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Details about  Rare original ancient Roman iron ballista bolt head Javelin arrowhead trilobe 2c

Rare original ancient Roman iron ballista bolt head Javelin arrowhead trilobe 2c See original listing
Rare-original-ancient-Roman-iron-ballista-bolt-head-Javelin-arrowhead-trilobe-2c
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Roman-Byzantine javelin arrowhead/ 2-3Cent.AD/ballista bolt head


Nice, interesting and absolutely intact iron trilobe barbed arrowhead/spear blade measuring over 102mm. in length. You are bidding on an original Roman arrowhead. Authenticity guaranteed, see below.


The ballista (Latin, from Greek βαλλίστρα - ballistra and that from - βάλλω ballō, "throw"), plural ballistae, was an ancient missile weapon which launched a large projectile at a distant target.

Developed from earlier Greek weapons, it relied upon different mechanics, using two levers with torsion springs instead of a prod, the springs consisting of several loops of twisted skeins. Early versions ejected heavy darts or spherical stone projectiles of various sizes for siege warfare. It developed into a smaller sniper weapon, the Scorpio, and possibly the polybolos.

Greek weapon

The early ballista in Ancient Rome was developed from two weapons called oxybeles and gastraphetes. The gastraphetes ('belly-bow') was a hand held crossbow. It had a composite prod and was spanned by bracing the front end of the weapon against the ground while placing the end of a slider mechanism against the stomach. The operator would then walk forward to arm the weapon while a ratchet prevented it from shooting during loading. This produced a weapon which, it was claimed, could be operated by a person of average strength but which had a power that allowed it to be successfully used against armoured troops. The oxybeles was a bigger and heavier construction employing a winch, and was mounted on a tripod. It had a lower rate of fire and was used as a siege engine.

With the invention of torsion spring bundle technology, the first ballista was built. The advantage of this new technology was the fast relaxation time of this system. Thus it was possible to shoot lighter projectiles with higher velocities over a longer distance.

For an oxybeles, the rules of a torsion weapon demanded that the more energy could be stored, the thicker the prod had to be and the heavier the projectile, to increase the amount of stored energy delivered to the projectile. The earliest form of the ballista is thought to have been developed for Dionysius of Syracuse, circa 400 BC.

The Greek ballista was a siege weapon. All components that were not made of wood were transported in the baggage train. It would be assembled with local wood, if necessary. Some were positioned inside large, armored, mobile siege towers or even on the edge of a battlefield. For all the tactical advantages offered, it was only under Philip II of Macedon and even more so under his son Alexander, that the ballista began to develop and gain recognition as both siege engine and field artillery. Polybius reports about the usage of smaller more portable ballistae, called scorpions, during the Second Punic War.

Since these weapons delivered lighter munitions (thus delivering less energy on impact) it is a widely held opinion that they were used more as an anti-personnel role, or to destroy lighter structures. A less accurate weapon like an onager or other single-arm artillery could hit with more force, and thus would be the more useful weapon against reinforced wood or heavy masonry.[citation needed]

Ballistae could be easily modified to shoot both spherical and shaft projectiles, allowing their crews to adapt easily to prevailing battlefield situations in real time.

As the role of battlefield artillery became more sophisticated, a universal joint (which was invented just for this function) was integrated into the ballista's stand, allowing the operators to alter the trajectory and firing direction of the ballista as required without a lengthy disassembly of the machine.

A reconstruction of Roman Ballista
Roman 'catapult-nest' on Trajan
Ballista bolt heads.

Roman weapon

After the absorption of the Ancient Greek city-states into the Roman Republic in 146 BC, the highly advanced Greek technology began to spread across many areas of Roman influence. This included the hugely advantageous military advances the Greeks had made (most notably by Dionysus of Syracuse), as well as all the scientific, mathematical, political and artistic developments.

The Romans 'inherited' the torsion powered Ballista, which had by now spread to several cities around the Mediterranean, all of which became Roman spoils of war in time, including one from Pergamum, which was depicted among a pile of 'trophy' weapons in relief on a balustrade.

The torsion ballista, developed by Alexander, was a far more complicated weapon than its predecessor and the Romans developed it even further, especially into much smaller versions, that could easily be carried.

Early Roman ballistae

The early Roman ballistae were made of wood, and held together with iron plates around the frames and iron nails in the stand. The main stand had a slider on the top, into which were loaded the bolts or stone shot. Attached to this, at the back, was a pair of 'Winches' and a 'Claw', used to ratchet the bowstring back to the armed firing position.

