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idole en écusson

English translation: shield ido

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11:04 Apr 2, 2008
French to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Archaeology / Prehistory
French term or phrase: idole en écusson
Description of a slab in a menhir

"La forme en ogive de cette dalle et l’encadrement matérialisé par un ressaut de la sculpture permettent de la ranger dans la catégorie des idoles en écusson, motif répandu dans la région."

see here:http://www.bretagne-celtic.com/photos/megalithe_pierresplate...
Eutychus
Local time: 09:02
English translation:shield ido
Explanation:
Found at the site below (see link and illustration)

Shields (Figure 5)

Original shields from the Copper and Early Bronze Age are more or less unknown. However, rock art of Italy and Spain shows a great number which provides an idea of what it looked like. A lot of them can be seen in Luine (Valcamonica) (Anati 1982, figs. 144-146) and in Northern Spain (e.g. Idolo de Peña Tu: Hernández Pacheco et al. 1914, see also: Almagro Basch 1972, Bueno Ramirez 1990, Bueno Ramirez, Balbin Behrmann 1992, Züchner 1998). They are always of the same type. Surprisingly, there are none of them among the thousands of weapons of Mont Bégo, at least if they are not meant by some simple rectangle. The usual form of the shields of these periods seems to have been rectangular, often with a rounded or semicircle-shaped upper edge. Sometimes eyes, eyebrows and a nose give them a human appearance. The shield and the protecting deity merge into one entity so that an identification to be find in the literature as shield as well as idol may well be justified (Züchner 1998).

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Note added at 18 mins (2008-04-02 11:23:29 GMT)
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Sorry for the typo. It should read "shield idol"
Selected response from:

cchat
Grading comment
Thanks for the level of debate! I kept being convinced by each answer in turn!
I agree with fourth that "buckler" seems to be the academic word for "écusson" in this context and with bourth and others that it appears to be an anachronism even if it has become the accepted term in archeological circles.

However, as nadia ayoub's link to Gavrinis shows (as do many others but this is very near to my context), "shield" seems to be accepted in common usage, and I think I prefer "shield idol" to "buckler idol".

Moreover, my translation here is destined for a free tourist guide and not an academic work, so I think this is good enough. You can all go to Locmariaquer and complain otherwise!

Finally, I'm no expert in this field, but there seems to be absolutely no consensus about what these things were for, whether they are anthropomorphic (and Christopher Crockett, I don't think idols have to be) objects of worship, or what - though, as cchat's link and the Wikipedia article on "buckler" suggest, 'shields' seem to have played a role in worship.

PS: I've not entered it into the glossary since I think it's preferable to direct subsequent seekers to the debate.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +2shield idocchat
4 +1buckler motif
fourth
5anthropomorphic shield motif
Nadia Ayoub
3 +1idol in the form of a buckler (or escutcheon) motif
Christopher Crockett
3 +1escutcheon idolAlain Pommet
4stelaeliz askew
2 -1appears to bexxxBourth
3 -2Idol on a nameplate
Gad Kohenov


  

Answers


14 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): -2
Idol on a nameplate


Explanation:
I think this is it.

Gad Kohenov
Israel
Local time: 10:02
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench, Native in HebrewHebrew

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  liz askew: This is not the name of the actual structure. Look at the askers's ref and you will see.
8 mins

neutral  Christopher Crockett: Well, it may be an "idol," but in the form of a "buckler motif" on a "stele."
1 hr

disagree  B D Finch: "Nameplate" is just a wee bit of an anachronism.
2 hrs

neutral  fourth: It's not an idol and it's not a nameplate, Desertfox, otherwise you know I will support you on all occasions!
3 hrs
  -> No offence taken. A difficult questin.
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18 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
shield ido


Explanation:
Found at the site below (see link and illustration)

Shields (Figure 5)

Original shields from the Copper and Early Bronze Age are more or less unknown. However, rock art of Italy and Spain shows a great number which provides an idea of what it looked like. A lot of them can be seen in Luine (Valcamonica) (Anati 1982, figs. 144-146) and in Northern Spain (e.g. Idolo de Peña Tu: Hernández Pacheco et al. 1914, see also: Almagro Basch 1972, Bueno Ramirez 1990, Bueno Ramirez, Balbin Behrmann 1992, Züchner 1998). They are always of the same type. Surprisingly, there are none of them among the thousands of weapons of Mont Bégo, at least if they are not meant by some simple rectangle. The usual form of the shields of these periods seems to have been rectangular, often with a rounded or semicircle-shaped upper edge. Sometimes eyes, eyebrows and a nose give them a human appearance. The shield and the protecting deity merge into one entity so that an identification to be find in the literature as shield as well as idol may well be justified (Züchner 1998).

