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Folkert van Wijk




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PostPosted: Mon 29 Nov, 2004 2:58 am    Post subject: Verry interresting..         Reply with quote

Verry interresting! Indeed!

Because whe have plans for moving to Spain in the future.
I am also focusing (a bit) on Iberian armour and history that would be presents around the same time as the Hallstat and La tene Celts.

So i have found some sites that could be interresting...
Most of them as in Spanish Worried , but a bit op determent clicking would do..(I hope) Wink

http://www.ffil.uam.es/equus/warmas/default.html

http://www.ffil.uam.es/antigua/piberica/viria...htm#inicio

http://www.barca.fsnet.co.uk/index.htm

http://www.mnarqueologia-ipmuseus.pt/?a=3&x=2&c=Weapons

http://www.historialago.com/leg_iberos.htm

And some photo's...
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A good sword will only be sharp, in the hands of a wise manÖ

I am great fan of everything Celtic BC, including there weapons.
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Shane Allee
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Nov, 2004 7:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Iíve been wanting to add to this topic for a few days now, but needed to wait until I was no longer on 24k dial up and had research materials available. I had been considering posting some of Sanz back a couple months, but wanted to read as much of it as I could first. At this point I have still only managed to translate a fraction of it, it is a massive text and very difficult at times. Hopefully I will be able to add some to the topic without adding anymore confusion.

First things I notice is people might be a bit overwhelmed with pictures and line drawings and might be having a hard time understanding things because of a lack of context. After all we have a pretty good range of weapons from an Egyptian axe to a Viking age single edged sword. *G* While Sanz focus is on Iberian weapons he does address the possible evolution of the falcata as well as non-native weapons found in the region. As well Sanz also is a great resource for Iberian antenna daggers, spears, shields, etc. that is getting somewhat off subject for the moment though. In the illustrations there are three main sword types, the Greek kopis, the Italian machaira, and the Iberian falcate. The machaira is the one which hasnít been mentioned yet, but it is the one that most often features the ďTĒ back and on average seems larger than the falcata.

These forward curving swords seem to be misunderstood at times and have some myths surrounding them. For one, they are all lumped together in a group and horribly oversimplified. The kopis, machaira, falcata, kukris, yataghan, etc. all feature very different blade cross sections and varying amounts of distal taper. Yet these are always treated as being heavy axe like swords. Iím not sure if it is around anymore, but I seem to remember that the old SFI article had an amendment by Craig Johnsson stating that example(s) he had seen of the falcate were not this way. My personal feeling was that the falcata probably wasnít as axe like as previously though and was more the way Craig described, so I started digging for research and finally found Sanz. I was taken back a bit by the first couple thickness that I calculated, refigured several times, then figured up all of the blade base thickness in Sanz only to find that these are very thick blades starting out. Some of these are near 1cm thick at the base of the guard, however the key is the distal taper. There is well over 50% distal taper in the first half of the blade alone, then the second half continues to taper as well. Factoring in the cross section, distal taper, fullering, etc I feel these weapons are vastly different than people realize. These things will drastically lighten the front of the sword and put the center of mass back in the area expected on ancient swords. They donít need the massive modern cast hilts to pull that back into place.

Sanz does site two studies done on Iberian fullers, one an a falcata and one on an antenna dagger , both concluded that they had been carved in place most likely before heat treating. It mentions the use of a chisel, however I personally wouldnít be surprised if they didnít use something more akin to a scraper like we see with the Japanese blades. A scraper would work well on all but the fullers which donít run parallel with the spine.

Also I donít think that Sanzís evolutionary progression there was showing it from the Celtic knife. For one, ďOĒ and ďPĒ represent the kopis and machaira. Plus the caption on that one also mentions not Celtic, but the knife of the Adriatic region.

