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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Nov, 2010 1:58 pm    Post subject: Early Migration Pommels         Reply with quote

In recent threads I think we have gathered a fairly clear image of the development from Roman spathae through the Behmer types.

From Behmer types I and II to types III and IV, we can see the Hunnic influence with the addition of gold hilts and garnet cloissoné decoration, but we can also see the addition of pommel caps to the upper guard. My question is, where do you think these pommel caps came from? Are they Roman, Germanic, Eastern, or do they have some other origin?

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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Wed 03 Nov, 2010 6:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good question...

That's one of the many reasons why the sword posted here is so interesting:
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...mp;start=0

But another idea could be that it's just an enlarged version of the flattish pommel caps from Tournai or Blucina.

Those early pommel caps are purely decorative, as well as the later Sutton Hoo / Vendel pommel caps. Pommels start to gain mass even later, starting probably in the Carolingian / Viking age.
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Thu 04 Nov, 2010 3:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul Hansen wrote:
But another idea could be that it's just an enlarged version of the flattish pommel caps from Tournai or Blucina.


Tournai and Blucina are exactly the swords I was thinking of. These two swords are, AFAIK, Behmer type III. You can see the resemblance to types I and II, with the H shaped, organic hilt, the gold and garnet decoration seems to be a hunnic influence, but what about their pommel caps?

I can only think of three possible sources for these pommel caps, but I have no evidence to support any of them.

I Think that either
(1) they developed from earlier roman tang buttons
(2) they were a native germanic development as a means of decoration
(3) they came to Europe with the Eurasian steppe nomads, possibly related to the rock crystal pommels of Behmer's type IV

Any ideas?

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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Thu 04 Nov, 2010 4:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Curtin wrote:

(1) they developed from earlier roman tang buttons
(2) they were a native germanic development as a means of decoration
(3) they came to Europe with the Eurasian steppe nomads,

[/quote]
Of these three, I'd guess the second option. But I can't really prove it. The fact that the pommel serves no real function does makes it a bit more likely in my opinion.

Some of the Behmer type 2 and 5 swords also have some kind of pommel caps, although different in shape.

Stephen Curtin wrote:
possibly related to the rock crystal pommels of Behmer's type IV

In other, more recent, works these "pommels" actually turn out to be sword beads. Personally I find that more likely. Many of the Behmer type IV swords probably didn't have a pommel.
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Thu 04 Nov, 2010 5:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul Hansen wrote:
In other, more recent, works these "pommels" actually turn out to be sword beads. Personally I find that more likely. Many of the Behmer type IV swords probably didn't have a pommel.


Interesting, I always thought that these sword beads and so called "pommels" were two different things altogether.

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Matt Corbin




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PostPosted: Thu 04 Nov, 2010 11:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I forget where this picture comes from originally, but here are some early pommel examples covering the period being discussed.


 Attachment: 79.05 KB
behloosepomcapsmid.jpg


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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Thu 04 Nov, 2010 1:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Curtin wrote:
Interesting, I always thought that these sword beads and so called "pommels" were two different things altogether.
They are, but if you find a large bead with a hole in the centre (or any other piece of fitting) right next to a sword, there are a couple of ways to interpret that.

In Behmer's time, the common interpretation was that they were pommels, currently the common interpretation seems to be that the exact same pieces were sword beads...

Matt Corbin wrote:
I forget where this picture comes from originally, but here are some early pommel examples covering the period being discussed.
Looks like a combination of pictures from Behmer's book.[/img]
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Sun 07 Nov, 2010 2:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matt Corbin wrote:
I forget where this picture comes from originally, but here are some early pommel examples covering the period being discussed.


IIRC this was put together by Kirk Spencer

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Matt Corbin




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PostPosted: Sun 07 Nov, 2010 9:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Curtin wrote:
Matt Corbin wrote:
I forget where this picture comes from originally, but here are some early pommel examples covering the period being discussed.


IIRC this was put together by Kirk Spencer


Probably. Kirk posts some of the best pictures.

That particular picture shows a nice progression of Migration Period pommels. I don't think it's nearly that clear cut in the archeological record, but it works for the picture.

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Kirk Lee Spencer




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PostPosted: Sun 07 Nov, 2010 10:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Everyone's right Big Grin

That is an image I put together many moons ago of loose pommel caps published throughout Elis Behmer's "Das Zweischneidige Schwert Der Germanischen Volkerwanderungszeit”

I tried to group similar types of pommel caps together... however I did not intend a progression. However, now that I see it again, the tiny peening block in the upper left corner may imply a development. However the small peen blocks or plates appear off and on anytime the tang is being peened over an organic material. A thousand years before the Hallstatt swordsmiths used such circular peen blocks to peen the end of the pommel spike on Bronze Swords. I posted a picture of these in this thread.

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...p;start=20

The pommel caps are not developing in isolation but as part of a complete package with the rest of the hilt. In terms of design the most likely candidate to me is in Behmer's type V (5). I have read somewhere that this type has bee found with where the tang goes through the upperguard and dome shaped cap and peens on the outside. Then they are peened at the top of the upper guard and the dome shaped cap is glued or riveted to the upper guard. At this point it would be a "cap." If you look at the progression in the type V (5) as they are presented on the attached chart you can see my attempt to put them in the correct sequence of development, however, as someone said, there is little archeological evidence of this sequence... it is more of a design conception.

ks



 Attachment: 150.46 KB
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Sun 07 Nov, 2010 2:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Kirk, and thanks for weighing in. Let me just see if I understand correctly, what you said above. Are you saying that it is your opinion that, the switch from using pommels that had the tangs peened over, to the type that were riveted to the upper guard, happened within Behmer's type V? If you are then this is very helpfull indeed, as it might mean that the later from of pommel cap was a Germanic/Scandinavian development, rather than a Roman or Eastern one.
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Kirk Lee Spencer




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PostPosted: Sun 07 Nov, 2010 6:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Stephen...

