Gladius

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Gladius (Latin: glădĭus) was the roman word for sword, and is used to represent the primary sword of Ancient Rome 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 "Hispanic Sword".[1] It was thought that they were similar to the later Mainz types, but the evidence now suggests otherwise.[2] Rather, these early blades followed a slightly different pattern, being longer and narrower, and were probably those that Polybius[3] considered good for both cut and thrust. Later Gladii are referred to as the Mainz, Fulham, and Pompeii types. In the late Roman period, Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus[4] refers to swords called semispathae (or semispathia) and spathae, for both of which he appears to consider gladius an appropriate term.

A fully-equipped Roman legionary was armed with a shield (scutum), several javelins (pila), a sword (gladius), often a dagger (pugio), and perhaps darts (plumbatae). Conventionally, the javelins would be thrown to disable shields of enemies before engaging the enemy, at which point 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.[5]

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