Personally I donít feel your progression of design works Kirk. Some of the dates for the early Germanic war knives (saxes) in similar style to the one posted would be the same time period as the falcate. Even at Hjortspring we see the Germanic knife is well rooted and taking shape. I donít want to single you out Kirk there are plenty of people out there doing it, but finding a nice clean linear progression isnít always possible. I could take one of the drawings of a La Tene I knife and a few design decorations, show them to people and they would take one look and think that they are a tanto and Japanese mon designs. Might be able to convince some that there is a great Celtic and Japanese connection going on, but most of us know that it just isnít there. Really we see the same thing with Celtic and Germanic decorations when compared to ethnographic items just a couple hundred years old. Often time we over look that some things might just be an independent development. Other times we might just not have enough of the puzzle yet.

It seems as though I'm forgetting a point or two I wanted to mention as well, but this is going to have to be it for now.
Shane
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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Nov, 2004 8:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've always liked the design. Here's one by Al Massey. It's a sword he does a good job on.


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Jeremiah Swanger




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PostPosted: Mon 29 Nov, 2004 9:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Russ Ellis wrote:
I've always liked the design. Here's one by Al Massey. It's a sword he does a good job on.



Eek!

Wow...

You could probably split someone straight down the middle with that thing... WTF?!

"Rhaegar fought nobly.
Rhaegar fought valiantly.
Rhaegar fought honorably.
And Rhaegar died."

- G.R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire
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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Nov, 2004 10:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes I think you probably could. It doesn't show in the picture but the piece was also pattern welded. It's a particular sword style that Al seems particularly suited to doing. It was by far the best finished piece of his I've ever seen and his particular style of hilt fittings work well with this type of sword. Sadly since it belonged to a customer I didn't get to cut with it. This piece was significantly weighted towards to point. I don't know if it would have been much of a thruster as I expect the tip would be rather hard to control. However it would have cut like no one's business I'm certain...
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Kirk Lee Spencer




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PostPosted: Mon 29 Nov, 2004 11:36 am    Post subject: Re: Verry interresting..         Reply with quote

Folkert van Wijk wrote:
Verry interresting! Indeed!

Because whe have plans for moving to Spain in the future.
I am also focusing (a bit) on Iberian armour and history that would be presents around the same time as the Hallstat and La tene Celts.

So i have found some sites that could be interresting...
Most of them as in Spanish Worried , but a bit op determent clicking would do..(I hope) Wink

http://www.ffil.uam.es/equus/warmas/default.html

http://www.ffil.uam.es/antigua/piberica/viria...htm#inicio

http://www.barca.fsnet.co.uk/index.htm

http://www.mnarqueologia-ipmuseus.pt/?a=3&x=2&c=Weapons

http://www.historialago.com/leg_iberos.htm

And some photo's...
[/url]



Hi Volkert...

Thanks so much for the links... If you find anything of interest on the Spanish sites be sure and give us a summary.

thanks

ks

Two swords
Lit in Edenís flame
One of iron and one of ink
To place within a bloody hand
One of God or one of man
Our souls to one of
Two eternities
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Kirk Lee Spencer




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PostPosted: Mon 29 Nov, 2004 12:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Shane Allee wrote:
...Hopefully I will be able to add some to the topic without adding anymore confusion.

First things I notice is people might be a bit overwhelmed with pictures and line drawings and might be having a hard time understanding things because of a lack of context. After all we have a pretty good range of weapons from an Egyptian axe to a Viking age single edged sword. *G*...

My personal feeling was that the falcata probably wasnít as axe like as previously though and was more the way Craig described, so I started digging for research and finally found Sanz. I was taken back a bit by the first couple thickness that I calculated, refigured several times, then figured up all of the blade base thickness in Sanz only to find that these are very thick blades starting out. Some of these are near 1cm thick at the base of the guard, however the key is the distal taper. There is well over 50% distal taper in the first half of the blade alone, then the second half continues to taper as well. Factoring in the cross section, distal taper, fullering, etc I feel these weapons are vastly different than people realize. These things will drastically lighten the front of the sword and put the center of mass back in the area expected on ancient swords. They donít need the massive modern cast hilts to pull that back into place...

