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The Brittle Spear Part II: The Pointy End of the Stick


Roman spears were often brittle by design (perhaps). Sharp, tough spears were useful, but had the disadvantage that the weapon you threw at the enemy could be picked up and thrown back at you. .

Part 1

Part 3

If we believe some scholars, Roman javelins and throwing spears were designed to bend once they were used. Others contend that pilums were designed to break with one weak joint made just so that, if it penetrated a shield or hard ground, it would be rendered useless. Still, other scholars believe that the pilums were at one point redesigned so that a metal and a wooden one replaced two metal pins anchoring the metal spear point to the wooden shaft. Once the redesigned pilum penetrated a shield, the wooden pin would break, causing the head to scissor, making the spear difficult to pull out of the shield. The shield would then become unwieldy or would […]

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