The final element, along with the cavalry and the heavy infantry (Triarii, Principies and Hastati), of the mid-republican Roman legions of the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC. The velites were light infantry, equipped with a small round shield, a bundle of light javelins and a gladius. They acted as skirmishers, sometimes advancing in front of the heavy infantry, sometimes acting to screen the deployment of the main infantry line and sometimes working with the cavalry. The velites were recruited from the poorer members of society, and those considered to be too young to join the Hastati
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 (14 May 2007), Velites, 27 April 1296, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/concepts_velites.html