the possible existence of such shields, which made me dig deeper. It's the primary Egyptian sources that convinced me, which also add weight to the probable accuracy of those shields in the Palestrina Mosaic. So, to date, we've found 6 independent period sources supporting each other that those shields were in fact a thing. 

Today, I still stand by my opening post:

"In order to distinguish Hellenistic units between the various Hellenistic factions, it's nice to include those little details that are unique to each faction.

I noticed that Ptolemies used pretty unique looking, [small] curved rectangular shields alongside the more traditional types."


On 6/12/2020 at 12:53 PM, LordGood said:


LordGood doesn't disappoint! I love it man! I vote yes! It's historical. It's unique! A few of these will help distinguish Ptolemaic units from other Hellenistic units, without resorting to historical fantasies or misinterpretations. I think it's great :) I think he should even be able rank up with chainmail, as per Genava's latest reference. 

Also, how come Ptolemies don't have Machimoi in their roster? Or do they just have another name? 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites



Probable reconstruction of a Machimos of the late Ptolemaic army (c. mid 1st century BCE). This reconstruction is based both on an original terracotta fragment and on another reconstruction itself based on the fragment (Nick Sekunda, Seleucid and Ptolemaic Reformed Armies 168-145 BC - 2 - The Ptolemaic Army, Montvert Publications, 1995, figg. 95 and 96 respectively).


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

 Something that needs discussing is; if y'all do decide to give the Ptolemaics this shield, which unit would get it?  They have very little Egyptian influence in their roster, and the most Egyptian unit is just a lower tier Hellenic unit.  A possible re-construction of the Ptolemaic roster based on cheap Machimoi units early game with a more powerful hellenic units mid and late game would definitely be interesting, and I would totally help construct that, but that's probably a debate for another thread.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 6 months later...
On 27/7/2020 at 8:51 AM, Phalanx said:

Something that needs discussing is; if y'all do decide to give the Ptolemaics this shield, which unit would get it?

To be fair, the boxshields can be equipped to the thureos skirmisher and spearman (both basic rank, maybe advanced), and the basic Macedonian settler cavalry (actor is still the same as the Thessalian or Seleucid Companion cavalry lancers). That way, the xyston is out, consistent with the advanced and elite (mercenary) cavalry spearman.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...