Tod Todeschini < YouTube Projects < Thrown weapons with a professional

Thrown weapons with a professional

Thrown weapons with a professional

How were weapons used in the past?

Discovering how weapons were used and what they can really do, not just what we are told they can do, is my passion. Especially missile weapons

So I set about making a few films about javelins, pila, plumbata and of course rocks; with plenty more to come.

But for a trial to be remotely valid a few things need to coincide. Firstly, the weapons provided must be true to form and function, they must be right on all levels, not just superficially so.  I can do this.

Secondly, the thrower must be good, understand the mechanics of the weapon, be fit and athletic.  I can’t do this and have decided overweight, middle aged, non-athletic men can’t throw, so I recruited Michael Allison, a Team GB javelin thrower – he can throw.

These films are about Michael and I throwing all sorts of things and discovering what they can do.

The Films…

Wooden peg pilum

Roman Leginaries were trained to throw pilum (javelins), hard, far and accurately. I can’t, so I recruited a Team GB javelin thrower for my tests.

Of course these weapons could be thrown back so an intriguing line in a Roman text explains that the head could be held in place using a wooden peg. This peg would break when it hits the target and makes the pilum harmless if thrown back. Clearly this needs making and testing; so I did.

Javelin hack to throw like a Pro! (Bonus-Man throws rock)

Michael Allison is back for the last time this year and we look at Medieval fletched javelins. the Medieval hack to turn an unskilled javelin thrower into one who can throw straight in any conditions and how to use the throwing string that was employed by Vikings, medieval Europeans and 15th and 16thC Irish – amongst others.

Using the fletchings allows a bad thrower to throw cleanly and the string allows a bad thrower to throw further – what’s not to get excited about? But how effective are the fletchings and where do you place and how long do you make the string? We went to investigate and get you the answers needed to get you throwing like a pro!

Pro Thrower vs Armoured Barbarian. Can he stop the charge!?

Roman Legionaries practiced for years to throwing the pilum. Michael Allison throws javelin for Team GB; he can throw!

But can he hit a Charging Barbarian? Would this weapon break up shield walls and formations just before fighting lines clashed? And will the barbarian’s shield save him?

Roman Plumbata – In the hands of a Pro Thrower!

In the later stages of the Western Roman Empire, around 250-300 soldiers started to get issued with plumbata. These are small lead weighted darts (the ‘plumb’ part of the name meaning ‘lead’ in Latin) that are easy to throw and were fantastic at harassing the enemy significant distances away. But how far?

My new and not so secret way of finding out about throwing weapons is Micheal Allison who throws javelin for Team GB under 20’s and is having an amazing season and in his hands we can really see what these weapons can do and we have finally have numbers for mass, speed, momentum and energ

Roman Plumbata – How far can a Pro throw?

Plumbata were really nasty fletched throwing darts used by the Late Roman Empire and apparently they could out range javelins, so apparently 80m or so. But can they?

My friend Michael who throws Javelin for Team GB came along to see how far he could throw them. We don’t know how far they have been thrown in the last 1500 years, but his efforts must be up there.

Home Made spear thrower – Really??

During the UK Covid lockdown I got bored and a film I had planned with the amazing archer Joe Gibbs got cancelled, so I decided to make a ‘Faux Gibbs’; I decided to make a fast, powerful, arrow shooter, more powerful than my bow…… So I looked at my stores and built……..something.

I then stupidly realised a crossbow would work really well for shooting arrows fast, so I abandoned the thing I was making, which also turned out to be useless for arrows anyway, but turned out to be excellent for spears; and the Spear Thrower was born. So this film is about arrows, spears and the piece of rusty junk that is the Spear Thrower.

Throwing a pilum

The Roman pilum is the javelin that everyone associated with Legionaries and with good reason, it was used for hundreds of years……countless battles and skirmishes.

But how far can it be thrown and what does it do when it gets there? We need to find out, so borrowed some pilum, built a throwing machine and recruited an experienced thrower to set the distance. I contacted Oxford University Athletics Club and recruited a Team GB javelin thrower, Michael Allison to throw and establish a reference distance; and boy can he throw! Thanks very much to the club for allowing me to film there.

Throwing a Pilum in Armour – How far can a pro throw?

The Romans used a pilum or a version of it for hundreds of years and it was used to harass the enemy from a distance and help break up shield walls and formations just before fighting lines clashed and it was very effective.

But how far could a legionary throw one? I cannot throw well, but Michael Allison throws javelin for Team GB; he can throw! So I have recruited him again to throw for me wearing no armour (like skirmishers), just a mail shirt and wearing the mail and holding a shield. Running and standing.

Wooden Pin Pilum: Is it Pointless?

Back looking at the Roman plum with the breakable peg. Apparently the great military reformer Marius cam up with the idea and this is described by Plutarch.

The idea is simple – throw the javelin and part of the head breaks on impact rendering it useless. Michael and I got it to work quite well, but not very well, so here I look at the original source and look at making some changes, but is the whole thing worth the effort? Lets find out.


Arrows Vs. Armour 2


Arrows Vs. Armour 1


Best Of The Rest


Lockdown Longbow