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Jack Horner




Location: Palmer, Alaska
Joined: 20 Apr 2004

Posts: 17

PostPosted: Tue 05 Jul, 2005 3:13 pm    Post subject: Use of Bronze in Medieval Swords?         Reply with quote

Question

Hey I once ran across a vendor who swore up & down that bronze was a commonly used material for daggers and basilards in the high middle ages. I chalked it up to the fact that he had some bronze short swords to sell. Now, 5 years later, the idea has caught my fancy.

Can anyone help me confirm or deny this?

Were there any other materials commonly used other than Iron?

-Jack Horner
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Bill Grandy
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Location: Alexandria, VA USA
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jul, 2005 3:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Do you mean bronze for the fittings, or for the blades themselves?
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Jack Horner




Location: Palmer, Alaska
Joined: 20 Apr 2004

Posts: 17

PostPosted: Tue 05 Jul, 2005 5:27 pm    Post subject: Bronze blades in the High Middle Ages         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
Do you mean bronze for the fittings, or for the blades themselves?


For the blade.


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Bill Grandy
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Location: Alexandria, VA USA
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jul, 2005 6:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've never heard of bronze being used commonly for blades beyond the bronze age. It was a common metal for guards and pommels, but during the high middle ages the blades would have been steel. There may be a few exceptions, but they are just that: exceptions.
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Jack Horner




Location: Palmer, Alaska
Joined: 20 Apr 2004

Posts: 17

PostPosted: Tue 05 Jul, 2005 6:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
I've never heard of bronze being used commonly for blades beyond the bronze age. It was a common metal for guards and pommels, but during the high middle ages the blades would have been steel. There may be a few exceptions, but they are just that: exceptions.



That was my feel, but as I said, it fired my imagination. So I figured I'd check before running off and casting a bronze baselard.

thanks,
Jack
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Steve Fabert





Joined: 03 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2005 9:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In France the materials for making bronze are apparently quite abundant and therefore cheap. As recently as WWI the French used solid bronze rifle bullets. I would be curious to know whether the French may also have used bronze when others used iron based materials during the middle ages, for one purpose or another. I have not heard any positive claim that edged weapons were made of bronze in France in recent centuries, but perhaps other French weapons - like maces - used bronze?
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Jack Horner




Location: Palmer, Alaska
Joined: 20 Apr 2004

Posts: 17

PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2005 10:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steve Fabert wrote:
In France the materials for making bronze are apparently quite abundant and therefore cheap. As recently as WWI the French used solid bronze rifle bullets. I would be curious to know whether the French may also have used bronze when others used iron based materials during the middle ages, for one purpose or another. I have not heard any positive claim that edged weapons were made of bronze in France in recent centuries, but perhaps other French weapons - like maces - used bronze?



If I recall correctly from David Nicole's Arms & Armour in the Crusading Era, there were examples of bronze mace heads from Hungary(?) but I noted nothing else of bronze either of weapon type or locale. But I don't think Nicole is an exhaustive study.
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Matthew Amt




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

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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2005 12:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There were a few bronze mace-heads in the Tower of London many years ago, dated 12th to 13th century as I recall. But bronze blades that late? No way! Iron is simply too abundant and easy to work compared to bronze, and steel blades are far superior. I'd be surprised if copper and tin were abundant in France, since such deposits weren't apparently known in ancient times. Could France in WWI be importing from its far-flung colonies? Bronze may have been prefered for rifle bullets simply because it would penetrate better than lead!

If you have an interest in bronze weapons, that's good! They're all much neater than those silly medieval things anyway, hee hee! And I happen to have a convenient website:

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

Enjoy!

Matthew
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