testudo

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testudo in ancient Rome, a screen on wheels and with an arched roof, used to protect besieging troops; a protective screen formed by a body of troops holding their shields above their heads in such a way that the shields overlap. Recorded from late Middle English, the word is Latin, and means literally ‘tortoise’, from testa ‘tile, shell’.

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testudo screen for the protection of armed forces. XVII. L. testūdo lit. ‘tortoise’, f. testa tile, pot, shell.