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A. Fleet




Location: Ohio
Joined: 16 Sep 2009

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PostPosted: Fri 14 May, 2010 12:08 pm    Post subject: Migration Period Sword         Reply with quote

I was recently searching the internet and came across this page: http://www.royalathena.com/PAGES/MigrationMed...L0901.html depicting a migration period sword that seems unlike any of this period I have ever seen. Based on the museum display cited on the page I would assume it is a hunnic sword but alas, I have no images of any hunnic swords for a point of reference. Anyone know what this might be?


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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Fri 14 May, 2010 2:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know about the ethnic form of the sword type, but the decoration looks like gold leaf cloisonne. I have an interest in it, but no budget for tools and supplies at present. This was typical of Merovingian decoration, but is also thought to have older "Persian" origins. So, it might be a "Hun sword" as you suggest.
Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Myles Mulkey





Joined: 31 Jul 2008

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PostPosted: Sat 15 May, 2010 6:22 am    Post subject: Re: Migration Period Sword         Reply with quote

Quote:
Based on the museum display cited on the page I would assume it is a hunnic sword but alas, I have no images of any hunnic swords for a point of reference.?
I think that's part of the issue here. Identifying Hunnic artifacts as being distinctly Hunnic is usually a difficult thing to do, given the diversity of peoples in the Migration Period and the apparent expanse of trade between them. I don't really know of anybody who has images of Hunnic swords, at least not any that can without a doubt be claimed Hunnic in origin.
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Tomas Mihalyi




Location: Slovakia
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PostPosted: Sat 15 May, 2010 9:22 am    Post subject: Re: Migration Period Sword         Reply with quote

Myles Mulkey wrote:
Quote:
Based on the museum display cited on the page I would assume it is a hunnic sword but alas, I have no images of any hunnic swords for a point of reference.?
I think that's part of the issue here. Identifying Hunnic artifacts as being distinctly Hunnic is usually a difficult thing to do, given the diversity of peoples in the Migration Period and the apparent expanse of trade between them. I don't really know of anybody who has images of Hunnic swords, at least not any that can without a doubt be claimed Hunnic in origin.


I agree with Myles.... Huns formed a powerful force in Europe of the late roman period so the surroundign nations had to pay tributes in exchange they were not attacked. These tributes consisted not only of money, there were also treasures sush as sets of weapons, pottery or even slaves. If this sword carries oriental features it could've been presented to Huns by the eastern part of the Roman empire which was high influenced by Persians or parthians. Huns as a nation came from asian steppes and were more of a nomadic nation then a settled society. Their lifestyle could be compared with Tatars that invaded Europe in 1241 AD. Because of this it may be very difficult to say if this sword is really a hunic one. Perhaps a finding place and surrounding finds could give some clues...
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Paul Hansen




Location: The Netherlands
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PostPosted: Tue 18 May, 2010 1:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Really interesting sword!

The seller references "Attila und die Hunnen". A few pictures of this sword can be found attached.

I have Behmer's book, as well as a few copied pages from "Germanen, Hunnen, und Awaren". These two picture the same sword, and it's similar (but not the same) to the one attached**.

In the attached pictures, you can note the lack of a pommel, the "flat" lenticular blade which appears to be not pattern welded and the prominent crossguard. These features are common for Hunnish* swords. Finds of Hunnish swords with pommels are quite rare.

In contrast, this sword has a very prominent pommel in a shape that reminds me of the later Germanic migration age swords, e.g. Sutton Hoo. This hilt looks to be a solid casting which I've never seen on a Hunnish sword. The scabbard fittings look a bit similar to other Hunnish swords, but these are thicker.

According to this website: http://www.eskenazi.co.uk/Exhibition/Stoclet/StocletIntro.html the Stoclet collection focussed mainly on Asian artifacts of shady provenance (as usual in that period). So this item might even be Central Asian and of a different period than commonly associated with the European Huns. Who knows... It does have a Chinese taste to it...

Another interesting comparison can be made to the so-called "Stilico Diptych": http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons...iptych.jpg although I think that sword has more Persian than Hunnish features.