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Note added at 18 mins (2008-04-02 11:23:29 GMT)
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Sorry for the typo. It should read "shield idol"


    Reference: http://www.uf.uni-erlangen.de/felskunst/rockarch.html
cchat
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 21
Grading comment
Thanks for the level of debate! I kept being convinced by each answer in turn!
I agree with fourth that "buckler" seems to be the academic word for "écusson" in this context and with bourth and others that it appears to be an anachronism even if it has become the accepted term in archeological circles.

However, as nadia ayoub's link to Gavrinis shows (as do many others but this is very near to my context), "shield" seems to be accepted in common usage, and I think I prefer "shield idol" to "buckler idol".

Moreover, my translation here is destined for a free tourist guide and not an academic work, so I think this is good enough. You can all go to Locmariaquer and complain otherwise!

Finally, I'm no expert in this field, but there seems to be absolutely no consensus about what these things were for, whether they are anthropomorphic (and Christopher Crockett, I don't think idols have to be) objects of worship, or what - though, as cchat's link and the Wikipedia article on "buckler" suggest, 'shields' seem to have played a role in worship.

PS: I've not entered it into the glossary since I think it's preferable to direct subsequent seekers to the debate.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  liz askew: http://66.102.9.104/search?q=cache:nZ-jebDU1y4J:www.chalain....
2 hrs
  -> thanks

agree  xxxBourth: That's what I plump for, but it's all very stylistic and there's a lot of debate. Irrespective of what the patterns are supposed to be, "shield" seems to be a widely accepted term.
6 hrs
  -> thanks
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51 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
buckler motif


Explanation:
Having looked at Locmarinquer, and seen upright patterned stones then foundWWW.rupestre.fr/Page93/assets/
and "l'art mégalithique en France, récents développements" Page 689 plus.
This has the benefit of being in French and English side by side and should be useful translation source

fourth
France
Local time: 09:02
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Emma Paulay: I don't feel qualified to agree, but I think you may be right : http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1468-0092.0...
24 mins
  -> Go on . It's Right! See below

agree  Christopher Crockett: This does seem to be the most common technical term used in the field, but I don't care for it, "buckler" not being common in USspeak. Note that your http://www.rupestre.fr/Page93/assets/ link is dead.
59 mins
  -> Try just putting in "idole en écusson english" that should do it. "Buckler "ain't common in no speak! It's an uncommon article!
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
anthropomorphic shield motif


Explanation:
See site below. Caption under the picture in the middle: "A decorated slab within the passage; note the anthropomorphic "shield" motif on top". And text under title "The Passage and its Art": "A common horn-like motif may symbolise cattle, a shape conventionally called the shield may be a very stylised human figure".


    Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gavrinis
Nadia Ayoub
Egypt
Local time: 09:02
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Arabic

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Christopher Crockett: This is good, *if* one accepts the interpetation of these "escutcheons" as "stylised human figures." Which may not be the case, universally, within the field.
15 mins
  -> Thanks Christopher.

disagree  liz askew: It is not the motif, but rather the actual "shield".
1 hr

neutral  fourth: The motif is the thing and it is not a "shield" motif!
2 hrs
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
escutcheon idol


Explanation:
This is a translation - another option.

l’idole en écusson rassemble un monde en miniature.
the escutcheon idol a world in miniature.

http://www.revues-gallia.cnrs.fr/Gallia/FMPro?-db=galliaref....

