Aeneid-Based Vocabulary List for Weapons and Armor

Marching Soldiers. Cristian Chirita. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Marching Soldiers. Cristian Chirita. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

This is a partial list — in various ways. It would be a service to those studying Latin to have a full list of words for weapons in Classical Latin, or even a list that starts with Book I, instead of Book VIII of the Aeneid. Or a list of all the military words from Caesar and Vergil (of potential use to Latin AP students, depending on what is on the curriculum). If you know of such a thing online, please let me know.

  • Amentum
    (ix. 665) Strap for throwing a javelin.
  • Arma
    Weapons, tools. As generic as my term “weapons”. One of the words learned in beginning Latin and seen again many times since the beginning of the Aeneid.
  • Balteus
    (xii. 942) Sword belt.
  • Bipennis f.
    (xi. 651) Battle axe.
  • Cassis
    (xi. 104) Helmet.
  • Chalybs
    viii. 446) From the Greek chalpso. Iron or steel.
  • Chlamys
    (viii) From the Greek chlamus. A Greek cloak used for the military or in riding.
  • Clipeus
    (viii) Round shield, often bronze, carried on the arm.
  • Crista
    (viii) A plume or crest on a helmet.
  • Ensis
    (viii) Sword. Synonymous with gladius.
  • Galea
    (viii) Soldier’s helmet.
  • Gladius
    (ix. 669) Another of those first vocabulary list words — sword.
  • Hasta
    (viii) A spear or javelin. Another word from beginning Latin. Not too surprising that so many beginning Latin words have to do with fighting. A hasta is a weapon that is thrusted or thrown.
  • Hastile
    (xi. 650) Shaft, spear.
  • Iaculum
    (ix. 572) Javelin.
  • Lorica
    (viii) A cuirass of leather or metal. Here’s where I probably first got the idea that I might as well say generic “armor” for all the definition helps. What’s a cuirass? Definitions also use the term corselet, but that’s not much better. The answer: A cuirass is defensive armor with parts covering both the front and the back of the torso.
  • Mucro
    (x. 570) Point, edge of sword
  • Ocrea
    (viii) A greave or protective legging. Sometimes Romans only wore one on the right leg. It is a good poetic word since its nominative singular is itself a dactyl.
  • Parma
    (ix. 548) Shield, buckler.
  • Pharetra
    (ix. 660) Quiver.
  • Pilatus
    (xii. 121) Armed with javelins.
  • Pulta
    (xi. 663) Light shield.
  • Sagitta
    (viii) Another of those first vocabulary list words — arrow.
  • Scutum
    (viii) Shield. Different from the clipeus in that it is usually oblong and made of wood. Curved sides could protect the sides as well as the front of the wearer. It can be slung over the shoulder.
  • Securis
    (xi. 656) Axe.
  • Spiculum
    (ix. 606) Point, dart, arrow.
  • Squama
    (xi. 488) Scale armor.
  • Telum
    (viii) Generic word for weapon, used for throwing or thrusting. One of the words learned in beginning Latin.
  • Umbo
    (x. 884) Boss of a shield
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