History of the sword

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Weapons of the age of Bronze, Romania

The different types of swords have been of great importance throughout history. In addition to its use as a weapon, the sword has been the object of special considerations forming part of funerary rituals, mythology and other ancient traditions.

Chronology details[change | change source]

The present chronology includes diverse and relatively uneven documents. The need to group them into a single list responds to the desire of simplicity.

Chronology (until the Christian Era)[change | change source]

Bronze Swords[change | change source]

Swords found next to Nebra's celestial disk.

The first bronze swords with a length equal to or greater than 60 cm date from the 17th century BC in regions of the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea. They emerged as an evolution of shorter weapons of the type of the daggers. To make a sword useful in combat, one must have a correct alloy, give it the right shape and apply the necessary thermal (and finishing) treatments. The longer is a sword, the stresses (bending and buckling) are more important. What is needed is a weapon that is hard enough (to cut), fairly flexible (without being fragile) and tenacious enough to withstand the blows in the fights.

The manufacturing process is summarized as follows: The bronze swords were cast into moulds, heated to a certain temperature and allowed to cool slowly. Finally they cold hammered (hitting them with a hammer on a type anvil) to increase its hardness.

  • c.1275 BC. Assyrian sword, with inscriptions.[1]
  • c.650 BC. According to Pausanias, Theodore of Samos invented the casting of bronze objects.[2]
  • c.450 BC. Herodotus. He mentioned iron swords (as a representation of the god Ares/Mars) in tombs Scythian peoples.
  • c.401 BC. He described the Indian steel (steel wootz) and two swords made with that material.[3]
  • 326 BC. Battle of the Hidaspes River. Alexander defeated King Porus. This gave him about 10 kg of "Indian steel" (wootz steel).[4]
  • c.230 BC.Philo of Byzantium In his treatise Belopoeica (artillery), he describes the flexibility of the swords of the Celts and Iberians in Hispania.[5] An elastic behavior, such as a spring, would imply tempered steel content in the mentioned swords.
  • 216 BC. Battle of Cannae Polybius described the swords of the Iberians (cutting and thrusting) and those of the Gauls (cutting).[6]
  • 197 BC. The Greeks were defeated by the Romans, led by Gay Cornelius Cetego near the River Clusius (perhaps the current Brembo River). In spite of the numerical superiority of the Gauls, their swords were bent at the first blow and had to be straightened. The Romans took advantage of this weakness to win the battle.[7]
  • c.20 BC. Diodorus Siculus was a Greek historian of Sicily that lived in Century I a. Century I century, contemporary of Julius Caesar and Augustus. His comments on the celtiber swords indicate the cut quality and an aspect of their manufacture.[8]
  • c.5 BC. Gratio Falisco, in his poem Cynegeticon, mentions the knives of Toledo: "...Ima toledano praecingunt ilia cultro ..." [9][10]

Christian Era[change | change source]

Middle Ages[change | change source]

Sword of San Galgano nailed to the rock. Year 1181.
  • c.500. Ship wrecked near Nydam (Denmark) with a cargo of swords of the type "pattern-welded".
  • 796. The emperor Charlemagne rendered the king Offa of Mercia with a sword made by Huns, obtained like war loot.[18]
  • c.850. Abu Yusuf well Ishaq al-Kindi describes the swords of Damascus.[19]
  • c.900. First documentaries of the katana. Master Yasu-tsuna (from Hoki) [20]
  • 966. Embassy of Borrell II to To the-Hàkam II. giving a present of 100 frank "swords", very famous and feared.[21]
  • 1233. Jaume I mentions the sword called "Tiso" (forged in Monzón) in the siege of Burriana.[22][23]
  • 1248. Sword Lobera of the king Ferdinand III of Castile.[24]
  • 1392. Ibn Hud Ibn Hudhayl, in his work " Gala de caballeros y blasón de paladines ", mentions two types of quality swords: those of Indian steel and those of the francs (Catalan) . The latter with exceptional qualities and supposedly forged by genius.[25]
  • 1425. The sword makers of Valencia asked for confirmation of their ordinations, copied from those of the sword makers of Barcelona.
  • 1474. The fencing teacher of Majorca Jaime Pons was author of a fencing treaty published in Perpinyan.[26][27]