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Note added at 3 hrs (2008-04-02 14:13:24 GMT)
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To Liz: I know it's a translation, I 've stated that already - but then so are all the other suggestions including your own. Presumably the asker is looking for the most erudite/appropriate one. If you can find examples of this type of carving in a place outside of the Morbihan region of Brittany, then that would be more interesting, especially if the text was written by an expert, writing in English.
I agree translations should be treated with caution, but would you like your all your own translation rejected out of hand simply because they are translations?

Alain Pommet
Local time: 09:02
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Christopher Crockett: Yes, I like this better than "buckler," but it gets fewer googles than the latter.
5 mins
  -> Thanks Christopher - I have no expertise in the field so couldn't really say.

disagree  liz askew: And the www.blasson-armoire site = one about coats of arms/shields.
55 mins
  -> See added note. Touchez! http://www.blason-armoiries.org/heraldique/e/ecusson.htm. I just don't get it. The link I quote is about neolithic carvings!

agree  B D Finch: Yes, I believe there is some doubt whether or not they were idols, but that is what the source text (and others) call them.
1 hr
  -> Thanks B D Finch.
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17 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5 peer agreement (net): -1
appears to be


Explanation:
a "built-in idol", much as we would have a walk-through garage, an en-suite bathroom, built-in wardrobes, a wall-mounted flat-screen TV, or, along a similar theme, a nook built into a wall for our own religious statuary.

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Note added at 5 hrs (2008-04-02 16:49:34 GMT)
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I wish to point out that I took the "la" in the above to refer to the stone itself, not the decoration on it, and that therefore it was "la dalle" that was the idol, not "la sculpture", particularly since we are given "description of a slab in a menhir". Is the sentence poorly constructed, or should we have had what precedes?

I read the slab itself as an "écusson" in the wall. I have now seen the error of my ways.

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Note added at 6 hrs (2008-04-02 17:27:28 GMT)
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Ideas:
ÉCUSSON: Forme schématique sous laquelle est figurée la déesse-mère néolithique sur les dolmens de Bretagne
http://megalithesdumorbihan.free.fr/glossaire.html

Gavrinis is a site of great visual impact and exceptional importance. A cairn atop a dolmen, it is among the earliest surviving examples of architecture in the Western world, and it has been preserved and presented with loving care. Unlike most dolmens, it is intricately carved; 23 slabs that make up its passage and chamber walls are engraved with swirling patterns. The patterns are thought to represent GODDESS MOTHERS, cow horns, axes and arrows, and it is possible to imagine all these and more in the symmetrical billows.
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9407E5DD1E39F...

The mother-goddess, "Idol in a shield form"
http://arheologija.ff.uni-lj.si/documenta/pdf32/32cassen.pdf

Have a look at this site: http://pagesperso-orange.fr/APPH.REDON/locmariaquer.html
The "écussons" here have little in common with the "shield" form, as I see them anyway.

Here too, I see little qualifying the image as a "shield":
The "shield" is the most common motif. On the first decorated slab of the left wall (number 26), we can make out its rounded "body" on the top, its apical "beak" and side "loops".
The motif is in fact repeated towards the inside of the cartouche and its attributes are repeated on the outside.
But the "beak" obviously turns into the beginning of another "shield", developing "beak" and "loops" in turn. This is a possible forerunner of the "twin idols" of the Late Neolithic gallery graves.
http://www.culture.gouv.fr/fr/arcnat/megalithes/en/mega/fsme...

There is a unique dolmen at l’Ile Longue at the entrance to the gulf. It is concealed in a partially destroyed cairn and difficult to visit. The corridor is classic, but the chamber is corbelled, the only one in this region and rare in the rest of Armorique. There are five carvings, one no longer visible. Three carvings are of special interest. (FIGURE 14) The first two are on the underside of the roof slabs of the corridor. It is GENERALLY REFERRED TO AS A SHIELD. Mereaux sees in this a representation of magnetic lines of force. The third figure is well known and there are varied interpretations of this reversed escutcheon. Some see a SHIELD WITH TWO HANDLES, OTHERS AN IDOL WITH HAIR, and Le Rouzic called it la marmite (the pot).
A friend of Mereaux, Robert Le Cloirec, who worked at the Carnac museum for 15 years, sees it as THE COURSE OF THE SUN, the base D is the night, the sides A & B represent respectively the dawn and twilight. (FIGURE 15) The lateral handles symbolize the rising in the east and setting in the west, and the two notches indicate the precise moment when the sun was already totally visible after the rising and entirely visible before setting. The point on top marks the passage at the zenith, and the exterior fringe, carved all around the top part, between the handles, is the solar rays. Mereaux approves of the idea and notes that the fringe is longer near the rising and setting than at the zenith. This design is found in other monuments, sometimes in a simplified form. Recall that this “ogival” form is found in the three adjacent chambers of Table des Marchands, Mané Lud and Mané-Rutual
http://www.neara.org/ROS/roscarnac02.htm