Personally I donít feel your progression of design works Kirk. Some of the dates for the early Germanic war knives (saxes) in similar style to the one posted would be the same time period as the falcate. Even at Hjortspring we see the Germanic knife is well rooted and taking shape. I donít want to single you out Kirk there are plenty of people out there doing it, but finding a nice clean linear progression isnít always possible. I could take one of the drawings of a La Tene I knife and a few design decorations, show them to people and they would take one look and think that they are a tanto and Japanese mon designs. Might be able to convince some that there is a great Celtic and Japanese connection going on, but most of us know that it just isnít there. Really we see the same thing with Celtic and Germanic decorations when compared to ethnographic items just a couple hundred years old. Often time we over look that some things might just be an independent development. Other times we might just not have enough of the puzzle yet.

It seems as though I'm forgetting a point or two I wanted to mention as well, but this is going to have to be it for now.
Shane



Hi Shane...

Thanks for a great post... This is just the reason for the thread. And if you remember that "point or two" (or even few others) please take the time to tell us about it.

I really don't mean to confuse people by posting things without a context... In this case I simple did not know the context (other than very basic perceptions (some of them possibly flawed). And that is exactly the reason to post to draw Shane and others into the discussion. For me, a major part of the joy of Sword collecting IMO is simply the tremendous variety and beauty. That can be appreciated even without context.

Your point on distal taper is an excellent one... I have moved the cross-section into the blade drawings to try and save room. So for those interested, the lenticular objects crossing the blade are what the blade looks like in cross section at that point. Looking at these, the distal taper shows up well. As a matter of fact it seems like that the more straight the blade the more distal taper it has. Does any one else see this? If so we might discuss why that would be the case.

It would seem that the distal taper would make the falcata feel more like an ancient sword (however before this time leaf blades were popular which also have some weight out front), however we should also consider that on many, if not most falcatas, there is a sort of reverse profile taper (tapers toward the hilt). So the mass lost in distal taper would be made up in the increased blade width. The point still holds however... these ancient blades would probably not feel as blade heavy as current replicas.

About the Germanic war-knives at Hjortspring... please tell us more!
I have put the wide Seax into the mix as a connecting transitional form... I suspect that such a basic knife pattern probably has been around behind the scenes in many different cultures for a long long time. So even if they predated the falcata I am not sure if it mean much... However if they are found in large numbers (not sure?) at a time (on average) between the first appearance of the falcata and the first appearance of the langsax then it does not seem to be too unreasonable to include them in a very schematic possible progression from Axe to Seax. Wink

Shane... I would totally agree with you on these sentiments:

You said: "I donít want to single you out Kirk there are plenty of people out there doing it, but finding a nice clean linear progression isnít always possible."

and

"Often time we over look that some things might just be an independent development. Other times we might just not have enough of the puzzle yet."

As a matter of fact, I would get even more sentimental Happy

I am not sure if archeologists have ever actually "found" a nice clean linear progression... They are generally inferences based upon typologies that have gained overall acceptance by anyone who would really cares.

As to whether something had an independent in situ development, rather than migrated into the area from some other source... In history and archeology it seems that the pendulum swings on these issues. The idea of civilizations growing from aboriginal cultures seems to be popular now. So archeologists as a whole would be more predisposed to think that objects develop in place for local needs. They would look for discontinuity in sequence rather than the continuities. It's possibly the old "splitter/lumper" "Big Picture/Small Picture" difference... I happen to be a "Big Picture Lumper" type Big Grin Wink

To tell you the truth, I approach my appreciation of swords from a design angle first and chronology angle second. Where an archeologist may try to put their sword types in age categories to try and get an idea on how a design grew. I take the opposite approach and try to develope an organic progression in design and then see how it compares to the chronological data. Japan might be pretty close to the Celts in "design space." Razz And, who knows, taking this backwards approach could lead to some radical, off the wall preposterous theory about a millennia or more of mass migrations from the east to the west along the Russian steppes north of the Black Sea... Maybe we could throw in some Assyrian influence for good measure. Big Grin

Thanks for the input Shane... looking forward to more!

ks

Two swords
Lit in Edenís flame
One of iron and one of ink
To place within a bloody hand
One of God or one of man
Our souls to one of
Two eternities
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Matt Corbin




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PostPosted: Tue 30 Nov, 2004 6:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote





Falcata from Vince Evans. Probably the most beautiful I have ever seen.

