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Old 10th October 2018, 11:09 AM   #41
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
How sure are we it was actually a bad design?


Maybe the join is not as poor and weak as everyone is assuming.
Well, because we found swords that broke in the way I described repeatedly.

That's not to say they're HORRIBLE swords by any kind of reckoning. Just... easier to break than something that's one single bar from tip to pommel, like later iron age ones.
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Old 10th October 2018, 12:02 PM   #42
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I still think that it might also be that nobody had actually thought of it. There are lots of examples of devices being used in a similar way to the thing they're replacing when they have a fundamentally better way of being used.

One example that I read about was a commentary about a pulp science fiction story where the characters had an android that could calculate - bu picking up a slide rule and using it like a human.

If you are familiar with flint knives - having a tang is also a new concept that might actually be more novel than making a knife out of a different material - or indeed having a knife that can be very long due to the properties of this new material, which is what basically what a sword would have been.
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Old 10th October 2018, 12:29 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
If you are familiar with flint knives - having a tang is also a new concept that might actually be more novel than making a knife out of a different material - or indeed having a knife that can be very long due to the properties of this new material, which is what basically what a sword would have been.

"Will the bronze still need tying to sticks?"

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Old 10th October 2018, 06:53 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
I spent a long time at a place making large flying things. Which were held together entirely with rivets.
The fact that it's rivets isn't the issue and the rivets aren't the weak point. It's the thin bit of metal between the rivet and the back end, facing toward the pommel. An intact rivet can tear through that and come out, if the blade hits too hard with a cutting motion instead of a tip-thrust. And this is not just an inference by people looking at the things and thinking "that looks weak". It's an observation that a notable fraction of found bronze hilts actually have exactly this kind of damage, with torn-out rivet holes on one side and intact rivet holes on the other side (because the direction of the force is away from the pommel on the edge that impacts the target but toward the pommel on the opposite edge).



I'm presuming that aircraft rivets are generally not placed near edges where they'd predictably get pushed in the direction of that near edge, thus making the relatively narrow strip of material on one side of the rivet hole particularly likely to get torn open.

Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
I said something earlier about forging them in one piece, but of course, as has been mentioned, they'd actually have been cast. Was there some forging done after the casting, do you think?
There was hammering done afterward, but under different conditions and for a different purpose, so "forging" would be a bad word to use for it. Copper & its alloys work by such completely different rules & processes from iron & steel that smiths must learn entirely different skill sets & procedures for them, with different associated vocabulary.

The idea behind forging in the world of iron/steel is to knock big chunks of impurities loose, distribute remaining stubborn impurities evenly, and shape the blade while it's hot & squishy. In the world of copper & its alloys, the melting & casting is already how you handle the impurities and shape, and it's never handled while solid-but-squishy (partially because it's unnecessary because the purposes are served in other ways, and partially because its melting point is so low that it would tend to go straight to liquid even if you tried; that solid-but-squishy stage either doesn't exist, or exists only in such a narrow temperature range that you couldn't control it precisely enough). Hammering copper or bronze cold will tend to make it harder, but, because that's a completely different thing from what happens when you hammer hot iron/steel, it gets its own name: "work-hardening".
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Old 10th October 2018, 07:27 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Stee View Post
Quite right, and also it was used due to the idea of advancing with shields and stabbing in between the gaps where there would have been no room to be slashing about!
Actually, we have texts from the classic period mentioning severed limbs and such. Hell, Polybius (Histories, book X, 15) even mentions dogs cut in half as the block of Roman soldiers was advancing through Carthage towards the citadel. Livy too REPEATEDLY mentions severed limbs and mutilated corpses.

So obviously they didn't ONLY thrust. Yes, the primary attack and the preferred one was the thrust, but it was not the only one. There's a reason the gladius had an edge too. And the Roman soldiers were trained to use it too.
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Old 11th October 2018, 01:36 AM   #46
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See my previous post on Roman swords.
Tactics and weapons used in 146bc were not the same as those of the 1st century AD which is the 'popular' image of roman legions.

