The Parma was about 36 inches (91 cm) across (or less) and had iron in its frame, making it a very effective piece of armor. Parma had a handle and a shield boss (umbo).
The Parma was used by legionaires in the Early Republican period of Rome's history by the lowest class division of the army—the Velites. The Velites armor consisted of a parma, javelin, sword and helmet. Later, the parma was replaced by the body length scutum.