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In 387 BC, the Gauls invaded Italy, inflicted a crushing defeat on the Roman Republican army, and sacked Rome.
After this defeat, the Romans undertook a comprehensive reform of their army and changed the basic tactical formation from the Greek-style phalanx armed with the hasta spear and the clipeus round shield to a more flexible three-line formation.
It was lighter in weight than that used by other nations.
However, devices do exist to assist the javelin thrower in achieving greater distance, generally called spear-throwers. A warrior or soldier armed primarily with one or more javelins is a javelineer.
The word javelin comes from Middle English and it derives from Old French javelin, a diminutive of javelot, which meant spear.
They were hurled in a certain direction and whoever hurled it the farthest, as long as it hit tip-first, won that game.
In the ancient world javelins were often thrown with the aid of a throwing string, or Amentum.
A javelin is a light spear designed primarily to be thrown, historically as a ranged weapon, but today predominantly for sport.
The javelin is almost always thrown by hand, unlike the bow and arrow and slingshot, which shoot projectiles from a mechanism.Pictorial evidence suggests that some versions of the weapon were weighted with a lead ball at the base of the shank in order to increase penetrative power, but no archaeological specimens have been found.Recent experiments have shown pila to have a range of about 30 metres, although the effective range is only about 15 to 20 metres.Focusing on gymnastics to gain strength, hardiness and endurance in childhood, they learned to throw the javelin – along with practicing archery and the battle-axe – when they grew older, before entering a specific regiment.Javelins were carried by Egyptian light infantry, as a main weapon, and as an alternative to a spear or a bow and arrow, generally along with a shield.This marked the first recorded occasion in ancient Greek military history in which a force entirely made up of peltasts had defeated a force of hoplites.