Quote:That sounds way too complicated.

Well, it isn't really. After all, Peter Connolly's experiments of throwing

the various types of pila show that there was also a considerable range

of weights for these, too. In fact, I think there was a similar range of

weights to your plumbatae, with the lightest pila being around o.5 kilos

and the heaviest (Renieblas) almost 2 kilos. With the lightest having the

longest ranges, and the heaviest the shortest. We don't even know how

the pila were thrown. Did only the front ranks throw? Did they throw

and rotate with the ones behind to maintain a constant barage (in some

situations)? Did a depth of six ranks all throw together, using the same

weight of pilum? Did six ranks throw together, but with a range of weights

to their pila, so that they all landed at the same range? And the same

questions could be asked for plumbatae.

We know from Arrian's formation to counter the Alans that he ordered

the front ranks to use their weapons (pila/spears?) as pikes, to halt the

cavalry charge, while the ranks behind indeed did throw their pila over

the heads of the front ranks. Maybe the same tactics were used for

plumbatae. If you want a depth of six or eight ranks all to throw at once

for maximum firepower, the you might want them to have different

weights of plumbatae so as to converge at a particular range.

Sure, you can vary the range by varying the trajectory, but as we all

know, 'mortar shots' can scare your own side as much as the enemy :o

As Mithras & Aitor point out, overarm gives more predictability (without

necessarily compromising the range). Maybe in combat what you might sometimes want is a uniform motion from all ranks with varying weights to give variation in the ranges. The truth is, we don't even know if the

Romans used over/underarm or both.

Quote: So when we're talking about big difference in weight, I personally would guess that it had to do with the amount of lead spent at the time, which may not have been properely measured before it was poored.

Sure, there would be some variation. But a mould should give you a

reasonably reproducible weight of lead each time. If there's a difference

of between 38 and 180+ grams then these were obviously made from

different sized moulds. Different moulds for differnent ranges? Of course,

maybe not all these weights would be in use at the same time, since

pilum weights varied through history. Maybe plumbatae weights might

have increased or decreased over time.

Ambrosius