Encyclopedia > Spear

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A spear is an ancient weapon, used for hunting and war. It consists of a shaft, usually of wood, with a sharpened head. The head may be simply the sharpened end of the shaft itself, as is the case with bamboo spears, or it may be of another material fastened to the shaft. The most common design is of a metal spearhead, shaped somewhat like a dagger, and made entirely for thrusting.

Spears of different designs were used for close combat and for throwing. One of the most famous throwing spears is the pilum used by the Romans.

The spear is a pole weapon, and may be seen as the ancestor of such weapons as the lance, the halberd, the naginata and the pike. Also the bayonet may, when mounted on a rifle, be considered a type of spear.

One spear of religious significance is the Spear of Destiny, an artifact believed by some to have vast mystical powers.

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