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Old 18th October 2018, 06:49 AM   #81
HansMustermann
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Well, the question definitely has merit, and is a good question to ask, but the thing is: most but not all. We have battle finds too.

E.g., see the Tollense find, a pretty large battle for northern Europe late 2nd millenium BCE. I recall three different sword types, plus a sword blade without the handle, in addition to clubs, spear heads, axes, etc. I suspect the reason we found so many is because it was a total slaughter, with so many corpses packed together that it might have been hard to scavenge every bit of metal there.

Anyway, those are battlefield finds, and they're riveted IIRC. I have no reason to believe that the corpses on the battlefield had their war weapons replaced with burial weapons, among other reasons being the fact that they didn't actually get a burial.
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Old 19th October 2018, 10:32 AM   #82
jimbob
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Originally Posted by TX50 View Post
Since most of these come from graves, how do we know they are even meant to be functioning battlefield articles? Might they not be symbolic - the Bronze age equivalent of "wall hangers" or ten dollar katanas. It's long been argued over by archaeologists whether a sword in a grave actually automatically means "warrior".
Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, the question definitely has merit, and is a good question to ask, but the thing is: most but not all. We have battle finds too.

E.g., see the Tollense find, a pretty large battle for northern Europe late 2nd millenium BCE. I recall three different sword types, plus a sword blade without the handle, in addition to clubs, spear heads, axes, etc. I suspect the reason we found so many is because it was a total slaughter, with so many corpses packed together that it might have been hard to scavenge every bit of metal there.

Anyway, those are battlefield finds, and they're riveted IIRC. I have no reason to believe that the corpses on the battlefield had their war weapons replaced with burial weapons, among other reasons being the fact that they didn't actually get a burial.
There is also the stupendous expense of bronze at the time. I don't think anybody would be wealthy enough that they wouldn't be better spending their wealth turning that bronze into actual equipment for retainers.
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Old 19th October 2018, 10:34 AM   #83
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meanwhile not Bronze age, but 1500 years ago:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeands...e-saga-vanecek

A real feelgood story

Quote:
I was crawling along the bottom of the lake on my arms and knees, looking for stones to skim, when my hand and knee felt something long and hard buried in the clay and sand. I pulled it out and saw that it was different from the sticks or rocks I usually find. One end had a point, and the other had a handle, so I pointed it up to the sky, put my other hand on my hip and called out, “Daddy, I’ve found a sword!”

I felt like a warrior, but Daddy said I looked like Pippi Longstocking. The sword felt rough and hard, and I got some sticky, icky brown rust on my hands. It started to bend and Daddy splashed up to me, and said I should let him hold it. It was my sword and now he was taking it away! I gave it to him in the end.

I ran to my mamma and my mormor – my grandma – and some other relatives who were all sitting outside having fika, which is Swedish for having a sit-down with coffee and cookies. I was yelling, “I found a sword, I found a sword!” Daddy went to show it to our neighbours, whose family has lived in the village for more than 100 years, and they said it looked like a Viking sword. Daddy didn’t get to watch the football in the end.

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OECD healthcare spending
Expenditure on healthcare
http://www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/health-data.htm
link is 2015 data (2013 Data below):
UK 8.5% of GDP of which 83.3% is public expenditure - 7.1% of GDP is public spending
US 16.4% of GDP of which 48.2% is public expenditure - 7.9% of GDP is public spending

Last edited by jimbob; 19th October 2018 at 10:36 AM.
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Old 19th October 2018, 10:50 AM   #84
Hellbound
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
meanwhile not Bronze age, but 1500 years ago:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeands...e-saga-vanecek

A real feelgood story
He pulled a sword out of a lake?

Does that mean he's King now?

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Old 19th October 2018, 10:55 AM   #85
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Originally Posted by Hellbound View Post
He pulled a sword out of a lake?

Does that mean he's King now?

Well:

Quote:
People on the internet are saying I am the queen of Sweden, because in the legend of King Arthur, he was given a sword by a lady in a lake, and that meant he would become king. I am not a lady – I’m only eight – but it’s true I found a sword in the lake. I wouldn’t mind being queen for a day, but when I grow up I want to be a vet. Or an actor in Paris.

The rest of the story is great - an eight year old girl recounting her find and rightly excited by it.
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OECD healthcare spending
Expenditure on healthcare
http://www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/health-data.htm
link is 2015 data (2013 Data below):
UK 8.5% of GDP of which 83.3% is public expenditure - 7.1% of GDP is public spending
US 16.4% of GDP of which 48.2% is public expenditure - 7.9% of GDP is public spending
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Old 19th October 2018, 12:29 PM   #86
Hellbound
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
Well:




The rest of the story is great - an eight year old girl recounting her find and rightly excited by it.
Doh! I should have read the article, instead of just your excerpt
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Old 19th October 2018, 03:16 PM   #87
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
There is also the stupendous expense of bronze at the time. I don't think anybody would be wealthy enough that they wouldn't be better spending their wealth turning that bronze into actual equipment for retainers.
Well... people were buried with those uber-expensive swords anyway. Some also with jewellery, bronze items, etc. Some were buried with the equivalent of military medals (e.g., that was in the shape of flies in Egypt) which were often made from precious metals or, again, bronze.

Thing is, though, far as we can tell, people actually believed that you CAN take it with you. Stuff put in a tomb wasn't wasted as we'd think about it now, but basically still in the possession of the deceased. At least in Egypt and Mesopotamia we KNOW that they actually believed that you could put stuff in a tomb (and in Egypt they even left an extra room or later temples by the pyramids where you could put MORE stuff) and the deceased would have those in the afterlife. In other places we don't have a written history at the time, but basically since the Neanderthals, grave goods tended to be fully functional and useful, So it seems to fit the same kind of thinking that the late grandpa could actually use his axe that he was buried with.

