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Jaroslav Jakubov




Location: Slovakia
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PostPosted: Tue 02 Oct, 2012 12:38 am    Post subject: Effectivity of Roman Pila         Reply with quote

I have started working on a combat realism mod for one tactical game so i started doing some research about Roman weapons and tactics. I have bought several publications (mostly Osprey) but there is surprisingly almost no information about how effective those weapons were. I have run through some Youtube videos, and searched the web, but still there is almost no information available. Then i found a Roman Army page, which investigated effect of Pila salvo more thoroughly, author suspect that because of short Javelin range (Olympic record in 1908 was around 50m, therefore their assumption is that during ancient times would be able to do 2/3 of that distance in average, but with heavy PIla range would be lower than 25-20metres) it was just not possible for all ranks to throw the pila, so he assumes only first two ranks would throw it, other would pass Pila to those in front ranks, or use them when their rank is switched forward during lul period on battlefield.

Regarding effectivity, author uses casualty rates from Battle of Pharsalus, (Caesars 25000 vs Pompeys 45000, Caesar won with only 300 dead on his side) and deduct Pila was not that much effective resulting casualty rate of only 1-3% (assuming about 3000 men were in first two ranks of Pompey's army and they would throw both their Pila) Thing is, i'm kinda reluctant to believe casualties Caesar reported are accurate due to his tendency overrate enemy numbers and underrate his losses in the past.. Another thing is, if we could even consider effect of Pila against Roman soldiers to be a norm against others - in the end, Roman Legionaries were heavily armed and equipped with 10kg heavy Scutum, which (based on some modern tests) was quite resistant against Pillum..

When i look at the missile itself, its really impressive weapon - its weight was about 4-5kg (lighter variants had about 2kg) with iron shank 40-90cm long with small pyramidal head. If thrown during charge (at light run) it could go about 20m/s which would deliver about 800-1000 joules of energy, which means that no armor of ancient era would be probably able to resist it. long iron shank would also mean it would continue forward even if shield is penetrated, wounding or killing those behind, especially if shield is strapped to the hand (less standoff from body) If thrown at half that speed (from standing still) it would have 200-250 joules of energy, which is still probably more than enough to penetrate mail or linen armor(?)

So, if weapon is so effective, its accuracy must be responsible for its (assumed) low kill ratio - while it was probably mostly used as area weapon, Ancient armies used deep formations with 8-20 ranks, which kinda eliminates the need for precision..

So, does anybody have some more information on this subject? (effectivity agaisnt Phalanx or barbarians) is there anything i have missed or misinterpreted?
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Oct, 2012 5:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ave!

Well, it should be no surprise that there is no reliable data from ancient times--ancient writers simply never did body counts or statistical analyses of wounds. All we can do is guesstimate. And of course there is a huge number of variables, so a straight answer is impossible.

A volley of pila does not have to kill any men to be effective. It will wound some, sometimes in spite of their shields, it will tangle and weigh down shields, it will trip men, and javelins will generally be bouncing and flipping everywhere, causing all manner of confusion and disruption.

The estimated weights you found are WAY too high. A pilum weighs a couple pounds at most, I doubt they'd get as heavy as 2 kg! The 1st-century BC Roman-style shield from Fayum has been said to weigh about 22 pounds, but this is the only complete one found of that style, the tall Republican oval. The rectangular scutum from Dura Europas (250 AD) weighs only 12 pounds. So there was clearly some variation over time. That said, I threw my pilum through a reconstructed scutum, and it even split the 2x4 wooden post the shield was leaning against. And I'm an office jockey, not strong or athletic at all! So a pilum certainly CAN go through a shield, but that is certainly no guarantee that it *will*. It's just a possibility, depending on range, strength, angle of impact, thickness of shield, etc.

Of all the hand-held weapons on the battlefield, I think the pilum is the most likely to be able to penetrate armor, but again I don't think that's something you should depend on.

