The spear has been a weapon utilized by mankind for the longest time and it is often considered as one of the earliest and most efficient tools and weapons around. When swords were not efficient enough for the battlefield, Roman soldiers made use of the pilum which was a long javelin or spear.
The Roman spear was known as the main offensive weapon of the Roman warrior even before the sword was utilized for battle. Pila was simply an accurately weighed javelin that was specifically made for throwing.
Its distance could reach up to thirty-three yards and upon throwing this, the Roman soldier would march or head out at full speed, attacking the opponent while the Gladius was drawn for combat.
This battle tactic was highly efficient since it would easily break and confuse the organization of a stationary or advancing enemy.
Appearance of the Roman Spear
There were two types of the Roman spear the thick and thin. The thin one featured a long iron head that easily fit its extended handle. It also measured about two meters long and also had a barbed point.
As for the thicker pilum, it had quite a similar length and was firmly fixed to the shaft. As for the similarities of these two types, both featured a pyramid-like barb, and the shaft measured around 7.5mm in diameter.
The thick pilum had a wooden block that worked to secure the weapon’s metal head; the block also safeguards the wielder’s hand during melee battles.
In battle, the soldiers carried these two types of Roman spears. The later versions of this Roman spear were similar in construction to those weapons that have appeared during the first century.
The much later types of pilum appearing in the first century were created in a similar fashion but the thick pila were considered to be lighter and weighed just about two kilograms in total. This development of making the pilum lighter led to the production of a heavier pilum that featured a weighted ball right at the top of its shaft.
This was necessary to balance the Roman spear especially when the soldier wielded this for battle. The point of the weapon was created of softer iron which allowed this to bend upon impact; this would hinder the enemy from throwing the spear back.
This specific weapon featured a hard pyramid-like tip while its shank was created out of much softer iron; it needed to be soft to cause the shank to bend upon impact, rendering the weapon worthless to an enemy who may have plans on throwing the Roman spear back.
Despite this need, there are instances where the weapon’s shank was fully hardened, making the Roman spear more adequate as a close-combat melee weapon; it was also a good piece when the Pilum would pierce an enemy shield, forcing them to discard their protection while in battle. However, it also became a very useful item for enemy soldiers to a throwback.
When it comes to this weapon’s design, the specific origin of this may have yet to be defined since there are still arguments if the design came from an ancient Italian group or if it was inspired from the Iberian peninsula, thus, having a definite answer still needs to be reached.
And since there were two types of this Roman spear the light and heavy piece it is possible that the spear had two different ancestral weapons of different cultural groups.
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Tactics in Using the Roman Spear
The Roman spear could be thrown or utilized during one on one combat; however, it was more commonly thrown towards enemies before battling them with the use of swords.
Warriors of the Late Republic, as well as the Early Empire usually wielded two pila wherein one was a bit lighter compared to the other. It was considered to be a basic tactic of the Roman soldiers to throw these weapons both if possible towards the enemy before charging towards them as they drew out their gladius.
Throwing the Roman spears towards the enemy would disrupt the enemy lines and would cause gaps on their protective shield walls. These were also useful for hand to hand combat and it could also be utilized as a thrusting tool, as well as a barrier against any form of cavalry attacks.
Additionally, some pila featured little handguards which helped protect the soldier if he planned to use the spear as a melee weapon; however, this tactic does not appear to be a common move among the Roman soldiers.
Advantages of the Roman Spear
The pilum or Roman Spear was indeed a versatile weapon it could not only be tossed at a group of enemies to disorganize their army, but it also works as an excellent thrusting weapon when necessary.
It was an excellent piece especially when battling a large group of enemies since throwing these towards their guard and confusing them would give the Roman soldiers the advantage of charging towards the enemy while drawing their gladius.
Roman Spear for Sale
Due to the powerful and long history of the Romans, numerous online weapon shops today offer hobbyists and sword enthusiasts a selection of fine armor and even the Roman spear that one can choose from.
These replicas have been created to mimic the original weapon yet one should remember that not all the Roman spears for sale are functional pieces.
There are some that are also made for decorative purposes and this is something that would be perfect for collectors who wish to add the Roman spears to their growing set of medieval pieces.
There are also available Roman spears that are perfect for re-enactments that actors would find necessary for historical movies and plays. The Roman spear was patterned out after the authentic weapons, ensuring that these appear just like a true hunting implement with an extended reach to make the re-enactment of certain scenes from history more realistic.
Just as historical records and notes state, the Roman spears are indeed easy to manufacture compared to swords, which is why despite its size and measurement, weapon shops today continue to create these replicas to offer numerous Roman spears for sale.
However, before continuing with the purchase, always ensure that the store or seller of these weapons is legitimate and that they utilize high-quality materials to create these pieces.
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