This Roman Empire era dagger is an imposing sidearm wielded by the Imperial Roman Legionnaires in the first and second centuries C.E. Used as a close quarters melee weapon, the pugio often played backup to the gladius when things got especially rough.

The pugio's blade was seven to eleven inches (18 to 28 centimeters) long and at least two inches (5cm) wide at its base. A narrow rib ran down the flat of the blade from shoulders to tip. At first, the tang was flat and had the hilt and shoulders of the blade riveted through, but by 50 C.E. a rod-shaped tang replaced the flat tang, and the hilt no longer had to be riveted through the shoulders of the blade. This change in the tang resulted in reducing the midrib in some instances.

The hilt's basic design didn't change much throughout the era. Comprised of two layers of metal-plated wood or horn surrounding the tang, the hilt was occasionally decorated with engravings and inlay. The hilt was four to five inches (10-13cm) long and fairly narrow.

Legionnaires carried these daggers strapped to their belts on the left side. While a fearsome weapon to be encountered in battle, the pugio was also used as a common utility knife for soldiers in the field; the selfsame dagger a legionnaire might use to gut a barbarian in the morning could have also served to cut his dinner meat that evening.

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