Caesar's Army: A Study of the Military Art of the Romans in the Last Days of the Republic

By Harry Pratt Judson. | Go to book overview
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(umbo), which was merely a knob designed to strengthen and bind all together. The shield was about 4 ft. long and 2 ft. wide. Often it was curved so as partially to encircle the body. On the outside was painted the badge of the cohort a wreath or a winged thunderbolt, for instance. On the inside was the name of the soldier, with the number of the cohort and century, or maniple ; perhaps also the number of the legion. For protection from dust, rain, and the like, during the march the shield was kept in a leathern case.


4.

ARMS.

§ 45. The offensive weapons were the sword and spear. a. The sword (gladius Hispanicus, Fig. 14) had a blade

about 2 ft. long, and several inches wide. It was two-edged and pointed, being thus adapted either for cutting or thrusting. The latter, however, was its customary use. What fearful wounds could be inflicted with this weapon we may see from Livy, 30, 34.

It hung seldom from a body belt, generally from a shoulder belt (balteus). This passed over the left shoulder. Thus the sword was on the right side, this being more convenient, since the shield was carried in the left hand. As the higher officers had no shields, they wore their swords on the left side, and a dagger (pugio) at the right.

b. The spear (pilum, Fig. 15) was the characteristic weapon of the legionary. We have no exact account of it as it was in the time of Cæsar. From the way in which he mentions its use, however, we may infer that it did not

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