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Tomas Mihalyi




Location: Slovakia
Joined: 14 Sep 2009

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PostPosted: Sun 21 Feb, 2010 4:49 am    Post subject: making a machaira....greek and Italian smithing techniques         Reply with quote

Hello, Im writing a work about curved sabre - like swords in the ancient world. I found plenty of information about falcata production by the Iberians but I cant get to anything about machairas/kopides. Does anyone have any idea how these things could have been made? Or more specificly.....were there any special smithing techniques that were used by ancient Greeks and Italian nations?
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Feb, 2010 12:26 pm    Post subject: Re: making a machaira....greek and Italian smithing techniqu         Reply with quote

Tomas Mihalyi wrote:
Hello, Im writing a work about curved sabre - like swords in the ancient world. I found plenty of information about falcata production by the Iberians but I cant get to anything about machairas/kopides. Does anyone have any idea how these things could have been made? Or more specificly.....were there any special smithing techniques that were used by ancient Greeks and Italian nations?

It's hard enough to find any pictures of the weapons, so unfortunately that kind of detailed information is impossible to come by.

B.t.w. what do you know about the production of falcatas? I know Fernando Quesada Sanz has written works on them, which I still have to track down. If you have other sources too, I'd be interested in knowing which.

Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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Tomas Mihalyi




Location: Slovakia
Joined: 14 Sep 2009

Posts: 21

PostPosted: Mon 22 Feb, 2010 5:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

the are actually plenty of sources about falcatas and machairas/kopides.... the most is summarized in Fernando Quesadas work El armamento Iberico... its focused on falcata (iberian type) but he is also tracking the origin that is leeding to Illyria so far... the truth is that the machaira/kopis were also used by the thracians and some types also by the Scythians

I found the El armamento iberico work in Wien which is quite close because i live in Slovakia but i think that you can get it through the interlibrary loan.

I am writing a work about these types of swords for my masters degree but Im mostly focusing on the origin of machairas and kopides that are synonims actually.

I think that professor Quesada got quite through falcata in that dissertation so the best info is probably in there... there are some websites of course that may help you to get a picture and if you check the list of this forum you will also find topis contaning useful information too:
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...p;start=66
http://www.ffil.uam.es/equus/warmas/tipolog/tabla.htm
http://www.ffil.uam.es/equus/warmas/index.htm

you can also try finding a Archivo espanol de arqueologia, check no. 63 from 1990...
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Tomas Mihalyi




Location: Slovakia
Joined: 14 Sep 2009

Posts: 21

PostPosted: Mon 22 Feb, 2010 5:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

or you can also check a book from Osprey... Romes Enemies: Spanish armies from Rafael Trevino Martinez I think....he is taking some things from plutarch and other ancient writers...

although no info about machairas/kopides manufacturing... does anyone have any idea about the greek weaponcrafting in general at least???
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Mon 22 Feb, 2010 7:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is an article dealing with some Etruscan sword blades and their metallurgy by C Panseri, C Carino and M Leoni: "Ricerche matallografiche sopra alcune lame etrusche di acciaio"

One of the blades analyzed is a Kopis. Rust has reduced its outline, but enough material has survived so that sections can show the structure of the blade. It was forged as a laminated blade in three or five general layers, the middle one(s) being steel and the outer a softer iron.
The text is in Italian and my understanding is not as good as I would like it to be. I can make out that the steel shows a fine grained perlitic structure with some traces of bainite like structure closer to the edge.
The sections taken cannot show what the structure was at the very edge, as that has rusted away. I am not ware if the authors of the article has taken this into consideration when they assed the quality of the blade and its structure.

A steel of this nature with low or medium carbon content has a low hardenability and would only turn into martensite along the very edge. To my mind it is possible that this kopis could well have had (or probably had) a hardened edge, while the body of the blade showed a mixed structure, growing gradually softer towards the back.

The blade is not selectively carburized, but forge welded of well chosen lengths of iron and steel. Seems to me like blade smith work of high quality, competent work methods and well developed awareness of the nature of the materials at hand.
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Tomas Mihalyi




Location: Slovakia
Joined: 14 Sep 2009

Posts: 21

PostPosted: Mon 22 Feb, 2010 7:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

that looks very similar to the way falcata had been forged by Iberians, as far as I know they also used a high quality iron a the blade was made in several layers, do you know when was it published or at least a number of that one?
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