We know from many battle accounts that missiles were flying through the entire engagement, so it's simple to conclude that men in the rear ranks could throw their javelins while the front ranks were engaged in hand-to-hand combat. I've never seen any evidence for missiles being passed forward, and there's no need for such a theory. I agree with a general range of 20 to 25 yards, since I can throw about 10 yards and I generally assume the ancients were twice as good as me!

Bottom line, the pilum was very effective and disruptive when used in mass volleys just before contact. It would kill some opponents, but didn't have to kill very many to have a big influence. Can't help you with how to model that for gaming purposes, sorry!

Matthew
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Jaroslav Jakubov




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Oct, 2012 7:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Problem with throwing from rear ranks is that if the formation is as deep as Romans used (or at least as we think it was), then only first 2-4 ranks could actually throw Pilum, while those in rear ranks would be not able to use it due to the depth of formation - base spacing for a soldier i found was 0.9m for file and 1.8 for ranks, that makes formation depth about 15m with standard 8 ranks.

Regarding Pillum weight, only info i found was that there were 2 Pila carried by Legionary, light and heavy. Sources really mentions 2kg for light and 4-5kg for heavy.. i never saw real Pila, therefore cannot tell if its too much or not, anyway from what i read Pillum was one of the heavies javelins (probably only Iberian Soliferra could be heavier), Velites instead used much lighter Verutum.
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Bartek Strojek




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Oct, 2012 8:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

800 J isn't certainly really realistic either.

Modern javelin throwers, who train, eat and live for results in competition, rarely exceed 350 J, with great running start and other favorable conditions.

Obviously, their <2 pounds javelin is not pefrect for sheer KE, and heavier one could be thrown slower, but with more KE all in all, but certainly not that much, not by 'normal' guy.
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Oct, 2012 9:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jaroslav Jakubov wrote:
Problem with throwing from rear ranks is that if the formation is as deep as Romans used (or at least as we think it was), then only first 2-4 ranks could actually throw Pilum, while those in rear ranks would be not able to use it due to the depth of formation - base spacing for a soldier i found was 0.9m for file and 1.8 for ranks, that makes formation depth about 15m with standard 8 ranks.


I don't think they fought 8 ranks deep very often, but not sure what evidence there is. Probably 3 or 4 ranks deep was typical. And there wouldn't be that much space between ranks--it's natural for men to push forward, so they'd be right up against the men in front of them during close action.

Quote:
Regarding Pillum weight, only info i found was that there were 2 Pila carried by Legionary, light and heavy.


That's true for the Republic, but by the Empire the weight differences seem to be gone.

Quote:
Sources really mentions 2kg for light and 4-5kg for heavy.. i never saw real Pila, therefore cannot tell if its too much or not, anyway from what i read Pillum was one of the heavies javelins (probably only Iberian Soliferra could be heavier), Velites instead used much lighter Verutum.


I've got several pila, so I'll see if I have a chance to throw them on the scale tonight and get some weights. As I recall though, the only one that was as much as 5 *pounds* was an older Deepeeka repro, which is completely unthrowable and is better classed as a battering ram! The wood is at least an inch and a half thick, and the shank looks like the steel bars from Alcatraz. (The newer ones are better!)

Matthew
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Jaroslav Jakubov




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Oct, 2012 11:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bartek Strojek wrote:
800 J isn't certainly really realistic either.

Modern javelin throwers, who train, eat and live for results in competition, rarely exceed 350 J, with great running start and other favorable conditions.

Obviously, their <2 pounds javelin is not pefrect for sheer KE, and heavier one could be thrown slower, but with more KE all in all, but certainly not that much, not by 'normal' guy.


i was just using simple mathematical calculator to get that number - i just took reported weight of Pila (2-5kg) and added speed of flight (20-25m/s) which results in that energy..

here is the webpage i took some info from:

http://www.garyb.0catch.com/line3_pilum/pilum_volley.html

and few from those videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EVrKWXHO9U&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBNrqoFttrc&feature=related
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Bartek Strojek




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Oct, 2012 12:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Haven't watched videos yet, but "Conquest" is rather terrible show. Will check the dude talking soon.

As far as Roman Army link goes, they estimate initial velocity as 22 miles per hour, so about 9.5 m/s, not 20....

