Hasta Pura

The Hasta Pura, a spear staff without an iron head, was a kind of scepter and also an award for merit awarded in Ancient Rome. The hasta was a thrusting weapon, a spear that was not thrown (as were the later pilum, verutum or lancea). A hasta pura was a spear made "without iron," which probably means, as it usually appears on coins, that the hasta pura had no point.

The Hasta Pura was one of the insignia of the gods, and of the emperors and augustae after their apotheosis, implying that they had become objects of worship. It is often found in the hands of female divinities and personifications, especially Pax.

As an award, sources disagree, some call it a decoration for valor, others mention that it has been awarded to civilians. In the earliest times it was rewarded to a soldier the first time that he conquered in battle. Later it came to be awarded to a soldier who had struck down an enemy in a sally or skirmish. Tacitus records a hasta pura being given as a decoration, bestowed upon a soldier for saving the life of a fellow-citizen: In this engagement Rufus Helvius, a common soldier, won the honour of saving a citizen's life, and was rewarded by Apronius with a torc and a spear. To these the emperor added the civic crown, complaining, but without anger, that Apronius had not used his right as proconsul to bestow this further distinction. A civil servant called Tiberius Claudius Balbilus was awarded the hasta pura and perhaps also the corona aurea by Claudius during the Triumph to celebrate the conquest of Britain in 44 A.D. As a friend and part of the Emperorís retinue, it seems likely that his awards, as much as his military rank, were honorary.