*note that when I say "Hunnish", the correct term should probably be Eastern European steppe nomad. Of course many of the finds identified as Hunnish could just as well be Alan...
** also note that the the sword I posted pictures of was auctioned at Hermann Historica. It has been published in "Attila und die Hunnen", but I don't know it's provenance.



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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Tue 18 May, 2010 1:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Migration Period Sword         Reply with quote

Myles Mulkey wrote:
Identifying Hunnic artifacts as being distinctly Hunnic is usually a difficult thing to do, given the diversity of peoples in the Migration Period and the apparent expanse of trade between them. I don't really know of anybody who has images of Hunnic swords, at least not any that can without a doubt be claimed Hunnic in origin.


Yes and no. The Hunnish swords that I've seen presented as such are quite different from, say, Roman swords. Nearly all of them are found in Eastern Europe and therefore mostly published in Russian and Hungarian. There are also a few German language publications, and these are probably more accessible. I can really recommend all the publications referenced by that seller for some issues of Hunnish swords.

Of course, whether the occupant of a single grave was an ethnic Hun (whatever that is) or that he belonged to a people allied to the Huns is nearly impossible to say.
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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Tue 18 May, 2010 2:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And another Hunnish sword, also from Hermann Historica.

Also here: lenticular blade, prominent crossguard, no pommel. The gold leaf hilt resembles the later Germanic gold hilted spatha's.

Interesting swords, but it seems that the Huns cared more for intricate decoration than for nicely shaped blades. Strange for such a practical people...



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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Thu 27 May, 2010 1:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm still extremely intrigued by this sword. Anybody got any ideas?
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Myles Mulkey





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PostPosted: Thu 27 May, 2010 6:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No ideas from me as far as information goes, but I have to say I love these swords! I wish I could say for certain that these are of Hunnish origin, and I would love to see some depictions of Huns carrying these. I remember watching the Attila miniseries with Gerard Butler and cringing when I saw the scimitar-like "Sword of Mars"...
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Myles Hildebrand




Location: Winnipeg
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PostPosted: Tue 24 Aug, 2010 5:57 pm    Post subject: replica         Reply with quote

I really wish someone would make a replica of a Sassasid/Hunnic sword - I have to believe an "Attila the Hun" realistic sword would have some buyers.

I am often amazed at the limited scope of replica - Greek, Romans, Normans, Norse, Crusades, then fencing...
There's a lot of time periods and interesting people being left out.... including Attila...

Attila doesn't like being left out Razz

I am BattleSword, son of Heribrand, Sword Man... and I care not what others think of me. All Hail King Theodoric!
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JG Elmslie
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PostPosted: Tue 24 Aug, 2010 6:22 pm    Post subject: Re: replica         Reply with quote

Myles Hildebrand wrote:
I really wish someone would make a replica of a Sassasid/Hunnic sword - I have to believe an "Attila the Hun" realistic sword would have some buyers.


I suspect that's going to be the sort of work right up Patrick Bárta's street...


Personally, I'd love to make something like that - somewhat undermined by the fact that I couldn't pattern-weld to save my life, so the blade would be inherently wrong, and that my cloisonne skills are utterly substandard for the job.
Ah well, maybe in 15-20 years of practice :/

Actually, if I were to do something like that, what I'd absolutely love to do, as an art peice, rather than historical accuracy, would be saxon cloisonne, only instead of red garnet and gold, do it in polished Whitby Jet, and silver. I think it would look stunning... but then I'm an old goth, and like black and silver Happy
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Myles Hildebrand




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PostPosted: Tue 24 Aug, 2010 7:13 pm    Post subject: love cloisonne art!         Reply with quote

I would love to see sword hilts with cloisonne - especially a visigoth chieftain sword with inlays....

Such fine work for a (seen as) crude period - but it's amazing to look at - imagining someone doing that by hand. I would rather have art-swords like that than the 'oh look, it's got a skull and a dragon' overdone sword-like-objects people prefer.