Here is what it says on his site:

Quote:
Falcata
16-5/8" pattern-welded blade, OAL 21-1/8", antiqued brass fittings, black horn grips. Scabbard is black leather over wood with antiqued brass fittings. Weight of sword 1 lb. 14 oz.

ďThis was the age of heroes, some legendary, some historical . . . the misty borderland of history where fact and legend mingle.Ē
- R. Ewart Oakeshott
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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Tue 30 Nov, 2004 8:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matt Corbin wrote:
Falcata from Vince Evans. Probably the most beautiful I have ever seen.

Here is what it says on his site:

Quote:
Falcata
16-5/8" pattern-welded blade, OAL 21-1/8", antiqued brass fittings, black horn grips. Scabbard is black leather over wood with antiqued brass fittings. Weight of sword 1 lb. 14 oz.


Wow! That's probably the nicest one I've ever seen. Do you own it?

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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Tue 30 Nov, 2004 8:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Wow! That's probably the nicest one I've ever seen. Do you own it?


I don't know if he does but I sure wanted to. I couldn't swing it unfortunately Sad

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Nathan Bell





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PostPosted: Tue 30 Nov, 2004 10:13 am    Post subject: re: metallurgy         Reply with quote

Shane is right that these swords (kopis, machiara, falcata) are not widely studied so people don't really appreciate the subtleties.

Sanz is very strict about these differences, and graphs out very tight ratios for the falcata inner to outer curve, as wqell as the distal taper measures and cross sections. Sanz spends a couple pages contrasting the curvature and blade properties of the falcata with the kopis/machiara. He is really failry "tight" about showing the differences...

The of course would affect the handling quite a bit---these falcata are very thin in front, unlike the kopis/machiara. Not the same feel or function, I would posit, given that they are so thin at the tip, and the curve so different, when you really look very carefully. I only wish I did not have to slog through Sanz's Spanish---my 4 years of this language were long ago in high school Happy

Regarding metallurgy:

I am still trying to track down where I found this. It seems something I read had a one or two line statement saying that the falcatae were almost all laminated construction. I don't know if it was in Pleiner, Sanz, Lang's analysis, B.G. Scott, or maybe just something on skimmed from Tylecote's work on the European stuff (I don't own this last one, only looked at it)

I do know that this same information has been given before on SFI----I believe the SFI forumite Daneluz had read this in its original spanish-language publication. Maybe we can lure him over to enlighten us? Big Grin

If anyone offhand knows the publication, it would be easier than me trying to track a secondary (or tertiary) citation in another work? Paging Mr. Daneluz......

N
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Tue 30 Nov, 2004 3:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great material Guys!

Please continue adding :-)

As I am in the process of moving house much of my material is packed away in boxes.
There is an italian article that shows analysis of a italian sword of this shape. I donīt have it at hand right now. Sorry.
The examined sword is laminated and has a t-back, a wide "fuller" like mid section and a very prominent apple seed edge. Very nice cross section.

The Falcata I got to handle in Solingen weighed some 600 grams (I think. The material is stowed away, but I have posted it before on anohter thread perhaps a year ago).
It was rather short. Total length some 55 cm if I remember correctly. It was *Not* a heavy cleaver. Quite the opposite.
This is a very common mistake you see in print: Wide cutting blades are often described as heavy choppers, just because their outline seems to suggest so.
Falchions, Messers, Falcatas all share this misunderstanding. As a rule these blades are *Not* heavy and cumbersome swords. They are *not* crude choppers. They are light and agile. The cross section is often surpricingly thin in the puter parts toward the point. The edges and cross sections are efective in acheiving weight reduction and sturdy resilience.
The cross section and fuller work on these falcatas is of very high quality and is proof of a very advanced blade smithing tradition.
This is obvious even in severely corroded examples.
The outline and perfect size makes them very graceull. There is a predator quality to these swords, perhaps a stooping bird of pray. I donīt know.
My impression is that the Falcata is good for both thrusting and back edge slashes apart from the obvios cleaving power.
They sit firmly in your hand as the grip is small and very ergonomical. Grasping it feels like a frim handshake. A slight soft pull forwards is the blade asking you to swing away. It is very ready and powerful.The angle of the hilt and the curve of the blade puts the point naturally in line for a thrust, without you needing to extend your wrist too much. You can jab at short distance but also lunge at range or do a curving sweeping thrust below/round a shiled.
...but I am not swordsman. These are just impressions you get when holding one. It was very intuitive and ready in your hand. Beautiful sword!
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Kirk Lee Spencer




