chapter  9
6 Pages

SHIELD CASTLES

Disciplined fighting seems to be as old among Indo-Europeans as are frenzied fighting and single combat,1 albeit the weight given to one or the other shifted over time. Homer’s Iliad speaks of close-knit shield walls and calls close-ordered troops “castles.” Known also to Celtiberians, Dacians, and Germani, such shieldburg are an inherited IndoEuropean battle formation. Called folc or scyldburgh in Anglo-Saxon, fólc in Old Norse, and cuneus in Latin, they were a mainstay of Germanic battle tactics from antiquity to the Middle Ages.2