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MOST works on Arms and Armour, when treating of Rome, describe the weapons of her European neighbours ‘upon whom she sharpened the sword of her valour as on a whetstone.’ {1} The extent of the subject will here confine me to a general glance, beginning with the Dacians on the east and ending with the British Islands. I must reserve details concerning the Kelts, the Scandinavians, the Slavs, and other northern peoples for Part II., to which they chronologically belong.

The Dacians, especially of Dacia Trajana, Hungary, and Transylvania, Moldavia, and Wallachia, are known to us chiefly by the bas-reliefs on the Trajan Column. It was built by that emperor, who, like Hadrian, followed in the footsteps of Divus Cæsar, to commemorate the conquests of A.D. 103-104; and it dates three years before his death in A.D. 114. The Dacian Sword was somewhat sickle-shaped, with an inner edge, like the oldest Greek and its model, the Egyptian Khopsh. A Dacian Sword on the trophy belonging to Dr. Gregorutti, of Papiriano, is a curved sabre without a cross-bar.

I have elsewhere noticed the Thracian Sword. Dr. Evans {2} mentions the fragment of a remarkable bronze blade from Grecian Thera; it has a series of small broad-edged axes of gold, in shape like conventional battle-axes, inlaid along the middle between two slightly projecting ribs. The same author, speaking of the beautiful bronze Sword in the Berlin Museum, reported to have been found at Pella in Macedonia, mentions the suspicion that it may belong to the Rhine Valley. {3}

Ancient Illyria has transmitted the Roman Gladius to comparatively modern ages. Bosnian tombs of Slavs, Moslem, and Christian, show the short straight thrusting Sword, with simple cross-bar and round pommel. It looks as if it had been copied from some classical coin.

The ancient cemetery at Hallstadt in the Salzkammergut, occupied by the Danubian-Keltic Alanni or Norican Taurisci, is especially interesting for two reasons. It shows the Bronze Sword synchronous with the Iron, and it proves that the charge of metal involved little of alteration in the form and character of the weapon. This, however, was to be expected, as both were adapted for the same purpose—the thrust, not the cut. Of the twenty-eight long Swords, six were of bronze, nineteen of iron, and three with bronze hefts and iron blades; there were also forty-five short Swords, iron blades with bronze or ivory handles. The blade, about one mètre long, is leaf-shaped, two-edged, and bevel-pointed. The small and guardless grip of 2.5 centimètres, when made of bronze, meets the blade in a hollow crescent, like the British Sword in the Tower, and is fastened with metal rivets. The pommel is either a cone of metal or a crutch with a whorl ending either arm.

Dr. Evans {4} mentions that in one instance the hilt and pommel of an iron Sword are in bronze, in another the pommel alone; the hilt-plate of iron being flat and rivetted like the bronzes. In others the pommel is wanting. He has a broken iron Sword from this cemetery, the blade showing a central rounded rib, with a small bead on either side. Also a ‘beautiful bronze Sword from the same locality, on the blade of which are two small raised beads on either side of the central rib, and in the spaces between them a three-fold wavy line punched in or engraved. In this instance a tang has passed through the hilt, and was formed of alternate blocks of bronze and of some substance that has perished, possibly ivory. A magnificent iron Sword from Hallstadt, now in the Vienna Museum, has the hilt and pommel of ivory inlaid with amber.’ Other grips were of bronze, wood, or bone. The sheaths were mostly of wood, which seemed to have been covered with leather. Most of the blades were buried without scabbards, and the bronze had been purposely broken.

The forty-five short Swords represent the Ensis Noricus (μάχαιρα Κέλτικα), and were in use till the Roman days. The iron-blades are either leaf-shaped or formed like the peculiarly English anelace or anlas, more or less conical and sharp-pointed; and the grip of bronze or ivory ended in a simple crutch. Amongst them is a distinct Scramasax which may be compared with the late Danish weapon.

Bronze blades are comparatively rare in Italy, although the use was long retained and the weapon is often mentioned by Latin writers in verse and prose. {5} This seems to decide the question against the Roman origin of the North-European Sword: of course it is possible that, like the Runic alphabet, they might have been copied from coins; but there are other points which militate against this view. Dr. John Evans {6} notes a peculiarity which he has often pointed out by word of mouth, but which has not as yet been noticed in print. ‘It is, that there is generally, though not universally, a proportion between the length of the blade and the length of the hilt-plate; long sword blades having, as a rule, long hilt-plates, and short sword blades short hilt-plates. So closely is this rule of proportion preserved, that the outline of a large sword on the scale of one-sixth would in some cases absolutely correspond with that of one which was two-thirds of its length if drawn on the scale of one-fourth.’ This suggests derivation, as if an original modulus of the weapon had appeared in a certain racial centre and thence had radiated in all directions. Nor have we any difficulty in determining that this centre was the Nile Valley.

