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From Newstead, Roxburghshire

Postcard of Sword.
© National Museums Scotland


This iron sword was found during excavations at the site of the Roman fort at Newstead in Roxburghshire. It is an example of a gladius, the common short sword of legionary infantry troops, used for thrusting in close fighting.

The blade and tang survive, although the edges of the sword are imperfect.

There were two classes of Roman soldiers: the elite legionary and the ordinary auxiliary, each with its own equipment. The legionary soldier wore plate armour, and carried a short stabbing sword (a gladius) and a special kind of throwing spear (a pilum).

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-036-831-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.FRA 138
Date: Between 80 and 100 AD
Material: Iron
Dimensions: Blade 19.50" L; tang 6.63"
What: Sword, legionary / gladius
Who: Newstead Collection
Where: Scotland, Roxburghshire, Melrose, Newstead
Description: Legionary sword or gladius from Newstead
  • Curle, J. A Roman frontier post and its people: the fort of Newstead. Glasgow: MacLehose, 1911, p. 183, Pl. XXXIV, 11. 
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