Gladius is a Latin word meaning «sword» (of any type), but in its narrow sense it refers to the sword of ancient Roman foot soldiers. Early ancient Roman swords were similar to those of the Greeks, called xiphe (plural; singular xiphos). From the 3rd century BC, however, the Romans adopted a sword based on the weapons used by the Celtiberians in Hispania late into the Punic Wars, known in Latin as the gladius hispaniensis, or «Hispanic sword». New types and variants of the gladius, such as the «Mainz gladius» and the «Pompeii gladius», were used since the first century AD, until they were replaced by the «spatha» in the third century.
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