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Peter Johnsson




PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 1:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just some more observations on this interesting weapon from Vimose. It is dated to 2nd C AD. The type is found in specific areas (like Bornholm and eastern part of Sweden) whereas the imported spatha was more widely used elsewhere in germanic areas at this time in history.

Note the surviving scabbard of ash wood. It is constructed from narrow staves that are glued together into two separate sides that are cut out to accept the blade. They are held together by iron bands. The two top most ones use to hold rings for attachment to a baldric or belt. One ring faces forwards, the other backwards. Sometimes these rings are integral with the bands, by twisting into a loop. Sometimes there are articulated rings that sit affixed by the bands.

In this case it is interesting that the scabbard of ash has survived, but the grip has perished. Makes one wonder what material was used for the grip slabs...

I attach a sketch based on one of the drawing published by Engelhardt from the Vimose find. I have pencilled in the outline of the original grips, as I imagine they may have looked. If the grip slabs extended outside the width and outline of the tang (as some surviving metal mounts show) the outline with the scabbard is "completed": the lines of the grip and the lines of the scabbard meet uninterrupted. To get a good grip of these weapons a spur at the heel of the hand is of great help. If the grips were to end with just a gradually narrowing grip, it is very easy to loose grip of the sword in a swing. The spurs do also help some in protecting the fingers during a fight. Perhaps not from a direct cut, but will hep deflect the force if you slam your hand into the opponents shield.



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For a more exact suggestion of shape, reconstructions have to be made and more comparisons with surviving material. Just to give an idea, however.
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Peter Johnsson




PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 1:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christian, I like your interpretation of the germanic "La Téne" sword!
I note especially the interpretation of the hilt: did the original have such a very roman looking rivet button?
If so, do you think it is realistic to imagine it had a spherical or hamburger shaped pommel rather than the half moon one? It is interesting that the forward mount of the hilt is so very celtic looking, with its curved shape.

I would love to learn more about the double edged sword used by the germanic tribes before the roman spatha came into wide use. At present I wonder a lot about the germanic versions of hilts put on these imported roman sword blades (and those possibly made locally after roman pattern). There seems to be several local hilt types and I wonder how and if these relate to contemporary roman type hilts.
I know there were copies of celtic long swords made by germanic smiths in the 1st C BC (and into the 1st C AD?), but I have not seen many of these(only a small handful of old published drawings). In storage rooms in Swedish museums one can come across rusty remains of blades that may have been celtic, germanic or roman. They are often so far gone, it is difficult to see any distinguishing shapes.

Could you possibly share some info on finds where details of hilts, scabbards and blades survive?
Or any one else here at the forum may help out?
I´d love to get a better idea of what these double edged sword could look like. I am also very curious about decorative styles, materials and techniques that were used to embellish these swords. Those two little bearded heads used as belt hooks are nice! Have thee been other finds of objects like these? How much do we know of their use?

... Lots of questions! Razz
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Peter Johnsson




PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 2:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christian Böhling wrote:
Peter, wonderful cross-section in the grip-part!

The Putensen Sword original is lost, only a photography and a drawing and of course the description by W. Wegewitz remained from the find because it is an old find. But the Åsby and the Putensen ones are so similair, that one can suggest the same maker...and if I complete this thoughts I can imagine, that the Putensen one had the same cross-section in the grip-part. I had no idea of this detail!! Next time I will do it this way!

......

I think tomorrow I will finishing it all and make final pics!




I like this study of the Putensen sword, and I would love to see any drawings or documentations of the original as it seems to be so very similar to the Åsby sword. I wonder to what degree the grip slabs were rounded. This would probably have varied, of course. Some remaining rivets tell that grips could have a swelling in the middle. As you has said earlier: grip slabs tended to be thin. I wonder if moose antler may have been used as grip scales sometimes? Moose antler was used for the combs, was it not? It would be wide enough to allow carving of the spurs in one piece and also be structurally very strong (I am thinking about those grips without supporting full tang).
About the cross section of the tang: I cannot say they were all shaped like that, of course! Actually, I have seen one that is similar to the one Jeroen posted with a very study tang that only had a very minimal taper to the cross section of the tang. Lots of rivets in that one!
I have read about the surviving scabbards of the Hjortspring find, that there was some scorching of the wood, showing the iron bands were put on while hot. I imagine they were either wrapped around while slightly hot, or possibly pre formed and sipped on while hot and cooled/shrunk in place.

