Roman Iron and Lead Plumbata

An ancient Roman iron and lead plumbata. The projectile is made up of a barbed iron point attached to a lead weight which would have been fixed to the end of a javelin.

Ca. 1st - 4th century AD.
Height: 5 3/4 in. (14.6 cm)

The plumbata was an especially effective projectile point. Both the plumbata and the pilum, types of javelins, were meant to soften an opposing formation before the Roman line engaged. The weight and the long iron point not only insured deeper penetration, but this design often bent or broke upon impact encumbering enemy shields, and rendering the javalin useless to be thrown back at the Roman line.

cf.: E. M. Chapman, A Catalogue of Roman Military Equipment in the National Museum of Wales, (Oxford 2005), p. 40, nos Fa01-Fa03; D. Cahn, Waffen und Zaumzeug, (Basel1989) pp. 97-98, no. 50.
Formerly in an English private collection.
Inv#: 8868
Guaranteed Authentic


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