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Rare Original Ancient Roman Javelin Tanged Arrowhead Intact Spear Blade 3c. Ad For Sale
Roman javelin arrowhead/ 3-4Cent.AD/small tanged spear blade
Nice, interesting and absolutely original large iron arrowhead small tanged spear blade measuring 99mm. 16.02gm. You are offerding on an original Roman artifact.
Authenticity guaranteed, see below.
A javelin is a light spear designed primarily for casting as a ranged weapon. The javelin is almost always thrown by hand, unlike the arrow and slingshot,
which are projectiles shot from a mechanism. However, hurling devices
do exist to assist the javelin thrower in achieving greater distance.
The word javeline comes from Middle English and it derives from Old French javelin, a diminutive of javelot which meant spear. The word javelot probably originated from one of the Celtic languages.
There is archaeological evidence that javelins and throwing sticks were already in use during the last phase of the lower Paleolithic. Seven spear-like objects were found in a coal mine in the city of Schöningen, Germany. Stratigraphic dating indicates that the weapons are about 400,000 years old. The excavated items were made of spruce (Picea)
trunk and were between 1.83 and 2.25 metres long. They were
manufactured with the maximum thickness and weight situated at the front
end of the wooden shaft. The frontal centre of gravity suggests that
these pole weapons were used as javelins. A fossilized rhinoceros shoulder blade with a projectile wound, dated to 500,000 years ago,was revealed in a gravel quarry in the village of Boxgrove, England. Studies revealed that the wound was probably caused by a javelin.
The Peltasts, usually serving as skirmishers, were armed with several javelins, often with throwing straps to increase standoff power. The Peltasts hurled their javelins at the enemy's heavier troops, the Hoplite phalanx, in order to break their lines so that their own army's hoplites could destroy the weakened enemy formation. In the battle of Lechaeum the Athenian general Iphicrates took advantage of the fact that a Spartan hoplite phalanx operating near Corinth
was moving in the open field without the protection of any
missile-throwing troops. He decided to ambush it with his force of
peltasts. By launching repeated hit-and-run attacks against the Spartan
formation, Iphicrates and his men were able to wear the Spartans down,
eventually routing them and killing just under half. This marked the
first occasion in ancient Greek military history on which a force
entirely made up of peltasts had defeated a force of hoplites.
The Thureophoroi and Thorakites who gradually replaced the Peltasts, carried javelins in addition to a long thrusting spear and a short sword.
The Greeks did not only use javelins on the field of war. The
spear-like missiles were often used as an effective hunting weapon, the
strap adding enough power to take down large game. Javelins were also
used in the Olympics,
then known as The Crown Games. They were hurled in a certain direction
and whoever hurled it the farthest, as long as it hit tip-first, won
Republic and early empire
In 387 BC, the Gauls invaded Italy, inflicted a crushing defeat on the Roman Republican army
and sacked Rome. After this defeat the Romans undertook a comprehensive
reform of their army and changed the basic tactical formation from the
Greek-style phalanx armed with the hasta spear and the clipeus round shield to a more flexible three-line formation. The Hastati stood in the first line, the Principes in the second line and the Triarii
at the third line. While the Triarii were still armed with the hasta,
the Hastati and the Principes were rearmed with short swords and heavy
javelins. Each soldier from the Hastati and Principes lines carried two
javelins. This heavy javelin, known as a Pilum (plural "pila"), was about two metres long overall, consisting of an iron
shank, about 7mm in diameter and 60cm long, with pyramidal head,
secured to a wooden shaft. The iron shank was either socketed or, more
usually, widened to a flat tang . A pilum usually weighed between two
and four kilograms, with the versions produced during the Empire being somewhat lighter. Pictorial evidence suggests that some versions of the weapon were weighted with a lead ball at the base of the shank in order to increase penetrative power, but no archaeological specimens have been found.
