Object Title




50-100 AD

Object Number

IX.5583 A


Purchased at sale, the Alex Guttmann collection, of Ancient Arms and Armour, Part 2, Wednesday 28 April 2004; Found in Wiesbaden, Germany, by Wolfgang Johe in 1971- 1972.

Physical Description

The gladius with parallel double-edged blade of piled construction, of flattened diamond section with reinforced tip and long tang. The blade is pointed for the last 76 mm (3 in) and the the tip is reinforced for the last 31 mm (1 3/4 in) Lacking grip.



Dimensions: Overall length: 633 mm (24 15/16 in), blade length: 486 mm (19 1/8 in), blade width (at shoulder): 43 mm (15/8 in) Weight: 444 gm (15.8 oz)

Inscriptions and Marks

The forte of the blade has a dot-punched inscription on both sides reading:C.VALERI[I] P[RIMI] / C.VALERI[I] PRI[MI] and C.VALERI[I] C.RANIUS[S] / C.VALE[RI] PRIMI'

Bibliographic References

H Schoppa, Ein Gladius vom Typus Pompeeji, Germania 52, 1974, pp.102-108.Die Romer zwischen Alpen und Nordmeer, Rosenheim, 2000, p.330, pl.38d.S Shadrake, The World of the Gladiator, Stroud: Tempus, 2005, p.89, Fig.29; p.127, Fig.42.


The 'Pompeii type' 'gladius' (so called after four examples found at Pompeii and thus giving a 'terminus ante quem' of 79 AD for this type) has been found at sites in Britain as well as France, Germany, and of course at Pompeii (Feugere: 109).
The Schoppa article describes the discovery of the sword and related pieces in 1971-72 by the amateur archaeologist Wolfgang Johe, who made the discovery on a spoil heap at Wiesbaden, from the excavation work of a Roman site in Mainz. Schoppa discusses the subsequent work carried out on the piece at Wiesbaden Museum and the inscriptions on the blade.
Similar swords are discussed and illustrated in:
M Feugere, 'Weapons of the Romans', Tempus, Stroud, 2002, p.109 and p.114 (pl.149d.) which shows a similar bade 'from the late first or early second century', from the Zentralmuseum, Mainz. (This example appears to have the reinforced tip as on our example); P Connolly, 'Greece and Rome at War', Greenhill Books, London, 1998, pp.232 (pls. 6, illustrates a similar sword from th Mittelrheinisches Landesmuseum, Mainz; MC Bishop & JN Coulsen, 'Roman Military Equipment', Batsford, London, 1993, pp. 69, 71 and 73.


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