Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Post-Roman Celtic Arms Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Fergus Holmes-Stanley




Location: England
Joined: 19 Aug 2016

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sun 21 Aug, 2016 1:46 am    Post subject: Post-Roman Celtic Arms         Reply with quote

Hello, I was wondering if anyone could tell me about or give me links to information about what the Britons, Picts and Gaels used after the Romans in around the 7th Century and up to the 9th century. I can't seem to find any information of Welsh swords or weapons from this time period and the only Gaelic or Goidelic weapons I can find come from the Brythenwalda and Viking Conquest expansions of M&B: Warband. I've seen more on the picts such as the H ans Square Shields and their axes and crossbows as well as a chape from a scannard but nothing more. If anyone could tell me more about the topic and possiby sellers or just reproductions of these peoples' weapons and armour it would be much apprecitated.
Thank you.

Wyrd bið ful aræd
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Matthew Bunker




Location: Somerset UK
Joined: 02 Apr 2009

Posts: 483

PostPosted: Wed 24 Aug, 2016 1:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Short answer, the reason that you can't find much is there isn't much to find.
From Wales and Scotland there is an almost total absence of known examples of weapons from this period.
From Wales, I've seen a dagger and a spearhead from Coygan Camp, and a couple of spears from Four Crosses in Powys.
Nothing at all from Scotland apart from a pommel and a gold and garnet scabbard boss (the so called chapes from St Ninian's may not be chapes at all). Obviously there's the Pictish stones, particularly the Aberlemno stone which depicts a battle scene.


From the South West of Britain, there's a spearhead from Trethurgy and a dagger from Gwithian
There's also a spearhead and dagger from Cornwall.

There are some surviving swords/long knives from pre-Viking Ireland. If you search this forum for 'Lagore' you'll find some posts which give you details.

For more info, I suggest contacting my friend Benjamin Frankaert, leader of the Letavia re-enactment group in Britanny. He's made a study of post-Roman/early medeival British (as distinct from Englis/English) weapons.

"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
View user's profile Send private message
Jeffrey Faulk




Location: Georgia
Joined: 01 Jan 2011

Posts: 578

PostPosted: Wed 24 Aug, 2016 2:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

'Celtic' may not be the correct appellation for the British people post-Roman occupation anyway. As a catch-all term though, I suppose it works. Between the end of the Roman period and the start of the medieval with the Norman Conquest, you're looking at a fairly narrow window before the Migrations begin--in fact it's possible that they overlapped to some degree. So one major reason why there wouldn't have been many arms buried during this time is that the end of the Romano-British era had quite a bit of struggle back and forth, both internecine between the various tribal groups of Britain and the Germanic Migration Period invaders. In such a situation, arms are more valuable above the ground than in it...
View user's profile Send private message
J. Nicolaysen




Location: Wyoming
Joined: 03 Feb 2014
Likes: 31 pages

Posts: 688

PostPosted: Wed 24 Aug, 2016 5:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Bunker said:
Quote:
Nothing at all from Scotland apart from a pommel and a gold and garnet scabbard boss (the so called chapes from St Ninian's may not be chapes at all).


I hadn't heard that the so-called chapes may not be chapes at all. Is this new theory? Do you have some more information? I'm about to embark on a reproduction on some of those pieces with a great maker, so would like to have the best idea.

There's a couple of "pyramids" or cones really in the St. Ninian's treasure as well, one of which seems a close match to the pommel. But if they are scabbard fittings or not is hard to say for sure. They seem to be close in function though. Anyhow, seems that the treasure is more closely dated to 7th century, not exactly post roman, though I do think they have more of a native pictish or gael design than Anglo Saxon on an Anglo-Saxon influenced fitting. Perhaps a kingly gift from Bernicia to Dalriada or some such thing. I'm hardly an expert though.

The Pictish H and square shields are only found once in the same carving, no actual remains. A Czech outfit offers a reproduction, but you might as well make your own. They are pretty neat and distinctive though.


Matthew Bunker had earlier alerted me to some of the strange sub-roman swords found in Ireland. See here for one of the "Lagore" types: http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=16016

The classification and description of these is found in Ettienne Rynne's monograph "A Classification of Pre-Viking Irish Iron Swords"

There is a hilt find off the cost of Wales, but I'm pretty sure it's Scandinavian influenced. Just forgot the name though.
View user's profile Send private message
Matthew Bunker




Location: Somerset UK
Joined: 02 Apr 2009

Posts: 483

PostPosted: Thu 25 Aug, 2016 7:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeffrey Faulk wrote:
'So one major reason why there wouldn't have been many arms buried during this time is that the end of the Romano-British era had quite a bit of struggle back and forth, both internecine between the various tribal groups of Britain and the Germanic Migration Period invaders. In such a situation, arms are more valuable above the ground than in it...


