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How effective were scrutums in combat?

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  • How effective were scrutums in combat?

    What it says.

  • #2
    There's a problem with "what it says"; do you mean scrotums, or scutums? Scrotums are handy for holding your nuts in place, but are easily penetrated, their only quality in offence occurs if left unwashed for an extended period of time and exposed. Scutums provided the ancient Romans with extended protection but were awkward and prone to being pierced by direct thrusts.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by Marmat View Post
      There's a problem with "what it says"; do you mean scrotums, or scutums? Scrotums are handy for holding your nuts in place, but are easily penetrated, their only quality in offence occurs if left unwashed for an extended period of time and exposed. Scutums provided the ancient Romans with extended protection but were awkward and prone to being pierced by direct thrusts.
      Scrotums make excellent tobacco pouches

      Which may. Cause a low POW rate....

      The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

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      • #4
        Scrutums might be a pet name for a sugar daddy

        A Scutum apparently was meant for protection against missile not edged weapons. Against rocks, sling shots etc it probably functioned as well as a modern police riot shield. Against muscle powered projectiles like javelins, arrows from short bows etc t seems to have slowed them down enough see Cassius Scaevahis who with his "shield bored through [with arrows] in a hundred and twenty places" according to Suetonius, at the battle of Dyrrachium was still on his feet and fighting. Against the longbow and the cross bow not so good but when did the Roman army have to face the longbow and the cross bow?
        Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
        Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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        • #5
          Scutums appear to be successful against enemy infantry, but as the nature of their enemies changed, to include a greater proportion of cavalry, the Scutum began to disappear, along with pilum and gladius, to be replaced with an more circular shield, more useful for spearmen.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
            Scutums appear to be successful against enemy infantry, but as the nature of their enemies changed, to include a greater proportion of cavalry, the Scutum began to disappear, along with pilum and gladius, to be replaced with an more circular shield, more useful for spearmen.
            I have always thought that the Scutum, like the Hoplon/Aspis, was used by tight, highly disciplined formations, rather than looser units. The discipline driving the formation, and hence the equipment, if you couldn't trust the man beside you to stand firm, you opted for something more easily wielded.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Chukka View Post

              I have always thought that the Scutum, like the Hoplon/Aspis, was used by tight, highly disciplined formations, rather than looser units. The discipline driving the formation, and hence the equipment, if you couldn't trust the man beside you to stand firm, you opted for something more easily wielded.
              I believe a more circular shield is more conducive to spear formations.



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              • #8
                Heh... yeah, the singular is scutum of course, but the plural is scuta. Neuter word. Sorry for being so fussy.

                It was generally very effective against the most commonly encountered enemy weapons. MarkV makes some good points above as to missile weapons. To face melee weapons, too, it's better to wield the later version of the scutum, the one having a rim reinforced with metal.
                Michele

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                • #9
                  We should not overlook the fact that the scutum could also be used offensively. If shoved hard against an unarmoured opponent the big boss on the central metal plate could shatter a rib cage.
                  Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                  Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                    We should not overlook the fact that the scutum could also be used offensively. If shoved hard against an unarmoured opponent the big boss on the central metal plate could shatter a rib cage.
                    I'm not sure that most people can generate enough force to do this reliably in a battleline. If they could, the shield walls would have been much less effective.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 82redleg View Post

                      I'm not sure that most people can generate enough force to do this reliably in a battleline. If they could, the shield walls would have been much less effective.
                      I always thought that when scutum was used as a thrusting weapon, as Mark V suggested back there, it wasn't so much to directly cause injury, but to upset the enemy's balance: when off balance, thrust the gladius into his exposed mid-section, or something to that effect.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by slick_miester View Post

                        I always thought that when scutum was used as a thrusting weapon, as Mark V suggested back there, it wasn't so much to directly cause injury, but to upset the enemy's balance: when off balance, thrust the gladius into his exposed mid-section, or something to that effect.
                        Sure, that makes sense. I'm a pretty big dude, but I don't think I could "shatter a rib cage" with a shield that is light enough to be usable in a fight. Upset balance? Sure, easily.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 82redleg View Post

                          Sure, that makes sense. I'm a pretty big dude, but I don't think I could "shatter a rib cage" with a shield that is light enough to be usable in a fight. Upset balance? Sure, easily.
                          I bet if your life was on the line, you could marshal enough energy to make your opponent uncomfortable.
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                          • #14
                            People like to refer to Roman mythology about Large, Tall and Burly Barbarians. Once you got past the first line I bet you found a lot of weedy little fellows that were there to thicken up the Barbarian "Horde". The Roman Auxiliary Infantry did not use the same scutum as the Legions did.

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                            • #15
                              I have a pair of attack scrotums that never ran from a battle.
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