About the metal mounts, as I said i my earlier post: I think they are surviving remains of reinforcements for the spurs of the grip, from a time when the tang did not follow the complete outline of the hilt. I also think panels of bone or horn could have been used on those earlier ones, and would therefore not survive.

Looking forward to see the finished sword!
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Peter Johnsson




PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 2:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeroen, thanks for posting interesting examples!

I find the one from the Thorsbjerg find very puzzling. Engelhardt published a drawing of that grip, and I attach that below. The grip is in the upper left corner and in the lower right corner is a detail showing the front end of that grip. It really looks like that "neck" or extension from the grip describes the actual blade width and that there is a spur about one inch behind the forward end of the grip. The "pommel" end of the grip as a very familiar shape if we compare to those single edged swords that have full tang. Very strange!
Engelhardt describes it as a wood grip of rather crude make. The blade it was fitted on was single edged hand had a thick back.
This makes me wonder about that actual hilt shape of narrow blades with simple tang: if the grip is as elaborate on those as well, as is suggested by this unique one. An open mind is certainly needed to get an idea of the original shape of even the most simple of single edged war knives...
I also attach another photo of that strange grip from the Thorsbjerg find.



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Perhaps the full size and shape of the spurs have been eaten away? I imagine so.

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Christian Böhling




PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 2:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Johnsson wrote:
It is interesting that the forward mount of the hilt is so very celtic looking, with its curved shape.

I would love to learn more about the double edged sword used by the germanic tribes before the roman spatha came into wide use. At present I wonder a lot about the germanic versions of hilts put on these imported roman sword blades (and those possibly made locally after roman pattern). There seems to be several local hilt types and I wonder how and if these relate to contemporary roman type hilts.
I know there were copies of celtic long swords made by germanic smiths in the 1st C BC (and into the 1st C AD?), but I have not seen many of these(only a small handful of old published drawings). In storage rooms in Swedish museums one can come across rusty remains of blades that may have been celtic, germanic or roman. They are often so far gone, it is difficult to see any distinguishing shapes.

Could you possibly share some info on finds where details of hilts, scabbards and blades survive?
Razz


Hi Peter,

I made this sword in times when I was without a computer or a digi-cam, so all that I have is the find-drawind from the publication, glad that I found it among thousands of loose papers in the cellar... Happy

The last images are from the Nienbüttel sword, the first is a similair find from Großromstedt (Nienbüttel is near Hamburg and Großromstedt is in Saxony, bothe in the influental reach of the Elbe-River with connections to the Southeast (wher the influence - and maybe the weapon had come)



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Nienbüttel

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 3:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter-

Here's what looks to be the same sword shown above inside the scabbard.



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Copyright © European/The Bridgeman Art Library/Getty Images

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Christian Böhling




PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 3:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I like this study of the Putensen sword, and I would love to see any drawings or documentations of the original as it seems to be so very similar to the Åsby sword. [/quote]

note the very small bronze piece at the lower left corner, it is bend around this corner, describing two circle plates (each on each side) connected with a broader strap. And note also the small fitting at the right edge of the grip-part....



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Christian Böhling




PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 3:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Johnsson wrote:
Just some more observations on this interesting weapon from Vimose. It is dated to 2nd C AD. The type is found in specific areas (like Bornholm and eastern part of Sweden) whereas the imported spatha was more widely used elsewhere in germanic areas at this time in history.


BTW: on one sword with a brutal narrowing grip which I made many Years ago I attached a bone ending, which was broaden the grips end, because without it always wanted to slip through the fingers when used....so I had the same thoughts on this problem as Peter has and solved it with this attachment, but of course it was fictive....On this one (which was I think made by Thys van der Manneker) the end is a bit broader...but even this one is odd in it´s handling....



