pīlum, i, n. [for pis-lum, cf. piso, 1. pila, etc.], a pounder, pestle of a mortar.
- I. Lit.: pilum fabarium, Cato, R. R. 10; 18: quasi tollenonem aut pilum Graecum reciproces planā viā, a pounder, in using which, one side was raised while the other was depressed, Plaut. Fragm. ap. Fest. s v. reciprocare, p. 274 Müll.: pinsente pilo praeferrato, Plin. 18, 10, 23, § 97: pilo contusum, Vulg. Exod. 27, 20.
- II. Transf., the heavy javelin of the Roman infantry, which they hurled at the enemy at the commencement of the action, and then took to their swords: (caput) adfixum gestari jussit in pilo, Cic. Phil. 11, 2, 5: pilum, haud paulo quam hasta, vehementius ictu missuque telum, Liv. 9, 19; cf. Veg. Mil. 2, 15: milites e loco superiore pilis missis facile hostium phalangem perfregerunt, Caes. B. G. 1, 25: pilorum hastarumque honore circumdatus, Plin. Pan. 56, 5: in imperatorem suum legiones pila torserunt, Sen. Ira, 3, 2, 4; cf. Tac. A. 15, 7: pilum praepilatum, having a blunt or rounded end, Auct. B. Afr. 72. They were also used in sieges, being hurled at the enemy from the walls; these were called pila muralia, Caes. B. G. 5, 40; Tac. A. 4, 51.
Prov.: pilum inicere alicui, to make an attack on one, Plaut. Most. 3, 1, 43.
- B. Vis certe pila, i. e. to be primipilus of the triarii or veterans who carried two javelins each, Juv. 10, 94; v. Dict. of Antiq. p. 104.