Shield showing the Storming of New Carthage
Attributed to Girolamo di Tommaso da Treviso, Italian, born c. 1497, died 1544
This shield was made to be used in grand ceremonies. The decoration on the exterior, based on a design by the painter Giulio Romano (1492/99–1546), depicts the storming of New Carthage (209 BCE), Spain—an important episode of the Second Punic War (218 to 201 BCE) and a great victory of the Roman general Publius Cornelius Scipio (237–183 BCE). The decoration suggests a historical parallel between Scipio’s military achievements, many of which occurred in Africa, and the more recent victories of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (ruled 1519 to 1556), who was returning in 1535 from a successful military campaign against Muslim pirates in northern Africa. The shield was probably commissioned for one of the ceremonies that were being held throughout Italy to welcome Emperor Charles V in triumph.