The slider passed through the field frames of the weapon, in which were located the torsion springs (rope made of animal sinew), which were twisted around the bow arms, which in turn, were attached to the bowstring.

Drawing the bowstring back with the winches twisted the already taut springs, storing the energy to fire the projectiles. The bronze or iron caps, which secured the torsion-bundles were adjustable by means of pins and peripheral holes, which allowed the weapon to be tuned for symmetrical power and for changing weather conditions.

The ballista was a highly accurate weapon (there are many accounts of single soldiers being picked off by ballista operators), but some design aspects meant it could compromise its accuracy for range. The maximum range was over 500 yards (460 m), but effective combat range for many targets was far shorter. The ballista's relatively lightweight bolts also did not have the high momentum of the stones thrown by the later onagers, trebuchets, or mangonels; these could be as heavy as 200-300 pounds (90–135 kg).

The Romans continued the development of the Ballista, and it became a highly prized and valued weapon in the army of the Roman Empire.

It was used, just before the start of the Empire, by Julius Caesar during his conquest of Gaul and on both of his campaigns in subduing Britain. Both attempted invasions of Britain and the siege of Alesia are recorded in his own Commentarii (journal), The Gallic Wars (De Bello Gallico).

First invasion of Britain

The first invasion of Britain took place in 55 BC, after a rapid and successful initial conquest of Gaul, in part as an exploratory expedition to see the land across the sea, and more practically to try to put an end to the reinforcements sent across by the native Britons to fight the Romans in Gaul.

A total of eighty transports, carrying two legions, attempted to land on the British shore (the eighteen accompanying cavalry transports had been blown off course on the way over), only to be driven back by the many British warriors assembled along the shoreline. The ships had to unload their troops on the beach, as it was the only one suitable for many miles, yet the massed ranks of British charioteers and javeliners were making it impossible.

Seeing this, Caesar ordered the warships – which were swifter and easier to handle than the transports, and likely to impress the natives more by their unfamiliar appearance – to be removed a short distance from the others, and then be rowed hard and run ashore on the enemy’s right flank, from which position the slings, bows and artillery could be used by men on deck to drive them back. This manoeuvre was highly successful.
Scared by the strange shape of the warships, the motion of the oars, and the unfamiliar machines, the natives halted and then retreated a little. (Caesar, The Conquest of Gaul, p99)

Siege of Alesia

In Gaul, the stronghold of Alesia was under a Roman siege in 52 BC, and was completely surrounded by a fourteen mile (21 km) long trench filled with water diverted from the local river, then another trench, then a wooden palisade and towers, then the besieging Roman army, then another series of palisades and trenches to protect them from any Gallic relief forces. As was standard siege technique at the time, small ballistae were placed up in the towers as snipers and other troops armed with either bows or slings.

A four-wheeled ballista drawn by armored horses, from an engraving illustrating a 1552 edition of the war-machine catalog De Rebus Bellicis (c. 400)
Roman cart-mounted carroballista

Ballistae in the Roman Empire

During the days of the conquest of Empire, the ballista proved its worth many times, in sieges and battles, on ships and on the land. It was even used to quell riots. It is from the time of the Roman Empire that many of the archaeological finds of ballistae date and in these times that many of the authors, whose technical manuals and journal accounts used by archaeologists to reconstruct these weapons, wrote their accounts.

After the time of Julius Caesar, the ballista was a permanent fixture in the Roman Army and, over time, modifications and improvements were made by successive engineers. This included replacing the remaining wooden parts of the machine with metal, creating a much smaller and lighter machine, capable of even more power than the wooden version, since the metal was not liable to snap like the wood, and which required less maintenance (though the vital torsion springs were still vulnerable to the strain).

Cheiroballistra / Manuballista

The Cheiroballistra and the Manuballista (hereafter Manuballista) are held by many archaeologists to be the same weapon.[citation needed] The difference in names comes from the different languages spoken in the Empire. Latin remained the official language in the Western Empire, but the Eastern Empire predominantly used Greek, which added an extra 'r' in the word Ballista.

The Manuballista was a handheld version of the traditional Ballista. This new version was made entirely of iron, which conferred greater power to the weapon, since it was smaller, and less iron, an expensive material before the 19th century, was used in its production. It was not the ancient Gastraphetes, but the Roman weapon. However, the same physical limitations applied as with the Gastraphetes.

