mid-3rd century A.D.
Yale-French Excavations at Dura-Europos
Found flattened and in thirteen pieces, this shield was reconstructed by the excavation team. Although much of the resulting object is modern, it remains an important example of the classic semi-cylindrical shield known as a scutum, used by Roman legionaries and known from literary sources; no other examples outside Dura-Europos have been found. The painted decoration reflects Roman victory iconography, including an eagle with a laurel wreath, winged victories bearing additional wreaths, and a lion. When discovered the shield was missing its central boss (umbo). All the armor found within Tower 19, located midway along the western wall, seems to have been awaiting repair when the site was destroyed.
This object is on view at the gallery.
Michael I. Rostovtzeff, Dura-Europos and Its Art, 1st (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1938), 4, pl. 3:1, ill.
Clark Hopkins, The Discovery of Dura-Europos, ed. Bernard Goldman (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1979), 187, ill.
Alan Shestack, ed., Yale University Art Gallery Selections (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1983), 1617, ill.
Handbook of the Collections (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1992), 273, ill.
Simon T. James, The Excavations at Dura-Europos,1928 to 1937: Final Report VII, 7 (London: The British Museum Press, 2004), xxix 18283, no. 629, pl. 10, fig. 106, 107.
Lisa R. Brody and Gail Hoffman, eds., Dura-Europos: Crossroads of Antiquity, exh. cat. (Boston: McMullen Museum of Art, 2011), 325, pl. 5, fig. 2.2, 2.5.
Jennifer Chi and Sebastian Heath, eds., Edge of Empires: Pagans, Jews, and Christians at Roman Dura-Europos, exh. cat. (New York: Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, 2011), 40, 56, no. 5, ill. cover detail , fig. 230.
Simon T. James, Rome and the Sword: How Warriors and Weapons Shaped Roman Histoy (London: Thames and Hudson, 2011), 136, ill.
Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery's complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.