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Rhomphaia (Also known as the Thracian Falx)
Time Period: 5th century BC to 11th century AD
Location: Thrace, Byzantium
Common Construction: Iron

The rhomphaia is a slightly curved blade mounted on a short pole, used by the Thracians in the 4th century BC. The rhomphaia is the only weapon to directly cause a change in Roman armor design, due to its incredible chopping power. Roman helmets needed an extra iron reinforcing bar as a direct result of contact with the Thracians. This same change in helmet design is also attributed to the dacian falx, a very similar weapon. However, only one of the two stories can be true, seeing as the Romans defeated the Thracians in the 4th century BC and fought the Dacians in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. The rhomphaia is the older weapon, and has a less pronounced curvature than the dacian falx.

There are very few archaeological examples of the rhomphaia today, and there is a lot of misinformation concerning the weapon. The rhomphaia is mentioned in the Bible as a sword used only for killing, however it is generally accepted today that the blade was mounted on a short pole and used like the falx, or a similar chopping polearm.

It is also generally believed that the rhomphaia is sharpened on the convex edge. However, the few existing examples of historical rhomphaia indicate that some are sharpened on the concave edge and others on the convex edge. Unfortunately there are not enough surviving examples to conclude which is the more common variety. However, modern reproductions of rhomphaia are generally sharpened on the convex edge.

BCE 01st Century, BCE 02nd Century, BCE 03rd Century, BCE 04th Century, BCE 05th Century, CE 01st Century, CE 02nd Century, CE 03rd Century, CE 04th Century, CE 05th Century, CE 06th Century, CE 07th Century, CE 08th Century, CE 09th Century, CE 10th Century, CE 11th Century, History, Polearm, Rome, Weapon


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