Adopted from the Celtiberians in the late third century BC and then adapted by the Romans, the gladius was one of the most feared weapons in the ancient world. Both a leathal stabbing weapon and a formidable chopping blade, it was first used by the Roman Army in Spain, but employed to the greatest effect when a strict gladatorial training regime was applied.
Literary sources tell of the terror it induced, while archaeological evidence of wounds inflicted provides testament to its deadly effect. Pulling together strands of literary, sculptural and archaeological evidence, renowned expert M.C. Bishop charts the development of the gladius, exploring the way in which the shape of the short sword changed as soldiers and gladiators evolved their fighting style, and how this iconic weapon helped Rome conquer the Mediterranean.
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