Recent experiments have shown pila to have a range of about 30 metres,
although the effective range is only about 15 to 20 metres. Pila were
sometimes referred to as javelins, but the archaic term for the javelin
From the third century BC, the Roman legion added a skirmisher type of soldier to its tactical formation. The Velites were light infantry armed with a short sword (the gladius or pugio),
a small round shield and several small javelins. These javelins were
called veruta (singular "verutum") . The Velites typically drew near the
enemy, hurled javelins against its formation and then retreated behind
the legion's heavier infantry. The Velites were considered highly
effective in turning back war elephants,
on account of discharging a hail of javelins at some range and not
presenting a "block" which could be trampled on or otherwise smashed -
unlike the close-order infantry behind them. At the Battle of Zama
in 202 BC, the javelin-throwing Velites proved their worth and were no
doubt critical in helping to herd Hannibal's war elephants through the
formation to be slaughtered. The Velites would slowly have been either
disbanded or re-equipped as more-heavily armed legionaries from the time
when Gaius Marius
and other Roman generals reorganised the army in the late second and
early first centuries BC. Their role would most likely have been taken
by irregular auxiliary troops as the Republic expanded overseas. The verutum was a cheaper missile weapon than the pilum. The verutum was a short-range weapon, with a simply made head of soft iron.
Legionaries of the Late Republic
and Early Empire often carried two pila, with one sometimes being
lighter than the other. Standard tactics called for a Roman soldier to
throw his pilum (both if there was time) at the enemy just before
charging to engage with his gladius.
Some pila had small hand-guards, to protect the wielder if he intended
to use it as a melee weapon, but it does not appear that this was
In the late Roman Empire, the Roman infantry came to use a differently-shaped javelin than the earlier pilum.
This javelin was lighter and had a greater range. Called a plumbata, it
resembled a thick stocky arrow, fletched with leather vanes to provide
stability and rotation in flight (which increased accuracy). To overcome
its comparatively small mass, the plumbata was fitted with an
oval-shaped lead weight socketed around the shaft just forward of the center of balance.
Even so, plumbatae were much lighter than pila, and would not have had
the armour penetration or shield transfixing capabilities of their
Two or three plumbatae were typically clipped to a small wooden
bracket on the inside of the large oval or round shields used at the
time. Massed troops would unclip and hurl plumbatae as the enemy neared,
hopefully stalling their movement and morale by making them clump
together and huddle under their shields. With the enemy deprived of
rapid movement and their visibility impaired by their own raised
shields, the Roman troops were then better placed to exploit the
tactical situation. It is unlikely plumbatae were viewed by the Romans
as the killing blow, but more as a means of stalling the enemy at ranges
greater than previously provided by the heavier and shorter ranged
The Gallic cavalry used to hurl several javelin volleys to soften the
enemy before a frontal attack. The Gallic cavalry used their javelins
in a tactic similar to that of horse archers' Parthian shot. The Gauls knew how to turn on horseback to throw javelins backwards while appearing to retreat.
The Hispanic cavalry was a light cavalry armed with a Falcata and several light javelins. The Cantabri
tribes invented a military tactic to maximize the advantages of the
combination between horse and javelin. In this tactic the horsemen rode
around in circles, toward and away from the enemy, continually hurling
javelins. The tactic was usually employed against heavy infantry. The
constant movement of the horsemen gave them an advantage against slow
infantry and made them hard to target. The maneuver was designed to
harass and taunt the enemy forces, disrupting close formations. This was
commonly used against enemy infantry, especially the heavily armed and
slow moving legions of the Romans. This tactic came to be known as the Cantabrian circle.
In the late Republic various auxiliary cavalry completely replaced the
Italian cavalry contingents and the Hispanic auxiliary cavalry was
considered the best.
The Numidians were indigenous tribes of northwest Africa. The Numidian cavalry
was a light cavalry usually operating as skirmishers. The Numidian
horseman was armed with a small shield and several javelins. The
Numidians had a reputation as swift horsemen, cunning soldiers and
excellent javelin throwers. It is said that Jugurtha, the Numidian king "...took part in the national pursuits of riding, javelin throwing
and competed with other young men in running." [Sallust The Jugurthine
War: 6]. The Numidian Cavalry served as mercenaries in the Carthaginian Army and played a key role in assisting Hannibal during the Second Punic War.
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