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One of the "Chasuari" with a sword of this type

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Christian Böhling




PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 3:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

....just an impression of how these swords have injured....

this image is from our special exhibition (ended)...and shows the skulls of a roman couple who had been slaughtered in their villa rustica by germanics.....



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skull of a roman legionair excavated at the battlefield site of Kalkriese (9 A.D) shows that the right half of the skull was right cut off by a sword hit.

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Last edited by Christian Böhling on Mon 01 Feb, 2010 3:40 am; edited 1 time in total
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Peter Johnsson




PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 3:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christian Böhling wrote:

note the very small bronze piece at the lower left corner, it is bend around this corner, describing two circle plates (each on each side) connected with a broader strap. And note also the small fitting at the right edge of the grip-part....


Christian, thanks!
I love this find! So many interesting details. The nice round rivet washers, similar to the Woerden sword. The T-shape at the end of the back spur. The bronze plate over the back edge of the grip towards the blade. This was a very beautiful sword once!
(And yes: you seem to be correct in your interpretation of the section of the tang. There seem to be no or very little wedge shape going on, rather a uniform thickness from one edge to the other.)


Last edited by Peter Johnsson on Mon 01 Feb, 2010 3:58 am; edited 1 time in total
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Peter Johnsson




PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 3:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks also for those pics on the double edged swords!

I wonder about those little embellishments on the Nienbüttel sword´s scabbard. It looks like they cover some earlier mounts? Could they have been some elements to attach leather belts: a kind of wrap around that passed through the open loops?
Also, I wonder about the reconstructed shape of the scabbard mouth? Could it have been straight instead of bell shaped? (like some other late la Tene III swords)
The chape, or bottom ending of the scabbard is also a nice detail. So different from those large ladder shaped chapes of late celtic sword scabbards.
But the one from Großromstedt seems to have had such a celtic looking chape? There are remains of "ladder rungs" on the scabbards lower part...


Very interesting!
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk




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PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 3:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Johnsson wrote:
Christian, I like your interpretation of the germanic "La Téne" sword!
I note especially the interpretation of the hilt: did the original have such a very roman looking rivet button?
If so, do you think it is realistic to imagine it had a spherical or hamburger shaped pommel rather than the half moon one? It is interesting that the forward mount of the hilt is so very celtic looking, with its curved shape.

Jumping in on La Tene swords with rivet buttons and curved guards, I'm going to do a reproduction of one this year (if the wrought I have for it cooperates). I'm going for the Dutch type that includes bronze rings in the grip, such as these examples:







Unfornately, I can't find any details on dating nore on potential grip pommel/bolster shapes for these swords. The dating I always encounter is 500-0BC, which of course is rather useless. Can anyone date them more accurately? I've been wondering about the material between the bronze rings, whether it may have been wood or bone or horn. I'm now actually considering that leather may have been likely as well. Perhaps even more likely, as one of the swords has lots of very thin rings with very thin spaces between.

Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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Peter Johnsson




PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 6:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The battle knives/daggers carried by these germanic warriors also commands some interest.
Type and shape varies by location. In the danish bog finds the origin of invading/defeated forces could be identified by the shape of personal equipment, like combs, personal knives fire strikers and so on. The double edged swords (spathe) were (more or less?) alike all over the germanic area, since they were imports or copies of imported blades. In the centuries after year 1, the single edged sword lost importance pretty rapidly and the double edged sword gained widespread popularity.
Knives and daggers did still form an important part of the equipment: it was the personal "civilian" equipment that singled out the individual fighter, while spears, shields and swords were of more uniform type. Warriors from different areas ad combs and fire strikers that were typical for their land ends. Spears and axes were forged locally and would therefore also show local variation in form.
Below are a few knives from the Illerup Ådal find.
I find their shape very beautiful. Simplified and suggestive curves. Cross section is a strong triangle. The large knives were often made from iron, while the smaller "civilian" type knives had edges of hardened steel.



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Note that some of the large daggers/knives have rivet buttons like some of the double edged swords posted above. Influence from roman cutlery is strong.


