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Sheldon Rhodes




Location: Nashville, MI
Joined: 21 Jan 2014

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PostPosted: Tue 21 Jan, 2014 7:43 pm    Post subject: Looking for your help         Reply with quote

OK, I'm new and don't know much about historic arms. However, I found you folks so feel I found those who can help me.

I'm looking for Goliath's spear. Ya, the real/original one would be nice but not likely to come up with that. So where can I get one just like it? I'm looking for one to match the description found in the Bible in I Samuel 17:7 "His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels." Six hundred shekels come out to be 15 lbs. Yes, I know how heavy that is. Do I really believe it was that heavy? Ya, I do. If it was or wasn't, I still want one that size.

First, what would it look like? David was King of Israel in 1026 BC so we are talking Iron Age. We know Goliath was a Philistine from Gath. The fight between David and Goliath was in the Valley of Elah in Israel. So what might it looked like? Please send links to pictures if you would.

So, a spear head made of iron weighing 15 lbs would likely be around 16-18" long IF it had 4 blades and was 4" at the base. The staff may have been 2 1/2 - 3" dia and 12-15 feet long. Well, that is about what I come up with but again, I'm not the expert. BTW, I haven't found if Ash grows in that area but I know Oak does. Any thoughts?

Second, when we decide what it may have looked like, who could make it for me? (Actually would like 2 of them.)

Thanks in advance. This is going to be a fun project. I will be sure to post pictures when it is finished.

Everything works, nothing hurts, life is good.
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jan, 2014 1:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Try a web search of 'Spear of Destiny'.....the spear that supposedly pierced the side of Jesus on the Cross. That would be near your time period. You realize that there was never a spear so huge ever made....right? Unless it was THE spear of Goliath.....made just for him. That would be a big damn spear, Laughing Out Loud ........McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Mark Griffin




Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Joined: 28 Dec 2006

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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jan, 2014 4:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
iron point weighed six hundred shekels


Even if Goliath was a big chap, which I'm led to believe by the story, 15lbs makes for a pretty unwieldy weapon. There are other refs from the era referring to leaden breastplates of 500lbs so I'd be wary of these types of items designed to make a foe look even more formidable and the victory even more amazing.

There is an outside chance it was bronze too, its only about 160 years after the start of the early iron age in the area and the two periods have a small overlap.

Although Judges refers to the Philistines having chariots of iron, the full description from Samuel also has bronze items in use:

[Goliath] had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail. . . . And he had bronze greaves on his legs and a bronze javelin was between his shoulders. Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels; and a shield-bearer went before him. (I Samuel 17:5-7)

I only mention that as Casting something in bronze might be a heck of a lot easier than forging something that meaty.

Where does the 4 blades ref come from?

A weavers beam would only have been the width of the loom so about 5ft max. Unless it was a giants loom of course....

You might want to read this paper:

http://www.arts.cornell.edu/jrz3/Reconsidering_Goliath.pdf

I look forward to seeing the finished item, but not holding it (or seeing your osteopath bills!)

Best of luck.

Yours,

Griff
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Matthew Amt




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

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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jan, 2014 7:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hoo, where to start? Goliath's story has a lot of confusion and problems, some ancient and some modern. I would have to say that a 15-pound spearhead is flat-out exaggeration. Sure, most every culture has produced very rare examples of spearheads that are 2 feet long or more, but even those are made for a shaft about an inch in diameter, and weigh a couple pounds at most.

I generally go with Yadin's interpretation of the whole "weaver's beam" being a description of a spear or javelin with a throwing loop. *I* wouldn't want to throw a spear with a 15-pound head, though I guess that would be preferable to being *hit* by one... The vast majority of spearheads from various eras that I've seen were made to fit a shaft about an inch in diameter or a little less. Sure, some were bigger, though many more were smaller. Of course, you can argue that the top of the shaft was tapered to some extent if you like, though this seems to be the main argument for folks who want everything to be heavier and thicker than it was in ancient times.

The shape of the spearhead is most likely going to be a leaf-shape, though the socket could be long or short. Hmm, I seem to just have photos of shorter to mid-length sockets, no long ones, but here:

http://www.larp.com/hoplite/greekweapons.html

http://www.larp.com/hoplite/Levspr1.jpg

Those are all in the range of 9 to 12 inches.