But you are right, the legionary didn't just thrust, if opportunity presented an arm or head would be slashed.
Plus the ranks advanced any enemy over run would be 'finished off' by the following ranks, lopping off a hand would put an opponent out of the fight just as conclusively as stabbing them.
Once an enemy line 'broke' the close shield wall would be opened up to allow pursuit and a faster advance, slashing attacks would then be more common.
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Old 11th October 2018, 02:59 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
How sure are we it was actually a bad design?
Maybe the join is not as poor and weak as everyone is assuming.
This is the thing.
Since this style lasted hundreds of years then it must have been good enough for the job.

The question is, exactly what job. We don't (as far as I know) have any drill manuals, or training manuals, for the swordsmen in that period.
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Old 11th October 2018, 05:28 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by Tolls View Post
This is the thing.
Since this style lasted hundreds of years then it must have been good enough for the job.

The question is, exactly what job. We don't (as far as I know) have any drill manuals, or training manuals, for the swordsmen in that period.
These are a good example of why experimental archeology is a good thing. All we have in this case are the actual objects and static depictions of their use. We don't have training manuals, or illustrations of use that would allow us to infer use (and in the case of Celtic designs we really only have the objects themselves). Making a few using techniques available at the time and then testing might explain why a design with obvious flaws lasted so long.

ie. It might not have been the best design, but it was good enough for the conditions it found itself in and there was no screaming requirement to change.
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Old 11th October 2018, 07:03 AM   #49
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To be honest, I had that idea, but I wish I could afford to have a dozen or so work-hardened high-tin swords just to break them trying to figure out their use.
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Old 11th October 2018, 01:58 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
To repeat my previous reasoning, hopefully more clearly, if we found two or three kinds of swords, then I'd have no problem accepting that some are for combat and some are just uber-expensive bling. FSM knows that people have done worse than wear stuff that costs as much as a house.

But when for a long long while

A) that's the only kind of sword construcion that we ever found, AND
B) you can see some evolution in the size and shape of the blade, that seems to follow some kind of functional purpose, AND
C) the blade was made of the hardest alloyes the could possibly get, and insane ammount of work was put into hammering it to work-harden the edge, AND
D) several show signs of edge damage and subsequent repair,

... well, I would at least ASSUME that these were the actual weapons of war. I mean, it seems to be the simplest explanation, innit?

At any rate, I'm not a historian myself, but as far as I know the consensus among those is that yes, these were the actual swords used in battle.

From what I gather only high-ranking soldiers, such as knights, were even allowed to have swords. The common soldier - cavalry and infantry - had to make do with maces, lances, halberds, crossbows (particularly popular) and warhammers.
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Old 11th October 2018, 02:11 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
From what I gather only high-ranking soldiers, such as knights, were even allowed to have swords. The common soldier - cavalry and infantry - had to make do with maces, lances, halberds, crossbows (particularly popular) and warhammers.
Not in the bronze age.
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Old 11th October 2018, 03:55 PM   #52
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Actually, in the middle ages you were most certainly allowed to OWN a sword, and in the late middle ages, depending on the place, it may even be expected. And if you were in the army, definitely, BYOS (bring your own sword.)

What you weren't allowed until about the end was to carry a sword in the city unless you were a knight, on duty in the city militia (as in, manning the wall or patrolling the streets RIGHT NAO, not just being generally a part of it like everyone else), or in special circumstances such as an attack happening. Otherwise, leave it at home or at the inn.

The problem was more like that in the early middle ages (and doubly so in antiquity), a sword was prohibitively expensive. There are some kingly swords, pattern welded out of a whole 6 types of steel, that must have cost their weight in gold. And then there came the Ulfberht swords made of crucible iron imported all the way from the middle east. Yeah, not cheap.

(As a side note, I've heard a pretty convincing hypothesis that HILTS were coded by rank, basically.)

Only around the time Toledo steel becomes more common all over Europe, the price for an old sword actually goes down a lot, to the point where just about everyone can afford one. I mean, sure, it might not be the latest model, it may not be a very good one, but it'll do. At this point, as I was saying, you could even be EXPECTED to have some form of sword, messer, or whatever bladed weapon when you were on militia duty or such.

