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Thread: Question about the silver shields .

  1. #1

    Default Question about the silver shields .

    Where there shields actually covered with silver or where they just covered in shined iron ?


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  2. #2

    Default Re: Question about the silver shields .

    Off-hand, I think they were covered with a sheet of silver maybe, over normal iron or whatever they would've used.

  3. #3
    Krusader's Nemesis Member abou's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about the silver shields .

    To be honest, we don't really know. As no surviving examples exist we can only guess. It would most likely just be polished iron, but silver on top of bronze or iron is a possibility

  4. #4

    Default Re: Question about the silver shields .

    First time they were used (chronologically) was when the 8.000 or so reinforcements came from Makedonia to the troops already waging war in Soghdiana and Baktria. Along with them came new "silver" shields, according to Arrian. I am pretty certain they were bronze, silver guilded small aegis/aspis NOT HOPLON shields (pike phallanxes used a smaller variety of the classical hoplites' aspis shield), a very small layer of silver on top of a wooden shield with a brozen outer layer. (silver was IN ABUNDANCE after the burning and consequent looting of Persepolis and its massive stores).

    Ancient Hellenic armies, relied AS MUCH on making their opponents fear them as well as their tight ranks with aspis shields and over hand spears thrusting everything which was exposed.

    silver shields had ONE basic goal. Blinding the enemy coming towards the phallanx by reflecting sunlight on the assault forces' eyes. As most attackers (especially mounted ones) tended to attack the stationary phallanx with the sun at their backs, this tactic helped the phallanx confuse a bit the enemy formation and upset their order of battle a bit.


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    Default Re: Question about the silver shields .

    It's worth noting that silvering or tinning of armour was not uncommon in the ancient world.

    It may well have been standard practice with Iron helms in the Roman army and even with Lorica Segmentata in it's earlier forms. In any case, the idea that the senior members of the Successor phalanx had shields at least washed in sliver is certainly believeable. Tin is another posibility, though that might beg the question of weather the tin was simply better used to make bronze for arms and armour.

    Fun fact: In the ancient world Tin was only available in two places, Afganistan and Cornwall, and the Greeks definately traded with the Cornish.
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    Megas Alexandros's heir Member Spoofa's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about the silver shields .

    How do you make bronze without tin? and sailing a ship so far seems like going to pretty far lengths

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    EB Token Radical Member QwertyMIDX's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about the silver shields .

    Quote Originally Posted by MastaSpoofa
    How do you make bronze without tin?
    You pretty much don't. Copper + Tin = Bronze. Although you can copper alloys with other elements like aluminum or manganese I don't think that was common practice in the ancient world.

    Anyway, Phonecian traders used to make the trip to the 'Tin Isles' and the general down river trade through Gaul of Tin that had come across the channel also worked.
    Last edited by QwertyMIDX; 07-22-2007 at 00:50.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Question about the silver shields .

    Qwerty isn't there a metric ****ton of both metals down where Saba is ? And before you say anything I'm just saying cause of the flavor text for the sabean nobles .(The mention of bronze being more common for mail)


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    Default Re: Question about the silver shields .

    Not tin, copper is (relatively) common but tin is only available in those two places. Even in the Mycenaean Age there is evidence of the Greeks trading with Britain, collapse of the trade networks was what caused the arival of the Iron Age.
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    Default Re: Question about the silver shields .

    Did the Egyptians procure their Tin also from Cornwall? As I'm fairly sure they used bronze weapons, but I never heard of Egyptian tradevessels going as far as Britain. Or did they simply trade with Minoans, Phoenicians, whoever went there?

  11. #11

    Default Re: Question about the silver shields .

    Well, to some extent you can compare the Silk trade with the Tin trade. Somewhere it's made, and it passes on from merchant to merchant till it reaches it's final destination. Also, it is not impossible that the Egyptians would have simply bought Bronze.
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    Default Re: Question about the silver shields .

    I think there were smaller tin mines in other countries, too, like in Anatolia, where archaeologists found a mine or on the Iberian peninsula.

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    Default Re: Question about the silver shields .