Carroballista

The Carroballista was a cart-mounted version of the weapon. Probably there were different models of this cart-mounted ballista of the Cheiroballistra Class, at least 2 different models with 2 wheels and 1 model with 4 wheels. Probable size 1.47 m width, i.e. 5 Roman Feet. The cart system and structure gave it a great deal of flexibility and much more ability as a battlefield weapon, since the increased maneuverability allowed it to be moved with the flow of the battle. This weapon features several times on Trajan's Column.

Polybolos

According to some sources, the Roman military, at one time in its history, also fielded 'repeating' ballistae, also known as a polybolos. Reconstruction and trials of such a weapon carried out in a BBC documentary 'What the Romans Did For Us' showed that they "were able to shoot eleven bolts a minute, which is almost four times the rate at which an ordinary ballista can be operated".[4] However, this has not yet been found archaeologically. They operate using a cam to pull the mensa (the place where the projectile travels on) backwards and the string along with it. At the rearmost position, the string is unlocked and propels the projectile forwards. The mensa is then pushed forward and pushes a bolt out of the magazine above it, and latches on to the string, all done with the rotating cam. The cycle then repeats.

Archaeology and the Roman ballista

Metal components of the Ampurias Catapult, found in 1912 in the Neapolis of Empúries.

Archaeology, and in particular Experimental archaeology has been particularly influential on this subject. Although several ancient authors (such as Vegetius) wrote very detailed technical treatises, providing us with all the information necessary to reconstruct the weapons, all their measurements were in their native language and therefore highly difficult to translate.

Attempts to reconstruct these ancient weapons began at the end of the 19th century, based on the rough translations of these ancient authors. It was only during the 20th century, however, that many of these reconstructions began to make any sense as a weapon. By bringing in modern engineers, progress was made with the ancient measurement systems. By redesigning the reconstructions using the new information, archaeologists in the field were able to recognize certain finds from Roman military sites, and identify them as ballistae. The information learned from the excavations then went back into the next generation of reconstructions and so on.

Metal components of a 4th century ballista

Sites across the empire have yielded information on ballistae, from Spain (the Ampurias Catapult), to Italy (the Cremona Battleshield, which proved that the weapons had decorative metal plates to shield the operators), to Iraq (the Hatra Machine) and even Scotland (Burnswark siege tactics training camp), and many other sites between.

The most influential archaeologists in this area have been Peter Connolley and Eric Marsden, who have not only written extensively on the subject but have also made many reconstructions themselves and have refined the designs over many years of work.

A javelin is a light spear designed primarily for casting as a ranged weapon. The javelin is almost always thrown by hand, unlike the arrow and slingshot, which are projectiles shot from a mechanism. However, hurling devices do exist to assist the javelin thrower in achieving greater distance.

The word javeline comes from Middle English and it derives from Old French javelin, a diminutive of javelot which meant spear. The word javelot probably originated from one of the Celtic languages.

There is archaeological evidence that javelins and throwing sticks were already in use during the last phase of the lower Paleolithic. Seven spear-like objects were found in a coal mine in the city of Schöningen, Germany. Stratigraphic dating indicates that the weapons are about 400,000 years old. The excavated items were made of spruce (Picea) trunk and were between 1.83 and 2.25 metres long. They were manufactured with the maximum thickness and weight situated at the front end of the wooden shaft. The frontal centre of gravity suggests that these pole weapons were used as javelins. A fossilized rhinoceros shoulder blade with a projectile wound, dated to 500,000 years ago,was revealed in a gravel quarry in the village of Boxgrove, England. Studies revealed that the wound was probably caused by a javelin.


Ancient Greece

The Peltasts, usually serving as skirmishers, were armed with several javelins, often with throwing straps to increase standoff power. The Peltasts hurled their javelins at the enemy's heavier troops, the Hoplite phalanx, in order to break their lines so that their own army's hoplites could destroy the weakened enemy formation. In the battle of Lechaeum the Athenian general Iphicrates took advantage of the fact that a Spartan hoplite phalanx operating near Corinth was moving in the open field without the protection of any missile-throwing troops. He decided to ambush it with his force of peltasts. By launching repeated hit-and-run attacks against the Spartan formation, Iphicrates and his men were able to wear the Spartans down, eventually routing them and killing just under half. This marked the first occasion in ancient Greek military history on which a force entirely made up of peltasts had defeated a force of hoplites.

The Thureophoroi and Thorakites who gradually replaced the Peltasts, carried javelins in addition to a long thrusting spear and a short sword.

