A large Roman Legionnaire Pugio (Dagger), Roman Imperial, ca. 2nd - 3rd century CE
Regular price20,000 USD
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This very large, impressive pugio (dagger) is hand forged from iron, and features the characteristic pronounced curved blade and a longitudinal channel on both sides defining a rib. Daggers, such as this example, would have carried an entirely organic grip of wood and a pommel most probably of bone. Such daggers have been found at German frontier forts.
Like the gladius (Roman short sword), the pugio is of Spanish origin, acclimated for Roman use. Usually of bronze or iron, it was sometimes highly decorated with ornate decorations of silver or gold with red enamel inlay on the scabbard and sometimes the hilt. It would have been hung on one of two military belts, or cingulummilitare, worn around the hips, the other holding the gladius on the opposite hip, a practice begun during the reign of Augustus. The pugio ceased to be issued at the end of the 1st century, but a larger form re-emerged during the 3rd century such as this example.
cf: Coulston, J. C., Bishop, M. C. (1989). Roman Military Equipment. United Kingdom: Shire, pgs 163-165 fig. 104.4
Published: J. Eisenberg, Art of the Ancient World, 2010, no. 110.
Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall.
Dimensions: Length: 18 1/8 inches (46 cm)
Provenance: collection of Axel Guttmann (1944-2001), Berlin, acquired in Munich in the 1990's, thereafter private Californian collection.
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