In the bronze age, though, well, I don't think anyone knows what was the legal status, but I don't think there was actually any real need to forbid them. I mean, swords were even more expensive. And I mean, INSANELY expensive. You don't really need to forbid what people can't afford anyway.

And I mean, even in the iron age, only about 10% of the Celtic warriors could actually afford a sword. IIRC the cost of a sword in the classical era was something along the lines of a farm's income for a year. Now make the darned thing even more insanely expensive in the bronze age. And I mean, the transition to iron weapons happened because iron was a lot cheaper than weapon-grade bronze. The bronze ones were prohibitively expensive unless you were some chieftain or noble or such.

So yeah, the common man wouldn't be carrying one just because of economics.
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Old 11th October 2018, 10:24 PM   #53
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I speculate that the percentage of swords that actually got this type of damage is lower than the percentage with this type of damage among surviving examples for us to find now, because of a skew in the odds of preservation. In other words, something made swords that were damaged in this way (and perhaps any & all damaged ones) less likely to be left where we'd find them, which makes them appear more common now than they were then.

What would cause the skew? I don't know. My inference is that it would have something to do with most bronze items, damaged or not, getting recycled repeatedly, because the raw material was expensive but didn't react any differently from its first melting & casting to its second to its 428th. What's missing from my idea here is a specific solid reason why damaged swords would have been less likely to get collected for rebirth than intact swords...
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Old 11th October 2018, 11:09 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
http://www.internationalskeptics.com...chmentid=39075

I speculate that the percentage of swords that actually got this type of damage is lower than the percentage with this type of damage among surviving examples for us to find now, because of a skew in the odds of preservation. In other words, something made swords that were damaged in this way (and perhaps any & all damaged ones) less likely to be left where we'd find them, which makes them appear more common now than they were then.

What would cause the skew? I don't know. My inference is that it would have something to do with most bronze items, damaged or not, getting recycled repeatedly, because the raw material was expensive but didn't react any differently from its first melting & casting to its second to its 428th. What's missing from my idea here is a specific solid reason why damaged swords would have been less likely to get collected for rebirth than intact swords...
The chaos of a battlefield, and incomplete looting?

If you have limited ability to collect loot, and are relying on carrying it yourself and see both a broken and an intact sword, which would you take?
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Old 11th October 2018, 11:51 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
The chaos of a battlefield, and incomplete looting?

If you have limited ability to collect loot, and are relying on carrying it yourself and see both a broken and an intact sword, which would you take?
True.

But swords are not that heavy and carrying two is not too difficult.
If the equivalent value would be a nice car from today, I don't think they would be easily left on the battlefield. I certainly wouldn't leave it there.

But..

On the other hand. At least in the eastern Mediterrenean the production of bronze would be completely in the hands of the local king. So what would you do with this broken sword you just found? The value of the bronze would be very great indeed, but to whom would you sell it? There's only the king and most likely he will just thank you and give you some participation ribbon or something like that, instead of buying the sword from you.

Why would you then pick up that broken sword? I certainly would leave it there.

I do agree that there is a possibility broken swords are over represented as a fraction of the total.
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Old 12th October 2018, 12:53 AM   #56
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One question I thought of last night.
How many of these swords do we have as examples have no hilt?

I'm wondering if the bronze handles were actually quite rare, and most handles were made of other materials, hence the need to rivet them. The bronze handles simply used the same construction technique.

What made me think of that is the Iron Bridge in Shropshire, which was the first iron bridge constructed in the UK. It's pretty unique in that it was built based on a design used for wooden bridges.

So, essentially, were the bronze hilts being riveted simply because the normal (non-bronze) hilts were?
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Old 12th October 2018, 01:24 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
http://www.internationalskeptics.com...chmentid=39075

I speculate that the percentage of swords that actually got this type of damage is lower than the percentage with this type of damage among surviving examples for us to find now, because of a skew in the odds of preservation. In other words, something made swords that were damaged in this way (and perhaps any & all damaged ones) less likely to be left where we'd find them, which makes them appear more common now than they were then.

