Monday, February 16, 2015

Word of the Day -- Gladius

Gladius (Latin: glădĭus) was one Latin word for sword and is used to represent the primary sword of Ancient Roman foot soldiers. Early ancient Roman swords were similar to those used by the Greeks. From the 3rd century BC, the Romans adopted swords similar to those used by the Celtiberians and others during the early part of the conquest of Hispania. This sword was known as the Gladius Hispaniensis, or "Spanish Sword".

A fully equipped Roman legionary after the reforms of Gaius Marius was armed with a shield (scutum), one or two javelins (pila), a sword (gladius), often a dagger (pugio), and perhaps, in the later Empire period, darts (plumbatae). Conventionally, the javelins would be thrown to disable the shields and disrupt the formation of the enemy before engaging in close combat, for which the gladius would be drawn. The soldier generally led with his shield and thrust with his sword. All types of gladius appear to have also been suitable for cutting and chopping motions as well as for thrusting.

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