The dagger used by the ancient Roman soldier, or legionary, was called pugio. It was an offensive hand weapon, carried in a leather sheath hanging on the left side of the soldier hip. The centurion carried it on the right side. The sheath had side rings for attaching a leather band. The pugio was a last-ditch weapon brandished in hand-to-hand combat, being also used to eliminate guards or sentries in a night attack.

Like the gladius, the pugio originated in Hispania (Spain), dating back to the 4th century BC. This dagger from the Iberian penninsula had a triangular steel blade, which was about 26 cm long. By the 1st and 2nd century AD, the pugio had evolved as it was manufactured with a leaf-shaped blade, which was slightly longer than the Iberian dagger, about 28 cm in length and was set in a bronze hilt. ┬áHigh-rank officers and dignitaries’ pugio sheaths were ornated with silver and copper inlays.

Down below 3rd century BC Spanish pugio

Pugio

2nd century AD pugio found in Gaul (France)

Pugio2

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