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Pugio -- Dagger

Last Updated: 10-02-13

The legionary's side arm, the dagger or pugio.  Believed to be of Spanish ancestry, the pugio did not become widespread until the first century BC.  It was one of the identifying marks of a soldier, he didn't just have a belt but the dagger suspended from it.

Now their are three different types of pugio on the market that are acceptable to Legio VI F.  These three are the Titelburg, brass beaded, and plain pugio.  Now these three designs are by no means all that are out there!  Many more examples have been found, just these have been mass produced at a decent price. 

The Titelburg is believed to be of a Republican era design and has a type B sheath, both organic (leather covered wood frame) and metal and features a type A tang and a type A blade.  It is found at an ancient Guallic capital city in Luxembourg and is dated between 30 and 12 BC.

Brass Beaded:
The sheath of the brass beaded pugio is a type B with orgainc (leather over a wooden frame) and metal which in this case is a thin metal sheet attached over the top.  It was found in Vindonissa, Switerland.

Plain Pugio:
This type of pugio was found on the Rhine near Mainz, Germany.  It features a type A sheath with two thin sheets of metal over a wooden core and a type A tang and type B blade. 

As said above these three are not the only pugio found, they are just ones that are readily available and meet our standards.  If you find a 1st cenutry AD Roman pugio that you would like to carry that is not being produced you must first get it approved by a Ferrata Milites.  If you want a handmade pugio and not a mass produced one we strongly recommend you get the blade from Mark Marrow and the scabbard done by Matt Lukes.  Since both are custom suppliers a waiting period is to be expected!

Here is what “Roman Military Equipment: From the Punic Wars to the Fall of Rome” by M.C. Bishop & J.C.N. Coulston has to say about Pugio.
Two different types of tang and three different types of blade have been discovered so far.  The first type of tang is flat and riveted to the blade, characteristically with two rivets through the pommel, one through the central expansion, and two or more through the handguard.  The second type , the rod tang, the rivets do not actually pass through the blade or tang;many of these daggers are either fournd without handles or with replacement wooden ones fitted. 
The type A blade is broad with a simple midrib, whilst type B has deep grooves on either side of the midrib, a pronounced waist, and a long tapering point.  Type C dagger blades are much narrower than either of the other two variants, and are also comparatively straight-edged. 
Two different types of sheaths.  Type A was made of two plates of iron joined at the edges and lined with wood, the front plate being inlaid with brass, silver, niello, or enamel.  The four suspension rings were usually free to move, attached to the sheath by fine copper-alloy loops.  Type B sheaths were made of organic materials (probably leather and wood) with a near-flat decorated iron plate attached to the front, with tow lugs on either side through the rivets securing the suspension loops passed.

Wearing the Pugio:
For legionaries it is proper to wear the pugio on the left.  It is commonly accepted that while wearing the lorica segmentata the pugio is suspended from a single belt with apron.  While during the Republican period of Roman it was common to have the pugio suspended from one belt (that would later have the apron) and the gladius from another belt. 

Recommended Suppliers:
Soul of the Warrior: Makes a good Titelburg pugio but it is a recreation of the find and not how it would have looked in Roman times and the Oberaden dagger with a accurate Titelburg scabbard.
Ancient Empire Reproductions: Has a the best "off the shelf" Augustan style pugio.  **Overseas Company**
Mark Morrow: Makes three types of excellent pugio blades:  “Diamond Bladed” with no mid-rib, a plain mid-ribbed pugio, and a fullered type B blade.  Mark will hilt it for you, or he will supply you with the stamped hilt plates and you can hilt it yourself.  He also can make you a scabbard to fit.
Replik-online: has a nice little selection of pugio that are not massed produced or often seen on re-enactors just the prices make them not very accessible.
Armamentaria: has the correct suspension rings and brackets for the Brass Beaded and Plain pugio.  **Overseas Company**

LEG VI Ferrata Fidelas Constans * 104 Hunters Wood Drive * Summerville * SC * 29485 * 843.437.5587 * The Iron Legion!