What would cause the skew? I don't know. My inference is that it would have something to do with most bronze items, damaged or not, getting recycled repeatedly, because the raw material was expensive but didn't react any differently from its first melting & casting to its second to its 428th. What's missing from my idea here is a specific solid reason why damaged swords would have been less likely to get collected for rebirth than intact swords...
Deliberately damaged swords were often given as offerings. In the UK anyway they tend to be found in streams and springs for example.
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Old 12th October 2018, 03:15 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
http://www.internationalskeptics.com...chmentid=39075

I speculate that the percentage of swords that actually got this type of damage is lower than the percentage with this type of damage among surviving examples for us to find now, because of a skew in the odds of preservation. In other words, something made swords that were damaged in this way (and perhaps any & all damaged ones) less likely to be left where we'd find them, which makes them appear more common now than they were then.

What would cause the skew? I don't know. My inference is that it would have something to do with most bronze items, damaged or not, getting recycled repeatedly, because the raw material was expensive but didn't react any differently from its first melting & casting to its second to its 428th. What's missing from my idea here is a specific solid reason why damaged swords would have been less likely to get collected for rebirth than intact swords...
To be honest, my wild guess would be exactly the other way around. The reasons being:

1. that it can be repaired, and some do show signs of repair. Plus, it's bronze. Worst case scenario, you can just melt it and recast it.

So I'd expect that even those we found more or less intact, at some point were broken and repaired or re-cast.

But much more importantly:

2. because people were typically buried with a sword in good working condition, not with a broken one. (Although, as you'e said, ritually broken ones also existed.)

So given that a lot of our finds come from tombs, there's actually a strong selection bias to find intact ones rather than broken ones.
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Old 12th October 2018, 03:23 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by erwinl View Post
True.

But swords are not that heavy and carrying two is not too difficult.
If the equivalent value would be a nice car from today, I don't think they would be easily left on the battlefield. I certainly wouldn't leave it there.
If by nice car you mean a new Ferrari (or two), yeah, that might be a good comparison

Originally Posted by erwinl View Post
On the other hand. At least in the eastern Mediterrenean the production of bronze would be completely in the hands of the local king. So what would you do with this broken sword you just found? The value of the bronze would be very great indeed, but to whom would you sell it? There's only the king and most likely he will just thank you and give you some participation ribbon or something like that, instead of buying the sword from you.

Why would you then pick up that broken sword? I certainly would leave it there.

I do agree that there is a possibility broken swords are over represented as a fraction of the total.
While production of bronze may have needed some state support, I don't think ownership and sales were regulated. There was a flourishing trade network, and in fact you needed one to have any good bronze in the first place. I'm fairly sure that, worst case scenario, if the local king is too much of a git about it, you could go to the next town down the stream and sell it to someone, or find a merchant who'll take it off your hands.
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Old 12th October 2018, 04:20 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
From what I gather only high-ranking soldiers, such as knights, were even allowed to have swords. The common soldier - cavalry and infantry - had to make do with maces, lances, halberds, crossbows (particularly popular) and warhammers.
As I understand it*, it's not a question of making do. For a pitched battle, pole arms and other weaponry is often far superior to a sword.

A sword is a sidearm, a compromise that means that a weapon can be carried but one is not permanently encumbered by a 10 ft pole** with a spike on the end or something equally unwieldy.

It's sort of the same with handguns and rifles.




* However, I am often wrong

** There's a D&D reference here somewhere.
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Old 12th October 2018, 04:34 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
As I understand it*, it's not a question of making do. For a pitched battle, pole arms and other weaponry is often far superior to a sword.

A sword is a sidearm, a compromise that means that a weapon can be carried but one is not permanently encumbered by a 10 ft pole** with a spike on the end or something equally unwieldy.

It's sort of the same with handguns and rifles.




* However, I am often wrong

** There's a D&D reference here somewhere.

In the history of mankind, there have been many rules or non-rules ('All's Fair in Love and War', etc). I always understood that being knighted gave one the right to bear a sword ('First thou wert a heathen, then thou wert a Christian, now thou art a knight' - King Erik XIV's knightings).

