I happened upon a PBS show the other evening on the Roman Army. Interesting because the premise of the show (a British program) was to take a group of ordinary guys from all walks of life and turn them into soldiers of the Roman Empire - from dress, weapons, food, lifestyle. A few military folk were involved as well as Roman historians to make sure things were as accurate as possible.
The show took time to focus on how the Roman fighting machine worked. It was interesting to see how the soldiers were trained to work together in battle (shields up, javelins at the ready, tight formations, etc.). It also showed how the soldier used the short sword which was referred to as the Gladius.
I don't know alot about the Roman Empire but I could barely believe my eyes when the weapons instructor was teaching the guys to use the Gladius. He first told them that the sword was not used to slash (and that Romans soldiers would never use it to slash) and that it was used at short distance as a thrusting object, usually to the chest. Then, he put down his Gladius and showed the others what he meant - and there it was...the perfect Uechi thrust!!!
Ya got to love that!!!
Do you historical buffs out there have any further info on how some of the Roman weapons worked?
I know the javelins were constructed to bend on impact so that (1) they could not be picked up by the enemy and thrown back and (2) that it would be very cumbersome to defend/fight with that sticking out of a shield one was carrying.