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PU´GIO (μάχαιρα, dim. μαχαίριον; ἐγχειρίδιον),

Ancient Dagger.

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. 5.3.2). 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 three rivets.

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, 19.252; Athen. 6. 232 c). The

Ancient Daggers.

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 and ἐγχειρίδιον denote both its smallness and the manner of grasping it in the hand (πύξ, pugnus).

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, figs. 2266, 2267, 2269.) In the same way we must understand “the two swords” (duos gladios, Gel. 9.13) 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. 5.7, 19, 20). 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).

[J.Y] [A.H.S]

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