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Anders Backlund




Location: Sweden
Joined: 24 Oct 2007

Posts: 629

PostPosted: Sun 07 Apr, 2013 1:46 pm    Post subject: Swords in the Roman Middle East?         Reply with quote

So I was asked a sword question I couldn't confidently answer, so I thought I'd hear if anyone here has the expertise I lack.

The question pertains to what kind of sword you would be likely to find in the middle east around 30-40 AD. I know weapons in the Roman Empire had a lot of regional variation, but I have no idea what was in use in that part of the world at the time.

(I'm wasn't asked about a specific location, just the middle east, so I suppose this inequiry would include Parthian swords as well.)

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,306

PostPosted: Sun 07 Apr, 2013 5:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I don't know if there is a lot of archeological evidence, though presumably a LOT more has been found than has been published in any available form. Same with pictoral evidence. As an educated guess, though, Roman military influence had been very strong in that region since the 2nd century BC, so it's quite likely that most swords were at least Roman-looking in style. There was certainly influence from Persia, as well, though, so I wouldn't rule out Persian-esque weapons. Not sure how much weight to give to Greek influence, since the Roman military replaced had Greek forces everywhere long before 30 AD. So there was still plenty of Greek art, architecture, language, etc., but probably not Greek arms and armor. (Aside from Roman Hellenistic fashions for officers, etc.)

I'm not even sure that regional differences were all that great with Roman equipment. I mean, we talk about it a lot, and there are, for instance, certain types of belt plate that are more common in one are than another. But finds of lorica segmentata parts from Syria are nearly identical to those from Britain, a sword from Jerusalem is the same type as those from Pompeii, etc.

Sure wish we knew more!

Matthew
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Anders Backlund




Location: Sweden
Joined: 24 Oct 2007

Posts: 629

PostPosted: Mon 08 Apr, 2013 8:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
Well, I don't know if there is a lot of archeological evidence, though presumably a LOT more has been found than has been published in any available form. Same with pictoral evidence. As an educated guess, though, Roman military influence had been very strong in that region since the 2nd century BC, so it's quite likely that most swords were at least Roman-looking in style. There was certainly influence from Persia, as well, though, so I wouldn't rule out Persian-esque weapons. Not sure how much weight to give to Greek influence, since the Roman military replaced had Greek forces everywhere long before 30 AD. So there was still plenty of Greek art, architecture, language, etc., but probably not Greek arms and armor. (Aside from Roman Hellenistic fashions for officers, etc.)

I'm not even sure that regional differences were all that great with Roman equipment. I mean, we talk about it a lot, and there are, for instance, certain types of belt plate that are more common in one are than another. But finds of lorica segmentata parts from Syria are nearly identical to those from Britain, a sword from Jerusalem is the same type as those from Pompeii, etc.


I'm not sure the guy specifically meant a Roman sword, just a sword indigenous to that region. That it would be Roman-inspired was actually his guess, though he was specific about it being from the middle east.

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Wed 17 Apr, 2013 5:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A modern kindjal from the Caucasus and the northern end of the Middle East still looks rather like the Roman gladius, if that means anything.
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