Pooley Sword British and Commonwealth Military and Ceremonial Swords
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The Roman Sword

Roman Iron Sword

The early Roman Sword, the gladius, was like most bronze swords of that time, a leaf shape, but unlike other nations' weapons the blade was extremely short. There was no cross-guard and the hilt was merely a prolongation of the blade, suitably covered on both sides with either wood or bone.

About the first century B.C. an iron sword was adopted, being two edged with parallel sides and having an obtuse angled point. The hilt had a cross-guard with short quillons having bulbous tips. The grip was either of wood, bone or ivory and swelled out into a globular or shaped pommel, the favourite shape being the head of a wild animal of the species met in the arena.

The sword was carried in an ornamental scabbard, slung on the left side. It is easy to see how the Roman soldiers got their well deserved reputation for bravery, when one considers that to get within killing range with such a short sword, against adversaries armed with the long sword, lance or javelin, must have demanded personal courage of a very high order.

At the end of the 1st Century A.D. we find that the Roman sword is no longer a short weapon and that it has become single-edged. This was the weapon that was called the Spatha and it is shown in use, along with the gladius, in the carvings on the Trajan Column, in Rome.

The Anglo-Saxon Swords


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