TLDR: A spear is a long stick with a pointy head that can be used for thrusting or throwing. It has been used by humans for hunting, fishing, and warfare throughout history.
A spear is a type of weapon that has been used by humans for thousands of years. It consists of a long stick, usually made of wood, with a pointed head. The head of the spear can be made of different materials, such as bone, flint, obsidian, copper, bronze, iron, or steel. The most common design for hunting and warfare is a metal spearhead shaped like a triangle, lozenge, or leaf. Fishing spears often have multiple sharp points.
The word "spear" comes from Old English and has been used by different cultures around the world. Spears can be divided into two broad categories: those designed for thrusting in close combat, and those designed for throwing at a distance.
Spears have been used throughout human history as both a tool and a weapon. They were one of the earliest and most widespread tools developed by early humans, along with the club, knife, and axe. Spears have been used in virtually every conflict up until the modern era. Even today, spears live on in the form of bayonets attached to guns.
The use of spears is not limited to humans. Chimpanzees in Senegal have been observed using spears to hunt small animals. Spears have also been used by other primates and by various cultures around the world.
In different parts of the world, spears have played a significant role in military tactics. In ancient Greece, spears were the main weapon of the hoplites, heavily armed infantry soldiers. The Roman legions also used spears, known as pilum, as their primary weapon. In medieval Europe, spears were commonly used by both infantry and cavalry. In Japan, the samurai used spears called yari, and in Africa, the Zulu warriors were known for their use of the iklwa, a short stabbing spear.
Today, spears are still used in some cultures for hunting and fishing. They are also used in various martial arts and traditional ceremonies.