Javelin Vs Spear

Javelin Vs Spear – A Comprehensive Comparison

The history of throwing weapons is as old as human civilization. From stones to various types of spears and javelins, early humans had used these weapons for hunting as well as for warfare. While the spear has been used for both throwing and thrusting, the javelin was specifically designed for throwing. In this article, we will compare the javelin vs spear and explore their differences in terms of construction, usage, and effectiveness.


Both the spear and javelin are long-range weapons, designed to be thrown at a target. The difference in construction lies mainly in their purpose. The spear is primarily used for thrusting, giving it a heavier construction. It has a broadhead and a shaft, which is thicker towards the bottom to give the user a better grip. The sharpness of the head depends on the intended use, with some spears designed to penetrate armor.

In contrast, the javelin is designed for throwing, and thus has a lighter construction. It has a sharp, pointed head, and a thinner shaft, which makes it easier to throw. Some javelins have a weighted tip to increase their stability during flight, but the overall design is lighter and more aerodynamic compared to the spear.


The spear has been used for various purposes throughout history. It was mainly used as a hunting weapon before being adapted for warfare. Spears were used by ancient Greek hoplites, Roman legions, and medieval European knights for thrusting during battles. They were also used for hunting large animals like deer, boars, and even whales.

The javelin, on the other hand, was mainly used as a throwing weapon in ancient athletics competitions, such as the Olympic games. It was also used in warfare, where soldiers would throw javelins at enemy formations before charging into battle. The javelin was also a popular hunting weapon, especially in Africa and South America, where tribesmen used it to hunt animals like antelope, wildebeests, and capybaras.


Spears and javelins were both effective weapons, but they had different uses and advantages depending on the situation. The spear was an excellent weapon for thrusting, as its heavy construction could penetrate armor and shields. When used in formation, spears could create a wall of sharp points, making it difficult for the enemy to penetrate.

The javelin, on the other hand, was ideal for long-range attacks. Its light construction, coupled with the speed and force generated by the throw, made it an effective weapon against both humans and animals. The javelin was also useful for disrupting enemy formations or creating confusion before an attack.


Are javelins and spears still used today?

Yes, both javelins and spears are still used in modern times, although their use is limited to sports and recreation. Javelin throwing is an Olympic event, and many sporting events around the world have competitions involving javelin and spears. In some cultures, such as the Maasai of Kenya, the use of spears for hunting and traditional ceremonies is still prevalent.

Which is easier to use, a javelin or a spear?

Both weapons require some level of skill and practice to use effectively. However, the javelin is considered to be easier to use due to its lighter construction and streamlined design. A well-thrown javelin can travel up to 80 meters, while a spear requires more strength and technique to throw accurately.

Can a javelin be used as a spear?

Technically, a javelin can be used as a makeshift spear in self-defense situations, but it is not designed for thrusting. The thin shaft and sharp head of a javelin make it unsuitable for close-range combat, where a heavier spear would be more effective. Additionally, most modern javelins are made of lightweight materials that would be unsuitable for thrusting into an enemy.


In conclusion, the javelin and spear are two specialized weapons designed for different purposes. The spear is primarily a thrusting weapon, while the javelin is designed for throwing. Both weapons were effective in their respective roles, and throughout history, have been used for hunting, warfare, and sporting events. While both are still used in some parts of the world today, the javelin and spear have largely been replaced by firearms and other modern weapons for practical use.