Although they add that this is just their estimation.
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Oct, 2012 2:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The very heavy pilum is based on the measurements given by Polybius (or is there some other source?). This is what gives the 5kg (or more, depending on the reconstruction). What are the weights based on archaeology?

Why would we want a a heavy pilum? More mass will give us more energy when thrown. As above, modern sport javelin tops out at about 350J. Roman writers praise the armour-piercing effectiveness of the pilum; the javelin replaced the bow in Greek warfare as armour became more common. This needs energy, and the more the better. Very heavy is a way to sacrifice range for more energy. How much more energy? Sport javelin at 800g, a little under 2lbs, gives 350J, with a running throw. Shot put, with 16lbs, gives ranges of over 20m, which means a speed of about 10m/s, and energy of over 3000J.

That's world-record type performance, and with something much heavier than a pilum, but I think it shows the kind of gains in energy one can get from very heavy javelins.

I don't know if we can say much about effectiveness from casualty rates, because we don't know the details of what went on in the battles. How can an all-day battle result in 5% dead for the winner, and 10% for the loser? We know that a gladius is effective, that a spear is effective, and that the pilum is effective. Clearly, not everybody was actively fighting an opponent all day!

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Oct, 2012 3:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
Roman writers praise the armour-piercing effectiveness of the pilum!

I'd love a list of cites.

Quote:
the javelin replaced the bow in Greek warfare as armour became more common

We don't know this either. I came to this conclusion in my book because I couldn't come up with another explaination but it is only a hypothesis. The percentage of foes that Rome faced that were wearing armour seem way too low to necessitate a whole new weapon to compensate for it.
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Oct, 2012 5:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Timo Nieminen wrote:
Roman writers praise the armour-piercing effectiveness of the pilum!

I'd love a list of cites.


An incomplete list:

Polybius, Histories, Book VI:

The youngest soldiers or velites are ordered to carry a sword, javelins, and a target (parma). The target is strongly made and sufficiently large to afford protection, being circular and measuring •three feet in diameter. They also wear a plain helmet, and sometimes cover it with a wolf's skin or something similar both to protect and to act as a distinguishing mark by which their officers can recognize them and judge if they fight pluckily or not. The wooden shaft of the javelin measures about two cubits in length and is about a finger's breadth in thickness; its head is a span long hammered out to such a fine edge that it is necessarily bent by the first impact, and the enemy is unable to return it. If this were not so, the missile would be available for both sides.

[This javelin is not a pilum; these are "hastae velitares".]

The next in seniority called hastati are ordered to wear a complete panoply. [...] In addition they have two pila, a brass helmet, and greaves. The pila are of two sorts: stout and fine. Of the stout ones some are round and a palm's length in diameter and others are a palm square. Fine pila, which they carry in addition to the stout ones, are like moderate-sized hunting-spears, the length of the haft in all cases being about three cubits. Each is fitted with a barbed iron head of the same length as the haft. This they attach so securely to the haft, carrying the attachment halfway up the latter and fixing it with numerous rivets, that in action the iron will break sooner than become detached, although its thickness at the bottom where it comes in contact with the wood is a finger's breadth and a half; such great care do they take about attaching it firmly. [...] The principes and triarii are armed in the same manner except that instead of the pila the triarii carry long spears (hastae).

[Polybius just describes the construction, not the effects.]

Plutarch: Many mentions of javelins in Life of Marius, but he doesn't say whether or not the enemies were armoured. In same cases, they were probably not (since they were asleep). This also has the description of one of the two iron rivets being replaced by a wooden pin. In Life of Antony, thrusting pila at Parthians is described.

Arrian, Array against the Alans also has thrusting of pila.

Vegetius,De Re Militari:

As to the missile weapons of the infantry, they were javelins headed with a triangular sharp iron, eleven inches or a foot long, and were called piles. When once fixed in the shield it was impossible to draw them out, and when thrown with force and skill, they penetrated the cuirass without difficulty.

