Nursery Rhymes

Pavise Shield

Medieval life and Times

Definition of Pavise Shield
The Pavise were used as 'Wall Shields on battlefields. They were long enough to stand upright on the ground and provide cover for the men-at-arms, especially the crossbow men. The Pavise was therefore the name given to the shields used by the Crossbow men. The word 'pavise' originates from Pavia, in Italy, where pavise shields were originally made. 

The Archers Medieval Shields - The Pavise
On the battlefield the English Medieval crossbowman was particularly vulnerable when he was reloading his crossbow. Crossbowmen therefore protected themselves with a tall shield which was known as a pavise. The crossbowman would duck behind the pavise to re-load his crossbow during a battle.

Medieval Archer

Description of the Pavise Shield
The pavise was a a large convex shield, measuring 4 to 5 ft. high and broad enough to cover the entire body.  A pavise  shield would be carried slung on the back of the crossbowman. These shields were  then propped up in front of them, in a permanent position, before the Medieval battle commenced. The pavise shields of the crossbowman could also be used as defensive screen formed by linking pavise shields together. Such a defensive screen was known as a 'Pavisade'. These shields were also known as Wall Shields.


Pavise Shield Decorations
The Medieval times of the Middle Ages was strongly religious. English Crossbowman would have fought in crusades, as well as battles in England. Many Pavise shields were therefore painted with religious scenes. The crossbow archers hoped that the enemy would believe that they were committing a sacrilegious act if the Holy images on the shields were damaged.

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