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LOT 0451

GBP (£) 600 - 800
EUR (€) 660 - 880
USD ($) 730 - 980

Bid History: 2   |   Current bid: £590
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Roman Legionary Pugio Dagger

Mid 3rd century AD

An iron short dagger or pugio of the 'Kunzing Type' according to the classification of Bishop & Coulston, 2006, p.164, with double-edged blade complete with characteristically leaf-shaped with pronounced waist and longitudinal rib, which is typical of this category; the sides are parallel, the iron grip originally would have been covered with bone or ivory, having inverted T-shaped grip plates with crescentic pommel. 247 grams, 37cm (14 1/2"). Fine condition, holes to one side of hilt.

Property of a Suffolk collector; formerly acquired on the European art market in the 1990s.

See Bishop, M. C. – Coulston, J.C.N., Roman military equipment, from the Punic wars to the fall of Rome, London,1993; Kennedy, D., The twin towns of Zeugma on the Euphrates, Portsmouth, 1998; Başgelen N.-Ergeç R., Belkis/Zeugma, Halfeti, Rumkale, a last look at history, Istanbul, 2000; Bishop M. C. & Coulston J.C.N., Roman military equipment from the Punic Wars to the fall of Rome, London, 2006; Feugère, M., ‘Roman militaria from Zeugma’, in Ergeç, R. (Editor), International Symposium on Zeugma: from Past to Future, Gaziantep: 2006, 91-96; Ibañez, F.C. ‘Post Vestigium Exercitus. Militaria romana en la región septentrional de la Península Ibérica durante la época Altoimperial’, in Morillo A. (ed.), Actas del II Congreso de Arqueología Miltar Romana en Hispania. Universidad de León-Ayuntamiento de León: León 2006, 257-308; Casprini F., Saliola M., Pugio gladius brevis est, storia e tecnologia del pugnale da guerra romano, Roma, 2012.

The Pugio appears as side weapon of the Roman legionary already during the 2nd century BC, probably adopted from the Iberians. However its full diffusion inside the Roman Army begins with Caesar but especially with Augustus, where it appears as the reserve weapon of the heavy infantryman. Usually worn on the left side of the body by the Milites Legionarii and on the right side from not commissioned officers and Centurions, was used as a lethal weapon in the body to body combat, being considered as a short sword (pugio gladius brevis est). Its continued employment during the 3rd century is demonstrated by the many finds of similar type in Britannia (England), Syria, Germania (Germany), Pannonia (Hungary, part of modern Austria and Croatia) and in the most imperial provinces.

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Bid History: 2   |   Current bid: £590

Lot No. 0451

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Auction Venue:
The May Fair Hotel London
Stratton Street
Mayfair London, W1J 8LT

Viewing from noon Monday 2nd September 2019
Champagne Reception: 6pm - 9pm

(Lots 1-660)

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363 Main Road
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