The mix of iron and bronze weapons is certainly appropriate for that era. Bronze was still the metal of choice for armor, though, and that would continue for another half-millennium or so. A big modern part of the confusion about Goliath is the ongoing chronology problem--all the Bronze Age dates are artificially inflated by about 300 years, so it's very hard to draw parallels to other cultures or events.

Oh, another bit is that Goliath was probably NOT over 9 feet tall. There is at least one other surviving text with that passage, that puts him at about 6'6". That's still a good foot taller than most guys at that time, so he's still a giant! But we can work with his equipment much more realistically on that basis.

If you're bent on a 15-pound spearhead, have fun! No idea what to tell you about how to get it up to that weight...

Matthew
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Phil D.




Location: Texas
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jan, 2014 8:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This may be a good and inexpensive substitute.It has size without the weight...just add your own shaft:

https://www.museumreplicas.com/p-557-hewing-spearhead.aspx

Overall: 19-1/2"
Blade: 3/16" thick, 2-1/2" wide, 13" long

"A bottle of wine contains more philosophy than all the books in the world." -- Louis Pasteur

"A gentleman should never leave the house without a sharp knife, a good watch, and great hat."


Last edited by Phil D. on Wed 22 Jan, 2014 8:31 am; edited 1 time in total
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jan, 2014 8:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I understand that we're in the fantasy realm, but as a general rule, the longer the haft, the smaller/lighter the head. Bear spear heads are massive, the hafts thick and short. Pikes are the length of what you're describing but have lighter heads.

As an experiment, try holding any 36" sledge hammer with both hands at the far end of the haft. That's what your spear head is going to feel like on the end of a 12' haft, at best.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jan, 2014 8:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Speaking of Windlass, I have this one and really like it (I chopped the socket)

http://kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=600766

The form covers a broad chronological range.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jan, 2014 8:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While the Dead Sea Scrolls indicate "4 cubits and a span", 6'9"/2m or so, the possibility of "6 cubits and a span", 9'9"/2.97m from other translations should not be readily discounted. Consider the example of Robert Wadlow, the Guiness Book of Records tallest man who reached 8'11"/2.72m at his death, with a top weight of 492lb/223kg.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Wadlow
Quote:
His great size and his continued growth in adulthood were due to hyperplasia of his pituitary gland, which results in an abnormally high level of human growth hormone. He showed no indication of an end to his growth even at the time of his death.



To a man of such height and weight, would a 3"/76mm diameter shaft be unruly, or a 15lb spear head?

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Martin Kealey




Location: Georgia, USA
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jan, 2014 9:25 am    Post subject: Goliath         Reply with quote

I would certainly favour the 6-7 ft size as more realistic over the 9-10 ft for Goliath. Giants, especially of the size of Robert Madlow, tend to be relatively weak and very prone to health problems (Lock Martin, who was 7'7", and who played Gort in the original Day the Earth Still Still, could not even lift Patricia Neal, and was quite debilitated by cardiac issues. Ted Cassidy, the original Addams Family Lurch, who was close to 7', also suffered cardiac problems and died young). Thus a 9-10' Goliath would probably be unable to do any fighting at all; be barely able to wear and carry the panoply and weapons needed and be only a frightening show piece, or paper tiger.
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Daniel Wallace




Location: Pennsylvania USA
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jan, 2014 9:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

neat discussion.

15 lbs on a 6 foot haft - as Sean describes, is unreasonably weighty, for any man to hold on to. at the most, 8-10lbs even that isn't easy for a bigger man to handle but more reasonable.
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Graham Shearlaw





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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jan, 2014 10:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I too favour 6 to 7 foot tall size for Goliath, matched with a large build and you easily have your giant without them being crippled at all.

Look a wrestlers André the Giant or Nikolai Valuev the boxer, both men easily tower over a normal modern man of 6 foot.
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Michael Anderson




Location: Nottingham, England
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jan, 2014 11:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A friend of mine is married to Ian Whyte, ex basketball player, the predator in the recent AvP franchise and the navigator in Prometheus. He stands 7'3" and is of an athletic and powerful build. Scary thing was meeting his ex team mates at their wedding who were even bigger.