1500-1950[change | change source]

  • 1509. Marriage of Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII of England. Swords of the armory of Zaragoza presented to the English king [28]
  • 1517. Superiority of the sword over other weapons in the war of the conquistadores against the Native Americans in Florida.[29]
  • 1522. Sword of Ignacio de Loyola offered to the Virgin of Montserrat.
  • 1525. Battle of Pavia. Francis I of France fought his sword to Joan Aldana, native of Tortosa.[30]
  • 1540. "Pirotechnia", work of Vannoccio Biringuccio, (Siena). Among other topics it deals with some iron mines and the reduction of the metal in a forge with bellows.[31]
  • c.1541. Sword of Francisco Pizarro, made in Valencia by the armorer Mateo Duarte.[32]
  • 1544. Hunting saber of Henry VIII of England, decorated by Diego Çaias.[33]
  • 1761. " White Weapons Factory of Toledo", created by decree of Carlos III of Spain. It was organized and directed by the Valencian sword's master Lluis Calisto.[34]
  • 1772. Henry Nock was the founder of a gun-making company. He bequeathed to his manager James Wilkinson, maker of the famous swords and sabers.[35]
  • 1782. William Bowles, "Introduction to Natural History and the Physical Geography of Spain." With information on the making of swords in Spain.[36]
  • 1793-1795. Great War. They are again opened the weapon workshops in Catalonia.[37]
  • 1798. History of the political economy of Aragon. Ignacio Jordán. talks about the sword makers of Zaragoza .[38]
  • 1804. James Wilkinson.[39]
  • 1844. Henry Wilkinson [40]
  • 1943. Sword of Stalingrad

References[change | change source]

