Earliest reference for buckler

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Earliest reference for buckler

Postby Herbert » 02 Dec 2012 10:16

My dear fellow swordsman and -women,

I am still looking for early references of bucklers. Do you know any that are before 1250?
After that it is relatively easy, especially the more you get to 1300 the more sources there are.

But I am after the very early ones.

Thanks a lot!

Herbert
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Re: Earliest reference for buckler

Postby Chris Thompson » 03 Dec 2012 18:55

Agricola refers to the "small shields" used by the Caledonians at Mons Graupius. Pictish stone carvings show what appear to be bucklers, and one image on a margin of (I think) the Book of Kells shows an Irish spearman with a buckler.
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Re: Earliest reference for buckler

Postby Herbert » 04 Dec 2012 07:42

Chris Thompson wrote:Agricola refers to the "small shields" used by the Caledonians at Mons Graupius. Pictish stone carvings show what appear to be bucklers, and one image on a margin of (I think) the Book of Kells shows an Irish spearman with a buckler.

Thanks for your input. I am aware of the Book of Kells but is this really a buckler or just a small round shield. I have been wondering myself about that for quite some time. You know, one sees what one is looking for. So I have to be cautious not to see bucklers everywhere.

Are these "small shields" of the Caledonians described anywhere or are there any surviving examples? I need to know wether they are centre gripped or not. Otherwise they would rather be early targes and not bucklers. That is the tricky part. Usually the back is not shown - unfortunately.

Thank you very much!

Herbert
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Re: Earliest reference for buckler

Postby admin » 04 Dec 2012 09:35

I suppose the first thing you have to do is define what you mean by 'buckler' in this case? One of the oldest surviving bucklers I have seen is constructed just like a small 'dark age' shield, with an iron boss and wooden planks (and it is 13th/14th century - in the Museum of London).
http://www.antique-swords.co.uk/

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Re: Earliest reference for buckler

Postby Herbert » 04 Dec 2012 11:16

At the moment I would describe a buckler as a small shield (max. diameter of 40cm) in various shapes that has a centre grip.

In my opinion the thing that really is a defining element it the centre grip. Anything that is used with other means of gripping is a different type of shield.

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Re: Earliest reference for buckler

Postby admin » 04 Dec 2012 14:22

The problem with this definition is that there is quite a bit of evidence that little shields were used in the 'dark ages'. And of course all shields then, pretty much, were centre/boss-gripped.
http://www.antique-swords.co.uk/

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Re: Earliest reference for buckler

Postby Herbert » 04 Dec 2012 14:27

admin wrote:The problem with this definition is that there is quite a bit of evidence that little shields were used in the 'dark ages'. And of course all shields then, pretty much, were centre/boss-gripped.

Wouldn't that make them bucklers? I have hints that bucklers were also used by the Romans.
Do you see the term "buckler" linked to a certain time frame or to a certain design?

Do you have any reference for these little shields of the "dark ages"?

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Re: Earliest reference for buckler

Postby admin » 04 Dec 2012 15:35

Not easily to hand, no, since I left the dark ages behind when I finished university. I seem to recall that besides examples in art (where you can argue about the size) there are some pretty small shield rims found in some migration era graves. Maybe this book gives some leads:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Anglo-Saxon ... 0752425293
http://www.antique-swords.co.uk/

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Re: Earliest reference for buckler

Postby Sean M » 04 Dec 2012 19:22

Richard Underwood in The Cutting Edge cites Dickinson and Härke, Early Anglo-Saxon Shields (1992) ISBN 978-0854312603 for an Anglo-Saxon shield 34 cm in diameter. Obviously interpreting grave finds is dangerous ...
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Re: Earliest reference for buckler

Postby admin » 05 Dec 2012 12:02

Yep, I know one guy who slipped and got his pinky finger skewered right through.
http://www.antique-swords.co.uk/

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