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PostPosted: Tue 30 Nov, 2004 7:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan and Peter...

Thanks so much for your posts! Very enlightening stuff!

Here is the thread Peter is referring to (I think).

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=208

ks

Two swords
Lit in Edenís flame
One of iron and one of ink
To place within a bloody hand
One of God or one of man
Our souls to one of
Two eternities
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Steve Ouellette




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PostPosted: Tue 30 Nov, 2004 7:32 pm    Post subject: Great post Kirk         Reply with quote

I have a photo of a tomb mosaic where Alexander is being rescued by one of his soldiers. Al had decided to imitate Hercules and hunt lions and it turned out to be harder than it looked and so Craterus rushed in with a Kopis? to save him. That's the way it is in the picture anyway. I don't have a scanner or I'd post the photo. It looks like the kind of weapon that a practical guy would use. A guy who would count on one very good cut-the same sort of person who would prefer an axe. These blades intrigue me-I love my kukri and my BK patrol machete.
In times of peace, the wise gentleman sharpens his sword.
Sun Tzu
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Matt Corbin




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Dec, 2004 6:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Russ Ellis wrote:
Wow! That's probably the nicest one I've ever seen. Do you own it?


Unfortunately not. I just swiped the picture from Vince's website. I bet it handles nice though.

ďThis was the age of heroes, some legendary, some historical . . . the misty borderland of history where fact and legend mingle.Ē
- R. Ewart Oakeshott
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Dec, 2004 3:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hjortspring is a boat find that dates around the third century bce. Some of the most well known items from the find are the extremely well preserved shields, smaller square/rectangular with a barley corn shaped umbos. One in which was all carved from the same piece of wood. Here is a great site for those who want to know more about the Hjortspring find including pics of the swords and shields.
http://home6.inet.tele.dk/hjortspr/index.htm

In Archaeology of Weapons Oakeshott gives us and example of a sax that dates back to the third century as well. Not sure if you will be able to read the text in the picture, but in the text he mentions a possible Greek connection to its origin. The similar shaped hilt he mentions though is also seen on some of the late Hallstatt and La Tene I knives, not that it means these knives couldnít have had a Greek influence as well. It just means that we have an earlier example of certain design elements then the third century ones.

Hjortspring and the sax are both topics getting away from the one at hand, and at some point Iím sure will have their own post.

As always it is great to hear your first hand impressions Peter. Interesting that you bring up the reference to birds. I have two early birds head falcata designs with all but the fullers finished, the first one was a crane head and from there it was just slight modifications to make a crow/raven head. Both the crane and raven/crow are very commonly represented in Iberian artwork. Still working out what I want to do with the fullers though since they changed both over time and regionally. Looking forward to seeing a horse head design from you for the next gen line.

Shane



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Kirk Lee Spencer




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Dec, 2004 5:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Shane...

Good to hear from you....
Thanks for the great Hjortspring link and the Oakeshott perspective (his 3rd c bc sax looks alot like our German "war knife").

Also would like to catch a glimpse of those designs of yours. Big Grin

ks

Two swords
Lit in Edenís flame
One of iron and one of ink
To place within a bloody hand
One of God or one of man
Our souls to one of
Two eternities
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PostPosted: Thu 02 Dec, 2004 4:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Shane Allee wrote:

As always it is great to hear your first hand impressions Peter. Interesting that you bring up the reference to birds. I have two early birds head falcata designs with all but the fullers finished, the first one was a crane head and from there it was just slight modifications to make a crow/raven head. Both the crane and raven/crow are very commonly represented in Iberian artwork. Still working out what I want to do with the fullers though since they changed both over time and regionally. Looking forward to seeing a horse head design from you for the next gen line.