  1. Assyrian sword.
  2. Herodotus Halicarnasseus; George Rawlinson, John Gardner Wilkinson (sir); Henry Creswicke Rawlinson (sir) (1862). History of Herodotus. J. Murray. pp. 150–. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
  3. Niharranjan Ray; Brajadulal Chattopadhyaya (1 January 2000). A sourcebook of Indian civilization. Orient Blackswan. pp. 81–. ISBN 9788125018711. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  4. James H. Swank (1 January 1965). History of the Manufacture of Iron in All Ages. Ayer Publishing. pp. 8–. ISBN 9780833734631. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  5. Terence Wise; Richard Hook (25 March 1982). Armies of the Carthaginian Wars, 265-146 BC. Osprey Publishing. pp. 20–. ISBN 9780850454307. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  6. Polybius; Robin Waterfield; Brian McGing (5 November 2010). The Histories. Oxford University Press. pp. 219–. ISBN 9780199534708. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  7. Polybius; James Hampton (1809). The general history of Polybius. pp. 184–. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  8. Diodor de Sicília. Espases dels celtíbers.
  9. Patricia Shaw Fairman (2000). Obra reunida de Patricia Shaw. Universidad de Oviedo. pp. 134–. ISBN 9788483172049. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  10. Le Tour du monde. 1868. pp. 1–. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  11. James Vincent Ricci (1949). The development of gynæcological surgery and instruments. Norman Publishing. pp. 6–. ISBN 9780930405281. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  12. Arthur Aikin (1841). Illustrations of Arts and Manufactures. John Van Voorst. pp. 248–. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  13. John William Humphrey; John Peter Oleson; Andrew Neil Sherwood (1998). Greek and Roman technology: a sourcebook : annotated translations of Greek and Latin texts and documents. Routledge. pp. 218–. ISBN 9780415061377. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  14. Plini el Vell. Diferents tipus de ferro.
  15. Julius Sillig; Pliny (the Elder.) (1837). Dictionary of the artists of antiquity: architects, carvers, engravers, modellers, painters, sculptors, statuaries, and workers in bronze, gold, ivory, and silver, with three chronological tables. Black and Armstrong. pp. 19–. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  16. Gocha Tsetskhladze (June 2005). Ancient West & East. BRILL. pp. 381–. ISBN 9789004139756. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  17. Libro tercero de la geografia de Estrabón, que comprende un tratado sobre España antigua. Hibarra hijos & cía. 1787. pp. 212–.
  18. England Under Anglo-Saxon Kings. Bell. 1845. pp. 232–.
  19. al-Kindí
  20. John M. Yumoto (15 December 1989). The samurai sword: a handbook. Tuttle Publishing. pp. 28–. ISBN 9780804805094. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  21. Marta Sancho i Planas (1999). Homes, fargues, ferro i foc: arqueología i documentació per a l'estudi de la producció de ferro en època medieval : les fargues dels segles IX-XIII al sud del Pirineu català. Marcombo. pp. 49–. ISBN 9788426712219. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  22. Ferran Soldevila; Maria Teresa Ferrer i Mallol; Jordi Bruguera (2007). Les quatre grans croniques: Llibre dels feits del rei En Jaume. Institut d'Estudis Catalans. pp. 258–. ISBN 9788472839014. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  23. Joaquim Miret i Sans; Maria Teresa Ferrer i Mallol; Institut d'Estudis Catalans (2004). Itinerari de Jaume I "el Conqueridor". Institut d'Estudis Catalans. pp. 104–. ISBN 9788472837515. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  24. Sociedad Española de Excursiones (1942). Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Excursiones. Sociedad Española de Excursiones.
  25. ʻAlī ibn ʻAbd al-Raḥmān Ibn Hudhayl (1977). Gala de caballeros, blasón de paladines. Editora Nacional. ISBN 9788427604087. Retrieved 23 April 2011.Pàg. 185
  26. Fèlix Torres Amat (1836). Memorias para ayudar a formar un diccionario crítico de escritores catalanes. J.Verdaguer. pp. 489–. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  27. Luís PACHECO de NARVAEZ (1635). Engaño y desengaño de los errores que se han querido introducir en la destreza de las armas... Imprenta del Reyno. pp. 5–.
  28. Espases de Saragossa obsequiades a Henry VIII d'Anglaterra.(Spanish)
  29. Michael A. Bellesiles (19 November 2003). Arming America: the origins of a national gun culture. Soft Skull Press. pp. 46–. ISBN 9781932360073. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  30. José Fernando González (1867). Crónica de la provincia de Zaragoza. Editorial MAXTOR. pp. 74–. ISBN 9788497610674. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  31. Vannoccio Biringuccio (1 January 1990). The pirotechnia of Vannoccio Biringuccio: the classic sixteenth-century treatise on metals and metallurgy. Courier Dover Publications. pp. 61–. ISBN 9780486261348. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
  32. Catálogo histórico-descriptivo de la Real Armería de Madrid. Editorial MAXTOR. 17 July 2008. pp. 216–. ISBN 978-84-9761-453-5.
  33. Sabre d'Enric VIII d'Anglaterra.
  34. José Amador de los Ríos (1845). Toledo pintoresca, o descripción de sus más célebres monumentos. Editorial MAXTOR. pp. 209–. ISBN 9788497613071. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  35. Mark Barton; John McGrath (3 July 2013). British Naval Swords and Swordmanship: _. Seaforth Publishing. pp. 112–. ISBN 978-1-84832-135-9.
  36. William Bowles (1782). Introducción a la historia natural y á la geografía física de España. Imprenta real. pp. 295–. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
  37. Miquel Coll i Alentorn (1992). Història. L'Abadia de Montserrat. pp. 240–. ISBN 9788478262991. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  38. Ignacio Jordán de Assó y del Río (1798). Historia de la economía política de Aragón. por Francisco Magallon. pp. 219–. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
  39. Michael Springman (31 December 1990). Sharpshooter in the Crimea: The Letters of the Captain Gerald Goodlake VC 1854-56. Pen and Sword. pp. 218–. ISBN 978-1-4738-1809-5.
  40. Michael Springman (31 December 1990). Sharpshooter in the Crimea: The Letters of the Captain Gerald Goodlake VC 1854-56. Pen and Sword. pp. 218–. ISBN 978-1-4738-1809-5.

Other websites[change | change source]