Bear in mind, by the sixteenth century, battles in a field were relatively rare, with most warfare being sieges of castles and forts, which required a skill set of pierriers and bombadiers (catapults, trebuchets, battering rams, cats and weasels, crossbow archers, climbing implements and early versions of cannons).

Of course, this will vary from epoch to epoch and different cultures. Certainly the cossacks and tatars relied heavily on scythe, scimitar and sword-type horseback warfare.

Certainly, in the 'Cudgel War' (Nuijasota) - a peasant uprising - the peasants were armed with farm implements, which were very effective, being made out of heavy cast iron (clubs, ploughs, pitchforks, maces, flails, fireball torches) and were up against a trained cavalry bearing muskets, cannons and swords. One group of peasants even got hold of their own cannon. Of course, the peasants lost. Three thousand lay dead and only about fifty of the cavalry.
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Old 12th October 2018, 04:58 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
In the history of mankind, there have been many rules or non-rules ('All's Fair in Love and War', etc). I always understood that being knighted gave one the right to bear a sword ('First thou wert a heathen, then thou wert a Christian, now thou art a knight' - King Erik XIV's knightings).
As I was saying before, yes. Yes, it did. The keyword being "BEAR", though. Ownership wasn't regulated; open carry was. A knight was ALWAYS allowed to bear his sword (and in fact might even be considered undressed without it.) Commoners could OWN one, but were not allowed to carry it INSIDE A TOWN, unless they were right now on duty in the town militia, or in exceptional circumstances like when a hue and cry had been raised. Outside the town, though, knock yourself out. Carry all the weapons you want.
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Which part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?
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Old 12th October 2018, 06:15 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
If by nice car you mean a new Ferrari (or two), yeah, that might be a good comparison
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While production of bronze may have needed some state support, I don't think ownership and sales were regulated. There was a flourishing trade network, and in fact you needed one to have any good bronze in the first place. I'm fairly sure that, worst case scenario, if the local king is too much of a git about it, you could go to the next town down the stream and sell it to someone, or find a merchant who'll take it off your hands.
As far as I understood it, almost all the trade during those times went through the palace/kings. They were the ones who send away stuff for trading. At least the important and valuable stuff.
That is. If I understood Prof. Eric Clines book correctly.

That seems to be one reason why the bronze age civilization back then vanished. The kings died/were deposed and there was nothing to replace them with. No trading network to take up the slack, so to say.

It was only during the iron age that we see things like private traders emerging.

But that goes way off topic and also only accounts for the eastern Mediterranean and not for other places in Europe.
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Old 12th October 2018, 06:44 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
If you have limited ability to collect loot, and are relying on carrying it yourself and see both a broken and an intact sword, which would you take?
I was originally thinking of the damaged ones falling where they wouldn't be seen so nobody's making that choice.

But the idea of deliberate or even ritual breaking gives another solution. That could be done not only for burial but also for other purposes, such as to rub a loss in the losers' faces by breaking their weapons in front of them.
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Old 12th October 2018, 07:27 AM   #65
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on the subject of ritually "killing" of swords , I always assumed that the sword obviously couldn't be complete in both this world and the next, so spirit swords had to die like people
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Old 12th October 2018, 10:01 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
I was originally thinking of the damaged ones falling where they wouldn't be seen so nobody's making that choice.

But the idea of deliberate or even ritual breaking gives another solution. That could be done not only for burial but also for other purposes, such as to rub a loss in the losers' faces by breaking their weapons in front of them.
That makes no sense, though. If you capture a good and uber-expensive weapon, you use it. Look at all the use of captured enemy tanks in WW1 and even WW2, or at how the Germans just used all the 76mm Soviet AT guns they could get their mitts on.

