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Each soldier from the Hastati and Principes lines carried two javelins.This heavy javelin, known as a Pilum (plural "pila"), was about two metres long overall, consisting of an iron shank, about 7 mm in diameter and 60 cm long, with pyramidal head, secured to a wooden shaft.
Focusing on gymnastics to gain strength, hardiness and endurance in childhood, they learned to throw the javelin – along with practicing archery and the battle-axe – when they grew older, before entering a specific regiment.
Javelins were carried by Egyptian light infantry, as a main weapon, and as an alternative to a spear or a bow and arrow, generally along with a shield.
The excavated items were made of spruce (Picea) trunk and were between 1.83 and 2.25 metres long.
They were manufactured with the maximum thickness and weight situated at the front end of the wooden shaft.
However, devices do exist to assist the javelin thrower in achieving greater distance, generally called spear-throwers. A warrior or soldier armed primarily with one or more javelins is a javelineer.
The word javelin comes from Middle English and it derives from Old French javelin, a diminutive of javelot, which meant spear.
A javelin is a light spear designed primarily to be thrown, historically as a ranged weapon, but today predominantly for sport.
The javelin is almost always thrown by hand, unlike the bow and arrow and slingshot, which shoot projectiles from a mechanism.
The word javelot probably originated from one of the Celtic languages.
There is archaeological evidence that javelins and throwing sticks were already in use by the last phase of the lower Paleolithic.
They also carried a curved sword, a club or a hatchet as a side-arm.