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The word javelin comes from Middle English and it derives from Old French javelin, a diminutive of javelot, which meant spear.
The word javelot probably originated from one of the Celtic languages.
In the battle of Lechaeum, the Athenian general Iphicrates took advantage of the fact that a Spartan hoplite phalanx operating near Corinth was moving in the open field without the protection of any missile-throwing troops.
He decided to ambush it with his force of peltasts.
A fossilized horse shoulder blade with a projectile wound, dated to 500,000 years ago, was revealed in a gravel quarry in the village of Boxgrove, England.
Seven spear-like objects were found in a coal mine in the city of Schöningen, Germany.
After this defeat, the Romans undertook a comprehensive reform of their army and changed the basic tactical formation from the Greek-style phalanx armed with the hasta spear and the clipeus round shield to a more flexible three-line formation.
The Hastati stood in the first line, the Principes in the second line and the Triarii at the third line.
In History of Ancient Egypt: Volume 1 (1882), George Rawlinson depicts the javelin as an offensive weapon used by the Ancient Egyptian Military.
It was lighter in weight than that used by other nations.
Stratigraphic dating indicates that the weapons are about 400,000 years old.