The bronze Swords of Italy present varieties not found in Britain. {7} The blade-sides are more nearly parallel, and many have a slender tang at the hilt, sometimes with one central rivet-hole, sometimes with two rivet-holes forming loops at either side of the ‘spine.’ In others the blade slightly narrows for the tang, and each side has two semicircular rivet-notches. In many Italian and French Swords the blade is drawn out to a long tapering point, so that its edges present a sub-ogival curve. On an Italian quincussis or oblong bronze coin, six inches and five-eighths by three inches and a half, and weighing about three pounds and a half, is the representation of a leaf-shaped Sword with a raised rib along the centre of the blade. {8} Upon the reverse appears the figure of a scabbard with parallel sides and a nearly circular chape. Another coin of the same type, engraved by Carelli, {9} has an almost similar scabbard on the reverse, but the Sword on the obverse is either sheathed or is not leaf-shaped, the sides being parallel: the hilt is also curved, and there is a cross-guard. In fact upon the one coin the weapon has the appearance of a Roman Sword of iron, and on the other that of a leaf-shaped Sword of bronze. These pieces, says Dr. Evans, were no doubt cast in Umbria, probably in the third century B.C., but their attribution to Ariminum is at best doubtful. From the two varieties of Sword appearing on coins of the same type, the inference may be drawn, either that bronze blades were then being superseded in Umbria by iron, or that the original type was some sacred weapon, subsequently conventionalised to represent the article in ordinary use.

The iron Swords of the Italian tribes are rarely mentioned, and then cursorily. Diodorus Siculus, for instance, tells us (v. 33) that the Ligures had blades of ordinary size. They probably adopted the Roman shape, which had proved itself so serviceable in the field.

Proceeding further westward we find Diodorus Siculus (v. cap. 33) dwelling upon the Celtiberian weapons. {10} ‘They had two-edged Swords of well-tempered steel; besides their daggers, a span long, to be used at close quarters. They make weapons and iron in an admirable manner, for they bury their plates so long underground as is necessary to eat away the weaker part; and, therefore, they use only that which is firm and strong. Swords and other weapons are made of this prepared steel; and these are so powerful in cutting, that neither shield nor helm nor bone can withstand them.’ Plutarch  {11} repeats this description, which embodies the still prevalent idea concerning the Damascus (Persian) scymitar and the Toledo rapier. Swedenborg {12} introduces burial among the different methods of making steel; and Beckmann, following Thunberg, declares that the process is still used in Japan.

General A. Pitt-Rivers’ collection has two Swords from Spain. The first is a bronze, sub-leaf-shaped, with a thin protracted point. The length is twenty-one inches; the breadth at the swell two inches, thinning near the handle to one inch and a quarter; the tang is broken, and there are two rivet-holes at the shoulder, which is two inches wide. The other, which the owner calls a ‘Kopis,’ also twenty-one inches long, and two inches and a half in width, has a broad back and a wedge-section. The cutting part is inside, and the whole contour remarkably resembles the Kukkri or Korah of Nepaul, and, in a less degree, the Albanian Yataghan and the Kabyle ‘Flissa.’ The Kopis, however, has a hook handle as if for suspension; and there is a swelling in the inside of the grip.

‘As the Celtiberians,’ continues Diodorus, ‘are furnished with two Swords, (probably espada y daga), ‘the horsemen, when they have routed their opponents, dismount, and, joining the foot, fight as its auxiliaries.’ The Lusitanians, most valiant of the race, inhabited a mountain-land peculiarly rich in minerals. Justin {13} speaks of the gold, copper, lead, and vermilion, which last named the ‘Minho’ river. Of the iron he says: ‘It is of an extraordinary quality, but their water is snore powerful than the iron itself; for the metal being tempered in it becomes keener; nor is any weapon held in esteem among them that has not been dipt in the Bilbilis or the Chalybs.’ {14} Strabo {15} represents Iberia as abounding in metal, and arms the Lusitanians with poniard and dagger, probably meaning dirk and knife.

