Ridylls of the King
Javelin favored by the Legio IX
The pilum (plural pila) is a javelin commonly used by the Roman army. It weighs between four and ten pounds.
The iron shank was the key to the function of the pilum. The weapon has a hard pyramidal tip but the shank itself is not hardened. The softness of the shank causes it to bend after impact, thus rendering the weapon useless to the enemy. More importantly, If the pilum strikes the shield of an enemy it will embed itself into the shield’s fabric. This, along with the bending of the shank will cause the shield to become unwieldy, forcing the enemy to discard it or waste time trying to pull it out. The former action tends to happen more often than the latter as affected soldiers can’t risk removing the pilum without disrupting their formation during an advance or losing their lives during a melee.