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Sixth century Rhomaioi javelins and findings from the Vrsenice hilltop and Liška Ćava (Serbia)

dc.creatorBugarski, Ivan
dc.description.abstractGvozdeni vrhovi sulica VI veka iz Vrsenica i Liške Ćave, kvadratnog preseka i nenaglašenog prelaza u tulac, dužine 30 i 28 cm, predstavljaju uvećanu modifikaciju rimskog spikuluma. Promenu izaziva uvođenje otpornog lamelarnog oklopa. Kako termin spiculum nije potvrđen u izvorima VI veka, odgovarajuće sulice tog doba nazvao sam uslovno - 'spikulumi'. Opisane su još neke romejske sulice, uglavnom modifikovani rimski verutumi, kao i petice srodnog oružja. U VI veku, takvo oružje gotovo isključivo koriste Romeji, da bi slične sulice tokom (ranog) srednjeg veka koristili i
dc.description.abstractThe article is based on the finds of Early Byzantine javelins from the Vrsenice hilltop and Liška Cava (T. 1/1, 2). These two iron points are of square cross-section, 30cm and 28cm in length. Given the archaeological context, i. e. the stratigraphy of cultural layers, they can be dated to the 6th century. Together with these two, some other 6th century points of javelins are presented (T. 1/3, 4; T. II/l), resembling Late Roman spiculum and verutum to a considerable extent, both of which are mentioned by Vegetius. The 4th century finds are of smaller dimensions (T. III/1-3). In the course of the 6th century, the introduction of resistant lamellar armour was presumably followed by extension of javelins' points by some 30% or up to 10cm. The 6th century javelins similar in size to Late Roman spiculum probably represent an Early Byzantine modification of the smaller Late Roman javelin, verutum. In the course of the 4th century, both spiculum and verutum are of triangular or square cross-section, while in the 6th century the cross-section is quadrangular - usualy square or rhomboid - in shape. Since the term spiculum is not confirmed in the 6th century historical sources, I have suggested that javelins coming from that period, which represent the Early Byzantine modification of the 4th century spiculum, should be labeled conditionally, as 'spiculum'. In that way, 'spiculum' would make up another specific type that is derived from the wider group of Early Mediaeval javelins, just like ango. Otherwise there are great difficulties with the ascribing of javelins - both Roman and Early Byzantine - to concrete types, for several reasons. First of all, most of the javelins were found corroded and fragmented. Being a very common weapon, they were often produced by local smiths, having as a consequence the great variety of shapes of their final products. Finally, the historical sources are for different reasons not precise enough when labeling javelins. Along with the points, butts (the metal endings of wooden shafts of spears and javelins) are analysed too (T. 1/5, 6; T. 11/3-8). The butts were used for sticking the weapon in the ground. In the literature they were commonly described as arrowheads or points of small javelins. The butts are not typologically sensitive objects. They were used from Early Roman times onwards, so their dating may be established only according to archaeological context. The Rhomaioi used the 'spiculum' in the 6th century, unlike their rivals. It is obvious that the Rhomaioi copied war equipment of their enemies, just like the Romans had done before. This particular type of javelin, however, they derived from their own armoury tradition. Their enemies at the time did not adopt the use of the 'spiculum' although it was an efficient armour-piercing weapon, probably for tactical reasons. As we know or may suppose on the basis of historical sources, both spiculum and 'spiculum' were used as a part of the equipment of highly trained military formations, namely the Roman and Early Byzantine infantry units. On the other hand, their rivals mostly chose spears and javelins of standard shape, i. e. of universal purpose. In the Late Avar (T. IV), Khazar and Old Russian (T. V/l-4) contexts the virtually unchanged 'spiculum' appears sporadically as well, which can be explained by the fact that after the lamellar armours were introduced in the course of the 6th century, no crucial changes in the production of body armours were to follow. The source of these weapons is to be looked for among the Roman and Early Byzantine javelins and not in the weaponry of Asian horsemen. Similar weapons were also used in Mediaeval Serbia (T. V/5).en
dc.publisherNarodni muzej, Beograd
dc.sourceZbornik Narodnog muzeja - serija: Arheologija
dc.subjectsrednjovekovne sulicesr
dc.titleRomejske sulice VI veka i nalazi sa Gradine u Vrsenicama i Liške Ćavesr
dc.titleSixth century Rhomaioi javelins and findings from the Vrsenice hilltop and Liška Ćava (Serbia)en
dc.citation.other(19-1): 423-454

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