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Patrick Gilbers





Joined: 25 Oct 2008

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PostPosted: Sat 21 Feb, 2009 7:03 am    Post subject: Celtic anthropomorphic swords         Reply with quote

Hello,

could someone tell me something about the development of the Celtic anthropomorphic hilted swords? They were used in the Hallstatt and the La Tène period, is there a difference between the swords of both periods?

Thanks in advance!
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Joel Chesser




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PostPosted: Sat 21 Feb, 2009 11:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This might help some: http://www.ironagearmoury.com/swords_of_the_early_iron_age.htm
..." The person who dosen't have a sword should sell his coat and buy one."

- Luke 22:36
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Patrick Gilbers





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PostPosted: Sat 21 Feb, 2009 1:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks, that could help, but I am actually more searching for the hilt himself.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sat 21 Feb, 2009 2:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here are some previous threads on the subject:

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=8977
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=7745
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=3990 (this one has more info on the La Tene finds than the other two)

And there are more threads on our forums than these. I used the Search function to find them.

Happy

ChadA

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Shane Allee
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Location: South Bend, IN
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PostPosted: Sat 21 Feb, 2009 6:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Patrick,

There is a huge difference between the swords of the Hallstatt period and that of the La Tene. Hallstatt is where we see the change over from bronze to iron, as well as swords disappearing by the end of the period. Daggers from the end of the period continue on into the early La Tene. Then the sword comes back into use early in the La Tene as well.

As far as anthropomophic hilts go, there are only one or two odd and/or questionable full sword sized ones found in the La Tene. For the most part they were dagger sized. One of the big questions is then the intended function of the anthropoid daggers. They are not all that often found in graves from what I remember, like swords often are. It has been speculated that they could be ritual based, sacrafical, an execution weapon, and maybe all of the above. There are a few early examples in iron, but bronze is the most common. Hilt styles vary depending on time and place during the La Tene.

There is one very good booklet out there about the anthropoid daggers and a number of scientific articles. Just today I got a copy of daggers of the early iron age in britain from a friend that looks like it will be an interesting read.

Shane
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Sun 22 Feb, 2009 5:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The anthropomorphic hilt seems to have been developed from the antenna hilted bronze age swords. The development is still a bit difficult for me to trace. But apparently the antenna hilted bronze swords evolved into the Hallstatt D daggers, which suddently swept away all full sized swords as the Mindelheim type in northern Europe. The latest antenna hilted or related swords I know from southern and eastern Europe, though only from a few examples. And what makes it even more difficult is that while up to hallstatt C, and from the start of the la tene period, swords follow pretty standard shapes that are a result of continuous development, while in Hallstatt D the daggers and hilt constructions are all completely unique, and it seems to be the trend not to base any new one in any way on a previous existing design. However, there does seem to be some trend visible from antenna to anthropomorphic. Now bear with me, my knowledge on these swords is very vague after the bronze antenna hilted swords. The pictures below I got from Kirk Spencer, so I don't have the accompanying literature for more information:

First a typical bronze antenna hilted sword from Heraion von Samos, Greece:



Secondly, a later iron bladed antenna hilted sword from Chauchitsa, Macedonia:



And an Iberian (iron?) antenna hilted sword (evolved into the stubier double disc pommeld iron daggers typical for Spain):



A hallstatt D transitional dagger (origin unknown). Notice the little guys in the pommel:



And here are more transitional forms:


Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Sun 22 Feb, 2009 3:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That Macedonian sword has something that looks suspiciously akin to a Frearson head screw. Is it the tang, twisted and decorated, or does it have a structural function?

On the Hawkes image, (figure 6, I), the hilt appears very tiny with a large, bulbous decoration not unlike the others presented (the waist of the man that gives the hilt its name). What is the length of the hilt, if you know? I figure it's just an out of scale drawing, and it's not really all that small.

M.

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Patrick Gilbers





Joined: 25 Oct 2008

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PostPosted: Tue 24 Feb, 2009 8:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for your replies, I was confused because it was stated in a myArmoury article that:

"A mushroom-shaped pommel, typical of the culture, surmounted the grip and was often decorated with gold or other precious materials. An iron-bladed example from the Hallstatt tomb still had its magnificent grip made of ivory with carved bands of zigzag patterns and traces of the original coloration. Another grip typical of this culture was the "anthropomorphic" type; the lower limbs, carefully fashioned, were positioned on either side of the blade; the upper limbs, raised above the shoulders, shielded the head; the body formed the actual handle."

Do they mean the more abstract forms that Jeroen Zuiderwijk described, do you think?
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Tue 24 Feb, 2009 11:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

M. Eversberg II wrote:
That Macedonian sword has something that looks suspiciously akin to a Frearson head screw. Is it the tang, twisted and decorated, or does it have a structural function?
It's just decoration, part of the bronze hilt. This one is quite unique, but I've seen others that have a horizontal twisted rod between the antennae. These were most probably shaped in wax.

Quote:
On the Hawkes image, (figure 6, I), the hilt appears very tiny with a large, bulbous decoration not unlike the others presented (the waist of the man that gives the hilt its name). What is the length of the hilt, if you know? I figure it's just an out of scale drawing, and it's not really all that small.
I don't know. It says that the scale is ca. 1:5, so it's not very exact.
Jeroen Zuiderwijk
- Bronze age living history in the Netherlands
- Barbarian metalworking
- Museum photos
- Zip-file with information about saxes
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Tue 24 Feb, 2009 11:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Gilbers wrote:
Thanks for your replies, I was confused because it was stated in a myArmoury article that:

"A mushroom-shaped pommel, typical of the culture, surmounted the grip and was often decorated with gold or other precious materials. An iron-bladed example from the Hallstatt tomb still had its magnificent grip made of ivory with carved bands of zigzag patterns and traces of the original coloration. Another grip typical of this culture was the "anthropomorphic" type; the lower limbs, carefully fashioned, were positioned on either side of the blade; the upper limbs, raised above the shoulders, shielded the head; the body formed the actual handle."

Do they mean the more abstract forms that Jeroen Zuiderwijk described, do you think?
The first are the Mindelheim swords, which date to the Hallstatt C period. These early anthropomorphic daggers date to the Hallstatt D period, probably at the end of it, so I doubt they coexisted. But I think that the article actually refers to the later La Tene examples, mistakingly placing those in the Hallstatt period.
Jeroen Zuiderwijk
- Bronze age living history in the Netherlands
- Barbarian metalworking
- Museum photos
- Zip-file with information about saxes
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