I guess "ogival idol" is a bit much. Besides, if it's a symbolization of the sun, is it an idol?

Sixth, is the " SCUTIFORM " or shield shaped figure. ...
links.jstor.org/sici?sici=1536-0407(1878)10%3C93%3ATSCMOB%3E2.0.CO%3B2-L

"Scutiform" certainly crops up in relation to other civilizations, but not a lot with respect to Brittany.

LEROI-GOURHAN writes (1992: 150) that “the scutiform signs are neither traps nor habitations or blazons, but highly conventional figurations of a female symbol
http://michel-desfayes.org/malefemalesymbols.html

Bref, people seem to say that "shield" is the term generally used.


xxxBourth
Local time: 09:02
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 57

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  liz askew: This is a modern term, rather than a term describing a megalithic slab:-) I expressed myself badly last time.
6 mins
  -> Does anyone really have any idea what our megalithic forebears called them?

neutral  fourth: Bourth!!
3 hrs
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19 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
stelae


Explanation:
http://66.102.9.104/search?q=cache:Iw3ZCCzl_j0J:www.rupestre...


But the most significant rock, also signified in the name of the site, is that of Caven, under Teglio. Discovered and publicized in 1975 by the De Piazzi couple of Tirano, it lies in the same area from which the three famous calcolithic stelae come. It has very significant patterns, devoid of superimpositions and apparently engraved in a homogeneous phase. They are vertical rectangular in shape with the top side curved, inside of which are pecked rectangular zones, placed in vertical alignment one on top of the other, in analogy with what is noticed in several rocks of the XIX zone of Fontanalba or with smaller "macaroni" shaped rectangles in several rocks of Vite (in the study phase). There are also circular perimetric lines and grid rectangles. Some of these patterns, curiously make one think of certain symbols of "idole-ecusson" of the Breton megalithic structures (Mane-er-Hroeck, Locmariaquer) or of the stelae of Collado de Sejos (Spain), which hypothetically could have a topographic valency.



Stelae?

http://64.233.183.104/search?q=cache:TkCgx-FPa2gJ:en.wikiped...





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Note added at 22 mins (2008-04-02 11:27:04 GMT)
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PDF]
10-15 Schild
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
ke basin with hundreds of Stone Age camps,. tumuli, groups of megalithic structures and. alignments of stelae. The megaliths of Nabta were not recogni- ...
www.pan.pl/english/images/stories/pliki/publikacje/academia... - Similar pages

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Note added at 1 hr (2008-04-02 12:29:33 GMT)
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Take a look at this reference re "buckler motif":

itre du document / Document title
The origins and implications of thee Breton buckler motif = Origines et implications du motif en forme de boucle breton
Auteur(s) / Author(s)
LOVEDAY R. ;
Résumé / Abstract
The 'buckler' motif appears isolated in the naturalistic milieu of the earliest Breton art but there are problems with a symbolic interpretation. If instead it is considered in naturalistic terms it can be demonstrated to bear a close resemblance to a form of grain store made of straw rope that was used in parts of Ireland until this century. The likelihood of above ground grain storage in the Neolithic is considered and the potential archaeological evidence for such features is reviewed. Finally reasons are advanced for the motif being centred in the Morbihan region.

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Note added at 1 hr (2008-04-02 12:31:20 GMT)
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AND

j0818-2-love 127..141
If so, the variously. termed buckler/écusson/marmite/shield idol/. idoliform motif stands in isolation. Formalised, symbolic representation, par- ...
www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1468-0092.00075 - Similar pages

I do NOT think it has anything to do with shields..or buckler motifs
for that matter..

