Spears and Javelins

Spears and javelins have played an important role in ancient warfare. The spear was probably the oldest ranged weapon used by man. In Roman times, there were a good many different types of spears and javelins in use. The thin pilum with its long iron point and piramidal head, perfect for punching through shields, the lancae, weapon of the cavalry, the leafshaped hasta for auxillary and the small iaculae, javelins for both cavalry and skirmishers. Later types were the barbed spiculum, which resembled the much earlier angon but for its shorter iron shaft.


Late Roman Spiculum. This barbed spearhead was found in great numbers in the deposits in the bog at Vimose, where a great many arms were sacrificed. It is 40 centimeters long.


These mediumsized leafshaped spearheads are most likely infantry javelins. The sockets are wide enough to allowing a shaft of 18 mm to be fitted.


Four different spearheads, a large lanca, a hasta, and two infantry javelins. These are all of the solid necked variaty, the socket forged by drawing the hot metal out into a triangular flange and folding this inward to create the round, tapered socket. 


This is the business part of a Late Roman plumbata. It was mounted on a short wooden shaft and lead was poured around the socket to form a weight. Then, vanes were added halfway upt the wooden shaft. The plumbata could be throw a considerable distance either underhand or overhand and would have been very effective against horses.


Based on finds from the Kops Plateau in Nijmegen, these iaculae are thought to be for use by cavalry, which carried a bundel of them in a leather quiver hung from the saddle.


These small leafshaped spearheads are most likely also cavalry javelins. The sockets are long and narrow, allowing a shaft of 14 or 15 mm to be fitted. This a size quite often seen, it would appear certain standards were employed.


Based on finds from Saalburg, but also found elsewhere, these spearpoints are manufactured in a very simple manner. Basicly, stock is first shaped into sheet, long triangles are cut and then a socket is folded from the widest part. A spike anvil is used to shape the socket. The neck of these spearheads is not solid, the V shaped section on  the head is a sure give-away how these were made.