Xyston (Greek: Ξυστόν, English translation: "spear", "javelin"; English translation: "pointed stick", "goad") was a type of a long thrusting lance in ancient Greece. It measured about 3.5-4.25 meters long and was probably held by the cavalryman with both hands. It had a traditional wooden shaft and metallic tip, with a tapered butt. The "xyston" is usually mentioned in context with the "Hetairoi" (Greek: Εταίροι), the cavalry forces of ancient Macedon. After Alexander the Great's death the "Hetairoi" were named "Xystophoroi" (Greek: "Ξυστοφόροι", English translation: "spear-bearer") because of their use of the xyston lance. In his Greek-written Bellum Judaicum, the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus uses the term "xyston" to describe the Roman throwing javelin, the "pilum".

The xyston was wielded either underarm or overarm, presumably as a matter of personal preference.


*LSJ - [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3D%2371864 Xyston] from [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3D%2371881 xyô] (scrape), hence [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0058%3Aentry%3D%2322565 xylon] (wood).

ee also

*Pole weapon
*Companion cavalry
*Ancient Macedonian military
*Hellenistic armies

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