Roman Axes

Roman Axe

Roman Axes

The Roman Empire’s army was known across the world for its prowess and extensive fighting abilities. They were successful due to their well-organized and highly disciplined soldiers, and every new recruit was required to learn how to properly march in step while moving simultaneously as a single unit.

Their training was also harsh and challenging so anyone would be severely punished for disobedience and cowardice. The army’s backbone was comprised of legionaries (foot soldiers) who were all fully equipped with the same weapon and armor; they wielded numerous advanced weapons that featured designs that were mostly lost during the Middle Ages.

Aside from utilizing some of the most popular Roman weapons like the pilum, gladius, and shields, these soldiers also utilized other types of weapons such as the Roman axes.

Although these were not too popular among the Roman soldiers, the axe was utilized both on the battlefield and for daily life activities; such activities included cutting wood, hunting, as an offensive weapon, and a whole lot more.

Overall, the style and make of the Roman axe was not really that different from the axe that most people see today; also, the weapon is an excellent example of an all-purpose tool that is continued to be utilized until today.

Roman axes were also found at numerous sites throughout Europe especially in the Roman Britain area where most of the axes found to feature a lug on either side of the weapon’s socket. The lug allows the axe to be freely twisted without distorting the piece when planted on wood.


Characteristics of the Roman Axe

The blade of a Roman axe was basically made of iron together with a shaft hole and its shaft was inserted into this. There were a few Roman axes that featured elaborate holders that were made up of wooden sticks that are tied firmly with red leather.

For its size, the common measurement of the axe’s head would be around six and a half by three inches while its hole was about 2 ¼ long and two inches wide; the common Roman axes featured a curved blade with a flat butt and a straight wooden handle.

Roman Battle Axes

The heads of Roman axes feature a crescent shape and these were usually made of wrought iron combined with steel or a carbon steel edge.

The handles of the military Roman axes were specifically made of hardwood and were strengthened by langets (metal bands); this prevented the Roman soldier’s enemies from hacking off the axe’s shaft. During the later periods, other versions of the Roman axe featured handles that were purely made of metals

Roman Axe


The Fasces is a bundle of bound wooden rods that usually included an axe-like blade. Its origin is said to have been from the Etruscan civilization and was eventually handed down to ancient Rome; here, it symbolized the power and jurisdiction of the magistrate.

In ancient Rome, the lictor brought the fasces before dictators, consuls, and praetors or to put it simply, magistrates that had imperium and absolute power; other individuals that were escorted by the lictors included the governors, Vestal Virgins, as well as the commander of legions.

During the empire, there was a republican custom were laurels were used to easily distinguish the emperor’s fasces from those of the magistrates; yet for festive occasions such as military victories, the laurel crown could be set on the fasces.

When a city was mourning, the fasces was usually displayed with a cloak, and if the Roman axe was left for everyone to see, it only meant that the magistrate requested or wished for something from the people; it could also mean that the magistrate had something to apologize for.

Additionally, these Roman axes were considered as symbols of authority, but when it comes to its exact meaning, it is basically unknown. Often, people claim that the fasces rods were used to lash or whip people while the axe-like blade was present to execute.

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This may have been a fact during the days of the monarchy but was untrue during the Republican period. After the Laws of the 12 Tables, a Roman magistrate was not allowed to summarily execute any Roman citizen.

Moreover, the fasces was also not a native part of the Roman tradition and the idea of including this was borrowed from Etruscans; the Romans greatly believed that this tool was first introduced in Rome from Etruria but there are no specific claims about this belief.

So far, only a single set of the fasces had been located in Etruria and it was found specifically in 1890 near Vetulonia right in the Tomba del littore.

Although this was the case, archeologists who have found the piece claimed that this was not similar to the Roman fasces since these were made wholly out of metal and the Roman axe actually had two blades.

Roman Axe


This is known as a very versatile Roman axe utilized since ancient times by numerous people in Italy. The dolabra Roman axe could be used as a pickaxe by excavators and miners, or it could also be used as a priest’s implement specifically for ritual offerings (religious slaughtering of animals).

Aside from these, this type of Roman axe could also be utilized for attacking enemy walls or digging fortifications since it weighed adequately at 1.9 – 2.7 kilograms in total. The Dolabra Pontificalis is another form of this Roman axe which refers to the special tool utilized for animal sacrifices.

Roman Axe for Sale

For those searching for Roman axes to add to one’s growing collection of medieval pieces, or to utilize for various mock battles or historical re-enactments, there is a wide selection of Roman axes for sale that are available in numerous weapon shops.

There are battle-ready pieces, fully functional ones, or pieces that are specifically made for decorative purposes, so one can simply choose their desired axe based on their needs and requisites.

Although there are numerous shops and sellers to purchase from, it is still best to ensure that the sellers are legitimate and that they offer Roman axes and equipment that are made from high-quality materials that are durable and safe for use.

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