Bronze Age swords appeared from around the 17th century BC, in the Black Sea region and the Aegean, as a further development of the dagger. They were replaced by iron swords during the early part of the 1st millennium BC.
From an early time the swords reached lengths in excess of 100 cm. The technology to produce blades of such lengths appears to have been developed in the Aegean, using alloys of copper and tin or arsenic, around 1700 BC. Bronze Age swords were typically not longer than 80 cm; weapons significantly shorter than 60 cm are variously categorized as short swords or daggers. Before about 1400 BC swords remained mostly limited to the Aegean and southeastern Europe, but they became more widespread in the final centuries of the 2nd millennium BC, to Central Europe and Britain, to the Near East, Central Asia, Northern India and to China.
Before bronze, stone (such as flint and obsidian) was used as the primary material for edged cutting tools and weapons. Stone, however, is too brittle for long, thin implements such as swords. With the introduction of copper, and subsequently bronze, knives could be made longer, leading to the sword.
Thus, the development of the sword from the dagger was gradual, and in 2004 the first "swords" were claimed for the Early Bronze Age (c. 33rd to 31st centuries), based on finds at Arslantepe by Marcella Frangipane, professor of Prehistory and Protohistory of the Near and Middle East at Sapienza University of Rome.A cache of nine swords and daggers was found; they are made of arsenic-copper alloy. Among them, three swords were inlaid with silver.
These are the weapons of a total length of 45 to 60 cm which could be described as either short swords or long daggers. Some other similar swords have been found in Turkey, and are described by Thomas Zimmermann.An exceptionally well-preserved example, similar in construction to the Arslantepe swords, was discovered in 2017 in the Venetian Monastery of Lazarus.
The sword remained extremely rare for another millennium, and became more widespread only with the closing of the 3rd millennium. The "swords" of this later period can still readily be interpreted as daggers, as with the copper specimen from Naxos (dated roughly 2800 to 2300 BC), with a length of just below 36 cm, but individual specimens of the Cycladic "copper swords" of the period around 2300 reach a length up to 60 cm. The first weapons that can unambiguously be classified as swords are those found in Minoan Crete, dated to about 1700 BC, which reach lengths of more than 100 cm. These are the "type A" swords of the Aegean Bronze Age.
The Minoan and Mycenaean (Middle to Late Aegean Bronze Age) swords are classified in types labeled A to H following Sandars (1961, 1963), the "Sandars typology". Types A and B (Tab-tang) are the earliest from about the 17th to 16th centuries, types C (Horned swords) and D (Cross swords) from the 15th century, types E and F (T-hilt swords) from the 13th and 12th. The 13th to 12th centuries also see a revival of the "Horned" type, classified as types G and H.Type H swords are associated with the Sea Peoples and were found in Anatolia (Pergamon ) and Greece. Contemporary with types E to H is the so-called Naue II type, imported from south-eastern Europe.
One of the most important, and longest-lasting, types of prehistoric European swords was the Naue II type, named for Julius Naue who first described them and also known as Griffzungenschwert or "grip-tongue sword". It first appears in c. the 13th century BC in Northern Italy (or a general Urnfield background), and survived well into the Iron Age, with a life-span of about seven centuries, until the 6th century BC. During its lifetime the basic design was maintained, although the material changed from bronze to iron. Naue II swords were exported from Europe to the Aegean, and as far afield as Ugarit, beginning about 1200 BC, i.e. just a few decades before the final collapse of the palace cultures in the Bronze Age collapse. cm, but most specimens fall into the 60 to 70 cm range.Naue II swords could be as long as 85
Swords from the Nordic Bronze Age appear from ca. the 13th century BC, often showing characteristic spiral patterns. The early Nordic swords are also comparatively short; a specimen discovered in 1912 near Bragby, Uppland, Sweden, dated to about 1800 to 1500 BC, was just over 60 cm long. This sword was, however, classified as of the Hajdúsámson-Apa type, and was presumably imported. The Vreta Kloster sword discovered in 1897 (dated 1600 to 1500 BC) has a blade length (the hilt is missing) of 46 cm.
