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The original name by which the soldiers composing the third line or division of the old Roman legion were distinguished, because they alone at that time were armed with the heavy javelin or pilum, the other two using the spear or hasta. But when the pilum was adopted for all the three divisions, the title of triarii was substituted for that of pilani, with which it becomes thenceforth synonymous (Varro, L. L. v. 89; Paulus ex Fest. s. v.; Ovid, Fast. iii. 129). Subsequently, however, to this period, and towards the close of the Republic, when the custom obtained of drawing up an army by lines in cohorts, the distinctive character, as well as the name of pilani or triarii was abandoned, because it no longer represented any real distinction. See Triarii.

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    • Ovid, Fasti, 3
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