The Roman Army A to Z: pilum

pilum (n. pl. pila)

A heavy javelin consisting of a wooden shaft and a ferrous shank, most having a head designed to pierce both shield and armour, and with both heavy and light and socketed and tanged varieties (Livy 21.8.10; Tac., Ann. 2.14; Veg., DRM 2.15); p. muralis: a type of pilum designed for use in defending a rampart (Caes., BG 5.40.6; Tac., Ann. 4.51); p. praepilatum: a pilum with a blunted tip, possibly used for training purposes (Bell. Afr. 72). [Bishop and Coulston 2006]