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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Mon 05 Sep, 2011 5:44 pm    Post subject: Childeric sword hilt construction?         Reply with quote

Hey everyone, I'm sure most of you here are aware of the sword said to have belonged to the 5th century Frankish King Childeric I, but does anyone here know how the hilt of this sword was constructed? Specifically; how was the pommel attached, was it riveted to the upper guard, or was the tang peened over it, and how about the guards, were they made from wood covered in gold and garnets, or were they gold plated bronze, or perhaps something else? As always I'd be very grateful for any assistance in this matter.
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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Tue 06 Sep, 2011 11:18 am    Post subject: Re: Childeric sword hilt construction?         Reply with quote

Stephen Curtin wrote:
Hey everyone, I'm sure most of you here are aware of the sword said to have belonged to the 5th century Frankish King Childeric I, but does anyone here know how the hilt of this sword was constructed? Specifically; how was the pommel attached, was it riveted to the upper guard, or was the tang peened over it, and how about the guards, were they made from wood covered in gold and garnets, or were they gold plated bronze, or perhaps something else? As always I'd be very grateful for any assistance in this matter.


This is all as far as know, and it does involve some guesswork, but here goes:
- The pommel cap is probably hollow, and probably gold plated silver or bronze (Edit: Menghin lists the material as "gold")
- I guess the pommel cap was attached to the upper guard with hidden rivets / nails
- The guards were made of organic material, probably either wood or bone, covered with thin gold foil and cloisonné (edit: on the visible side only).

This picture, taken by Zach Luna at the exhibition "L'Epée" at the Musée de Cluny may clarify a few things.



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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Tue 06 Sep, 2011 12:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Paul, thanks for the pic, and for the info.

This pic clearly shows that the upper guard is now hollow, so it probably had an organic interior. It also shows that the upper guard is broken at both ends, so we can't tell if there were holes to allow for rivets. As for the pommel I've never seen a picture of the underside of it, so I don't know if it is solid or hollow, or if it has nails for riveting. So has anyone here ever seen the underside of the pommel on Childerics sword?

I do know (or at least according to Patrick Barta, who examined the original) that the pommel from the Blunica sword is solid gilt silver. Although the Blunica sword is a contemporary, and of the same type as, Childeric's sword, the pommel is slightly different, as the pommel of Blunica sword was cast in none piece with the top plate of the upper guard, while the Childeric swords pommel is seperate. Does anyone here have any info on other swords of this type, e.g. Snartemo, and their construction methods?

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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Sun 18 Sep, 2011 4:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Everyone, AFAIK the childeric sword in housed in cluny museum, Paris, so I've been looking around online for contact info for the museum. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find any email address, if anyone here could send it to me I would be most grateful. Thanks in advance.
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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Sep, 2011 10:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Curtin wrote:
I do know (or at least according to Patrick Barta, who examined the original) that the pommel from the Blunica sword is solid gilt silver. Although the Blunica sword is a contemporary, and of the same type as, Childeric's sword, the pommel is slightly different, as the pommel of Blunica sword was cast in none piece with the top plate of the upper guard, while the Childeric swords pommel is seperate. Does anyone here have any info on other swords of this type, e.g. Snartemo, and their construction methods?
Actually the upper guard of the Blucina sword is not preserved.

Here's a picture from Patrick Barta's site:
http://www.templ.net/pics-making/blucina_sword/03studying_v.jpg

Attached is a picture I've taken myself at the museum in Brno. I'm told by Patrick that the gold parts are actually copies of the originals. Anyway, the guard are here also missing.

As far as I know, the pommels of Childeric's sword and that from Blucina are the only surviving examples of the type.

The Snartemo sword is of a completely different type, in my opinion.

Stephen Curtin wrote:
Hi Everyone, AFAIK the childeric sword in housed in cluny museum, Paris, so I've been looking around online for contact info for the museum. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find any email address, if anyone here could send it to me I would be most grateful. Thanks in advance.
No, it was/is only on temporary display at the musee de Cluny. It is normally kept at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Monnaies, médailles et antiques.

Here's the website:
http://www.bnf.fr/fr/acc/x.accueil.html

If you search for Childeric here:
(enter "childeric" and press "rechercher")
http://images.bnf.fr/jsp/index.jsp
You'll get some nice pictures. Cool
Including some of the bottom of the pommel.



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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Sep, 2011 6:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Paul thanks a million for the link to those pictures, their very helpful. They quite clearly show the "pin-holes" where the pommel was attached to the upper guard.

Ok so let me explain what I meant when I said, that the pommel from the Blunica sword, was cast in one piece with the top plate of the upper guard. If you look at the upper guard of Childeric's sword, you will notice that it was made from an organic interior, incased in sheets of gold. The sheet that forms the top of the guard is what I was referring to as the top plate of the upper guard.

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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Tue 20 Sep, 2011 1:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

On the Childeric sword, the pommel is a separate piece, and it's also smaller than the top plate of the upper guard.

