1(in ancient Rome) a screen on wheels and with an arched roof, used to protect besieging troops.‘It was usually the same men in each testudo as each had to know exactly where he was to be placed.’
- ‘Miles did attempt to make a contribution to operations in Cuba, in the form of a little invention based on the ancient Roman testudo.’
- ‘When the bombardment failed, Salisbury's men built a testudo or "tortoise," a wheeled covered shed under which his men worked battering rams.’
- 1.1A protective screen formed by a body of troops holding their shields above their heads in such a way that the shields overlap.‘The testudo, the tortoise formation, involved raising the scutums into a shell.’
- ‘Roman soldiers used to form a testudo or tortoise, by some putting their shields over their heads and others in front.’
Late Middle English from Latin, literally ‘tortoise’, from testa ‘tile, shell’.
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