early use of buckler-sized shields

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early use of buckler-sized shields

Postby swordflasher » 10 Apr 2017 00:10

I met some Viking reenactors today, and had a chat. I was left wondering about the use of buckler-sized shields of different kinds before 1:33, and particularly if there is any evidence of Vikings/ migration age use of small shields that might be compared to bucklers.

My motive is entirely shallow - I have an 18" shield with a bar handle across the boss which I'd like to bring along to one of their events, but I am told there are no sources for such a thing..

I'm hoping Herbert will look in on this one. :)
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Re: early use of buckler-sized shields

Postby Herbert » 11 Apr 2017 22:18

Hello!

there is indeed evidence for bucklers in the viking ages and earlier.
At the moment I am a bit short on time, but I will come back to this.

Until then, you will find evidence listed in my Book of the Buckler.

But: 18" is at the upper limit of a buckler. Still…

Best wishes

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Re: early use of buckler-sized shields

Postby swordflasher » 11 Apr 2017 23:01

Thanks Herbert, that's exciting news. I'll look forward to anything you'd like to add when you have more time. I'd guessed warriors and travelers must have carried smaller shields, but never seen any references to this..
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Re: early use of buckler-sized shields

Postby Herbert » 17 Apr 2017 14:27

So, with a bit more time…

There is a picture in the Book of Kells, from around 800, which shows what I would consider a buckler (it is also in my book).
Then there is a depiction of something that could be a buckler or small shield on the golden horn of Gallehus from around 400 A.D.

There are lots of depictions of buckler before the I.33, especially in the 13th cent.

Then there are bucklers mentioned in some sagas, but they are usually later. I have one reference from roughly 1280ies where a buckler is specifically mentioned (Sturlunga Saga).

There is a frieze in Strasbourg from around 1200 that depicts sword an buckler fighters.

Then there is the Bullion Stone, Invergowrie, Angus, Scotland, early 10th century.

There is evidence and personally I am sure that small buckler-like shields and also bucklers were used in the viking area. They might not have been the most common type of shield but they have been in use before and after…

I hope I could help you a bit. If you need more info, please let me know.

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Re: early use of buckler-sized shields

Postby swordflasher » 17 Apr 2017 23:58

Herbert, you are a star!

I'll follow all those leads, thank you.
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