    Oh I'm not saying they're the only places but at the end of the day Afganistan and Cornwall are only places with enough to support the Bronze-Age econamies. It's worth noting that the Naue II type sword is the type upon which all further swords in Europe and the Near East are based, it appears everywhere from Denmark, to Britain, to Egypt, to Greece.

    Before 1,100 BC the ancient trade networks were extensive.
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    EB Token Radical Member QwertyMIDX's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about the silver shields .

    Quote Originally Posted by russia almighty
    Qwerty isn't there a metric ****ton of both metals down where Saba is ? And before you say anything I'm just saying cause of the flavor text for the sabean nobles .(The mention of bronze being more common for mail)
    Just copper, there was a lot in modern Oman. Tin mostly had to be imported, most of probably from Afganistan via India or from Cornwall via the Mediterranean-Tin Isle routes and then down the spice route.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Question about the silver shields .

    Regardless why at the start of EB , well into the Iron age is Bronze still being used heavily ?
    Last edited by russia almighty; 07-22-2007 at 19:35.


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    Krusader's Nemesis Member abou's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about the silver shields .

    Because smithing techniques were not advanced enough to produce quality iron/steel. If you can produce bronze that is still excellent, but only mediocre steel there is no incentive to change. Same reasoning for why there are many clubs used in Germany during our time frame - they work just as well as many other weapons, but are cheap and easy to make as all you need is a tree, some tools, and fire to harden the wood.

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    Default Re: Question about the silver shields .

    Bronze also wears better, iron armour needs to be tinned or silvered to be weather proof, by constrast bronze tends to go a convenient green.
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  18. #18

    Default Re: Question about the silver shields .

    Good ironsmiths were some of the most sought after artisans in the whole antiquity.
    Just think about the iberians, they had access to some of the best iron around and developed such skillful techniques that romans tried to hire them en masse to re-equip their armies...
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  19. #19
    EB Token Radical Member QwertyMIDX's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about the silver shields .

    Quote Originally Posted by russia almighty
    Regardless why at the start of EB , well into the Iron age is Bronze still being used heavily ?
    Because Bronze is actually a much better metal than wrought iron and quality iron with steel like qualities was pretty rare. The main reason iron caught on wasn't because it was better, but because in the late bronze age the trade links broke down and people couldn't get the need materials (mostly tin, copper was easier to get normally) to make bronze. Iron was known and produced through most of the bronze age, the process is actually easier in a lot of ways, iron not being an alloy. Further, Bronze was often more popular for armor in the east because it was a bit better at not overheating the user and surviving weathering and metal fatigue (in fact its better than steel in all those categories). Also, while quality steel is lighter than bronze, bronze is lighter than the more common simple or wrought iron from which armor was often made (steel-like iron being so rare, it tended to be reserved for weapons).
    Last edited by QwertyMIDX; 07-23-2007 at 00:10.
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Question about the silver shields .

    The victory of the iron was only due to availability and (therefore) cheapness, as is said before. With the iron the mass battles and total wars of the ancient world became possible.

    Iron weapons are said to hold a sharp edge a little longer than bronze ones. For armour the iron normally used has no advantages compared to bronze (or other copper alloys). Hardened steel like in the 15th c. AD is not found for armour, as far as I know, although a lot of ancient swords were made from "steel".

    The Greeks seemed to have had some difficulties to produce big thin sheets of iron. Strangely the Mediterranean east had not the advanced techniques of iron working of f.e. the Celts. Some iron cuirasses are mentioned/found for the late 4th c. BC but were not common. Therefore I think the shields were not covered with iron (happy rusting also) but with silver or a very bright copper alloy mixture instead.
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    EB Token Radical Member QwertyMIDX's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about the silver shields .

    They were likely silvered or tinned over top normal bronze construction. Silvering/tinning equipment was fairly common (especially on iron to prevent corrosion).
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: Question about the silver shields .

    Hay Mike, notice how we're repeating each other?

    Another point, such metal shields were cast rather than beatan and cast iron is a no-no for anything other than pots.
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  23. #23
    EB TRIBVNVS PLEBIS Member MarcusAureliusAntoninus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about the silver shields .

    I didn't think the West had the ability to cast iron at this point in time...


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