The pugio (plural, pugiones) was a dagger used by Roman soldiers
as a secondary weapon. The main weapons were the pilum (a javelin)
and the gladius (a sword).
The dagger blade was about 20cm long, 5cm wide, and made of iron.
Some were longer and thinner. The blade also had a groove or ridge
down the centre.
Right is a picture of a real Roman dagger
with its sheath.
The sheath was usually made of iron (or wood and
leather). It was attached to a belt or shoulder strap with rings.
The sheath could be highly decorated or quite simple. Three
ancient dagger sheaths are shown below right.
Little is known about how the pugio was used by soldiers. It was
not a utility knife (a knife for everyday jobs in camp), as lots
of utility knives have been found. It was useful for
assassinations, though, as it could easily be hidden in clothes.
Julius Caesar was murdered by senators using pugiones.
is a photo of a reenactor showing his pugio. Notice the
sheath on his belt, and on the other side his sword.
Below that is a modern copy of a pugio and its sheath.
After the 1st century AD soldiers stopped carrying
daggers. Later, in the 3rd century, the dagger came
back but it was larger.