a dagger; a two-edged knife, commonly of bronze, with the handle
in many cases variously ornamented or enriched, sometimes made of the hard
black wood of the Syrian terebinth (Theophr. H. P.
The accompanying woodcuts show three ancient daggers. The first was found in
Italy, and belongs to a primitive period. The blade is attached to the
handle by eight studs (cf. the Homeric epithet of a sword, ἀργυρόηλος
). The second and third are copied
from Beger (Thes. Brand.
iii. pp. 398, 419). The handle of
the second is fitted to receive a plate of wood on each side, attached by
In the Heroic ages the Greeks sometimes wore a dagger suspended by the sword
on the left side of the body [GLADIUS
], and used it on all occasions instead of a knife (Hom. Il. 3.271
; Athen. 6.
custom is continued to the present day among the Albanians, who
are descended from the ancient Illyrians. The Romans (see woodcuts, Vol. I.
pp. 3, 884) sometimes wore the dagger as the Persians did [ACINACES
], on the right side,
and consequently drew it with the thumb at the upper part of the hilt, the
position most effective for stabbing. The terms pugio
both its smallness and the manner of grasping it in the hand (πύξ,
On some of the Roman monuments, although the arrangement appears to be
inconvenient, the long sword was worn by the right side, while the shorter
dagger was by the left hand. (Cf. the sepulchral reliefs of Roman
Legionaries, Baumeister, Denkmäler,
2267, 2269.) In the same way we must understand “the two
swords” (duos gladios,
) worn by the Gallic chieftain, slain by
Manlius Torquatus; and the monuments of the Middle Ages prove that the
custom long continued in our own and in adjoining countries. (See Stothard,
Mon. Effigies of Gt. Britain.
) Among some of the northern
nations of Europe, a dirk was constantly worn on the side, and was in
readiness to be drawn on every occasion (Ovid, Ov. Tr.
). The Chalybes employed the same weapon, stabbing their enemies
in the neck (Xen. Anab. 4.7
, § 16).
For the Greek horsemen the dagger was considered preferable to the long
sword as a weapon of offence (Xen. de Re
Equest. 12.1. 1