And the ancient world certainly wasn't the kind of modern post-scarcity world, where even much cheaper things would be considered discardable. Anything that could be repaired, you would repair. Anything you could salvage, you salvaged. Especially metal on the battlefields, the victors would pick it clean of everything that they could find.
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Which part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?
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Old 12th October 2018, 11:54 AM   #67
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@jimbob
That's not how it worked, though. When we find a tomb with tomb goods, all the way back to stone age, they're ALMOST invariably in good shape and usable. Well, or rather, they were at the time they were put in the tomb. The idea that to take a sword with you, you'd have to break it, is Discworld kinda fantasy. On the REAL Earth, people were GENERALLY buried with good weapons and other items.

I mean, look for example at the Bronze Age tomb found at Pylos in Greece in about 2015. Out of the about 1400 items (that's not a typo, btw) they found that rich dude buried with, exactly NONE had been "killed" to accompany him in the afterlife. In fact, the only damage anyone could find was from a tomb above it collapsing through the ceiling of the burial chamber, and squashing the skeleton and a few items too close to it.

His sword and dagger, were not only in good condition, but placed by his right hand, ready to use.

As the Cap'n said earlier, sacrifices where you'd destroy a sword (or some other sacrifice) tended to be more like to spirits and gods. So you'd break a sword and chuck it into a bog, to appease the local gods or spirits. Just like you'd do when you killed a dude and chucked him in the bog as a sacrifice. It had to do with it being a sacrifice, rather than with sending its spirit anywhere.
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Old 12th October 2018, 12:08 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
@jimbob
That's not how it worked, though. When we find a tomb with tomb goods, all the way back to stone age, they're ALMOST invariably in good shape and usable. Well, or rather, they were at the time they were put in the tomb. The idea that to take a sword with you, you'd have to break it, is Discworld kinda fantasy. On the REAL Earth, people were GENERALLY buried with good weapons and other items.

I mean, look for example at the Bronze Age tomb found at Pylos in Greece in about 2015. Out of the about 1400 items (that's not a typo, btw) they found that rich dude buried with, exactly NONE had been "killed" to accompany him in the afterlife. In fact, the only damage anyone could find was from a tomb above it collapsing through the ceiling of the burial chamber, and squashing the skeleton and a few items too close to it.

His sword and dagger, were not only in good condition, but placed by his right hand, ready to use.

As the Cap'n said earlier, sacrifices where you'd destroy a sword (or some other sacrifice) tended to be more like to spirits and gods. So you'd break a sword and chuck it into a bog, to appease the local gods or spirits. Just like you'd do when you killed a dude and chucked him in the bog as a sacrifice. It had to do with it being a sacrifice, rather than with sending its spirit anywhere.
I was thinking of those, as opposed to stuff that was buried and presumably put into the realm of the dead in the actual tomb as opposed to in the wider outside.

Why were the swords broken when they were sacrificed? If you are chucking them into a body of water, they'd not be recoverable either way.
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Old 12th October 2018, 12:08 PM   #69
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Romans certainly had items made just to be sacrificed. Lots have been recovered from wells, streams, bogs etc. Usually miniature versions of weapons or household objects (depending on the god and who was making the offering)
Although Romans with some money would pledge to have an alter made to a god if whatever it was they were requesting came to pass.
All along Hadrians Wall there are alter stones inscribed as being offered in fulfilment of a pledge. Even there miniature alters are found, I suppose size depended on how much cash you had to spend on them.

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Old 12th October 2018, 12:34 PM   #70
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Nice discussion.

Is it possible that the rivets allowed the blade to be replaced if it got damaged?

Could they grind off the rivets, and replace the blade?
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Old 12th October 2018, 02:06 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by LTC8K6 View Post
Nice discussion.

Is it possible that the rivets allowed the blade to be replaced if it got damaged?

Could they grind off the rivets, and replace the blade?
Probably close to the truth. It could be, the pomel and the blade were forged by two separate craftsmen. An ancient blacksmith would be used to forging farm implements, and thus, as with most hunting knives, for example, the handle would be quite separate from the body of the tool.