A typical variant for European swords is the leaf shaped blade, which was most common in North-West Europe at the end of the Bronze Age, on the British Isles in particular. The carp's tongue sword is a type of bronze sword that was common to Western Europe during ca. the 9th to 8th centuries BC. The blade of the carp's tongue sword was wide and parallel for most of its length but the final third narrowed into a thin tip intended for thrusting. The design was probably developed in north-western France, and combined the broad blade useful for slashing with a thinner, elongated tip suitable for thrusting. Its advantages saw its adoption across Atlantic Europe. In Britain, the metalwork in the south east derived its name from this sword: the Carp's Tongue complex. Notable examples of this type were part of the Isleham Hoard.
The Bronze Age style sword and construction methods died out at the end of the early Iron Age (Hallstatt D), around 600-500 BC, when swords are once again replaced by daggers in most of Europe. An exception is the Xiphos from Greece, the development of which continued for several more centuries. The antenna sword, named for the pair of ornaments suggesting antennae on its hilt,is a type of the Late Bronze Age, continued in early iron swords of the East Hallstatt and Italy region.
Sword production in China is attested from the Bronze Age Shang Dynasty, from roughly 1200 BC. The technology for bronze swords reached its high point during the Warring States period and Qin Dynasty (221 BC – 207 BC). Amongst the Warring States period swords, some unique technologies were used, such as casting high-tin edges over softer, lower-tin cores, or the application of diamond shaped patterns on the blade (see the sword of Gou Jian). Also unique for Chinese bronzes is the consistent use of high-tin bronze (17-21% tin), which is very hard and breaks under excess stress, whereas other cultures preferred lower tin bronze (usually 10%), which bends instead. China continued to make both iron and bronze swords longer than any other region; iron completely replaced bronze only in the early Han Dynasty.[ citation needed ]
Swords have been recovered in archaeological findings of the Ochre Coloured Pottery culture throughout the Ganges-Yamuna Doab region of India, commonly made of copper, but in some instances made of bronze. Diverse specimens have been discovered in Fatehgarh, where there are several varieties of hilt. These swords have been variously dated to periods between 1700-1400 BC, but were probably used more extensively during 1200-600 BC (Painted Grey Ware culture, Iron Age India).
Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of other metals and sometimes non-metals or metalloids such as arsenic, phosphorus or silicon. These additions produce a range of alloys that may be harder than copper alone, or have other useful properties, such as strength, ductility, or machinability.
The Bronze Age is a prehistoric period, approximately 3300 BCE to 1200 BCE, that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron system, as proposed in modern times by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen, for classifying and studying ancient societies.
The Chalcolithic, a name derived from the Greek: χαλκός khalkós, "copper" and from λίθος líthos, "stone" or Copper Age, also known as the Eneolithic or Aeneolithic is an archaeological period which researchers now regard as part of the broader Neolithic. Earlier scholars defined it as a transitional period between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age. In the context of Eastern Europe, archaeologists often prefer the term "Eneolithic" to "Chalcolithic" or other alternatives.
A dagger is a knife with a very sharp point and usually two sharp edges, typically designed or capable of being used as a thrusting or stabbing weapon. Daggers have been used throughout human history for close combat confrontations, and many cultures have used adorned daggers in ritual and ceremonial contexts. The distinctive shape and historic usage of the dagger have made it iconic and symbolic. A dagger in the modern sense is a weapon designed for close-proximity combat or self-defense; due to its use in historic weapon assemblages, it has associations with assassination and murders. Double-edged knives, however, play different sorts of roles in different social contexts.
The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of humanity. It was preceded by the Bronze Age and the Stone Age. The concept has been mostly applied to Europe and the Ancient Near East, but also, by analogy, to other parts of the Old World.
A sword is a bladed melee weapon intended for cutting or thrusting that is longer than a knife or dagger, consisting of a long blade attached to a hilt. The precise definition of the term varies with the historical epoch or the geographic region under consideration. The blade can be straight or curved. Thrusting swords have a pointed tip on the blade, and tend to be straighter; slashing swords have a sharpened cutting edge on one or both sides of the blade, and are more likely to be curved. Many swords are designed for both thrusting and slashing.
A halberd is a two-handed pole weapon that came to prominent use during the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. The word halberd is most likely equivalent to the German word Hellebarde, deriving from Middle High German halm (handle) and barte (battleaxe) joined to form helmbarte. Troops that used the weapon were called halberdiers.
Gladius is a Latin word meaning "sword", but in its narrow sense, it refers to the sword of Ancient Roman foot soldiers. Early ancient Roman swords were similar to those of the Greeks, called xiphe. From the 3rd century BC, however, the Romans adopted a sword based on the weapons used by the Celtiberians in Hispania late into the Punic Wars, known in Latin as the gladius hispaniensis, or "Hispanic sword".
