Ancient Roman Weapons

The Roman Military was considered as one of the most successful armies in world history.

A large part of it was mainly due to their ability to create weapons that meet the demands that are presented on the battlefield.

Unlike the typical army battalion, Ancient Roman Military approached the battle in a calculated manner.

Among the weapons that established, protected, and eventually lost the greatest Empire of the Western world was the Gladius or the Hispanic sword.

The Gladius was adopted from the groups and tribes in Spain that were called the Celts, who were a batch of Liberians.

Multiple historians said that the Gladius helped the Legions of the Roman Military conquer the Mediterranean world and most of the civilized nations for at least 600 years.

The Gladius was excellent for stabbing when two forces pressed against each other since longer weapons became unworkable due to the lack of room for slicing swords and thrusting spears.

Another common weapon that was used by the Roman Military was the Pilum or the throwing spear.

Along with the Gladius, the Pilum was one of the primary weapons of the Romans as it provided them mobility and a short-ranged artillery ability.

Essentially, a pilum is a massive javelin which features a heavy shaft and a long thin iron shank that is made up of a barbed tip.

Ordinarily, Roman soldiers each had two Pilums as they would throw them the moment they attacked their enemies to destroy their respective shields.

Multiple tests have revealed that pilum can be tossed up to 98 feet but had an effective range of 50 to 60 feet.

Interesting Facts about Roman Weapons

  • The legionnaires of the Roman Army wore multiple layers to their typical armors. It is believed that the average legionnaire was assigned to carry about 60 to 100 pounds of weapons and armor.
  • Ancient Roman army made use of three main weapons in the battlegrounds. The Pilum was used for long-distance combat while the Gladius is suitable for close-range battles. On the other hand, the Pugio which is one of its smallest weapons was primarily utilized if the first two weapons are unavailable.
  • The Pugio which is about 9.5 to 11 inches long is a dagger that is normally worn by the Roman soldier as a sidearm.
  • A longer sword called the Spathea was utilized by Roman soldiers for a considerable amount of time before it returned to using the spear.
  • One of the cheapest Roman weapons is scale armor which consists of protruding iron scales and bronze.
  • The Roman Military also utilized catapults to launch huge rocks on massive walls as well as ballistas or large crossbows to shoot arrows to their opponents.
  • Another popular Roman weapon is the Hasta which was predominantly used at the start of the 3rdcentury A.D. The hasta was made up of ash and an iron head which is 6.5 feet or 2 meters long.
  • The Roman soldiers were properly trained to use these weapons. In fact, they would sometimes perform sparring sessions with each other using wooden swords.

When was the Pilum developed?

Several historians believe that the Pilum was developed during the Samnites War which lasted from 343 B.C. to 320 B.C.

It is widely accepted that the Pilum served as one of the most efficient anti-cavalry ammunitions.

As a matter of fact, Roman dictator Julius Caesar made use of the Pilum during his crusade against Pompeii in the first Roman Civil War, which took place in the 1st century B.C.

What is the primary purpose of the Gladius?

Primarily, the Gladius was utilized by Roman soldiers in stabbing and slashing throughout the Roman Republic and partially through the Empire era which lasted from 4th-century B.C.E to 3rdcentury A.D.

What are the common types of outer-worn armor?

Among the most common types of outer-worn armor are helmet or galea, chain mail, plate armor, scutum, and the scale armor.

What are the weapons used by the light infantry?

The light infantry or otherwise known as the Velites used Javelins as their primary weapon on the battlefield.