They had likewise two other javelins, the largest of which was composed of a staff five feet and a half long and a triangular head of iron nine inches long. This was formerly called the pilum, but now it is known by the name of spiculum. The soldiers were particularly exercised in the use of this weapon, because when thrown with force and skill it often penetrated the shields of the foot and the cuirasses of the horse.

Livy, The History of Rome, Book 8:

[On the death of Alexander of Epirus, who would have been likely to wear armour:]

He had already reached the shallow water on the other side when one of the refugees some distance away transfixed him with a javelin. [14] He fell from his horse, and his lifeless body with the weapon sticking in it was carried down by the current to that part of the bank where the enemy were stationed.

Livy, The History of Rome, Book 10:

He spoke at some length upon the general character of the war they were engaged in, and especially upon the style of equipment which the enemy had adopted, which he said served for idle pageantry rather than for practical use. Plumes did not inflict wounds, their painted and gilded shields would be penetrated by the Roman javelin, and an army resplendent in dazzling white would be stained with gore when the sword came into play.

Livy, The History of Rome, Book 21:

The missile used by the Saguntines was the phalarica, a javelin with a shaft smooth and round up to the head, which, as in the pilum, was an iron point of square section. The shaft was wrapped in tow and then smeared with pitch; the iron head was three feet long and capable of penetrating armour and body alike.

Livy, The History of Rome, Book 26:

A further check was given them by a wound received by Appius Claudius; he was struck by a heavy javelin in the upper part of the chest under the left shoulder, whilst he was riding along the front encouraging his men.

Livy, The History of Rome, Book 29:

The king though half dead kept his ground till he was pinned to the earth by a javelin, and then those who were fighting round him were at last overwhelmed beneath showers of missiles.

=======

And some accounts of javelins being ineffective against armour:

Plutarch, Alexander:

But although a javelin pierced the joint of his breastplate, he was not wounded

Polybius, Histories

When the men who were armed with the pilum advanced in front of the legions, in accordance with the regular method of Roman warfare, and hurled their pila in rapid and effective volleys, the inner ranks of the Celts found their jerkins and leather breeches of great service; but to the naked men in the front ranks this unexpected mode of attack caused great distress and discomfiture.

Other mentions I don't have a cite for at the moment include the wounding of Pyrrhus through his breastplate. Tacitus and Caesar mention javelins/pila several times, and Appian (in Iberian Wars?) describes the pilum as a Gallic weapon.


Dan Howard wrote:

Quote:
the javelin replaced the bow in Greek warfare as armour became more common

We don't know this either. I came to this conclusion in my book because I couldn't come up with another explaination but it is only a hypothesis. The percentage of foes that Rome faced that were wearing armour seem way too low to necessitate a whole new weapon to compensate for it.


Do you mean that while we do know that the javelin replaced the bow in Greek warfare as armour became more common, we don't know that the change from bow to javelin happened because of changes in armour? If so, sure, but (a) archery doesn't appear to have been very effective against the Greek phalanx (e.g., in the Persian wars), and (b) the javelin could be effective (e.g., Battle of Lechaeum), so it seems a quite reasonable hypothesis.

Romans happily used archers, slingers, and javelineers, in the same armies, into the late Empire, so we don't see any such replacement in Roman warfare If anything, the other way around, increasing the number of slingers and archers as Rome expands and fights a wider variety of opponents compared to their earlier more Greek-style Italian warfare.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.


Last edited by Timo Nieminen on Wed 03 Oct, 2012 1:42 am; edited 1 time in total
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Oct, 2012 5:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Caesar, Gallic Wars:

The shield of Pulfio is pierced and a javelin is fastened in his belt. This circumstance turns aside his scabbard and obstructs his right hand when attempting to draw his sword: the enemy crowd around him when [thus] embarrassed. His rival runs up to him and succours him in this emergency. Immediately the whole host turn from Pulfio to him, supposing the other to be pierced through by the javelin.