Shane


I got to handle Shane's early wooden mock-up of the crane design falcata. It does have that quality of fitting snugly in the hand, fits like a glove (at least for my smaller hands). It does give that impression of being ready to strike, even if it's only a wooden mock-up so far.

And don't worry Shane, I won't tell them what your wife calls the crane version Big Grin I actually prefer it a bit over the raven version anyways.
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PostPosted: Thu 02 Dec, 2004 6:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To continue on the Hjortspring seaxes...
a bit off topic, perhaps.

When you read Oakeshott "Archeaology of Weapons" you get the impression the the Hjorspring seaxes look the same as the later Germanic single edged sword or war knife, such as those found in later bog finds.

This is not the case however. The Hjortspring knives (dated around 350 BC) are very different. Much more basic and also quite a bit slimmer. There are three basic types.

This text is quoted from the site for the Hjortspring boat group (http://welcome.to/the.hjortspring.boat):

"The swords can be split up into three groups."

1 "Swords with concave sides, broad back and tang without rivet-holes.
This group includes three of the whole swords and the three fragments of sword-blades. The length of the blades varies from 35 to 57 cm (14 to 22.5 inches); the total length varies from 48.5 to 70 cm (19 to 27.5 inches). The handles are all mounted by applying a bronze knob at the end of the tang. Two of the swords have been deliberately bent before the sacrifice."
(my comment: these swords/knives are like a mix of a straight razor and a bayonette. Narrow with thick backs and dramatic T-shaped cross section. Very specialized swords. Some put forward that these seems to be specialized as thrusting swords against mail. They would be good thrusters on targets without mails as well...No question that they would be wicked slicers.)

2 "Swords with flat sides, somewhat extended back and tang with rivet-holes.
This group includes two of the swords. One sword has a 28 cm (11 inches) long, very broad blade, which is 7 cm (2.75 inches) at the base. It can best be characterized as a stroke-knife. The handle has been mounted with two rivets. The other sword is a little longer (31.5 cm Ė 12.5 inches) and slimmer (3.5 cm Ė1.5 inches at the base). The handle was mounted with rivets, fitted with 3 bronze-bands around the handle and a bronze-cap at the end of the handle."
(My comment: These knives/swords are the heaviest in the group. Give an impression of being very effective chopping/cleaving weapons. They do have very cerviceable points as well)

3 "Swords with flat sides, non-extended back and tang without rivet-holes.
A group of slim swords with the length of the blades varying from 36 to 45 cm (14 to 18inches)."
(My comment: this type are much like Sarbatier kitchen knifes, more or less. They may be a little longer and sometimes have a hint of a shallowT-back, and if so not very pronounced. Pointy machetes of medium or small size, if you like)

Here is a pic from the same site:



 Attachment: 27.54 KB
kaul24s16f2.jpg

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Shane Allee
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Location: South Bend, IN
Joined: 29 Aug 2003

Posts: 506

PostPosted: Thu 02 Dec, 2004 1:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A year or two ago I decided that I would no longer post designs until I have at least started the project. While I could be pretty sure that I wouldn't have to worry about activly posting members here, it is well known that some in the community show little reguard for peoples' hard work. While I would be pretty upset to have one of my designs ripped off, it would be even worse to have it done before I even have a chance to make it. Nate may still have a pic I sent him of the wooden mock-up I made which he could post, but I have to do my line drawings on graph paper and that would just make it way too easy.

The main reason for doing the mock-up in the first place was just to do the grip to make sure my hands would fit. Rick even asked upon first seeing it if I could fit my hand in it, that it looked small. They do fit very nicely though.

After being stuck home sick the last couple days going over Sanz, I did decide to go away from doing two of the same blade and made the crane design a bit longer. The original blade was in the size range, but smaller than average. So I found a near identical shaped blade only with a longer tip and went with it. Still even a birds head hilt as well.

Shane
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