Thursday, January 1, 2015

The history of the sword In New Year 2015

The history of the sword (1): Gladius and sleep.

From time to time I talk about different interesting swords.
However, they were not all of a sudden - its shape, length, width, they have received in the course of a long evolution.
The history of the sword is a very interesting thing. Let's observe it. Let's start with ancient Rome.
Roman legionary and gladius

Gladius - the conqueror of the world.

Roman sword we are present at least in general terms. It's a pretty short arms, so it seems surprising, as the legionaries with it conquered half the world.
The secret is simple. For those conditions in which the Roman legionaries fought, and nothing else was needed. Form weapons dictated the conditions in which it was applied.
Just imagine.
Roman legionnaires in the ranks
Wall panels over which sparkle helmets, moves to the barbarians, and those urging death, run towards the legionaries.
Strike! Troops face, but break through the wall of shields is impossible. The Romans take blows on their shields and tightly holding system.
But suddenly, the monolith is expanded. For a split second legionnaires reveal panels and applied to the Germans lightning thrusting swords.
A moment later the shields again merge into a single solid wall.
Presented? As you can see, neither of which an elegant fencing with such tactics can not be considered. Hence it follows and modest by today's standards, the size of the sword. However, the story of the sword is not one, not two centuries have written it short gladius. What's the matter, because it is more convenient to get the long sword of the enemy?
Gladius in combat
It's simple. Gladius - not just a Roman sword. This is the sword of the Roman infantry. Cavalry swords used by another, longer and more comfortable because when working with a horse.
As for the infantry, it was fighting systems, ie initially in distress. When the order of the Legion violated, and this happened in the battle, the distance is reduced only slightly.
As you know, at close range longsword loses its stopping power - the closer to the hand of a warrior, the weaker blow. Therefore, in distress need short blade. Thus became gladius.
In addition, the relatively modest size of the sword had another big plus. The quality of metal from which the forged swords legionaries was quite unimportant. And because the shorter blade was, so it was more durable.
There are four types Gladius - they are listed in this scheme, in descending order:
Typology Gladius
Let us consider two of these types in detail. So, meet, gladius type "Mainz"

Gladius type "Mainz"
Characteristics of the sword, which is shown in the photo: the total length of about 65-70 cm, length of the blade - 50-55 cm, width of the blade - 7 cm, the approximate weight - 800 g
Gladius type "Mainz" was designed primarily for thrust. As for slashing, then awkwardly applied, it could even damage the blade.
However, nothing lasts forever.
Especially military affairs - it is worth to change to one thing, as the chain is changing everything. The same thing happened with the gladius.
As a gladius changed over time
As a gladius changed with time. Under each sword - dating
The limits of the Roman Empire expanded constantly. Along with the emergence of new enemies commanders to make changes in their usual way of waging war, the story of the sword gets new turns. But this is not happening in the heart of the Empire, and in regions where lived hitherto unknown opponent.
In the middle of the first century on the battlefields flashed a new type of a Roman sword. Now it is called the "type" of Pompeii. " Unlike his predecessor, he was much better suited for cutting the enemy, with its penetrating power at reduced thrust.
Gladius type "Pompeii"
The total length of about 60-65 cm, length of the blade - 45-50 cm, blade thickness - 5 cm, the approximate weight - 700 g
Interestingly, the status of the legionary was determined by how he wears a sword. Ordinary soldiers wore it on his right side, and centurions, ie junior commanders on the left.
Gladius from the museum

Spata or prescription against the barbarians.

By the third century even gladius type "Pompeii" was not effective enough.
The enemies were pressing. The tactics of the legions became more defensive than offensive, as in previous centuries. There is an urgent need for more long swords, suitable for a single battle or battle in a relatively free system.
And then the Roman infantry armed with a cavalry sword, known as "sleep".
Its hilt remained the same as at the gladius, made of wood and bone, but the length of the blade stretched to 70-80 cm. Sometimes caught sleeping with a blade, reaches a length of 85 cm and more!
Spata, II - III century AD Full length of 88 cm., Length of the blade 70,3 cm., The maximum width of the blade 4,7 cm. The sword heavily pitted, but kept the details hilt made of bone.
Spata perfectly proved itself in clashes with barbarians - the main enemies of Rome at the time.
However, it turned out that the barbarians themselves were happy to serve in the Roman army.On the other hand, the Romans have shied away from the hardships of military service, as a result the percentage of foreign players among the barbarians grew every year. (Do not like the situation in Russia ;)?)
Barbarians brings in a lot of his army, although fitted out, mostly of the Roman arsenals. And here the story of the sword was an unexpected continuation. One such vivid strokes, speaking about the era, steel scabbard bed, completely made of non-Roman in appearance.
Here, for example, look like sleep, and other late Roman arms in drawing the connoisseur of ancient Rome and Greece, Peter Connolly, who left us in early May.
1, 1a - to sleep and chape of III century of Kent.
1b - Details of the handle of the sword III century.
2, 2a - spat IV century of the colony.
3 - dagger III century of Castell-K├╝nzing.
4, 5, 6 - chape III Ages of the different settlements.
7 - Forged to sheath the IV century from the colony
8 - plumbates tip of Roksetera
8a - incision weighting.
9 - reconstruction plumbates.
10 - verutuma tips from the Rhine.
11 - reconstruction verutuma.
12 - serrated tip dart from northern Britain .
13-16 - spearheads and darts and spears influx of northern Britain. III-IV centuries.
17-18 - covers a sling from Germany. The III.
19-20 - reconstruction of sleep, and III in a sling. by J. Oldenshteynu.
21 - reconstruction of the III belt.
22 - reconstruction zone IV c.

In addition, now not only the centurions, and all the soldiers of Rome wore a sword on his left side.

In the future, sleep so went to different armies that they are found in the burials of the Huns IV-V centuries.
Weapons Huns
Weapons Huns.

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