What weapons did the Roman army have?


Quick Answer

Soldiers in the ancient Roman army used a sword, called the gladius, and a javelin, which was called a pilum. Members of the Roman infantry also utilized the hasta, a type of spear, to engage their enemies.

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Full Answer

The gladius was also known as the Hispanic sword and served as the primary weapon for the Roman army throughout most of its history. It was a short sword that could be used for both stabbing and slashing. Its primary use was stabbing in close quarters, because its sharp point was designed to penetrate armor.

The pilum was also widely used by the Romans. It was a long javelin that consisted of a thin iron shank and a heavy, wooden shaft. It could be used as a short-range weapon, such as in hand-to-hand combat, since it also had the capability of piercing enemy armor. Typically, the pilum would be hurled at the enemy, and the gladius would then be used for closer encounters.

The hasta, a sturdier spear, consisted of a metal head and a thicker wooden shaft. It was particularly useful in battling enemies who were attacking on horseback.

The Roman army also used other weapons, including shorter daggers. Another weapon, the plumbata, was a weighted throwing dart that was more accurate than the javelin.

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