Gladius sword was used by roman legionnaires in ancient Rome. It was a very efficient sword which has become a relevant element in Roman Empire's biggest battles. Legionnaires handled this sword from third century B.C until 2nd century.
This sword has a very simple shape which could change lightly according to its model, age and geographical zone. Generally, it is shown as a straight blade, double-edged and sharpened sword.
Being a one-handed-sword, its length is about one metre, given that, roman soldiers carried also a shield (Scutum: Pretorian or Turtle shield).
Its knob and guard were normally made of wood, whereas its handle was made of more materials, animals's bones, wood, steel or leather.
Its scabbard was made of wood covered of leather and very often we could see a metal decoration, besides of stripes for fixing it to a cingulum a or a soldiers' shoulders.
Types of Gladius
As we have mentioned before, there are many kinds of Gladius swords, some of the most known are:
- Hispanic Gladius: The most used among of all them, above all in the Hispanic territory.
- Mainz Gladius: Which had a long poind that's why it was considered ideal for thrusting their enemies.
- Pompei Gladius: It was the sword most elaborated, but also estheticly well considered, given that we could appreciate some of their parts made of bronze.
Its point was short but it had a perfectly balanced blade.
Why Gladius Sword was the most used by romans soldiers?
Gladius swords were mainly used by Roman armies due to its lightness and manageability which allow them to be used with a single hand. We could appreciate it in the "turtle formation" where legionnaires hide theirselves behind a Scutum and because of their enemies closeness it was possible to hurt them without breaking the formation or having casualties.
The rest of weapons carried by roman army, were secondaries. Such as, Pilum ( a long Spear specially conceived for hand to hand combat) or the puggio (a sort of defensive dagger).
Formation with Gladius swords
The oldest warriors in gladiators' schools taught how to fight with gladius swords made of wood in order not to get seriously hurt. Besides, despite their material, these swords had almost the same weight than those made of metal.
This kind of teaching, provoke that warriors learn a huge range of offensive and defensive techniques. Thrusting was the most used technique given that it did not allow to the enemy to fight back because he/she was (normally) almost always mortally wounded.
Gladius has become one the most important swords due to its relation with Roman Empire.
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