The pompel needs to be ergonomically designed so it doesn't slip the hand nor lets the blade injure it. A blade will be fashioned with different USP's, mainly sharpness and quality.
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Old 12th October 2018, 02:19 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
--snip--

Bear in mind, by the sixteenth century, battles in a field were relatively rare, with most warfare being sieges of castles and forts,

--snip--
Without intending a derail, I am interested in how you reached this conclusion. The evidence does not support it. If discussion goes past a post or two we can start another thread.
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Old 12th October 2018, 04:05 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by LTC8K6 View Post
Nice discussion.

Is it possible that the rivets allowed the blade to be replaced if it got damaged?

Could they grind off the rivets, and replace the blade?
It most certainly was possible to take the blade off the hilt. And really you HAD to, if a rivet had shorn through the blade and you wanted to fix or re-cast the blade.

I'm still not sure why they didn't choose a sturdier way of putting them together, though, so you don't have to take it apart for repairs as often. I mean, sure, it helps with... the problem that that construction style created in the first place.

Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Probably close to the truth. It could be, the pomel and the blade were forged by two separate craftsmen. An ancient blacksmith would be used to forging farm implements, and thus, as with most hunting knives, for example, the handle would be quite separate from the body of the tool.
I'm guessing probably not just by a different craftsman, but, at a wild guess, probably from a less expensive grade of bronze too. You don't really need your handle to be made from 25% tin, and from the imported copper with arsenic impurities, since there any kind of torque where the toughness of the short handle made any difference... well, your hand is the much weaker link there anyway.

Plus, as was mentioned before, all the way through that age, there were swords with handles that weren't bronze at all. E.g., the rich dude at Pylos had IIRC an ivory handle. Which is probably where the riveting came from.

And then there are the ones mentioned before, which were basically fakes. The whole sword would be cast as one piece of the cheapest bronze, and would have fake rivet heads on the cross. You know, to look like the expensive ones.

Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
The pompel needs to be ergonomically designed so it doesn't slip the hand nor lets the blade injure it. A blade will be fashioned with different USP's, mainly sharpness and quality.
Well, tbh they weren't the most ergonomic hilts, or we'd still be making that kind of mini-hilts. But I suppose they were just about as ergonomic as you could get at the time.
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Old 12th October 2018, 04:13 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by Garrette View Post
Without intending a derail, I am interested in how you reached this conclusion. The evidence does not support it. If discussion goes past a post or two we can start another thread.
Unfortunately, by the sixteenth century, the more common form of warfare was to lay seige to a castle (or a walled city) - by camping outside of it - and if successful, all occupants inside slaughtered.

See battle of Blekinge (_sp?) Danish territory, stormed by the Swedes. All 2,000 occupants massacred. Scorched earth policy. (Northern Seven Years War circa 1563- 1570.)

Of course there were still pitched battles in battlefields, e.g., Battle of Ergeme but these were less common by then.
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Old 12th October 2018, 05:17 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Unfortunately, by the sixteenth century, the more common form of warfare was to lay seige to a castle (or a walled city) - by camping outside of it - and if successful, all occupants inside slaughtered.

See battle of Blekinge (_sp?) Danish territory, stormed by the Swedes. All 2,000 occupants massacred. Scorched earth policy. (Northern Seven Years War circa 1563- 1570.)

Of course there were still pitched battles in battlefields, e.g., Battle of Ergeme but these were less common by then.
An example of a siege and massacre occurring is not evidence they were the more common form of warfare. The claim simply does not stand. The closest you will get is that in many instances, cities or fortresses we're the ultimate targets of campaigns, but that is an entirely different thing.

This topic is my bailiwick, so I'd love to continue it, but not in this thread. Do you may have the last word here, and I will join if you care to start another thread.
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Old 12th October 2018, 06:45 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by LTC8K6 View Post
Is it possible that the rivets allowed the blade to be replaced if it got damaged?
Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Probably close to the truth. It could be, the pomel and the blade were forged by two separate craftsmen. An ancient blacksmith would be used to forging farm implements, and thus, as with most hunting knives, for example, the handle would be quite separate from the body of the tool.
Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I'm guessing probably not just by a different craftsman, but, at a wild guess, probably from a less expensive grade of bronze too. You don't really need your handle to be made from 25% tin, and from the imported copper with arsenic impurities, since there any kind of torque where the toughness of the short handle made any difference... well, your hand is the much weaker link there anyway.

