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Justin Pasternak




Location: West Springfield, Massachusetts
Joined: 17 Sep 2006

Posts: 174

PostPosted: Sun 25 Feb, 2007 8:39 pm    Post subject: The Greek Spartan's Xiphos?         Reply with quote

Did the Spartan's of Greece create a shorter version of the Xiphos that had a blade length of around 30cm/12 inches?

Did the more common Greek Xiphos have a blade length somewhere around 60 cm/24 inches?
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Matthew Amt




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

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PostPosted: Mon 26 Feb, 2007 7:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes and yes, though the actual dimensions of the short sword are a little fuzzy since there are no published surviving examples. Before the short version was introduced (after the Persian War era), the Spartans used the same sword as everyone else. After they started using their short one, many other Greeks hopped on the fashion wagon, though the longer one was still around. Manning Imperial in Australia makes the best repros of both types, I'd say.

That what you're looking for?

Matthew
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Justin Pasternak




Location: West Springfield, Massachusetts
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PostPosted: Tue 27 Feb, 2007 9:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Matt, for the clarification on the subject.
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Hugh Fuller




Location: Virginia
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PostPosted: Wed 28 Feb, 2007 7:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It is said that, when a Spartan hoplite complained about the length of his short xiphos, he was told to get closer to his opponent.
Hugh
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Please see 1 John 1:5
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Wed 28 Feb, 2007 9:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, the longer xiphos got some sort of a renaissance later when Iphicrates lengthened the sword once again, except if he was copying a Thracian model instead of repopularizing the older Greek one.
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Justin Pasternak




Location: West Springfield, Massachusetts
Joined: 17 Sep 2006

Posts: 174

PostPosted: Wed 28 Feb, 2007 12:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Could some of the warriors in these illustrations have a shorter Xiphos (or simliar weapon) with a blade length of around 30cm/12 inches? Worried

Last edited by Justin Pasternak on Wed 28 Feb, 2007 4:04 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Hugh Fuller




Location: Virginia
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PostPosted: Wed 28 Feb, 2007 12:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Justin, the first second and third plates are of Persian troops with what appears t be one Ionian Greek hoplite in Persian service. I rather doubt that any of them would be carrying the Spartan xiphos as I understand that its use was pretty limited to Lakonians. The fourth appears to be peltasts of some type, again unlikely to be using a short xiphos. The fifth is apparently Thracians and they would be using longer swords or daggers in conjunction with the falxes, those huge scythe looking things. Finally, the Romans appear to be using either classic length xiphoi or early versions of the gladius.
Hugh
Still trying to walk in the Light
Please see 1 John 1:5
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Justin Pasternak




Location: West Springfield, Massachusetts
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PostPosted: Wed 28 Feb, 2007 12:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't think I stated the question correctly, I was just curious if any type of sword (regardless if their persian, greek or roman in origin) in the illustrutions had a shorter blade length around or closer to 12" inches or so, shorter than the usual sword blade?
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
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PostPosted: Thu 01 Mar, 2007 9:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Persians had their own types of weapons, though I honestly know almost nothing about them so couldn't tell you if they ran that short. Certainly the Italians were not using swords that short. But in some places there were daggers as well as swords, and there is the usual argument of how do you distinguish between a big dagger and a small sword? In this discussion, it is worth pointing out that the Spartan short sword was definitley used as a sword, not a primary weapon (the spear was primary), but used as a major weapon in close combat. Other folks may have used blades the same size or even a tad larger, but did not intend to make use of them except in extreme circumstances--that to me sounds more like "dagger".

That help a little?

Matthew
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Justin Pasternak




Location: West Springfield, Massachusetts
Joined: 17 Sep 2006

Posts: 174

PostPosted: Thu 01 Mar, 2007 10:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just for kick's, how would you classify the Nigerian Gladius, (last picture from the bottom) as a short sword or long dagger? Big Grin

I have the link to the information on the Nigerian Gladius: http://therionarms.com/antiques/ttoy409.html

And in the fifth picture from the top, (Thracian Warrior's) the warrior on the far right that is wearing a bronze helmet and carrying a shield, a javelin and falx is wearing a very short bladed weapon slung around the right side of his body, is this a dagger or sword? Question
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John Cooksey




Location: NW Ark
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PostPosted: Thu 01 Mar, 2007 10:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Justin Pasternak wrote:
I don't think I stated the question correctly, I was just curious if any type of sword (regardless if their persian, greek or roman in origin) in the illustrutions had a shorter blade length around or closer to 12" inches or so, shorter than the usual sword blade?


Yeah, some of those Persian/Scythian akinakes had short blades. The 12-inch range was actually pretty common. Some were actually more like daggers, with 7-8 inch blades, while others were what I would consider true short sword size, in the 16-to-20 inch range. The akinakes, no matter it's size, wasn't really a weapon designed exclusively for war. It was everyday wear for all free men and some women, just as it's descendant the qame/kindjal is for the tribesmen of the Caucasus. It represented socio-economic status, and even had a spiritual role among the Iranian tribesfolk.

I didn't surrender, but they took my horse and made him surrender.
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