The Northern neighbours of the Celtiberians—the warlike old Keltic {16} Gauls—were essentially swordsmen: they relied mainly upon the Claidab. {17} When they entered Europe they had already left behind them the Age of Stone; and they made their blades of copper, bronze, and iron. The latter, as we learn from history, entered into use during the fourth or fifth century B.C., the later Celtic Period, as it is called by Mr. Franks. The material appears to have been, according to all authorities, very poor and mean. The blade was mostly two edged, about one mètre long, thin, straight, and without point (sine mucrone); it had a tang for the attachment of the grip, but no guard or defence for the hand.

Yet their gallantry enabled the Gauls to do good work with these bad tools. F. Camillus, the dictator, {18} seeing that his enemy cut mostly at head and shoulders, made his Romans wear light helmets, whereby the Machairæ-blades were bent, blunted, or broken. Also, the Roman shield being of wood, he ‘directed it for the same reason to be bordered with a thin plate of brass’ (copper, bronze?). He also taught his men to handle long pikes, which they could thrust under the enemy’s weapons. Dionysius Halicarnassus introduces him saying, while he compares Roman and Gaulish arms, that these Kelts assail the foe only with long lances and large knives (μάχαιρας κοπίδες) {19} of Sabre shape (?). This was shortly before his defeating and destroying Brenitus and the Senonian {20} Gauls, who had worsted the Romans (B.C. 390) on the fatal dies Alliensus, {21} and who had captured all the capital save the Capitol.

The Gauls of Cæsar’s day {22} had large iron mines which they worked by tunnelling; their ship-bolts were of the same material, and they made even chain-cables of iron. They had by no means, however, abandoned the use of bronze arms. Pausanias {23} also speaks of ταίς μαχαίραις τών Γαλατών. Diodorus {24} notes that the Kelts wore ‘instead of short straight Swords (ξίφους), long broad blades (μάκρας σπάθας {25}), which they bore obliquely at the right side hung by iron and copper chains . . . . Their Swords are not smaller than the Saunions (σαυνίων {26}) of other nations, and the points of their Saunions are bigger than those of their Swords.’ Strabo {27} also makes the Gauls wear their long Swords hanging to the right. Procopius, {28} on the other hand, notices that the Gallic auxiliaries of Rome wore the Sword on the left. {29} According to Poseidonius, {30} the Gauls also carried a dagger which served the purpose of a knife, and this may have caused some confusion in the descriptions.

Q. Claudius Quadrigarius in Aulus Gellius, {31} noticing the ‘monomachy’ of Manlius Torquatus with the Gaul, declares that the latter was armed with two gladii. Livy describes the same duel in his best style. The Roman, of middling stature and unostentatious bearing, takes a footman’s shield and girds on a Spanish Spatha-arms fit for ready use rather than show. The big Gaul, another Goliah, glittering in a vest of many colours, and in armour stained and inlaid with gold, shows barbarous exultation, and thrusts out his tongue in childish mockery. The friends retire and leave the two in the middle space, ‘more after the manner of a theatrical show than according to the law of combat.’ The enormous Northerner, like a huge mass threatening to crush what was beneath it, stretched forth his shield with his left hand and planted an ineffectual cut of the Sword with loud noise upon the armour of the advancing foe. The Southron, raising his Sword-point, after pushing aside the lower part of the enemy’s shield with his own, closed in, insinuating his whole body between the trunk and arms of his adversary, and by two thrusts, delivered almost simultaneously at belly and groin, threw his opponent, who when prostrate covered a vast extent of ground. The gallant victor offered no indignity to the corpse beyond despoiling it of the torques, which, though smeared with blood, he cast around his neck.

Polybius, {32} recounting the battle at Pisæ, where Aneroestes, king of the Gæsatæ, {33} aided by the Boii, the Insubres, and the Taurisci (Noricans, Styrians), was defeated by C. Atilius (A.U.C. 529 = B.C. 225), shows the superiority of the Roman weapons. He describes the Machairæ of the Gauls ‘as merely cutting blades . . . altogether pointless, and fit only to slash from a distance downwards: these weapons by their construction soon wax blunt, and are bent and bowed; so that a second blow cannot be delivered until they are straightened by the foot.’ The same excellent author, {34} when describing the battle of Cannæ (B.C. 216), tells us that Hannibal and his Africans were armed like Romans, with the spoils of the preceding actions; while the Spanish and Gaulish auxiliaries had the same kind of shield, but their Swords were wholly unequal and dissimilar. While the Spanish Xiphos was excellent both for cutting and thrusting, the long and pointless Gallic Machæra could only slash from afar. Livy {35} also notices the want of point and the bending of the soft and ill-tempered Keltic blades.

