Formation Testudo

The Testudo formation is one of the military forms used by the Roman military. Quoting Wikipedia: In the testudo formation, the men would align their shields to form a packed formation covered with shields on the front and top. The first row of men, possibly excluding the men on the flanks, would hold their shields from about the height of their shins to their eyes, so as to cover the formation’s front. The shields would be held in such a way that they presented a shield wall to all sides. The men in the back ranks would place their shields over their heads to protect the formation from above, balancing the shields on their helmets, overlapping them. If necessary, the legionaries on the sides and rear of the formation could stand sideways or backwards with shields held as the front rows, so as to protect the formation’s sides and rear; this reduced the speed and mobility of the formation, but offered consistent defensive strength against opposing infantry and excellent protection against arrows and other missile attacks. .

This formation is relatively popular in movies/TV-series depicting the Roman legions.

We have 3 notes in the database about movies (Non-Asterix, these are below) where it is used by the Romans: Risen, Cleopatra and The Eagle, in addition, this formation also appears in the movie The Legend of Hercules, though it features Greek characters and looks very different than usual (but there is an unequivocal call to form “testudo”).

We also have 3 notes about TV-series with this formation, you could see it in: Spartacus: Blood and Sand, The Borgias and Rome.

In book terms, ambiguous reference can be found in the second (Deadhouse Gates) and third (Memories of Ice) volume of the Malazan Book of the Fallen. There is also a scene with “forming turtle” in Każde martwe marzenie book.

We found this formation also in 6 films about Asterix! It appears in traditional form in Asterix and Cleopatra, Asterix Conquers America, Asterix: The Land of the Gods, Asterix & Obelix Take On Caesar oraz Asterix & Obelix: On Her Majesty’s Service, both traditional and very unsuaual version can be found in the movie Asterix at the Olympic Games.

It can be also been seen in the comics with Asterix.

In our music database, we have one song with some references to Testudo:
OdraedirAsterix and Obelix in Pagan Forest

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