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Ralph Grinly





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PostPosted: Mon 23 Dec, 2013 12:30 pm    Post subject: Just *HOW* soft were Celtic/late Iron Age swords ?         Reply with quote

Rather than hijack this thread ( http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=294...8de1d51f4) , I thought I'd best post my question here.
Some of the pics in the above thread show many swords of the period really folded up around themselves, possibly ritually "killed" to accompany their owners to the grave. Also Roman accounts speak of Gallic and Celtic warriors having to step out of battle to straighten their swords.
My question is,,just how soft/bad WERE Gallic/Celtic swords of the period? I honestly can't see anyone really going into battle with swords that bend and fold like those in the pics ? Maybe the ones buried with the owners were made TO be buried..no point in tempering those ?
Does anyone know of any serious study done on the properties of swords of that period ?
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 23 Dec, 2013 1:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Celtic swords were the same as everyone elses. Some were poor quality and some were very good. Connolly reckoned that he personally saw a La Tene sword that had been dredged from Lake Neuchâtel that could be bent almost double and spring back to true. Radomir Pleiner's The Celtic Sword is the best source on this subject.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Mon 23 Dec, 2013 1:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The folded swords in those attached links are intentionally destroyed as part of sacrifice/burial and will not tell you anything about the type of quality you could have expected when these swords were used.
Any traces of heat treat is now mostly or completely erased since such bending can only be done hot.
Analysis of ancient swords show a great variation as to quality of material and level of heat treat.

-When reading these reports we must always keep in mind that what is analyzed today may not be representative of what these swords were like originally. During the 19th C and well into the 20th century part of conservation of excavated swords involved heating to red heat, thereby destroying the original heat treat. These procedures were not always recorded. When we now return to old finds to analyze them and find a structure that is the result of heating and slow cooling it might be the original heat treat or it might be the result of conservation of the find.

There are several other factors that may affect the result of analysis. Data from metallography is very good, but we still need to read it with a critical mindset, comparing the results with the quality of the material and the design of the blade (edge geometry, thickness and so on).
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Mon 23 Dec, 2013 1:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This thread too may answer some of your questions.
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...tic+swords
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Ralph Grinly





Joined: 19 Jan 2011

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PostPosted: Mon 23 Dec, 2013 5:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[quote="Peter Johnsson
Any traces of heat treat is now mostly or completely erased since such bending can only be done hot.

).[/quote]

I agree with you there..to enable a well tempered blade to be bent up like that, it needs to be heated up red hot. But, again I wonder..several of those bent/folded blades are STILL in their scabbards ? Is it likely they would have been thrown, scabbard and all into the fire and then bent ?

And thank you everyone for their most helpful answers
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Tue 24 Dec, 2013 12:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ralph Grinly wrote:


Is it likely they would have been thrown, scabbard and all into the fire and then bent ?



Why not if you have an all metal scabbard?
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