LATE ROMAN PLUMBATA(AH4220) by Deepeeka In the late Roman period lead weighted darts called Plumbatae came into use. Also known as mattiobarbuli (little barbs of Mars), darts like this were carried five to a soldier in the hollow of the shield and were thrown as medium range projectiles. This 19 3/4 inch Plumbata dart features leather fletchings painted blue, a red painted wood shaft that attaches to a 6 5/8 inch weighted barbed head steel tip in a blacken steel finish. Fully functional, this colorful Plumbata replica is a wonderful and unique piece of Roman combat history ready for display or reenactment use.
THE ROMAN PLUMBATA The Plumbata , a type of heavy dart, which has also been found in large numbers at third- and fourth-century sites. It was a fleched weapon with a barbed head, resembling an arrow; Vegetius related that certain selected units carried five plumbata in the hollow of the shield. Weighted with lead and with a barbed iron point, this missile was widely used in the Roman army. Like the longer, heavier 'pilum' javelin, it was thrown in a high trajectory just before engaging in close combat. However, contemporary accounts describe the plumbata being thrown very, very much further. Plumbatae etymologically contain plumbum, or lead, and can be translated "lead-weighted (darts)". Martiobarbuli in this translation is mattiobarbuli in the Latin, which is most likely an assimilation of Martio-barbuli, "little barbs of Mars." The barb implied a barbed head, and Mars was the god of war (among other things).