Didn't stop the Germanic immigrants from burying weapons at the same time.

The most commonly accepted reason is that inhumation with weapons, or indeed with any form of grave goods, was not the norm amongst the predominantly Christian native population of late and post-Roman Britain. Where you do find grave goods in late Roman cemeteries (eg the late 4th century cemetery at Lankhills, Winchester), the dead are from other cultures (in the case of Lankhills, they're from the Danube basin -possibly Pannonian).

"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
View user's profile Send private message
Matthew Bunker




Location: Somerset UK
Joined: 02 Apr 2009

Posts: 483

PostPosted: Thu 25 Aug, 2016 8:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J. Nicolaysen wrote:


I hadn't heard that the so-called chapes may not be chapes at all. Is this new theory? Do you have some more information? I'm about to embark on a reproduction on some of those pieces with a great maker, so would like to have the best idea.


It's not a new observation, no. If you read "THE ECCLESIASTICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE
ST NINIAN'S ISLE TREASURE" by David McRoberts published in 1960 (available online from the ADS), he makes the point which others have observed that the slots in the chapes are very narrow, possibly too narrow to allow them to be mounted on a the usual form of scabbard from the period with a wooden core.
He suggests that they're the ends of an ecclesiastical stole or girdle.


J. Nicolaysen wrote:
There's a couple of "pyramids" or cones really in the St. Ninian's treasure as well, one of which seems a close match to the pommel. But if they are scabbard fittings or not is hard to say for sure.


They're very large compared to the scabbard related pyramids of the 6th/7th century. And of course we know that the pyramids had a variety of uses. I think that the St Ninian's ones are more likely to be mounts from a horse bridle than a scabbard.



J. Nicolaysen wrote:
There is a hilt find off the cost of Wales, but I'm pretty sure it's Scandinavian influenced. Just forgot the name though.

That's the one from the Smalls Reef. Definitely Scandinavian 11th century.

"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
View user's profile Send private message
Michael Wiethop




Location: St. Louis
Joined: 27 May 2012

Posts: 63

PostPosted: Thu 25 Aug, 2016 4:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Bunker wrote:

For more info, I suggest contacting my friend Benjamin Frankaert, leader of the Letavia re-enactment group in Britanny. He's made a study of post-Roman/early medeival British (as distinct from Englis/English) weapons.
Would you happen to know whether he and his group know anything about early medieval Brittany? I'm interested in learning more about what the Bretons were like around the time of Nevenoe/Nominoe.
View user's profile Send private message
J. Nicolaysen




Location: Wyoming
Joined: 03 Feb 2014
Likes: 31 pages

Posts: 688

PostPosted: Thu 25 Aug, 2016 7:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
That's the one from the Smalls Reef. Definitely Scandinavian 11th century.
Yeppers, Smalls Reef. Could not remember it thanks. Seemed pretty late, but the location find around Wales was the reminder. It's a lovely piece, but not applicable here.

Quote:
It's not a new observation, no. If you read "THE ECCLESIASTICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE
ST NINIAN'S ISLE TREASURE" by David McRoberts published in 1960 (available online from the ADS), he makes the point which others have observed that the slots in the chapes are very narrow, possibly too narrow to allow them to be mounted on a the usual form of scabbard from the period with a wooden core.
He suggests that they're the ends of an ecclesiastical stole or girdle.


Alrighty thanks. Looks like a very interesting read. I do what I can being far away from Scotland. I might be visiting Mr. Evans this November as I'm going to Hawaii at that time, so maybe we can do some thinking on it. I'm leaving the project in his expert hands anyhow. Obviously with the queue it's all some time away, but he's agreed to the project in a general sort of way. Cheers.
View user's profile Send private message
Matthew Bunker




Location: Somerset UK
Joined: 02 Apr 2009

Posts: 483

PostPosted: Fri 26 Aug, 2016 1:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Wiethop wrote:
Matthew Bunker wrote:

For more info, I suggest contacting my friend Benjamin Frankaert, leader of the Letavia re-enactment group in Britanny. He's made a study of post-Roman/early medeival British (as distinct from Englis/English) weapons.
Would you happen to know whether he and his group know anything about early medieval Brittany? I'm interested in learning more about what the Bretons were like around the time of Nevenoe/Nominoe.


He knows a great deal about early medieval Brittany. Easiest way to contact him is via the Letavia Facebook page.

"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
View user's profile Send private message
Len Parker





Joined: 15 Apr 2011

Posts: 284

PostPosted: Thu 25 Oct, 2018 9:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Take a look at this pictish hilt on the Inchbrayock stone: http://i.pinimg.com/1200x/3f/f4/97/3ff497b42c...ec3171.jpg

Does that look like a round roman pommel nut? There's one on one of the Lagore swords that was linked to above: http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=16016

It doesn't look like an anglo-saxon pommel. I did see a one lobed viking sword, but it didn't quite look like this. Can we call this a post roman british sword?

