One of three categories of heavy infantryman in the Roman Legion of the mid-republican period (3rd and 2nd century BC). The Hastati were the youngest soldiers, and formed the front line of the legion. The standard legion contained ten maniples of Hastati, each numbering between 120 and 160 men. They were equipped with two Pila, the famous Gladius, and a long semi-cylindrical body shield, made of calfskin stretched over plywood. As the soldiers had to pay for their own armour, most made do with a simple bronze chest plate, while the wealthier soldiers had either a mail or scale cuirass. The Hastati were expected to take the first clash of battle and blunt the enemy attack before the second line, the Principes took over and won the battle.
The Complete Roman Army, Adrian Goldsworthy. A very good history of the Roman army from the early Republic to the end of the Empire.
How to cite this article:
Rickard, J. (20 December 2002), Hastati, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/concepts_hastati.html