The beautiful “Gladius Hispaniensis” will be part of the extraordinary “Legio. Roman Army Exhibition” 21>23 april (Birth of Rome ). Journal of Roman Military Equipment Studies, JRMES, 8, , pp Gladius hispaniensis: an archaeological view from Iberia F. Quesada Sanz The. Technically known as the gladius Hispaniensis (the Spanish sword), this relatively short, double-edged weapon became the hallmark of Roman infantry. It could.

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Roman Military Equipment: Weapons – Gladius, Spatha, Pugio, Pilum

The Sword Gladius and Spatha. The “classical” Roman short sword is called gladius and thought to hispsniensis of Spanish origin, typical length up to ca. Ideal for close combat in well organized ranks and for “point” attacks. The longer sword initially used by the cavalry is called the Spatha.

It seems that from the 3rd century onwards bispaniensis cavalry also used the longer sword, and the short gladius ideal for infantry fighting in closed ranks became obsolete. The so gladiu Sword of Tiberius. Highly decorated and thus likely for an office. The Fulham Sword found in Fulham, UK and also in the British Museum is an example of a subtype of the Mainz gladius, with a blade that is somewhat more “waisted” in the middle part of the blade.


Image also shows one of few known shield bosses of the rectangular legionary shield. Like the Gladisu gladius, the Fulham has a long point.

Gladius hispaniensis type Mainz Speyer Museumwith silver covered handle. Scabbard decorations from Vindonissa, CH.

Exhibition catalogue “Legionsadler und Druidenstab, F. Humer, ,” ISBN “.

The Flaxen Saxon Chronicles: Gladius Hispaniensis

Gladius blades from the Republic to the early Principate. Left of line Hispaniensis type, right of line Pompeianus Type; Below sheath decorations and sword handles. Gladius handle in bone and hard wood Nijmegen.

Sword handles, Aalen Museum. The Roman cavalry used a much longer sword, the so called spatha. Towards end of the second century that spatha gradually replaced the short sword also for the infantry. Lengths 75 cms and longer.

The shape of the blade is not easy to distinguish from the Germanic swords of the period. The first century spatha looking like a longer galdius Pompeianus and the later thrid century spatha type Lauriacum-Hromowka:. Here a spatha that resembles the Pompeianus type gladius in its parallel gladdius edges and triangular point, but is considerably longer, broader, and shows multiple grooves.


This type is hispanienzis the Lauriacum-Hromowka type and dates from the late third century AD. Later Roman Sword blades are shown in the graph below, ca.

Especially the spatha types 6 and 7 from below graph are difficult to distinguish from contemporary Germanic sword blades, and seem to have been used by both cavalary and infantry. The days of the close combat in well organized ranks that suited so well for the “point” attack gladius hispanensis and pompeianus were clearly gone by then. Typical chape in pelta form in bronze to the left; Chapes made of bone to the left, Augsburg Museum.

Late Republic Gladius Hispaniensis

Balteus Decoration for a 3rd century sword belt, Numerum Omnium type. Augsburg Museum, a round silver disk with niello decorations, possibly from a round disk shaped chape, actual size ca. Countermarks of roman legions on coins are shown in the Legionary Countermark section. Coins making reference to roman legions are to be found in the Legionary Coin section. Roman Military Main Page.