When Lucius Manlius attacked the Gauls, B.C. 181, the latter carried long flat shields, too narrow to protect the body. {36} They were soon left without other weapons but their Swords, and these they had no opportunity of using, as the enemy did not come to close quarters. Phrensied with the smart of missiles raining upon their large persons, the wounds appearing the more terrible from the black blood contrasting with the white skin; and furious with shame at being put hors de combat by hurts apparently so small, they lost many by the Swords of the Velites. These ‘light bobs’ in those days were well armed; they had shields three feet long, pila for skirmishing, and the Gladius Hispanus, which they drew after shifting the javelins to the left hand. With these handy blades they rushed in and wounded faces and breasts, whilst the Gallic Swords could not be wielded without space.

Passing from books to monuments, we see on an Urban medal of Rimini, dating from the domination of the Senones, a long-haired and moustachio’d Gaul, and on the reverse a broad Spatha, with scabbard and chain. This is repeated on another coin of the same series, where a naked Gaul, protected by an oblong shield, assails with the same kind of Sword. A third shows the Gaul with two gladii, one shorter than the other. {37} The scabbards and chains were of bronze or iron.

According to Diodorus, {38} the Gauls advanced to battle in war-chariots (carpentum, covinus, essedum). They also had cavalry; {39} but during their invasions of Italy they mostly fought on foot. They had various kinds of missiles, javelins, and the Cateia or Caia (boomerang, or throwing-club), slings, and bows and arrows, poisoned as well as unpoisoned. They then rushed to the attack with unhelm’d heads, and their long locks knotted on the head-top. In many fights they stripped themselves, probably for bravado, preserving only the waistcloth and ornaments, torques, leglets, and armlets. They cut off the heads of the fallen foes; slung them to their shields or saddlebows, and kept them at home as trophies, still the practice of the Dark Continent. Their girls and women fought as bravely as the men; especially with the contus or wooden pike, sharpened and fire-hardened. The waggons ranged in the rear formed a highly efficient ‘lager.’ The large Keltic stature, their terrible war-cries, and their long Swords wielded by doughty arms and backed by stout hearts, enabled them more than once to triumph over civilised armies.

Divus Cæsar, who is severe upon Gallic nobilitas, levitas, and irfirmitas animi, employed nine years in subduing Gaul (B.C. 59-50). Before a century elapsed, the people had given up their old barbarous habits and costume, their fur-coats, like the Slav and Afghan postín, with sleeves opening in front; their saga-cloaks or tartan-plaids {40} which were probably imitations of the primeval tattoo; {41} their copper torques and their rude chains and armlets. Gallia Comata shore her limed and flowing locks, and Gallia Bracchata (Provincia, Provence) doffed the ‘truis’ (trews or trowsers) which were strapped at the waist and tied in at the ankles. {42} Their women adopted Roman fashions, and forgot all that Ammianus Marcellinus had said of them: ‘A whole troop of foreigners could not withstand a single Gaul, if he called to aid his wife, who is usually very strong and blue-eyed, especially when, swelling her neck, gnashing her teeth, and whirling her sallow arms of enormous bulk, she begins to strike blows, mingled with kicks, as if they were so many missiles sent from the string of a catapult.’ Of their old and rugged virtue we may judge by the tale of Ortiagon’s gallant wife and the caitiff centurion. {43} Thus Gaul was thoroughly subdued by Roman civilisation and the Latin tongue; she contributed to literature her quotum of poets and rhetoricians; her cities established schools of philosophy, and she saw nothing to envy in Gallia Togata—Upper Italy. {44}

The Alemanni or Germans (Germani) east of the Rhine inhabited, at the time of the Roman conquests, a dismal land of swamps and silvæ: even in the present day a run from Hamburg to Berlin explains the ancient exodus of tribes bent upon conquering the ‘promised lands’ of the south, and the modern wholesale emigration to America. These ‘warmen’ were formerly surpassed by the Gauls in bravery, {45} but they had none of the Keltic levity or instability. The national characteristic was and is the steadfast purpose. Till lately the German Empire was a shadowy tradition; yet the Germans managed to occupy every throne in Europe save two. They never yet made a colony, yet cuckoo-like they hold the best of those made by others; and their sound physical constitution, strengthened by gymnastics, enables them to resist tropical and extreme climates better than any European people save the Slavs and the Jews. In the great cities of the world they occupy the first commercial place, the result of an education carefully adapted to its end and object; and their progress in late years seems to promise ‘Germanism’ an immense future based upon the ruins of the neo-Latin races.