So I can imagine exceptions pushing beyond the 7"6 mark and still remaining built like a warrior.

Anyway, slightly OT but I thought I'd share this example
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Eric W. Norenberg





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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jan, 2014 11:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't think pushing eight feet is unrealistic- there are plenty of examples of folks with gigantism who were/are physically on the fragile side, but plenty of folks who approached that and were very fit and strong, even if short lived. Google helped me find Jorge Gonzàlez, an 8'-0" (Andre the Giant was 7'-4" I think) wrestler and basketball player, Yasutaka Okayama, 7'-6", NBA draftee and second degree Judo black belt, and the fairly well documented (although some of his feats maybe approaching the realm of "tall tales") Angus MacAskill, Scottish -Canadian strongman, 7'-9".

There are some Chinese weapons (iron staffs) that weigh 8-10 lbs, and are probably not meant for regular combat by regular practitioners (somebody set me straight if I'm wrong), but if a fairly average sized, well conditioned practitioner can work out with something like that, I have a hard time believing that any of the three fellas I've listed above couldn't at least heft a 15+ pound spear in a convincing, menacing manner, even if something lighter would be more practical.

I'm not trying to argue anything like "Bible all True!!!", or "Bible all fables!!!" here. I'm just trying to suggest a degree of historical plausibility to the project. There have been a few similar ideas floated here at myArmoury, I recall a discussion about what the sword Simon Peter may have carried would have looked like, and I personally love stuff like this, chasing links to the past.

Sheldon, if you go through with this, please do post photos! And don't forget, you will need a sling to display along with the spear.

Best,
Eric
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Peter Messent




Location: Texas
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jan, 2014 11:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eric W. Norenberg wrote:
I have a hard time believing that any of the three fellas I've listed above couldn't at least heft a 15+ pound spear in a convincing, menacing manner, even if something lighter would be more practical.

I almost agree, though the text states that only the head weighs 15lbs; I agree that a 15lb spear (while extremely impractical) might be at least kinda plausible, a 15lb spear head seems insane - if you wanted it to balance at all, it would make for a 30+lb weapon, and if not then it would be like a sledgehammer with a long shaft, as Sean said.
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Raman A




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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jan, 2014 11:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wadlow died at 22 and could barely walk. He was also only 8'11", so a 9'9" warrior is clearly hyperbole. 6'9" is realistic and definitely gigantic size, even by today's standards.

Interestingly, 2 Sam 21:16 references a 7 pound spearhead.

"And Ishbi-Benob, one of the descendants of Rapha, whose bronze spearhead weighed three hundred shekels and who was armed with a new sword, said he would kill David." (NIV)

It seems like it's just literary device used to convey physical strength. I'm not sure what a 15 pound spearhead would even look like, but its dimensions would be massive.
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Sheldon Rhodes




Location: Nashville, MI
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jan, 2014 11:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Now we're talking. I love reading the posts. Keep them coming.

So far, it sounds like maybe Goliath's spear head would have been a leaf shape like the one Phil D. posted a picture of? Does that sound about right to everyone?

The 4 blade version at 4" was just a thought as to how to get the weight up there. I took the volume of a cone and tried to allow for the scrap to come up with something that might be about the right length and weight. But if we are talking a leaf shape, it's back to the drawing board for sure.

As for the length, that was figuring that it would almost have to be taller than he was and hefty enough to somewhat offset the weight of the head. OK, so you have to be more of a man than I am to use it but that is beside the point (no pun intended).

We know that King Saul was head and shoulders taller than most of the people under him (no pun intended). We know that Goliath was considered a giant to even Saul. So somehow I get the picture that Goliath was like really tall. Yes, I'm aware of the artifacts that have him as 4 spans, etc but on the other hand I tend to be a Biblical literalist. I even believe in talking serpents, talking donkeys, people walking on open water and dead people living again. I'm just silly that way. So for me to believe he was 9' + is kind of easy. I read prior to that that there were other giants in the land. Granted, he may have been big and pretty much a wimp. The fact that he was so huge made everyone afraid of him. He may have been all bark and no bite but I would likely have been like the others, too afraid to put it to the test. He very well may have had health problems. I know he was surprised when he got hit with the rock. Nothing like that had ever entered his head before. Just saying.