Last edited by Peter Johnsson on Mon 01 Feb, 2010 6:50 am; edited 2 times in total
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Luke Zechman




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PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 6:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This thread is amazing! I have not been able to read all of it yet, and already I am learning so much. Thanks to anyone contributing information, and works in progress. Keep it going!
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Christian Böhling




PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 6:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeroen Zuiderwijk wrote:

Jumping in on La Tene swords with rivet buttons and curved guards, I'm going to do a reproduction of one this year (if the wrought I have for it cooperates). I'm going for the Dutch type that includes bronze rings in the grip, such as these examples:



Unfornately, I can't find any details on dating nore on potential grip pommel/bolster shapes for these swords. The dating I always encounter is 500-0BC, which of course is rather useless. Can anyone date them more accurately? I've been wondering about the material between the bronze rings, whether it may have been wood or bone or horn. I'm now actually considering that leather may have been likely as well. Perhaps even more likely, as one of the swords has lots of very thin rings with very thin spaces between.



Jeroen,

the Nienbüttel sword was found together with a fibula Type Almgren 19 a which allows to date this sword inner a few ten years around the year 0 (maybe 20 B.C to 20 A.D). This might be the stop-point in the long last of these swords

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Last edited by Christian Böhling on Mon 01 Feb, 2010 12:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Christian Böhling




PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 6:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Johnsson wrote:
The battle knives/daggers carried by these germanic warriors also commands some interest.
Type and shape varies by location. In the danish bog finds the origin of invading/defeated forces could be identified by the shape of personal equipment, like combs, personal knives fire strikers and so on. The double edged swords (spathe) were alike all over the germanic area, since they were imports or copies of imported blades. In the centuries after year 1, the single edged sword lost importance pretty rapidly and the double edged sword gained widespread popularity.
Knives and daggers did still form an important part of the equipment.
Below are a few from the Illerup Ådal find.
I find their shape very beautiful. Simplified and suggestive curves. Cross section is a strong triangle. The large knives were often made from iron, while the smaller "civilian" type knives had edges of hardened steel.



I add some images of a Illerup-knife (this is one I made just for fun)

The scabbard has the same bar-like ending as some swords I posted here....this was Ilkjaers Interpretation of some small wooden little sticks found at the tip of many knifes in Illerup Place A.....



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Last edited by Christian Böhling on Mon 01 Feb, 2010 6:59 am; edited 2 times in total
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Peter Johnsson




PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 6:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Examples of battle axes wielded by warriors from scandinavia in the second or third C AD. Very different from the famous viking axes of later times...
The haft was pushed on from the front end of the head, just like you haft a tomahawk (note the swelling at the forward end of the head: a stop like the "pommel" of a baseballbat). I



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Myles Mulkey




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PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 7:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter,
Do you happen to know what find these axes are from? I can't remember for the life of me, but I think they are of a later date than the ones you posted.

Also, I'd like to see something said about the type of decoration on Illerup spearheads, since it seems to be a pretty established style found on multiple spears.



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The axes in question, I think from the Roman Iron Age

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Lance chronology [ Download ]

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Lance heads with decoration [ Download ]

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Lance heads with decoration [ Download ]

"There wrought Regin
by the red embers
rune-written iron
rare, enchanted;"
-Tolkien
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Myles Mulkey




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PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 7:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luke Zechman wrote:
This thread is amazing! I have not been able to read all of it yet, and already I am learning so much. Thanks to anyone contributing information, and works in progress. Keep it going!

I agree! I'll keep watching this one. Laughing Out Loud

"There wrought Regin
by the red embers
rune-written iron
rare, enchanted;"
-Tolkien
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Artis Aboltins




PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 7:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Myles Mulkey wrote:
Luke Zechman wrote:
This thread is amazing! I have not been able to read all of it yet, and already I am learning so much. Thanks to anyone contributing information, and works in progress. Keep it going!

I agree! I'll keep watching this one. Laughing Out Loud


Perharps it would be more apropriate to move it from makers and Manfacturers forum to the Historical Arms Talk? And, indeed, there is wealth of information in this thread.
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