Leonard
View user's profile Send private message
J. Nicolaysen




Location: Wyoming
Joined: 03 Feb 2014
Likes: 31 pages

Posts: 688

PostPosted: Thu 25 Oct, 2018 11:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know. By the time these picture stones appear, it's really late in the picture stone game, so there's cultural transmission with the Norse and the Anglo-Saxons. Like 800s, 900s. And then the pommel/hilt looks to me personally like a standard Wheeler type I with a bit of a tang button. Not exact, for sure, but the whole thing seems later than what could reasonably be called sub-Roman or post-roman.

But a cool find, and thanks for posting it! Maybe it's an example of something more indigenous to Pictland, or Hiberno-Norse, but I think it's too late for post-roman. The other swords you link to are awesome, but quite a bit earlier.

I guess I personally would stop post-Roman time around 600 and consider it all something else at that point. Vendel, Viking, Merovingian, Carolingian, Anglo-Saxon, Insular British for non-Anglo-Saxon places such as Pictland and Wales.
View user's profile Send private message
Len Parker





Joined: 15 Apr 2011

Posts: 284

PostPosted: Fri 26 Oct, 2018 8:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J, I think you're right. I found that image on pinterest and thought it was a behmer type I with a roman nut. I think it's closer to this: http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p149/aldoray/pictweapons.jpg
Leonard
View user's profile Send private message
Stephen Curtin




Location: Cork, Ireland
Joined: 17 Nov 2007
Likes: 110 pages
Reading list: 18 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,155

PostPosted: Sat 27 Oct, 2018 7:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I thought some of you might find this interesting: In my Sword I trust. A Reassessment of Irish Iron Age Swords With a Focus on Their Potential Use in Battle by Sam Hughes. Nothing ground-breaking but worth a read.

https://www.academia.edu/23711389/Hughes_S._2016._In_my_Sword_I_trust_._A_Reassessment_of_Irish_Iron_Age_Swords_With_a_Focus_on_Their_Potential_Use_in_Battle

Éirinn go Brách
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
J. Nicolaysen




Location: Wyoming
Joined: 03 Feb 2014
Likes: 31 pages

Posts: 688

PostPosted: Sat 27 Oct, 2018 5:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Len I feel your pain, I love the time period and the location but there really aren't enough finds in place to determine what possible things could truly be Pictish rather than imports. Wales too. Ireland at least has some of those funky swords, but I'm not aware of any actual sword found in what was Pict-land that looks like the stone or the funky swords. But I'm glad you brought up the stone since I hadn't noticed it. And some finds happen every year or five and so hopefully something will turn up that can help us out here.

But anyhow, your last image comes from the Osprey book and it's hard to say much more than "Maybe, maybe not" that any of those swords could actually be a pictish sword.

Still, it would be great to get one made and I hope to do so. But I don't think it can be considered the same time of 500-800 AD.

Stephen, thanks for the link! Looks great.
View user's profile Send private message
Len Parker





Joined: 15 Apr 2011

Posts: 284

PostPosted: Sat 27 Oct, 2018 8:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Moving south to britons - I think this could be a possible alternative to anglo-saxon swords. The Notitia Dignitatum (c.400) has what looks like a couple of sword hilts (lower right): https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Notitia_Dignitatum_-_Magister_Officiorum_West.jpg They're hard to make out, but they don't look like anglo-saxon type hilts to me. They remind me more of Emperor Honorius's spatha from the same period: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Consular_diptych_Probus_406.jpg I've yet to see a reproduction of this sword.
Leonard
View user's profile Send private message
Andrew W




Location: Florida, USA
Joined: 14 Oct 2010

Posts: 79

PostPosted: Tue 30 Oct, 2018 10:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Len Parker wrote:
It doesn't look like an anglo-saxon pommel.


It does, though--compare it with the all-organic hilt from Snape, which probably represents the most typical style of hilt from c. 600 (swords with metal fittings are much less common in inhumations). I would describe the sword in the stone carving as typical for something you'd see below the Tees-Exe Line.

See page 150: http://eaareports.org.uk/publication/report95/
View user's profile Send private message
Len Parker





Joined: 15 Apr 2011

Posts: 284

PostPosted: Wed 31 Oct, 2018 10:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I realize the problem with the Notitia Dignitatum is that it's a 15thc copy.
To sum up what everyone knows - we have these early british-roman swords: http://swordforum.com/forums/showthread.php?27042-Pict-Swords Then nothing till the anglo-saxons arrive.

Leonard
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Post-Roman Celtic Arms
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum