Falarica, also Phalarica was an ancient Iberian ranged pole weapon which were sometime used as an incendiary weapon.


The Falarica was a javelin with a long iron pointed rod of about 90 centimeter in length completed with a short wooden handle. The iron rod had a very narrow tip, which gave the falarica armour-piercing capability, and a square section in the lower part of the rod to increase the weapon's weight and thus further improve its penetration ability. The Iberians used to bind packs filled with a combustible substance to the rod of the weapon and used the falarica as a ranged incendiary device. The incendiary javelin would hit the armour or shield of the enemy and would set it ablaze, thus forcing him to strip of his protecting gear. In addition the flaming falarica had an enormous psychological effect on the enemy soldier and helped to spread fear amongst enemy troops. The falarica was also used as an incendiary device during sieges and was thrown against wooden palisades and into besieged settelments in order to cause fires and havoc. When the Iberians were besieged they hurled flaming falaricas at the besiegers' siege engines.


Falarica comes from either ancient Greek "phalòs" (φαλòς), because it came out of a "phala" (an ancient round tower posted on cities' walls and was used to fire the falaricas), or from "phalēròs" (φαληρòς) "shining" as it was enwrapped with blazing fire.


Although in some texts the falarica is indicated as a Roman weapon, its origin seems to be from the Iberian peninsula and there are references to its use when the Iberians fought against the Carthaginians in the vicinity of Saguntum. There are falarica parts amongst Iberian and Celtic archaeological deposits from the 1st century BC to the 1st century.

ee also

*incendiary weapon

External links

* [http://www.ffil.uam.es/equus/warmas/tipolog/fig29.html Weapons of the Iberian peninsula]

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