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Arma, Armatūra

ὅπλα, ἔντεα, τεύχεα). Arms, armour. The weapons of attack and defence employed by the Greeks of historic times are essentially the same as those with which the Homeric heroes appear equipped in an earlier age. The changes gradually introduced, especially after the Persian Wars, tended to make the armour lighter and to give greater power of movement to the combatants. For defensive armour they used a helmet (κόρυς, κυνέη); a cuirass (θώραξ) (see Thorax); a girdle (ζώνη) of leather or felt, covering the lower part of the body, and reaching down to the middle of the thighs. Sometimes this consisted of narrow strips called πτέρυγες (wings) arranged either in single or double rows, and covered with metal. Sometimes it was a complete coat plated with bands of metal. The greaves (κνημῖδες) covered the front part of the legs from the ankles to just above the knee, and consisted of flexible metal plates or leather fastened behind with buckles. The weapons of defence were completed by the shield.

For offensive weapons they had, besides the sword (ξίφος), the lance (δόρυ), five to seven feet long. This was of iron, sometimes broader, sometimes narrower, and sometimes hooked and with an iron joint on the butt end which served to fix the spear more easily in the ground, or could be used as an offensive weapon when the regular head was broken off. The cavalry used a shorter lance (πάλτον) for hurling as well as thrusting; this was much shorter than the Macedonian σάρισσα. The other weapons of attack were javelins (ἀκόντια) of different sizes, the longer kinds of which were hurled by means of a thong, bows and arrows (see Arcus), and slings. On the equipment of the different kinds of troops, see Gymnetae; Hippeis; Hoplitae; Peltastae.

Among the Romans the full equipment of defensive armour similarly consisted of helmet (cassis, galea), cuirass (see Lorica), greaves (ocrea), and shield (clipeus, scutum). With regard to the greaves, it must be noted that in later times the infantry wore them only on the right leg, which was unprotected by the shield.

Besides the sword (ensis, gladius), the horse and foot of the legion alike used, as an offensive weapon, the lance (see Hasta). It was only the light-armed troops that fought with javelins and slings. Then the pilum (q. v.) was introduced, first for a part and finally for the whole of the legion. This was the missile which the Romans hurled at the commencement of a battle before coming to close quarters with their swords. Bows were not a national weapon with the Romans, and were only used by their allies. See Exercitus; Legio.

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