chapter  12
2 Pages

DART-THROWERS

Germanic warriors threw darts too. Roman reliefs of the mid-first century show bundles of captured short spears with barbed and smooth blades: they may well be Germanic. Moreover, in AD 15 the Roman field marshal Germanicus told his soldiers that while only the first line of Cherusci tribesmen had long spears, the rest had praeusta aut brevia tela, “fire-hardened or short weapons.”2 The short weapons clearly are the archaeologically well-known, all-purpose spears with narrow iron blades. The firehardened ones are likely to be shafted weapons as well, for so are the other two kinds of weapons Germanicus mentions. Germanicus thus speaks of three different kinds of spears: long ones, shorter, iron-tipped ones, and fire-hardened ones.