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Note added at 1 hr (2008-04-02 12:35:08 GMT)
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Please look at "Stele" in this glossary and see what you think:

http://64.233.183.104/search?q=cache:U1F3Ml2JlasJ:www.stonep...

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Note added at 1 hr (2008-04-02 12:39:21 GMT)
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JSTOR: The Myth of the Mother-Goddess
The two distinct provinces of megalithic art, including related art in rock-cut tombs, on stelae, and on open rock surfaces, are indicated on the map (fig. ...
links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0043-8243(196910)1%3A2%3C247%3ATMOTM%3E2.0.CO%3B2-Z - Similar pages

Good luck!

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Note added at 1 hr (2008-04-02 12:52:56 GMT)
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I am banging on, I know



JSTOR: The Myth of the Mother-Goddess
The two distinct provinces of megalithic art, including related art in rock-cut tombs, on stelae, and on open rock surfaces, are indicated on the map (fig. ...
links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0043-8243(196910)1%3A2%3C247%3ATMOTM%3E2.0.CO%3B2-Z - Similar pages

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Note added at 1 hr (2008-04-02 12:53:20 GMT)
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écusson

=

tablet/tomb/stone


here

IMO

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Note added at 7 hrs (2008-04-02 18:06:04 GMT)
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Here is something else:


Écusson (architecture)

En architecture, un écusson est une cartouche ou tablette destinée à recevoir des armoiries, des inscriptions ou parfois de simples motifs d’ornementation.

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Note added at 7 hrs (2008-04-02 18:11:31 GMT)
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tablet - Definitions from Dictionary.com
tablet. noun. 1. a slab of stone or wood suitable for bearing an inscription. 2. a number of sheets of paper fastened together along one edge [syn: pad] ...
dictionary.reference.com/browse/tablet - 53k - Cached - Similar pages

liz askew
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:02
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  fourth: I think that "idole-ecusson" are stelae, but I don't think that all stelae are I-E's!(tho' OED gives description as question)also I think it's the Motif being described! "Stela" Chris, Liz I'm useless, but cd U try as above? "Idole en écusson english"
36 mins
  -> How frustrating. I looked into "buckler" and kept finding references re leather items worn on the arms..??or part of a shield/dagger.

neutral  Christopher Crockett: I entirely share your frustration with "buckler," Liz, and will add a note to my own answer discussing it. It just ain't the *right* word. But, it appears to be the one in use, so, waddayagonnado?
1 hr
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
idol in the form of a buckler (or escutcheon) motif


Explanation:
Since your text calls it an "idol," perhaps you should keep that interpretation of this particular motif, which appears to be called (as fourth says), technically, a "buckler motif."

"écusson" is, litterally "escutcheon" in English and the latter makes more sense to me than "buckler" --but the jargon of the field may trump my "sense."

Nadia's "shield motif" parallels mine, but "anthropomorphic" is an interpretation --and one which is, perhaps, not universally shared by archeologists who are working in the field.

Otoh, the fact that your source calls it an "idol" suggests that he/she may be thinking along the lines of an anthropologic interpretation.

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Note added at 2 hrs (2008-04-02 13:08:49 GMT)
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I'm thinking that "idol" has, in English (but perhaps not in French??), an anthropomorphic implication --or, at least a diestic one, which might also encompass animals as gods (think: Egyptian].

Normally, one does not make "idols" in the form of inanimate objects.

But these "buckler/escutcheon/shield" motifs are not universally interpreted as being anthropomorphic --one link suggests that they are "grain storage buildings."

Also, see, for example:

http://journals.cambridge.org/article_S0959774300000093

note 2: "might some of the motifs seen as multiple crooks or bucklers rather be to do with baleen [whale] plates?"

An imaginative interpretation, to say the least.

Does your source accept the anthropomorphic interpretation?

If so, then "idol" is o.k.

But if not, I'd not use that word, in English.

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Note added at 2 hrs (2008-04-02 13:15:24 GMT)
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Just to set cchat straight, a "stele" is

"1. a. An upright slab bearing sculptured designs or inscriptions. Sometimes loosely applied to any prepared surface on the face of a building, a rock, etc., covered with an inscription." [<O.E.D.]