We have the authority of Tacitus for the fact that the Germans of his day did not (like the Kelts) {46} affect the short straight sword: ‘rari . . . gladiis utuntur.’ {47} The national weapon was the spear {48} of a peculiar kind; ‘hastas vel ipsorum vocabulo frameas gerunt angusto et brevi ferro.’ The derivation of the word and the nature of the weapon are still undetermined {49} Modern authorities hold the oldest framée to have been a long spear, with a head of stone, copper, bronze, or iron, shaped like a Palstab or an expanding ‘Celt;’ and Demmin {50} shows the same broad shovel-shaped base in the Abyssinian lance. It was either thrown or thrust, and the weapon must not be confounded with the enormous hastæ of Tacitus, {51} in whose day the Roman spear was fourteen feet long. It was a formidable weapon; those who knew it spoke with awe of ‘illam cruentam victricemque frameam’; and the Germans long preserved the saying ‘one spear is worth two Swords.’ Yet, strange to say, it is rarely found in graves, where the throwing-axe of stone and bronze, pierced or unpierced, one-edged or two-headed (πέλεκυς άμφιστόμος, bipennis), is so common.

In time the word framea was apparently applied to wholly different weapons. Thus Augustinus makes it an equivalent of spatha or rhomphaia; and Johannes de Janua (‘Glossary’) explains it as ‘glaive aigu d’une part, et d’autre espée.’

Iron, according to Tacitus, {52} was known to the Germans, but was not common. His statement is supported by ‘finds’ in the old tumuli and stone rings, known as Riesenmauer, Hünnen-ringe, {53} Teufelsgraben, Burgwälle, and others. The myths of giants, dwarfs, and serpents suggest an Eastern origin for the metal. Bronze blades, on the other band, are common. A typical specimen from the Elbe valley in the Klemm collection is thus described by Jähns. {54} The whole weapon is 23.25 centimètres long, the blade being 18.5, with a maximum breadth of 1.625. The shape is conical, tapering to the point; a high and rounded midrib is subtended on either side by a deepened line which runs to the end. Between shoulders and blade the front view shows on either side a crescent-shaped notch. The grip is narrower at the middle, where there is a long oval slit for making fast the handle; and there are two rivet holes on either side of the shoulders, whence the midrib springs. It shows no pommel, the place being taken by a shallow crutch.

Iron Swords are rare: even in the second century B.C., when the Romans had given up the softer metal, the Gauls and Germans preserved it. This is especially noticed when Germanicus marched against Arminius, B.C. 15; {55} and as late as the days of Tacitus, Germany could not work the raw metal. {56} Remains of iron Spathæ have mostly been found in very bad condition; the material also is poor and badly made. The Held or champion used two kinds of blades; and the mètre-long two-edged German Sword is not to be distinguished from that of the Kelts. The Spatha was especially affected by three tribes: the Suardones (Sworders?), the Saxones (Daggermen) {57} and the Cherusci; in process of time it reached the Goths, {58} and at last wafan (weapon) applied only to the Sword. The blade (blat, blan, in Mid. Germ. valz), with its two edges (ecke, egge), was often leaf-shaped, as if copied directly from the bronze Sword. Others were smaller in the middle than at heft or point, for facility of unsheathing. The tang reached the pommel end, and the grip or hilt {59} was lined with wood (birch or beech), bone, and other material, covered with leather, fishskin, and cloth. There was no cross-bar, but the crescent extending over the shoulders, and serving to contain the rivets, was sometimes supplied with a guard-plate (die Leiste). {60} The weapon had a solid scabbard, often of iron, even when the blade was bronze, and was hung by riems or leathern straps to the warrior’s left.

