One Swing Above The Rest: Ancient Roman Swords

Throughout history, many great civilizations have come and gone.  But there has been none as notable as the civilization of ancient Rome!  Credited as the founder of western civilization, the ancient Romans rose to prominence and contributed many things in government, culture, art, and warfare.  One of the most distinct aspects of ancient Rome was their conquests, which wouldn’t have been possible without awesome and impacting weapons.  Among ancient Roman weaponry were swords, which played a huge role in combat.  And as luck would have it, swordsmiths of the day were true masters of their craft, with effective designs that were able to be used to their fullest capacity.  Taking elements from other civilizations’ weapons, ancient Romans built on them with stellar improvements.  The result was an array of swords for all types of combat.

Ancient Roman Swords:

Receiving acclaim for its durability, spectacular strength, simplicity, and length was the hoplite short sword.  Adapted from the Greeks, this sword contained a straight blade designed to form fit the hand of a legionnaire.  Its short size and easy grasp gave these Roman soldiers more control than other weapons.

Roman Spatha:

Roman Spatha

Another short sword, also inspired by Greek design, was the falcatA.  Though this sword was small, it was a powerful little sucker that was known to destroy an adversary’s shield and split open helmets with a single strike!  Its blade had a single edge and a curved shape with a hook handle.  Because of the hook handle grip, this sword provided the benefit of quickly swinging in various directions with little risk of the weapon slipping from the hand.

Moving away from shorter swords to one of a little longer length was the spatha.  The evolution of this weapon occurred when there was a shift from single-edged swords to double-edged ones.  As a result, this specimen was double-edged and contained blades up to 40 inches long.  When the spatha first came on to the scene, it was primarily used by cavalry and became the most popular legion sword from the 4th century on.

Last, but not least, in the realm of Roman swords was the gladius, which may be the most well known of Roman cutting weapons.  In this category, there were also a few different versions of the gladius.  One of them was the maintz gladius, which had a short, double-sided blade with a sharp point that could cut through armor.  There was also the Pompeii gladius which incorporated elements of Spanish, Celtic, and Roman designs.  It was a straight, double-sided blade with a diamond shaped tip and a ball pommel on the handle.  Thus, this was a well balanced sword.  Yet another popular model was the gladius hispaniensis, which obviously had Spanish roots.  Its blade was 2 inches wide and 34 inches long, crafted from steel.  The advantage of this sword was being able to reach an enemy from a distance and it was especially helpful to charioteers.  The gladius also made regular appearances in arenas with gladiator fighters.

Roman Maintz Gladius:

Roman Maintz Gladius

No matter what type of combat an ancient Roman faced, they could be assured that there was a sword to fit the occasion.  To see our collection of ancient Roman swords, go to:

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