The shield that was said to have fallen from heaven in the reign of Numa Pompilius (hence, caelestia arma), and on the preservation of which the prosperity of Rome was declared to depend; whereupon Numa caused eleven others exactly like it to be made by the artist Mamurius Veturius, so that if the genuine one was lost, the fact could not be known. These shields were carefully preserved by the Salian priests in the temple of Mars, and every year in March carried about in solemn procession (ancilia movere), and then returned to their place (ancilia condere).



  • Livy. The History of Rome i, 20, 4; Epitome, 68.
  • Lucillus. Satires ix, 36.
  • Ovid. Fasti iii, 373 ff.
  • Suetonius. Otho, viii, 3.

This article incorporates text from A Latin Dictionary (1879) by Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short, which is in the public domain.