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7 Tyrone P.

Borja

December 11, 2014

8H

Mr. Mikko Ordonez

Medieval Period
Kite Shield
Medieval shields were developed to protect, a knight or soldier from the direct blows
from the weapons of their enemies. These shields were decorated with symbols in order
to recognize the knight, both when they were jousting and on the battlefield. During this
time period, several types of shield emerged, one of which is the Kite Shield.
The Kite Shield evolved from a roughly triangular-shaped Norman shield, Rounded at
the top of the shield and tapered at the bottom providing body cover as chain mail was
the only protection in the early Middle Ages, making this associated with the Normans
pictured in the Bayeaux Tapestry, which shows several images of a shield shaped like
an upside-down water droplet. The longer versions were partnered with spears and
javelins rather than swords. The Norman shield was used for several centuries, due to
its effectiveness at defense, especially for a rider on horseback. The long, narrow shape
easily covered the riders side, and guarded against the lance strikes of any opposing
horsemen.
Over time, this shield turned into the classic medieval shield. The medieval shield
looked like a triangle with two slightly curved sides, and was made out of wood with a
covering of leather, cloth, or parchment. One or both sides were painted to represent
the house of the knight who carried it. This practice became complicated over time, due
to the marriages of different houses and the large number of knights, and turned into an
art all of its own, called Heraldry
The Teardrop Shield was a common type of Kite Shield., however it is broader and
instead of straight tapering sides, it bulges out as it narrows to a point. Its peak of use
was from 800A.D. to 1200 A.D. It was mostly built of wood, partnered with with heavy
linen or leather, and usually weigh 6-12 pounds. Often handeled by Mounted troops,
who did not need shield mobility quite so much, although infantry also took advantage of
their superior coverage.
As always, these objects had advantages and disadvantages. Pros: very good defense,
Protects the upper leg, both mounted and on foot. Excellent for heraldic display.
Appropriate for combat styles from the High Middle Ages. Cons: they were somewhat
heavy. Like the target shield, arm-straps link its maneuverability directly to the
movement of the arm, so it is less functional than a center-grip shield. In addition, its
size also makes it less versatile. More difficult to learn the proper use, as the tendency
to hide behind the shield can be more pronounced.
Sources:
1.) http://www.medieval-life-and-times.info/medieval-swords-and-armor/medievalshields.htm
2) http://www.discoverthemiddleages.com/?q=taxonomy/term/15
3.) http://www.mercwars.com/shieldtypes.shtml