It was a great hindrance to the Gauls in fighting, that, when several of their bucklers had been by one stroke of the (Roman) javelins pierced through and pinned fast together, as the point of the iron had bent itself, they could neither pluck it out, nor, with their left hand entangled, fight with sufficient ease; so that many, after having long tossed their arm about, chose rather to cast away the buckler from their hand, and to fight with their person unprotected.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Oct, 2012 7:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
The very heavy pilum is based on the measurements given by Polybius (or is there some other source?). This is what gives the 5kg (or more, depending on the reconstruction).


From what you quoted from Polybius, there is no way we can make an accurate reconstruction. How big is a palm or a finger's breadth? In any case, 5 kg is still way too much. I just weighed a couple of my pila, and my good socketed one weighs 2-1/4 pounds, just over a kilogram. Its dimensions are within the range of known originals. Of course none are found with complete wooden shafts, but those can be interpolated (at least ball-park) from artwork, and from what balances correctly with the head. My tanged pila are around 2 to 2-1/2 pounds. The old Deepeeka battering ram is 5-3/4 pounds, and I guarantee that no legionary would ever want to lug that thing across Europe! It's too thick even to hold comfortably in the hand. Unless you have evidence for crew-served pila, anything over 2 kg is just plain wrong.

Great citations, by the way! That's a nice summary. I'd be a little leery of reading too much into them (assuming armor where none is mentioned, for instance), but it's good to have the raw data.

Quote:
What are the weights based on archaeology?


Two to 3 pounds, like mine! The difference between the Republican "heavy" and "light" seems to have faded over time, with the "heavy" getting thinner and lighter. By the late first century AD, tanged pila are often seen with a spherical weight behind the joint block, presumably to add more punch. But none of these weighted pila has been recovered, so we can't say how heavy that weight might have been. Repros are often more like cannon balls...

Quote:
I don't know if we can say much about effectiveness from casualty rates, because we don't know the details of what went on in the battles.


Very true! Frustrating as heck.

Quote:
How can an all-day battle result in 5% dead for the winner, and 10% for the loser? We know that a gladius is effective, that a spear is effective, and that the pilum is effective. Clearly, not everybody was actively fighting an opponent all day!


Very true again! But then, if you compare the number of rounds expended in the average modern firefight to the number of casualties, you come up with a similar puzzle. However we don't conclude that a machine gun is ineffective simply because it fired several thousand rounds and only killed one guy! When it goes off, people react. That's effective.

Vale,

Matthew
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Peter Messent




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Oct, 2012 8:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
But then, if you compare the number of rounds expended in the average modern firefight to the number of casualties, you come up with a similar puzzle. However we don't conclude that a machine gun is ineffective simply because it fired several thousand rounds and only killed one guy! When it goes off, people react. That's effective.

Vale,

Matthew


I am nothing like an expert in ancient warfare, or use/effectiveness of the pilum - however, this point did get me. While it would be a desirable outcome, the expected outcome of a firefight is not to kill all thirty enemies with thirty bullets. Suppressive fire is a major role in warfare - it can be used to prevent your enemy from returning fire, prevent your enemy from moving to a more favorable location or to chase your enemy into a less favorable location. It can buy time which can then be used to employ more aggressive battle tactics to eliminate or capture the threat, as the situation permits/requires. It can, of course, also simply scare an enemy away. Bullets, and I suspect pila, do not have to draw blood in order to effectively hit their targets. I feel that the Romans would have (or, if they were not, SHOULD have) been aware of the concept of suppressive fire, and that even just forcing your enemy behind the cover of their shields for a few moments can give a tactical edge to the aggressor, as well as rattling their enemies' confidence.

Pete
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Oct, 2012 8:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree that anything over 2kg seems excessive (two-handed spears, even with long heavy heads, are often/usually under 2kg).

Biomechanically, it seems that about 1.5-2kg might be a good weight for maximising energy while still keeping tolerable weights and ranges. R. Cross, "Physics of overarm throwing", American Journal of Physics 72(3), 305-312 (2004) has some measurements of energy versus mass for throwing. Below 1.5kg, one still gets a large increase in energy as the mass increases; after 2kg, the increase is much smaller.

While apparently some reconstructions based on Polybius are over 7kg (large hands?), this seems unusefully heavy even for a heavy javelin. A 2kg heavy pilum is more reasonable.

