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"At the time of Julius Caesar?" Topic

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Paskal Supporting Member of TMP03 Jun 2018 4:02 a.m. PST

Hello everyone

At one time – for example at the time of the Punic Wars – legionaries carried 2 types of pilums, a light one and a heavy one, which were very different.

And at the time of Julius Caesar? The legionaries wore 2 types of pilums, a light and a heavy one?

JimDuncanUK03 Jun 2018 5:56 a.m. PST

Hi Paskal

I suspect that English is not your first choice of language.

I'm not sure what your question is.

Maybe you'll find the answer to your question here:


Ivan DBA03 Jun 2018 7:04 a.m. PST

Sounds like he is asking if legionaries still used both light and heavy pilums in Caesar's day.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP03 Jun 2018 11:20 p.m. PST


Ivan DBA understood everything!

Wikipedia? LOL LOL LOL…

JimDuncanUK04 Jun 2018 2:25 a.m. PST

Thanks Ivan, I thought that too but I tried to be helpful and point out a source to answer the apparent question.

Paskal, please note the many references at the bottom of the Wikipedia link. Would you laugh out loud at any of those?

Mars Ultor Supporting Member of TMP04 Jun 2018 6:45 a.m. PST

Paskal, I'm personally not sure of the answer, but the following sources, listed at the bottom of JimDUK's wikipedia article, look like good sources to check. That is, if they happen to answer that specific question. The Cowan book is probably easiest to access.

Connolly, Peter. "The pilum from Marius to Nero: a reconsideration of its development and function", Journal of Roman Military Equipment Studies, vol. 12/13, 2001/2, pp. 18.

Cowan, Ross (2003). "Equipment". Roman legionary: 58 BC – AD 69. Osprey Publishing. pp. 2526. ISBN 978-1-84176-600-3. Retrieved 8 February 2012

In the end, you may have to just weigh the probability of whether they changed from the light/heavy combination from Polybius' description to something else by Caesar's time and just go with it. If you're asking for modeling purposes, most manufacturers just supply on type of pilum, though Aventine does a light and heavy that you might be able to order separately.

Druzhina04 Jun 2018 10:45 p.m. PST

Many languages do not have different words for wear and carry, e.g French uses porte for both. Translating of this into English incorrectly can confuse readers of English.
The OP should be 'The legionaries carried 2 types of pilums, a light and a heavy one?'

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Paskal Supporting Member of TMP04 Jun 2018 10:58 p.m. PST

Thank you all, but as St Peter,now I think that they had two pila, but as the scutum handles were horizontales, there had to be a special technique to hold both the heavy pilum and the shield in the left hand.

In any case, look on the tables of games, it is to die of laughter, all the shields are vertical even that the position of the hands of the figurines would not allow to hold the scutum vertically.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP05 Jun 2018 11:34 p.m. PST

One thing is certain, in the first century AD, there is no more light pilum and the heavy pilum receives a counterweight.

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