The Greeks did not only use javelins on the field of war. The spear-like missiles were often used as an effective hunting weapon, the strap adding enough power to take down large game. Javelins were also used in the Olympics, then known as The Crown Games. They were hurled in a certain direction and whoever hurled it the farthest, as long as it hit tip-first, won that game.


Republic and early empire

In 387 BC, the Gauls invaded Italy, inflicted a crushing defeat on the Roman Republican army and sacked Rome. After this defeat the Romans undertook a comprehensive reform of their army and changed the basic tactical formation from the Greek-style phalanx armed with the hasta spear and the clipeus round shield to a more flexible three-line formation. The Hastati stood in the first line, the Principes in the second line and the Triarii at the third line. While the Triarii were still armed with the hasta, the Hastati and the Principes were rearmed with short swords and heavy javelins. Each soldier from the Hastati and Principes lines carried two javelins. This heavy javelin, known as a Pilum (plural "pila"), was about two metres long overall, consisting of an iron shank, about 7 mm in diameter and 60 cm long, with pyramidal head, secured to a wooden shaft. The iron shank was either socketed or, more usually, widened to a flat tang . A pilum usually weighed between two and four kilograms, with the versions produced during the Empire being somewhat lighter. Pictorial evidence suggests that some versions of the weapon were weighted with a lead ball at the base of the shank in order to increase penetrative power, but no archaeological specimens have been found.[4] Recent experiments have shown pila to have a range of about 30 metres, although the effective range is only about 15 to 20 metres. Pila were sometimes referred to as javelins, but the archaic term for the javelin was verutum.

From the third century BC, the Roman legion added a skirmisher type of soldier to its tactical formation. The Velites were light infantry armed with a short sword (the gladius or pugio), a small round shield and several small javelins. These javelins were called veruta (singular "verutum") . The Velites typically drew near the enemy, hurled javelins against its formation and then retreated behind the legion's heavier infantry. The Velites were considered highly effective in turning back war elephants, on account of discharging a hail of javelins at some range and not presenting a "block" which could be trampled on or otherwise smashed - unlike the close-order infantry behind them. At the Battle of Zama in 202 BC, the javelin-throwing Velites proved their worth and were no doubt critical in helping to herd Hannibal's war elephants through the formation to be slaughtered. The Velites would slowly have been either disbanded or re-equipped as more-heavily armed legionaries from the time when Gaius Marius and other Roman generals reorganised the army in the late second and early first centuries BC. Their role would most likely have been taken by irregular auxiliary troops as the Republic expanded overseas. The verutum was a cheaper missile weapon than the pilum. The verutum was a short-range weapon, with a simply made head of soft iron.

Legionaries of the Late Republic and Early Empire often carried two pila, with one sometimes being lighter than the other. Standard tactics called for a Roman soldier to throw his pilum (both if there was time) at the enemy just before charging to engage with his gladius. Some pila had small hand-guards, to protect the wielder if he intended to use it as a melee weapon, but it does not appear that this was common.

 Late Empire

In the late Roman Empire, the Roman infantry came to use a differently-shaped javelin than the earlier pilum. This javelin was lighter and had a greater range. Called a plumbata, it resembled a thick stocky arrow, fletched with leather vanes to provide stability and rotation in flight (which increased accuracy). To overcome its comparatively small mass, the plumbata was fitted with an oval-shaped lead weight socketed around the shaft just forward of the center of balance. Even so, plumbatae were much lighter than pila, and would not have had the armour penetration or shield transfixing capabilities of their earlier counterparts.

Two or three plumbatae were typically clipped to a small wooden bracket on the inside of the large oval or round shields used at the time. Massed troops would unclip and hurl plumbatae as the enemy neared, hopefully stalling their movement and morale by making them clump together and huddle under their shields. With the enemy deprived of rapid movement and their visibility impaired by their own raised shields, the Roman troops were then better placed to exploit the tactical situation. It is unlikely plumbatae were viewed by the Romans as the killing blow, but more as a means of stalling the enemy at ranges greater than previously provided by the heavier and shorter ranged pilum.

Gaul

The Gallic cavalry used to hurl several javelin volleys to soften the enemy before a frontal attack. The Gallic cavalry used their javelins in a tactic similar to that of horse archers' Parthian shot. The Gauls knew how to turn on horseback to throw javelins backwards while appearing to retreat.