On the Blucina sword, I would guess the construction is the same: separate piece, and noticeably smaller than the top plate of the upper guard. That's also how Patrick reconstructed it. The upper guard of the Blucina sword could have been made from gold (or gilted silver) completely covering an organic core, like Patrick did, or alternatively it could have been organic with only the top and bottom being covered by plates. The plates are visible in my photo, as well as the one from Patrick's site on the bottom right.
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Tue 20 Sep, 2011 9:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul Hansen wrote:
On the Childeric sword, the pommel is a separate piece, and it's also smaller than the top plate of the upper guard.


Yes agreed.

Paul Hansen wrote:
On the Blucina sword, I would guess the construction is the same: separate piece, and noticeably smaller than the top plate of the upper guard. That's also how Patrick reconstructed it. The upper guard of the Blucina sword could have been made from gold (or gilted silver) completely covering an organic core, like Patrick did, or alternatively it could have been organic with only the top and bottom being covered by plates. The plates are visible in my photo, as well as the one from Patrick's site on the bottom right.


I agree with what you're saying, about the guards not necessarily having been completely covered in gold as Patrick has done. However, if you look at the third picture from the bottom of this page www.templ.net/english/making-blucina_sword.php then you will see what I think is the pommel and top plate cast in one piece.

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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Tue 20 Sep, 2011 10:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Curtin wrote:
However, if you look at the third picture from the bottom of this page www.templ.net/english/making-blucina_sword.php then you will see what I think is the pommel and top plate cast in one piece.


Aha, I understand what you mean now...
http://www.templ.net/pics-making/blucina_swor...hilt_v.jpg

But still, if you look closely, I think I see a rivet hole close to the mouth of the beasts on the pommel (the tongue, if you will).

Also, in the picture:
"http://www.templ.net/pics-making/blucina_sword/03studying_v.jpg
I don't really see the top plate as being attached to the pommel.
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Wed 28 Sep, 2011 7:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Paul, sorry I took so long to reply, but I wanted to wait untill I could view these images at a higher resolution.

Paul Hansen wrote:
Aha, I understand what you mean now...
http://www.templ.net/pics-making/blucina_swor...hilt_v.jpg

But still, if you look closely, I think I see a rivet hole close to the mouth of the beasts on the pommel (the tongue, if you will).


I'm not sure what quite sure what rivet hole you are referring to here. If it's the hole in the plate itself then I dont think it has anything to do with the pommel piece, but if your referring to another rivet hole, then I'm sorry but I can't see it.

Paul Hansen wrote:
Also, in the picture:
"http://www.templ.net/pics-making/blucina_sword/03studying_v.jpg
I don't really see the top plate as being attached to the pommel.


you might be right here, I'm not sure though as the image is pretty hard to see in detail.

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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Wed 28 Sep, 2011 12:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Curtin wrote:
I'm not sure what quite sure what rivet hole you are referring to here. If it's the hole in the plate itself then I dont think it has anything to do with the pommel piece, but if your referring to another rivet hole, then I'm sorry but I can't see it.


See attachment. Happy



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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Wed 28 Sep, 2011 1:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If it helps, I also took a couple of pictures of this sword in the Cluny museum: http://gallery.jejik.com/?dir=cluny-museum

Apologies if it's slow to load. It's hosted off my home server and I don't have a high outbound speed. Just 256 kbps.

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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Wed 28 Sep, 2011 1:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, thanks again for taking them Sander!

I keep wondering what the piece of steel (?) is in these pictures?
http://gallery.jejik.com/photos/cluny-museum/DSCF0178.JPG
http://gallery.jejik.com/photos/cluny-museum/DSCF0179.JPG

I didn't think any steel part of the sword survived...

Also, it appears that he pommel did have an organic core. At least it was hollow and perhaps quite a number of garnet pieces are missing. Most notably the "snout" of the beast on the pommel, exactly where Barta put the rivet to the upper guard on the Blucina sword.
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Wed 28 Sep, 2011 8:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul Hansen wrote:
I keep wondering what the piece of steel (?) is in these pictures?


It looks like something used to prop up the lower part of the pommel. I don't think it's part of the sword but part of the display stand.

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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Thu 29 Sep, 2011 3:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Sander, thanks for sharing these pics, and as for the piece of metal in the display, I agree, it's probably just a prop like you said.

Paul, thanks for enlarging the pic from Mr. Barta's site. To me, what we see in this image, seems to be made in one piece, not a pommel attached to a plate as we see on later swords. The holes in the plate part of this piece, seem to be for holding it to the upper guard, and have nothing to do with attaching the pommel part, as I believe that they were cast in one piece and dont need attaching.

I hope what I'm saying here makes sense, it's kind of hard to explain in writing, and I could be miles off anyway.

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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Dec, 2011 11:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This just occured to me but Patrick Barta's interpretation of the Blunica sword bares a close resemblance to the silver plated sword hilt from Thorsbjerg bog, the only differences being that one is gold and the other silver, and the shapes of the pommels. The pommel from Thorsbjerg shaped like an upturned boat, and the one from Blunica with it's trilobate/zoomorphic shape. Perhaps the Blunica sword is a development of the Thorsbjerg, thoughts?
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