I am BattleSword, son of Heribrand, Sword Man... and I care not what others think of me. All Hail King Theodoric!
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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Tue 24 Aug, 2010 11:43 pm    Post subject: Re: replica         Reply with quote

JG Elmslie wrote:
Personally, I'd love to make something like that - somewhat undermined by the fact that I couldn't pattern-weld to save my life, so the blade would be inherently wrong, and that my cloisonne skills are utterly substandard for the job.

Actually, all Hunnic blades I've seen (in the Attila exhbition in Speyer as well as on pictures) seem to be not visibly pattern welded.

I've never seen any metallurgical testing done on these swords, so what the actual metal was is difficult to say.

And the vast majority is obviously without cloisonné work. Wink
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Henrik Zoltan Toth




Location: Hungary
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PostPosted: Sat 28 Aug, 2010 5:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Easter swords from István Bóna: "A hunok és nagykirályaik" (The huns and their (greath) kings)

Made long, to kill enemies from horseback.

I love these swords too.

Zoltán



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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Sat 28 Aug, 2010 6:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the pictures. I think I have the same book, but translated into German. The title is "Das Hunnenreich". Quite an interesting book, and the best overview of Hunnish swords I've seen sofar. Do you have any other recommendations for books on Hunnish weapons? From my side, I can recommend "Attila und die Hunnen", which has quite a few nice photo's.

Still, I've not seen anything close to the sword that started this thread.
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Myles Hildebrand




Location: Winnipeg
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PostPosted: Sat 28 Aug, 2010 11:11 am    Post subject: Thank you         Reply with quote

Awesome photos, Henrik! Anyone in Hungary making replicas of these swords? I really think these are historical pieces that need to be appreciated all over.

Myles

I am BattleSword, son of Heribrand, Sword Man... and I care not what others think of me. All Hail King Theodoric!
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Henrik Zoltan Toth




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PostPosted: Sat 28 Aug, 2010 11:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul, there is a good script. somewhere on the net (it's downloaded , don't have the adress, but recieved the link on allempires.com): Nomads of the Eurasian Steppes in the early Iron Age, Berkeley, CA 1995 ISBN 1-8885979-00-2.

An other one in german:
Heiko Steuer: Helm und Ringschwert
Prunkwaffen und Rangabzeichen germanischer Krieger

http://www.freidok.uni-freiburg.de/volltexte/...chwert.pdf

Myles, no, sadly not. I want to, but don't have the time...
Early and late avar swords are an other fascinating group.

BUT I have to say, that many of the Migration and Meroving period clothes and weapons (the types) are of easter origin. The easter geman groups lived in steppes, moved with their wagons and with their herd and fought like nomads. (like sarmatians, alans, also without a large number of mounted archers)

Markomanns and quads, asding vandals and victovals were living togetherwith yazigs and roxolans in the Carpathian basin, goths, gepids, skyrs (maybe the heruls and roogians too) with the hunic and alan groups, and later lombards, türingians, alemanns and bayuwars got a large awar influence in clothing and weapons.

(f.e the carrying of two swords, on double belts, iron belt mountings.) About the use of composite bows by germans: Holger Riesch:Reflexbogen, Reiterköcher und Steppenfeile in: Reflexbogen, Verlag Angelika Hörnig.

Zoltán
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Matt Corbin




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PostPosted: Sat 28 Aug, 2010 12:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

"Nomads of the Eurasian Steppes in the early Iron Age" can be downloaded as a PDF from this link:

http://www.csen.org/Pubs_Sales_Reviews/Nomads...9-00-2.pdf

“This was the age of heroes, some legendary, some historical . . . the misty borderland of history where fact and legend mingle.”
- R. Ewart Oakeshott
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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Sun 29 Aug, 2010 2:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the links! Interesting reading!
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Henrik Zoltan Toth




Location: Hungary
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PostPosted: Tue 31 Aug, 2010 8:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Easter riders and their weapons:

http://www.transoxiana.org/Eran/Articles/mode.html


Permanent Archaeological Exhibitation of the Hungarian National Museum, Early Migration Period Room, hun artifacts:

Zoltán



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