Gladius Iron Handle
The Gladius was the emplematic sword of the Roman Empire. It was the most popular sword model during most part of the 1000 years in which this civilization existed. From an Iberic origin, this sword got the attention from the roman soldiers during the Second Punic War. This model has a molten iron handle.
- Total Longitude
- 30 in
- Sheet Longitude
- 22 in
- 63 oz
- Handle made in
- Molten Iron
You might also like
Like any ancient civilization, the Roman Empire established its supremacy around technological development in its weapons. As for the swords, the "gladius hispaniensis” -which was used by the legions of Ancient Rome from the 3rd century BC to the 4th century AD- stood out.
The Romans were known for applying battle strategies that allowed them to win many wars. An example is the victory of Paulo in the battle of Pidna, where the combination of cavalry, velites (light infantry), legionnaires and centurions -priming each battle unit at the opportune moment- resulted in only 100 casualties on the Roman side for the more than 20,000 in the Macedonian’s.
It should be clarified that the term gladius is the one used to refer to swords in Rome, but over the centuries this term has come to describe the most characteristic weapon of this civilization. As a curiosity, the spatha -which replaced the gladius in the decadent times of the Roman Empire- is what gave rise to the word ‘sword’.
Gladius had two parts: blade and hilt. The latter contained a round pommel -to prevent it from escaping from the soldier's hands- and the handguard, made of wood and covered with brass. As for the blade - straight and wide with double edge - high quality iron was used for its manufacture. The outside was high in carbon and the inside was low.
There is debate around the origin of the gladius. Some affirm that it was in the Iberian Peninsula, since the Celtiberians who fought on the side of Carthage in the Second Punic Wars carried weapons very similar to these. Others, like Fernando Quesada Sanz, maintain that the gladius is an evolution of the Celtic sword, which was later adapted in the Iberian Peninsula -hence the denomination of the first model: ’gladius hispaniensis’ or ‘Hispanic sword’-. The Romans did not wait for the Second Punic Wars to end to equip their troops with this new weaponry - superior to the one they used until then, of Greek origin.
The gladius was evolving, although the original type had almost identical characteristics to the Iberian swords -dagger shape and long and sharp point- with which they managed to penetrate the enemy's mail. Its creation was standardized until the Pompeii model gained popularity- named after the specimens found in this city - with parallel edges and a shorter tip and wooden and leather sheaths, joined together with bronze. We can distinguish three types:
Hispaniensis: the older model, which was longer (24-27’’) and narrower (1.5-2’’) than the models that succeeded it.
Mainz: shorter model -22’’ approx. - and 2.95’’ wide.
Fulham: very similar to Mainz, but narrower -2’’- and with straight sides.
Pompeii: between 16 and 20’’ in length and 2’’ in width. It introduced variations in the hilt and had a shorter, tapered blade.
It is important to highlight that the sword industries of the Iberian peninsula were very important in the Empire, grouping the artisans in "Collegias", which prohibited the change from one profession to another. The consequence of this was that specializations were inherited from father to son, a tradition that was maintained for centuries after the disappearance of this civilization.