The Sherden are one of the several ethnic groups the Sea Peoples were said to be composed of, appearing in fragmentary historical and iconographic records from the eastern Mediterranean in the late 2nd millennium BC.
The spatha was a type of straight and long sword, measuring between 0.5 and 1 m, with a handle length between 18 and 20 cm, in use in the territory of the Roman Empire during the 1st to 6th centuries AD. Later swords, from the 7th to 10th centuries, like the Viking swords, are recognizable derivatives and sometimes subsumed under the term spatha.
The Hallstatt culture was the predominant Western and Central European culture of Late Bronze Age from the 12th to 8th centuries BC and Early Iron Age Europe from the 8th to 6th centuries BC, developing out of the Urnfield culture of the 12th century BC and followed in much of its area by the La Tène culture. It is commonly associated with Proto-Celtic populations. Older assumptions of the early 20th century of Illyrians having been the bearers of especially the Eastern Hallstatt culture are indefensable and archeologically unsubstantiated.
The xiphos is a double-edged, one-handed Iron Age straight shortsword used by the ancient Greeks. It was a secondary battlefield weapon for the Greek armies after the dory or javelin. The classic blade was generally about 45–60 cm (18–24 in) long, although the Spartans supposedly preferred to use blades as short as 30 cm (12 in) around the era of the Greco-Persian Wars. The xiphos sometimes has a midrib, and is diamond or lenticular in cross-section. It was a rather light weapon, with a weight around 450 to 900 grams or 1-2 lbs. It was generally hung from a baldric under the left arm. The xiphos was generally used only when the spear was broken, taken by the enemy, or discarded for close combat. Very few xiphe are known to have survived.
The pugio was a dagger used by Roman soldiers as a sidearm. It seems likely that the pugio was intended as an auxiliary weapon, but its exact purpose for the soldier remains unknown. Officials of the empire took to wearing ornate daggers in the performance of their offices, and some would wear concealed daggers for defense in contingencies. The dagger was a common weapon of assassination and suicide; for example, the conspirators who stabbed Julius Caesar used pugiones. The pugio developed from the daggers used by the Cantabarians of the Iberian peninsula.
Melid also known as Arslantepe was an ancient city on the Tohma River, a tributary of the upper Euphrates rising in the Taurus Mountains. It has been identified with modern archaeological site Arslantepe near Malatya, Turkey.
Ferrous metallurgy, the metallurgy of iron and its alloys, began in prehistory. The earliest surviving iron artifacts, from the 4th millennium BC in Egypt, were made from meteoritic iron-nickel. It is not known when or where the smelting of iron from ores began, but by the end of the 2nd millennium BC iron was being produced from iron ores from at least Greece to India, and in Sub-Saharan Africa. The use of wrought iron was known by the 1st millennium BC, and its spread defined the Iron Age. During the medieval period, smiths in Europe found a way of producing wrought iron from cast iron using finery forges. All these processes required charcoal as fuel.
The European Bronze Age is characterized by bronze artifacts and the use of bronze implements. The regional Bronze Age succeeds the Neolithic. It starts with the Aegean Bronze Age in 3200 BC (succeeded by the Beaker culture), and spans the entire 2nd millennium BC in Northern Europe, lasting until c. 600 BC.
Swords made of iron appear from the Early Iron Age, but do not become widespread before the 8th century BC.
Nonferrous Archaeometallurgy in the Southern Levant refers to the archaeological study of non-Iron-related metal technology in the region of the Southern Levant during the Chalcolithic period and Bronze Age from approximately 4500BC to 1000BC.
Julius Naue was a German painter, illustrator and archaeologist.
Caesar's Camp is an Iron Age hill fort straddling the border of the counties of Surrey and Hampshire in southern England. The fort straddles the borough of Waverley in Surrey and the borough of Rushmoor and the district of Hart, both in Hampshire. Caesar's Camp is a Scheduled Ancient Monument with a list entry identification number of 1007895. It lies approximately 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) north of the town of Farnham, and a similar distance west of Aldershot. The hillfort lies entirely within the Bourley and Long Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest. Caesar's Camp is a multivallate hillfort, a fort with multiple defensive rings, occupying an irregular promontory, with an entrance on the south side. The site has been much disturbed by military activity, especially at the southeast corner. The remains of the hillfort are considered to be of national importance.
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