Plus, as was mentioned before, all the way through that age, there were swords with handles that weren't bronze at all. E.g., the rich dude at Pylos had IIRC an ivory handle. Which is probably where the riveting came from.
I have no doubt that the idea of riveting originated in metal blades attached to ivory/bone/wood hilts. But that still leaves the conundrum of why the rivets would be so close to that edge.
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Old 12th October 2018, 07:50 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
I have no doubt that the idea of riveting originated in metal blades attached to ivory/bone/wood hilts. But that still leaves the conundrum of why the rivets would be so close to that edge.
Insufficient edge margin, the stress analysts called that at the airplane factory. The radius to the edge was supposed to be something like three times the radius of the rivet. But those guys hadn't figured that out yet.
Oh, and those pictures of the broken one are WAY to reminiscent of my knee after I fell off the roof.
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Old 12th October 2018, 08:11 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
I have no doubt that the idea of riveting originated in metal blades attached to ivory/bone/wood hilts. But that still leaves the conundrum of why the rivets would be so close to that edge.
Yeah, that is one very good question.
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Old 12th October 2018, 08:42 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by erwinl View Post
As far as I understood it, almost all the trade during those times went through the palace/kings. They were the ones who send away stuff for trading. At least the important and valuable stuff.
That is. If I understood Prof. Eric Clines book correctly.
Well, especially for military stuff, they kinda had to anyway. Plus, if we're talking very expensive stuff, sure, the guy who could afford that the most was sitting on the throne. So generally it's not wrong.

I just don't recall finding any code of laws that says "thou shalt not trade in bronze, only the king is allowed to." You find very early stuff like the duty to take part in campaigns, or compensate those you send in your place if you can afford to, etc, but I don't recall seeing any rule that says you can't sell your old sword to someone else. Is all I'm saying.

Originally Posted by erwinl View Post
That seems to be one reason why the bronze age civilization back then vanished. The kings died/were deposed and there was nothing to replace them with. No trading network to take up the slack, so to say.
It's believable in some places, but it also sort of doesn't add up in others, IMHO.

As Pacal said before, the Egyptians and Assyrians managed to resist the Sea People. (But the Egyptians and Assyrians were the ONLY ones, and were severely weakened in the process, so I still maintain that the Sea People raids were quite deadly.) If anyone could afford to still send a convoy to trade, surely the mighty king of Assyria or the Pharaoh of mighty Egypt would have been it. Both commanded vast economies and wealth. They could more than pick up the slack for importing the good ores, if some minor city state competitors dropped out.

Yet the trade network still collapses. Epically, even.

So IMHO -- but again with the caveat that I'm not a real historian, so nobody has to care about MHO -- it's a bit from column A, a bit from column B. As in, the collapse of the trade network would be both cause and effect in that chaos. Possibly some kind of domino effect.

Originally Posted by erwinl View Post
It was only during the iron age that we see things like private traders emerging.
Which returns us back to what I was trying to say.

Basically, I'm not sure about that. We have plenty of private sales records from Old Kingdom Egypt, for example. Sure, the king would do some bulk trade for big quantities of this or that, especially supplies and materials for the army and navy, but you could still go buy or sell a rug or a couple of slaves from another private person. And I really see no legal reason or otherwise why you couldn't just go buy or sell a sword.

Plus, in Egypt the monetary values (long before there were actual coins) were in deben of various metals. The deben really was more coin value than unit of weight, because a deben of gold was a different weight than a deben of silver or than a deben of copper. So kinda the ultimate fiat money, in that it didn't even actually exist as money.

But at any rate, the prices were expressed in weights of metals. For example a young literate slave could be worth 10 deben of, say, copper. That's what you could get for selling the dude. Now this would typically be paid in something else (rugs, grain, pots, whatever) worth those 10 deben. But to my mind that says there must have been the possibility to just get the copper in exchange, or they wouldn't have expressed the prices in that kind of units.
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