This Del Tin Pompeii Gladius with a scabbard has an unsharpened blade of tempered Chrome-Vanadium steel with a hardness of 50 HRC. The guard and pommel are of hard wood and the grip, likewise of wood, has been coated with white lacquer and finished to give the appearance of polished bone. The guard has a protective plate of steel at the base of the blade. The scabbard is of wood overlaid with black leather and further adorned with chape and throat pieces of brass. Four hanging rings are integrated into the brass throat piece.
The Pompeii Gladius gets its name from the very Pompeii that was entombed within the ash and mud of Mt. Vesuvius. Among the artifacts found within were four of these straight-edged Gladii. Smaller than earlier forms of Gladius, the Pompeii is also the simplest in form: straight, parallel edges with an angled, triangular tip. Earlier styles inspired by the Iberian Gladius Hispaniensis such as the Mainz and Fulham had a waisted blade design.
The straight-edged Pompeii is the classic gladius and was likely the style that was produced in the overall greatest numbers. Most of the Legionaries depicted on Trajans column who have visible swords can be seen to be equipped with a Pompeii-style Gladius. Utilitarian and practical, the Pompeii is well-suited to the quick thrusting techniques emphasized in the training of Romes Legionaries and many of its foot auxiliaries. Though engineered as a weapon ideal for the thrust, the Pompeii can deliver limb-severing chops quite ably and Legionary training did not at all discount the use of cuts and slashes.
Easier to manufacture than the Fulham or Mainz the Pompeii is a design that has done away with everything unnecessary and is an effective, utilitarian sword ideal to be produced in the numbers required by the Legions. It seems to have been the dominant Gladius pattern from about the mid 1st Century to the early 3rd Century A.D.
Later in its history the Pompeii Gladius became longer in form, becoming a sort of semi-spatha, only to be superseded by the Spatha entirely as tactical emphasis shifted away from the foot -centric legions of heavy infantrymen to rapid-response cavalry-heavy forces designed to respond rapidly to incursions and raids within the vast borders of the late Empire. These cavalrymen who needed longer swords were largely supplemented by mercenaries and auxiliaries of various borderland barbarians who seem to have preferred using their native-style weaponry, which included longer-bladed swords.