The design of the Gladius itself belies its use – a utilitarian, shorter stabbing sword – ideal for use in mass formations where there is little room for swinging large swords. The sharp taper ensures that a thrust widens considerably after the blade penetrates only a few inches, making a single good strike quite decisively fatal. The wide blade also makes it an excellent chopper against a foe in very close range.
The Roman fighting formations, with each man supporting those to his side, was trained to strike quickly, down his foe, and then move forward as a mass – these Roman meatgrinder tactics generally trounced cultures whose warriors fought as individuals. The Romans even emphasized soldiers striking and fighting not the warrior directly in front of them, but to strike the one to his side who is busy fighting another Roman, who may have his unshielded right side open for a rib or belly strike.
This Roman Gladius was crafted in the Czech Republic. Intended for stage combat it has a blunt blade of high carbon steel. The hilt is of wood.