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Pilum – effective weapon of legionaries

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Legionaries throwing pilum
Pilum - effective weapon of legionnaires

Pilum was a legionary’s javelin for throwing at a distance before the fight. The enemy’s shield was not a serious obstacle for a well-trained legionary.

The spear pierced her, as well as the man behind her. It also happened that in exceptional cases one javelin pierced, due to a very long arrowhead, a warrior and his companion standing right behind him. Even if the pilum stopped in the shield without harming the opponent, it strained the shield, rendering it useless.

The uniqueness of the pilum was in the method of joining metal and wooden parts. The nails were fixed with a sleeve or a hammered stick, which broke on impact, preventing the enemy from reusing the pilum. In addition, after hitting a target (e.g. a target), the long neck of the spear bent or broke easily, restricting movements or forcing the enemy to throw the target away.

More about pilum

  • John Warry, Warfare in the Classical World

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