And "stelae" is the plural of "stele."

I.e., the rock on which the motif is carved is the "stele" --though, for these particular neolithic stelae, it looks like the (originally French) term "menhir" is preferred, even when they are carved.

"MENHIR: A tall upright monumental stone of a kind erected in prehistoric times in various parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia; a standing stone."

A menhir without carving is not a stele.

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Note added at 4 hrs (2008-04-02 15:18:57 GMT)
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As Liz implies, "buckler" is a very, very bad description of what these motifs actually look like.

Here's the O.E.D.:

BUCKLER
1. A small round shield; in England the buckler was usually carried by a handle at the back, and ‘used not so much for a shield as for a warder to catch the blow of an adversary’ (Fairholt, s.v. Buckler), but sometimes it was larger, and fastened by straps to the arm. ***Sometimes wrongly applied to any kind of shield.***"

And note the instances of use:

1300 K. Alis. 1190 Laddes, That sweord and boceleris hadde. 1386 CHAUCER Prol. 558 A swerd and a bocler baar he by his side.
1440 Promp. Parv. 42 Bokelere, pelta, ancile, parma.
1570 FLORIO 1st Fruites 17b, What weapon is that buckler? A clownish dastardly weapon.
1611 BIBLE 1 Chron. v. 18 Men able to beare buckler and sword. 1659 PEARSON Creed (1839) 280 He brought the bucklers stamped with the pictures of Cæsar into Jerusalem.
1760 GRAY Corr. 207 A pave..is a very large buckler..big enough to cover the tallest man.

1776 GIBBON Decl. & Fall I. 12 The buckler was of an oblong and concave figure, four feet in length.

1813 SCOTT Trierm. II. xvi, Each knight..Take buckler, spear, and brand.
1870 BRYANT Iliad I. VII. 222 Ajax..upheld A buckler like a rampart.

In otherwords, it's a medieval word, used up until Gibbon in a context relating to the Middle Ages (despite its title, Gibbon's History is really the first history of the M.A. ever written, *not* of the Roman Empire).

Then we have *deliberately* anachronistic usages of it, in the romantic, medievalizing, novels of Scott and Bryant's romanticized translation of Homer.

Even "shield motif" is better than "buckler motif" (esp. in view of the OED's note that that word is "Sometimes wrongly applied to any kind of shield").

But, "buckler" seems to be _au courant_ among (at least English) archeologists, and our job is not to "correct" the experts (no matter how wrongheaded they might be), but just to translate the French jargon into the English jargon, so waddayagonnado?

For "idole en écusson" How about "escutcheon (or 'buckler') image"?

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Note added at 7 hrs (2008-04-02 18:51:29 GMT)
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I see now that I've misspelled "waddayagunnado."

Sorry.

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Note added at 1 day2 hrs (2008-04-03 13:58:37 GMT) Post-grading
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Final Thoughts

Eutchyus wrote: "...there seems to be absolutely no consensus about what these things were for, whether they are anthropomorphic (and Christopher Crockett, I don't think idols have to be) objects of worship, or what - though, as cchat's link and the Wikipedia article on 'buckler' suggest, 'shields' seem to have played a role in worship."


I still maintain that "idol" implies an image of an *animate* object (not necessarily anthropomorphic).

Here's the OED:

IDOL
1. An image or similitude of a deity or divinity, used as an object of worship: applied to those worshipped by pagans, whence, in scriptural language, = false god, a fictitious divinity which ‘is nothing in the world’ (1 Cor. viii. 4).

As does the French "idole"

Tresor de la langue francaise:

IDOLE, subst. fém.
A. Représentation d'une divinité que l'on adore et qui est l'objet d'un culte au même titre que la divinité elle-même.

Looking at the carving on these menhirs, I am at a loss to see a representation (even an extremely "abstract" one) of any human being or animal.

So, calling these things "idols" is an unsubstantiatable over-interpretation.

Likewise, supposing that they were "shields" is clearly an anachronistic projection.

After all, they might be road maps.

Christopher Crockett
Local time: 03:02
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 123

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Mary Carroll Richer LaFlèche
5 hrs
  -> Thanks, Mary Carroll.
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