 Iberia

The Hispanic cavalry was a light cavalry armed with a Falcata and several light javelins. The Cantabri tribes invented a military tactic to maximize the advantages of the combination between horse and javelin. In this tactic the horsemen rode around in circles, toward and away from the enemy, continually hurling javelins. The tactic was usually employed against heavy infantry. The constant movement of the horsemen gave them an advantage against slow infantry and made them hard to target. The maneuver was designed to harass and taunt the enemy forces, disrupting close formations. This was commonly used against enemy infantry, especially the heavily armed and slow moving legions of the Romans. This tactic came to be known as the Cantabrian circle. In the late Republic various auxiliary cavalry completely replaced the Italian cavalry contingents and the Hispanic auxiliary cavalry was considered the best.

 Carthage

The Numidians were indigenous tribes of northwest Africa. The Numidian cavalry was a light cavalry usually operating as skirmishers. The Numidian horseman was armed with a small shield and several javelins. The Numidians had a reputation as swift horsemen, cunning soldiers and excellent javelin throwers. It is said that Jugurtha, the Numidian king "...took part in the national pursuits of riding, javelin throwing and competed with other young men in running." [Sallust The Jugurthine War: 6]. The Numidian Cavalry served as mercenaries in the Carthaginian Army and played a key role in assisting Hannibal during the Second Punic War.

A javelin is a light spear designed primarily for casting as a ranged weapon. The javelin is almost always thrown by hand, unlike the arrow and slingshot, which are projectiles shot from a mechanism. However, hurling devices do exist to assist the javelin thrower in achieving greater distance.

The word javeline comes from Middle English and it derives from Old French javelin, a diminutive of javelot which meant spear. The word javelot probably originated from one of the Celtic languages.

There is archaeological evidence that javelins and throwing sticks were already in use during the last phase of the lower Paleolithic. Seven spear-like objects were found in a coal mine in the city of Schöningen, Germany. Stratigraphic dating indicates that the weapons are about 400,000 years old. The excavated items were made of spruce (Picea) trunk and were between 1.83 and 2.25 metres long. They were manufactured with the maximum thickness and weight situated at the front end of the wooden shaft. The frontal centre of gravity suggests that these pole weapons were used as javelins. A fossilized rhinoceros shoulder blade with a projectile wound, dated to 500,000 years ago,was revealed in a gravel quarry in the village of Boxgrove, England. Studies revealed that the wound was probably caused by a javelin.


Ancient Greece

The Peltasts, usually serving as skirmishers, were armed with several javelins, often with throwing straps to increase standoff power. The Peltasts hurled their javelins at the enemy's heavier troops, the Hoplite phalanx, in order to break their lines so that their own army's hoplites could destroy the weakened enemy formation. In the battle of Lechaeum the Athenian general Iphicrates took advantage of the fact that a Spartan hoplite phalanx operating near Corinth was moving in the open field without the protection of any missile-throwing troops. He decided to ambush it with his force of peltasts. By launching repeated hit-and-run attacks against the Spartan formation, Iphicrates and his men were able to wear the Spartans down, eventually routing them and killing just under half. This marked the first occasion in ancient Greek military history on which a force entirely made up of peltasts had defeated a force of hoplites.

The Thureophoroi and Thorakites who gradually replaced the Peltasts, carried javelins in addition to a long thrusting spear and a short sword.

The Greeks did not only use javelins on the field of war. The spear-like missiles were often used as an effective hunting weapon, the strap adding enough power to take down large game. Javelins were also used in the Olympics, then known as The Crown Games. They were hurled in a certain direction and whoever hurled it the farthest, as long as it hit tip-first, won that game.


Republic and early empire

In 387 BC, the Gauls invaded Italy, inflicted a crushing defeat on the Roman Republican army and sacked Rome. After this defeat the Romans undertook a comprehensive reform of their army and changed the basic tactical formation from the Greek-style phalanx armed with the hasta spear and the clipeus round shield to a more flexible three-line formation. The Hastati stood in the first line, the Principes in the second line and the Triarii at the third line. While the Triarii were still armed with the hasta, the Hastati and the Principes were rearmed with short swords and heavy javelins. Each soldier from the Hastati and Principes lines carried two javelins. This heavy javelin, known as a Pilum (plural "pila"), was about two metres long overall, consisting of an iron shank, about 7 mm in diameter and 60 cm long, with pyramidal head, secured to a wooden shaft. The iron shank was either socketed or, more usually, widened to a flat tang . A pilum usually weighed between two and four kilograms, with the versions produced during the Empire being somewhat lighter. Pictorial evidence suggests that some versions of the weapon were weighted with a lead ball at the base of the shank in order to increase penetrative power, but no archaeological specimens have been found.[4] Recent experiments have shown pila to have a range of about 30 metres, although the effective range is only about 15 to 20 metres. Pila were sometimes referred to as javelins, but the archaic term for the javelin was verutum.