Which is still a very heavy javelin. The only jarid (a Middle Eastern javelin, Persian in this case) that I've seen a weight for was 620g - these are usually smallish javelins, but often all-steel (this one is all-steel). This is the only antique javelin weight I have at hand.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Wed 03 Oct, 2012 12:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Connolly reconstructed 5 diffrent types of pilums and a hasta velitaris for a an article in the Journal of Roman Military Equipment Studies. The Pilums weighed between 955 grams and 1710 grams while the hasta velitaris weighed 230 grams. After testing the effective range of the pilums were estimated at some 25m and the maximmum to between 33-35m depending on the type. The hasta velitaris whad an effective range of about 40 meters and was thrown as far as 54.5 meters in testing.
"There is nothing more hazardous than to venture a battle. One can lose it
by a thousand unforseen circumstances, even when one has thorougly taken all
precautions that the most perfect military skill allows for."
-Fieldmarshal Lennart Torstensson.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 03 Oct, 2012 1:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
Dan Howard wrote:
Timo Nieminen wrote:
Roman writers praise the armour-piercing effectiveness of the pilum!

I'd love a list of cites.

An incomplete list:


Thanks for the list but only two of those are relevant: Vegetius and Livy (bk 21).
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Jaroslav Jakubov




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PostPosted: Wed 03 Oct, 2012 1:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

based on this article, modern javelins have release speed about 32m/s (for men) and 28m/s for women. Olympic Javelin is 0.8kg heavy (men) or 0.6kg (women)

http://www.coachkrall.com/Articles/Jav/Speed.pdf

so if weight was double, speed would go down at least the same way if i'm not mistaken, so max about 16m/s for 1.8kg heavy javelin like Pillum, which gives about 230 joules of energy (or lower).. much lower than i thought, but still more than capable to penetrate armor like mail or Linothorax i suppose..

(thanks a lot for really insightful posts.)
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Wed 03 Oct, 2012 1:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jaroslav Jakubov wrote:
based on this article, modern javelins have release speed about 32m/s (for men) and 28m/s for women. Olympic Javelin is 0.8kg heavy (men) or 0.6kg (women)

http://www.coachkrall.com/Articles/Jav/Speed.pdf

so if weight was double, speed would go down at least the same way if i'm not mistaken, so max about 16m/s for 1.8kg heavy javelin like Pillum, which gives about 230 joules of energy (or lower).. much lower than i thought, but still more than capable to penetrate armor like mail or Linothorax i suppose..


The speed won't go down so much. Generally, as the thing being thrown becomes heavier, the energy will increase. So, if the Olympic athlete who can throw an 800g javelin at 32m/s, for an energy of 400J, throws a 1.5kg javelin, they will do so with more energy. (Unless the change in weight badly affects their form!) The speed will be lower, but not so much lower as to result in less energy.

(The paper by Cross on throwing can be downloaded from his website. See figure 2.)

If the energy of the heavier javelin was lower, there would be very little point in having heavy javelins - people would throw javelins the weight of arrows instead.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Jaroslav Jakubov




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PostPosted: Wed 03 Oct, 2012 2:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ok but the amount of speed would depends on length of run before the release. So if you only have few metres to release the javelin you would throw it with less speed. That is why my assumption was the release speed of Pillum would be higher than mentioned 9m/s.. that seem just too low.
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Dan Howard




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Joined: 08 Dec 2004

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PostPosted: Wed 03 Oct, 2012 4:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
Do you mean that while we do know that the javelin replaced the bow in Greek warfare as armour became more common, we don't know that the change from bow to javelin happened because of changes in armour? If so, sure, but (a) archery doesn't appear to have been very effective against the Greek phalanx (e.g., in the Persian wars), and (b) the javelin could be effective (e.g., Battle of Lechaeum), so it seems a quite reasonable hypothesis.

Yep. The transition at the end of the Bronze Age, in the Aegean and further east, away from the bow in favour of thrown spears is probably because of the increased prevalence of body armour.
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