I think it is certainly easier to see the development in type 5. It is possible that the idea of a cap over the peened tang may have come from further south. I have never seen a picture of the top of the Childeric Sword, but it certainly looks as though it has a pommel cap. A very nice one I might add. Maybe it started a fashion trend Happy Wink Big Grin

ks



 Attachment: 141.91 KB
MIG.Bh3.ChildericGarnetHilt.Frankish.BK.jpg


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Till J. Lodemann





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PostPosted: Mon 08 Nov, 2010 1:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The pommel of Childerichs sword is a developement of the pommelcaps Type Vieuxville, second and third row of the picture Matt posted.
They are a bit older, starting around 400 AD and are popular around the borders of the western empire.
Loads of them have been found in the skandinavian bogfinds. Their existence there shows that they were also popular in the North, espacially southern Norway, were many of the weapons originated.


By the way, I would hesitate from relying solely on Behmer today, his work was fundamental, but it's also 70 years old.
It is outdated and partly refuted by modern works as of M. Biborski and C.Miks.
Behmers regionalisation and absolute chronology espacially but also his typology do not coincide with the more recent archeological data. His successors have the advantage of a finer typology and a far greater material base ( f.e. some rather big bog offerings were yet undiscovered in his time) as well as modern dating methods.
Espacially Miks' "Studien zur römischen Schwertbewaffnung in der Kaiserzeit" is, although a slightly earlier timeframe then Behmer, extremely comprehensive.
Also, it is more easily available Big Grin
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Nov, 2010 5:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Till J. Lodemann wrote:
The pommel of Childerichs sword is a developement of the pommelcaps Type Vieuxville, second and third row of the picture Matt posted.
They are a bit older, starting around 400 AD and are popular around the borders of the western empire.
Loads of them have been found in the skandinavian bogfinds. Their existence there shows that they were also popular in the North, espacially southern Norway, were many of the weapons originated.


By the way, I would hesitate from relying solely on Behmer today, his work was fundamental, but it's also 70 years old.
It is outdated and partly refuted by modern works as of M. Biborski and C.Miks.
Behmers regionalisation and absolute chronology espacially but also his typology do not coincide with the more recent archeological data. His successors have the advantage of a finer typology and a far greater material base ( f.e. some rather big bog offerings were yet undiscovered in his time) as well as modern dating methods.
Espacially Miks' "Studien zur römischen Schwertbewaffnung in der Kaiserzeit" is, although a slightly earlier timeframe then Behmer, extremely comprehensive.
Also, it is more easily available Big Grin


Hi Till, do you know of anywhere online where one could view some information, or perhaps a typology, of these more recent authors you speak of. Thanks in advance.

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Till J. Lodemann





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PostPosted: Mon 08 Nov, 2010 11:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Unfortunately not Worried

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Illerup-Adal-Die-Schwer...0491904825

http://www.buchhandel.de/detailansicht.aspx?i...9646-136-0

That's all what I can give you now.

Maybe you will find a university library near to you which has these.

What I can do however, is to scan the article from Biborski in the Reallexikon Germanischer Altertumskunde. This is not extensive (I think 8 pages)and does not feature drawings of hilttypes. But sketches of the different bladetypes ( he uses the same aproach as Oakeshott) and (german) descriptions of dating and regional distribution and supposed use.
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Nov, 2010 12:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Till, very helpfull as usual :-)
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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Nov, 2010 1:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Till J. Lodemann wrote:
Also, it is more easily available Big Grin

Maybe it will be in the hopefully near future, but Miks' work is not yet in the Dutch university libraries....

Maybe I have to buy it anyway, because it seems like a book that I've been waiting for, but it's just the 140 euro's that scare me a bit....

Then again, I paid 90 euro's for a worn copy of Behmer.... Worried

Till J. Lodemann wrote:
What I can do however, is to scan the article from Biborski in the Reallexikon Germanischer Altertumskunde. This is not extensive (I think 8 pages)and does not feature drawings of hilttypes. But sketches of the different bladetypes ( he uses the same aproach as Oakeshott) and (german) descriptions of dating and regional distribution and supposed use.
Yes please! Big Grin
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Till J. Lodemann





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PostPosted: Thu 11 Nov, 2010 4:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have scanned the text now. I cannot upload it here, though.
You can send me your e-mail addresses via pm and I will send it to you that way. Big Grin
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Thu 11 Nov, 2010 6:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Till J. Lodemann wrote:
I have scanned the text now. I cannot upload it here, though.
You can send me your e-mail addresses via pm and I will send it to you that way. Big Grin


Again Till I'm in you'r debt thank you very much

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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Fri 28 Jan, 2011 11:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ok after leaving this subject alone for a while my interests have been drawn back to the Roman and Migration Eras.

So, to Till J. Lodemann, I have yet another question if your up for it. On another thread you mentioned the vieuxville pommel as being a Roman type, could you tell me any more about this type of pommel e.g. distribution, time period, find locations etc. Thanks in advance.

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