So think of your question the other way around. If you were still able to use a certain weapon, would you rather it stays with you, or that it's given to some retainer, leaving you defenseless? I mean, sure, you're dead at the time, but you still need a weapon.

And that brings us to the more important point. The weapons they put in graves had to be useful for the deceased in the afterlife, not just decorative. So they didn't just cast some fake sword from the cheapest low-tin bronze. It had to be a good and fitting weapon for the late king or chieftain to wear in the afterlife. It had a blade of the best weapon-grade bronze, work-hardened to a perfect hard edge, etc.

Which also tells me that actually we CAN take tomb weapons to be representative of actual war weapons from the same era. Think about it. If YOU actually believed that grandpa could use, say, a handgun in the afterlife, and in fact might NEED one, you'd bury him with a good and functional one. Maybe his old service M1911, or maybe you'd buy a good one, but you wouldn't give him a toy gun or some obsolete flintlock pistol. So basically that's my take on the grave swords from that era too.

Plus again, many show signs of battle damage and many of those show signs of repair. Like hammering a new edge to even out the nicks. So it's a fair guess that they actually had been used in some kind of fighting, and probably were actually the deceased's weapons.
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Old 25th October 2018, 10:44 PM   #88
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I'm curious if the design of the swords leaning towards thrusting over slashing has more to do with upkeep than anything else. I would imagine that it is much more time consuming to maintain an edge along the length of the blade than to hone a nice sharp point at the end. I would also expect a sharp point to remain in decent enough shape through the duration of a battle where a long edge would quickly become dull and largely ineffective. If this is the case, I would expect training to focus on keeping your blade useful to you for as long as possible.
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Old 25th October 2018, 10:47 PM   #89
arthwollipot
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Bronze is a soft metal. It's easier to keep a sword straight if you only thrust with it. Cutting and chopping puts a sideways stress on the blade, which can cause it to twist or bend. So yes, you'd need to keep straightening it for it to remain usable.

I suspect that many bronze-age swords probably lasted for a single battle, then had to be discarded. Another reason, I guess, why maces were popular at the time.
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Old 26th October 2018, 10:14 AM   #90
HansMustermann
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Actually, the best guess is that then it had to be repaired, because it was too incredibly expensive to just throw away. Worst case scenario, you could melt and re-cast it.

But otherwise, yes, I wouldn't be surprised if most of them needed extensive repairs or re-casting after one battle.
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Old 12th November 2018, 08:04 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
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.)
Given that the records of this time period are bluntly very, very poor, your categorical statement that the Egyptians and Assyrians were the only ones to successfully resist the Sea Peoples is dubious in the extreme. We simply don't have the historical records available to make such a statement. Oh and the Neo Hittite kingdoms, along with the costal Phoenician city states were largely successful it appears in fighting them off.

Secondly the statement that the Assyrians were "weakened" at this time is very, very dubious. Assyria in fact in the 12th century B.C.E., greatly expanded in size and power. The decline that overtook the much of the rest of the Middle East didn't start to affect
Assyria until , t the earliest late 12th century. And only became obvious after c. 1060 B.C.E.

And of course the whole idea of the Sea People's overthrowing various societies depends very much on the interpretation and over interpretation of certain Egyptian inscriptions, most especially those of Egyptian Pharaoh Rameses III. For example the barbarians that attacked the Assyrian Empire were a motely group of displace peoples and tribes that began to attack Assyria at least one generation after the collapse of the Hittite Empire and were successfully dealt with for c. a century before Assyria began to decline.

As for the fall of the Hittite Empire. The idea that Sea Peoples overthrew the Empire and sacked the capital Hattasis c. 1200 B.C.E., is extremely unlikely the usual candidate given in the past is the Kassa people who lived in eastern Asia minor and had been enemies of the Hittite Empire for centuries. And of course given that it appears that the Sea Peoples were bound to ships traveling has far inland has Hattasis seems dubious.

Finally recent archeological work seems to indicate that towards the end of the Empire Hattasis was not sacked by invaders but abandoned and the population moved to the south. The first indications of renewed settlement in the area is about a generation later, about the same time Assyrian inscriptions record threats from the North for the first time. In fact some are claiming that the site, Hattasis, may have been abandoned and reoccupied more than once before the final abandonment.

It is interesting to record that in the surviving records of Pylos and other sites in Greece there is little to indicate an external threat to the Palace states. It appears that what overtook them was relatively suddenly. And quite amazingly the sacked palaces have virtually nothing to tell us about who did it. This has lead some to conclude that the destruction of the Palaces in Greece was the result of local developments.

The Egyptian and Assyrian inscriptions would appear to indicate that during this chaotic period large numbers of refugees, etc., were created among those were those the Egyptians called the Sea Peoples. And these people were the flotsum and Jetsum created by the collapse of the late Bronze Age states and it appears not the cause of the collapse at all but the consequence.

The fact that the malaise persisted for centuries and in fact spread shows that the causes were deep and it appears signs were beginning to happen late in the reign of Rameses I, the Great. After the initial disasters Egypt continued to decay, and so did Assyria. And both Babylonia and Assyria were affected by waves of Aramaic settlers. BY 900 B.C.E. with the exception of a few bright spots, (Notably much of Phoenicia and the neo-Hittite states.), the economic m, cultural malaise was quite dominant over the entire region.

Frankly a purely ,or nearly purely, military explanation doesn't work for this disaster. My suspicion is a type of system collapse brought on by a fundamental shift in how the states related to each other. ( Something like climate change, a shift in trading patterns etc., all of the above etc.)
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