From the third century BC, the Roman legion added a skirmisher type of soldier to its tactical formation. The Velites were light infantry armed with a short sword (the gladius or pugio), a small round shield and several small javelins. These javelins were called veruta (singular "verutum") . The Velites typically drew near the enemy, hurled javelins against its formation and then retreated behind the legion's heavier infantry. The Velites were considered highly effective in turning back war elephants, on account of discharging a hail of javelins at some range and not presenting a "block" which could be trampled on or otherwise smashed - unlike the close-order infantry behind them. At the Battle of Zama in 202 BC, the javelin-throwing Velites proved their worth and were no doubt critical in helping to herd Hannibal's war elephants through the formation to be slaughtered. The Velites would slowly have been either disbanded or re-equipped as more-heavily armed legionaries from the time when Gaius Marius and other Roman generals reorganised the army in the late second and early first centuries BC. Their role would most likely have been taken by irregular auxiliary troops as the Republic expanded overseas. The verutum was a cheaper missile weapon than the pilum. The verutum was a short-range weapon, with a simply made head of soft iron.

Legionaries of the Late Republic and Early Empire often carried two pila, with one sometimes being lighter than the other. Standard tactics called for a Roman soldier to throw his pilum (both if there was time) at the enemy just before charging to engage with his gladius. Some pila had small hand-guards, to protect the wielder if he intended to use it as a melee weapon, but it does not appear that this was common.

 Late Empire

In the late Roman Empire, the Roman infantry came to use a differently-shaped javelin than the earlier pilum. This javelin was lighter and had a greater range. Called a plumbata, it resembled a thick stocky arrow, fletched with leather vanes to provide stability and rotation in flight (which increased accuracy). To overcome its comparatively small mass, the plumbata was fitted with an oval-shaped lead weight socketed around the shaft just forward of the center of balance. Even so, plumbatae were much lighter than pila, and would not have had the armour penetration or shield transfixing capabilities of their earlier counterparts.

Two or three plumbatae were typically clipped to a small wooden bracket on the inside of the large oval or round shields used at the time. Massed troops would unclip and hurl plumbatae as the enemy neared, hopefully stalling their movement and morale by making them clump together and huddle under their shields. With the enemy deprived of rapid movement and their visibility impaired by their own raised shields, the Roman troops were then better placed to exploit the tactical situation. It is unlikely plumbatae were viewed by the Romans as the killing blow, but more as a means of stalling the enemy at ranges greater than previously provided by the heavier and shorter ranged pilum.

Gaul

The Gallic cavalry used to hurl several javelin volleys to soften the enemy before a frontal attack. The Gallic cavalry used their javelins in a tactic similar to that of horse archers' Parthian shot. The Gauls knew how to turn on horseback to throw javelins backwards while appearing to retreat.

 Iberia

The Hispanic cavalry was a light cavalry armed with a Falcata and several light javelins. The Cantabri tribes invented a military tactic to maximize the advantages of the combination between horse and javelin. In this tactic the horsemen rode around in circles, toward and away from the enemy, continually hurling javelins. The tactic was usually employed against heavy infantry. The constant movement of the horsemen gave them an advantage against slow infantry and made them hard to target. The maneuver was designed to harass and taunt the enemy forces, disrupting close formations. This was commonly used against enemy infantry, especially the heavily armed and slow moving legions of the Romans. This tactic came to be known as the Cantabrian circle. In the late Republic various auxiliary cavalry completely replaced the Italian cavalry contingents and the Hispanic auxiliary cavalry was considered the best.

 Carthage

The Numidians were indigenous tribes of northwest Africa. The Numidian cavalry was a light cavalry usually operating as skirmishers. The Numidian horseman was armed with a small shield and several javelins. The Numidians had a reputation as swift horsemen, cunning soldiers and excellent javelin throwers. It is said that Jugurtha, the Numidian king "...took part in the national pursuits of riding, javelin throwing and competed with other young men in running." [Sallust The Jugurthine War: 6]. The Numidian Cavalry served as mercenaries in the Carthaginian Army and played a key role in assisting Hannibal during the Second Punic War.



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