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>Late Republic/Early Empire
>Roman Legions are equiped with a large, rectangular shield (scutum) and a shortsword which is closer to a large dagger (gladius)
>The idea is to use the massive shield to stay alive against superior foes while using the gladius to stab at the weakest parts of the foe's armor (usually the stomach and legs)

>Late Empire
>Roman legions have abandoned the scutum for an oval shield, and have replaced the gladius with a longsword called the spatha

Can anyone explain why the Romans did this? The early legion equipment appears to be superior for a well-organized army like the Roman one. The rectangular scuta's are much easier to lock together, making it easier to form either a shieldwall or a testudo depending on the needs of the situation. You can't do that as easily with oval shields as they'll leave gaps at the top and the bottom. As for their swords, wouldn't a shortsword like a gladius be much easier to use in tightly packed formations than a longer weapon with which you risk harming your fellow soldiers?

I'm obviously overlooking something, the Romans weren't stupid so they wouldn't replace something that works with something inferior. So can anyone explain why the transformation from the early legions to the late legions happened?

>Inb4 not /tg/
Don't tell me you've never played the most patrician of all games: Scuta et Senatori.