"Lowland" targe shield, were there any?

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
5,033
Australia
The targe is the large version. The smaller shield carried Scots is properly called "target", which literally means "little targe". Froissart describes one knight being carried off the field on a targe so they had to be fairly substantial shields.
 
Nov 2019
49
Oregon
I've been not a few times in Scotland. In the Highlands and in the noble Aberdeenshire [where there are the territories of the Queen]. But I was there for the Megalithic sites.

Anyway I had the impression that the Roman presence in the Lowlands has a bit distorted the perspective of those regions [Romans temporary settled even in Aberdeenshire ... and more North ...]. I wouldn't see a clear separation among Highlands and Lowlands. Actually also geographically it's not that easy to put a border [I ignore if you are familiar with Scotland].
Good point (s). I think the differences were pretty obvious in the 17th-18th century though , they also could have been exaggerated by those pushing for conflict.

Do you happen to know of any books that specifically cover the Roman influence in the lowlands? I am very interested in learning more on that.
 
  • Like
Reactions: kingbubbaI

PADDYBOY

Historum Emeritas
Jan 2007
6,520
Scotland
Scotland isn't my specialty, but I strongly suspect that Highland targes derived from targes and targets that were in use in England and elsewhere in the 16th century. Many parts of Europe used sword-and-shield men in various ways. Presumably Scotland just hung on to the fashion after it was outdated elsewhere, not an unknown thing in Scotland. So while there were probably "Lowland targes" in the 16th century, I doubt you'd see an equivalent in the 18th. I'd be a little leery of terms like "phased out", since that implies a deliberate action when we could simply be discussing shifts in fashion.

Oh, and tribal people at Mons Graupius were not Picts but Caledonians, and they did not have 2-handed swords. I only know of one medieval Pictish stone showing a battle scene, and one of the warriors is using a spear 2-handed, but it doesn't tell us much about formations, etc.

Matthew

Picti and Caledonians are the same people. Caledonians is what they call themselves and the Romans initially referred to all Northern tribes as Caledonians. The Romans later called them the Picti possibly because they still painted themselves. Something the Romano Britons had ceased to do.
 
  • Like
Reactions: kingbubbaI
Nov 2019
49
Oregon
The targe is the large version. The smaller shield carried Scots is properly called "target", which literally means "little targe". Froissart describes one knight being carried off the field on a targe so they had to be fairly substantial shields.
That is interesting, ive heard they were different but I always assumed it was just a translational thing. The English shield came from the targa though, correct? Which is similar in size to the scottish shield...the terminology seems all over the place, tbh. Lol
 
Apr 2018
282
USA
That is interesting, ive heard they were different but I always assumed it was just a translational thing. The English shield came from the targa though, correct? Which is similar in size to the scottish shield...the terminology seems all over the place, tbh. Lol
the problem is that a lot of people in england and scotland back then didn't actually speak french. They weren't super great at consistent spelling either.

At Pinkie cleugh in 1547 the scottish pikemen were described as carrying some type of buckler or target on their left which would have been primarily lowlanders. The anglo-scot boarders/boarder rievers during the 16th century seem to have often carried shields, however i think they became less common as they replaced their mail with cuirasses and replaced their spears with pistols/arquebuses.

John Derrickes illustrations show the boarders fighting in ireland with shields slung over their backs or, interestingly, slung over their chests in combat instead of worn on their arm.

 
  • Like
Reactions: Oregonian89
Nov 2019
49
Oregon

So I was way wrong. The Scottish targe supposedly came to Scotland around the 12th century.
 

Matthew Amt

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,011
MD, USA

So I was way wrong. The Scottish targe supposedly came to Scotland around the 12th century.
Well, that article doesn't show much evidence. Sure, there were round shields in use in Scotland as far back as the Bronze Age, and various round shields show up here and there all through the middle ages. But I don't think any of them would look like what we would call a "Scottish targe" until the Renaissance.

Matthew
 
Nov 2019
49
Oregon
Well, that article doesn't show much evidence. Sure, there were round shields in use in Scotland as far back as the Bronze Age, and various round shields show up here and there all through the middle ages. But I don't think any of them would look like what we would call a "Scottish targe" until the Renaissance.

Matthew
Fair enough and good point. The article listed a guy whos name ive heard several times in historical discussions so I assumed it was legit.

Ive always heard the targe described as a light weight wooden shield with a center grip that straps to your arm. The shield is bigger than a buckler but smaller than a full sized medieval shield but it should be big enough to cover your forearm . It usually has metal studs (forget exactly what they are called) to help in deflecting blows.

Theres also a myth that targes were used to deflect musket balls but I am skeptical of this claim.

I ran across this thread here Effectiveness of shields against muskets?

Pretty informative read.