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Short javelins – plumbatae

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)


In the Roman legion, apart from the usual javelins (pilum), a type of short javelin (plumbatae) was also used. Plumbata was a kind of a dart approximately 60 cm with a lead load (ball), thanks to which the dart was stable during the flight. Its operation was similar to that of pilum with the difference, however, that it could be thrown much further. Thongs or something like wooden hand-held launchers was used for this.

There was a special group of soldiers in the legion that used a kind of short javelins, the so-called plumbatarii. The shorter javelin is mentioned by Vegetius in his work “The Art of War” (Epitoma rei militaris). Plumbatae was also called martiobarbuli.

  • Vegetius, De Re Militari

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