The iconic shield of the Scottish Highlander, the Targe in conjunction with the basket-hilt sword are among the most celebrated symbols of Scottish resistance and nationalism. The targe has a long history in Scotland, and unlike most shields it was not discarded as firearms began to dominate battlefields. Instead the Scots used them in earnest, for the targe could not only block blade and bayonet, but it could deflect some musket bullets and stop grapeshot in its thick wooden frame. The targe doubled as a weapon, for many had a center boss spike making shield bashing potentially fatal. Many Scots also concealed a dirk in their hand behind the shield to give a grim surprise for an unaware foe. In their 18th century conflicts with England, the Scots would adorn their targes with the red cloth and brass buttons of fallen English soldiers.
This Targe is named after the climactic Battle of Culloden, when the Jacobite rebellion in Scotland was crushed by the English Hanoverian forces. The romantic and daring Highland Charge, which in earlier battles had swept away foes in a rush of tartans and dazzling sword blades, was ended by the powder and lead of disciplined volleys of English Hanoverian musketry. Though the muskets shot many low, a number of brave Scots brought their swords against the bayonets of their foes, and even breached their red-uniformed line in several places. It would not be enough. Though the brash Scots not only lost the battle, but the English victors suppressed Gaelic culture, banning many weapons, tartans and other symbols of Scottish culture.
Although persecuted, the popularity and iconic nature of Scottish culture today is proof that their efforts were utterly futile, and though Culloden may have been a defeat for the Scots, it is remembered as a dramatic closing act to a era, with its ill-fated Highland Charge a testament to the stubborn bravery of the Scottish Clansman.
This Scottish Targe is crafted from wood and overlaid with leather with embossed Celtic design. Its shield boss and numerous studs are of brass. On its reverse it has a back that has been covered with suede leather, with an arm strap and grip of leather. It also has an integrated pocket for a steel spike that is 6 1/4 long. The tip of the shield boss has a removable nut that can be replaced with this steel spike.