Looking forward to more comments, suggestions and insights.

Everything works, nothing hurts, life is good.
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Eric W. Norenberg





Joined: 18 Jul 2008

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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jan, 2014 12:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Messent wrote:
Eric W. Norenberg wrote:
I have a hard time believing that any of the three fellas I've listed above couldn't at least heft a 15+ pound spear in a convincing, menacing manner, even if something lighter would be more practical.

I almost agree, though the text states that only the head weighs 15lbs; I agree that a 15lb spear (while extremely impractical) might be at least kinda plausible, a 15lb spear head seems insane - if you wanted it to balance at all, it would make for a 30+lb weapon, and if not then it would be like a sledgehammer with a long shaft, as Sean said.


I suppose there is little evidence for a caber toss kind of technique...?
You have a good point (ugh) there Peter. I like Raman's 7lb reference better, but we are talking about a different giant there.
Perhaps there is something in the "weaver's beam" comparison, and Goliath's spear was more proportioned and used like an iklwa, the famous Zulu short spear, with the lead hand close behind the head?


As for a maker, Sheldon, I don't know if either of them would be up for this (or if your UPS driver is either), but the first two fellas who come to mind are Scott Roush of Big Rock Forge, and David DelaGardelle, of Cedarlore Forge (and formerly Mad Dwarf Workshop). If it were my project my first emails would go to those guys.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jan, 2014 12:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mart Shearer wrote:
While the Dead Sea Scrolls indicate "4 cubits and a span", 6'9"/2m or so, the possibility of "6 cubits and a span", 9'9"/2.97m from other translations should not be readily discounted. Consider the example of Robert Wadlow, the Guiness Book of Records tallest man who reached 8'11"/2.72m at his death, with a top weight of 492lb/223kg.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Wadlow

To a man of such height and weight, would a 3"/76mm diameter shaft be unruly, or a 15lb spear head?

Yes it would. People who reach these extreme heights have so many physical problems that fighting in a battle would be impossible - even with a regular spear. Don't forget that he is also supposed to have been wearing over 50kg of armour.

The Dead Sea Scrolls is the oldest version of the bible that we have. If there is a discrepancy with other biblical texts then this one takes precedence. The DSS says that Goliath was four cubits and a span tall (so does the Greek Old Testament), which is about 6'9".

It is good to keep an open mind but not so open that your brain falls out. This thread might prove edifying.
http://forums.armourarchive.org/phpBB3/viewto...p;t=104348

One thing to consider is that if Goliath had a shield bearer then it is possible that his spear was two-handed. In this region people sometimes fought in pairs with one person wielding a two-handed weapon (pike, bow) and the other person holding the shield. Another possibility is that Goliath's shield was one of those that was wielded by the guige alone and didn't have a hand grip - leaving both hands free to wield the pike.

Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books


Last edited by Dan Howard on Wed 22 Jan, 2014 4:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Peter Messent




Location: Texas
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jan, 2014 1:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sheldon Rhodes wrote:
I tend to be a Biblical literalist.

Understood, but by my calculations if you were to scale up the MRL spear linked earlier ( https://www.museumreplicas.com/p-557-hewing-spearhead.aspx ) to weigh 15lbs you would have a 46" spear head. That's just a simple scaling, compensating for the narrowed socket it would actually still be lighter than 15lbs. If that's what you want, cool - but there are no historical examples that match what you're looking for, so you really might as well just design whatever you want from scratch.

Eric W. Norenberg wrote:
I suppose there is little evidence for a caber toss kind of technique...?

The Scots could've taught Goliath a thing or two. Big Grin
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Mark Griffin




Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Joined: 28 Dec 2006

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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jan, 2014 1:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
a caber toss kind of technique


now we all know that the Scots are tough wee hairy fellows rarely reaching above 5ft 5".

Yours, from the Welsh/English marches

(Ducks....)
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