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Weapons - the pilum

60 second histories

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A description of one of the greatest spears the Romans had, the pilum, or javelin; we explain it was used both for hand to hand combat as well as throwing and how the Romans recycled the pila after a battle.

Salve. This has to be one of the greatest spears the Romans had, it’s called a pilum, you may know it as a javelin. What’s interesting about this is that it’s not just designed to be thrown but it can also to be used in hand combat. If you did throw a spear at the enemy they could in theory throw it back but not with the pilum, it is specially designed to bend on impact. So lets say you’re fighting in Britannia against Boudicca, you throw your Pilum and it hits a warrior’s shield, the pilum bends here so the warrior has to drop his shield because he can’t hold it with a pilum sticking out of it, which is bad luck for him because as a legionary you carry at least two pila so the next one you throw is going to get him for sure. After the battle is over the Romans collect up all the armour and weapons from the battlefield, the pila are gathered together and the bent parts are hammered straight to be used again, yes you’ve guessed it the Romans recycled. Now let me show you how they threw these.
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Key words: 
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