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Auxilia Primary Weapon
#1
No one doubts the primary weapon of the legionary was the gladius for close-in killing. Its probably also why he carried a body shield that provided maximum personal protection. As for the auxilia, I'm not sure whether it was the spear or the gladius that did the majority of the killing. Does Tacitus go into details at Mons Graupius?

Obviously the oval shield and spear were a good match, but why a spear at all, I wonder? Unless aucilia did radically different things on the battlefield. If the Romans had wanted less dangerous pila-less troops, they could have given them javelins and had them perform the same combat roles as the legionaries. I just wonder why the spear at all really, when it seems the javelin followed by a charge and sword fight seems the Roman norm during the Principate....
Paul Elliott

Legions in Crisis
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/17815...d_i=468294

Charting the Third Century military crisis - with a focus on the change in weapons and tactics.
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#2
I would say that it's to do with the role of the unit. Legionries are heavy infantry, meant for a pitched battle. Auxilia are multi-purpose troops, fighting on the battlefield, but also patrolling, skirmishing, policing.. Apparently, the hasta was more suited to that task than the pilum.
(That is, IF the pilum was limited only to the legions, there are voices that claim otherwise. But that is probably a different discussion).
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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#3
There are tombstones of auxilia soldiers which depict two spears, which would point to the use of at least one of them as a javelin. However, this doesn't mean it was standard practice for all auxiliary soldiers/units or in every battle.

By the way, has anyone got any more information (articles, books) about the use of javelins by auxiliaries?
Valete,
Titvs Statilivs Castvs - Sander Van Daele
LEG XI CPF
COH VII RAET EQ (part of LEG XI CPF)

MA in History
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#4
I'm not sure I like the term heavy infantry when the armour and shields of legionaries weigh about the same as auxilia. Would 'close order' troops be a better description? Of course this would imply that the legionaries fight as a large unit in fairly defined ranks and files and not individually, whilst the auxilia as open order can fight in loose formations or in very small units of a just a handful. Useful I suppose when there is no room or time or curcumstance to assemble as a battlefield formation... It would imply the spear was primary though, over a gladius.
Paul Elliott

Legions in Crisis
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/17815...d_i=468294

Charting the Third Century military crisis - with a focus on the change in weapons and tactics.
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#5
Quote:I'm not sure I like the term heavy infantry when the armour and shields of legionaries weigh about the same as auxilia. Would 'close order' troops be a better description?
I think thtat's implied rather than the weight of their equipment, indeed. Of course, the auxilia could also fight in close order. Terminoilogy, what do we do with it?
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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#6
Ave, Mithras,
Whilst I can't speak to the Legios, I canspeak from experience about the Navy and to a lesset extent the Cavalry, (John Conyer, where are you now that we need you????). The Classis , being an auxilary, really did not neet the extra weight of the pilum....The Javelin and lance would work fine and not weight as much. The Cavalry, had a similar problem, one's horse can carry only so much weight, so again, a lance and javelin would be easier to carry. I may be way off base, but its something to think about. P.M. John Conyers and see what he has to say about Cavalry and Pilums.
Salve, Frater Mithras,
Vitruvius aka Larry A. Mager
Larry A. Mager
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#7
As for cavalry, there is no source for the use of a pilum with them. They seem to have been using either a hasta or lancea (spears both for thrusting as well as trowing) combined with iacula (short javelins for trowing).
________________________________________
Jvrjenivs Peregrinvs Magnvs / FEBRVARIVS
A.K.A. Jurjen Draaisma
CORBVLO and Fectio
ALA I BATAVORUM
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#8
Ave, Frater Jurjen,
A.) Thanks for giving the proper names as I had forgotten them and my books were in the Bedroom where my wife was sleeping. What little that I do remember, I can't think of any place where the Pilum was used by the Cavalry. I think that if the Pilum was used by the Cavalry, Karen Dixon would have mentioned it in her book on the subject.

Mithras, If I can help you let me know.

Salve, for now,
Vitruvius......aka Larry Mager
Larry A. Mager
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#9
It's also a matter of function. The pilum volley was a very formidable weapon for breaking up an infantry charge, followed by an infantry counterattack. A batch of hundreds, or thousands of pila sailing down on any infantry formation would be very harmful to those on the pointy side of the volley. It would probably be much more difficult to throw a volley of any kind of projectile weapon from horseback, as the closeness of all the horses would be a problem of its own, and there were almost always many times fewer cavalry than infantry.

From some reports, auxilia (often being non-Roman mercenaries, so to speak) were not allowed to use pila as a matter of course, as for the most part, the legions didn't want a rebelling auxiliary unit to throw pila at them. But that may not be factual, just a report.
M. Demetrius Abicio
(David Wills)

Saepe veritas est dura.
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#10
Ave, Dave,
I couldn't have said it better myself.
Regards,
Vitruvius.....aka Larry Mager
Larry A. Mager
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