The other German blade was single-edged and curved: it was a semi-Spatha, half the size of the Spatha, and it hung to the warrior’s right side. This weapon was probably the Sahs, {61} Seax, Sax, the favourite of the Saxons; also called Breitsachs and Knief (knife), and at later times, scramasaxus, Scramasax. {62} A large iron knife, with a yataghan curve, it was used either as a dirk or a missile. Some of these throw-Swords had a hook by way of pommel for better securing the hilt. The Schwertstab (Sword-staff) or Prachtaxt is described and figured by Jähns {63} as a kind of dolch {64} or dagger, attached to a long hollow metal haft, like that of a Persian war-axe. It is a rare article, and its rarity leads him to believe it was symbolic of the Saxnot (Sword-god) Zio, Tui, or Tuisco. Dr. Evans {65} considers the weapon ‘a kind of halberd or battleaxe;’ others, a commander’s staff or bâton of honour; but the article is too widely used to be so explained. A fine specimen of the Schwertstab with handle and blade of bronze, was found at Årup in Scania, and an analogous form is shown in a Chinese blade.

History, even written by their enemies, shows that the Ancient Germans were an eminently military and martial people. The bridal present consisted of a caparisoned horse, a shield, a spear, and a Sword. At their festivals, youths danced naked before the Sword-god, amidst drawn blades and couched spears. Their lives were spent in hunting and warfare. Despite their barbarism, a thorough topographical knowledge of their bogs and bushes, mountains and forests, enabled them to inflict more than one crushing defeat upon the civilised Romans.

The highly-developed Teutonic brain also invented a form of attack which suited them thoroughly. It was theirs, as the Phalanx, borrowed from the Egyptians, became Greek, and its legitimate outcome, the Legion, was Roman; and, subsequently, the Crescent, adopted by the Kafirs, was Moslem. ‘Acies,’ says Tacitus, {66} ‘per cuneos componitur.’ The Keil or Wedge was not unknown to the Greeks and Romans; {67} but they used it subordinately, whilst with the Germans the ‘Schweinskopf,’ the ‘Svinfylking’ of the Scandinavians, was national: they attributed its invention to Odin, the country god. The apex was composed of a single file, {68} and the numbers doubled in each line to the base; while families and tribesmen, ranged side by side, added moral cohesion to the tactical formation. {69} It lasted a thousand years; and it played a conspicuous part in the Battle of Hastings, where the Normans attacked in wedge, and finally at Swiss Sempach. During its long life it underwent sundry modifications, especially the furnishing of the flanks with skirmishers; evidently the Wedge was admirable for the general advance against line or even column; but it was equally ill-calculated for a retreat.

Most writers now consider the Cimbri a Keltic people, and possibly congeners of the Cymry or Welsh. Yet in the second century B.C. we find them uniting, as Pliny tells us, {70} with the German Teutones or Teutoni (Thiudiskô, Teutsh, Deutsch). The ‘Kimpers’ of Italian Recoaro, the supposed descendants of the invaders who escaped the Sword of Marius (B.C. 102), undoubtedly spoke German.

Plutarch {71} describes the Cimbrian Sword as a large heavy knife-blade (μεγάλαις έχρώντο καί βαρείαις μαχαίραις). They had also battle-axes, and sharp, bright degans or daggers: the latter were highly prized, and their cuneiform shape caused them to be considered symbols of the deity. {72} As usual amongst barbarians, the weapons of the chiefs had terrible names, so as to strike even the hearer with fear. {73} Their defensive weapons were iron helmets, mail coats, and white glittering shields. Eccart holds that these arms and armour must have been taken from the foe: their barrows, in Holstein and elsewhere, having produced only stone-colts and spear-heads with a few copper Sword-blades, but no iron.

The Scandinavian Goths (Getæ) and Vandals were held by the ancients to have been originally one and the same people. {74} Their Bronze Age is supposed to have begun about B.C. 1000, and to have ended in Sweden at the opening of the Christian era. They used short Sword-blades, which made them, unlike the Kelts, formidable in close combat, and the Goths claimed to have introduced the spear {75} to cavalry-men. Identical weapons were used by the Lemovii of Pomerania and their kinsmen the Rugii. The latter lived on the southern shores of the Baltic about Rugenwald, and this place, one of the focuses of the Stone Age, {76} preserves, like the Isle of Rugen, the old barbaric name. The Danes mostly affected the long-handed securis Danica (hasche Danoise). The Fenni (Finns) of Tacitus had neither Swords nor iron: they used only bows and stone-tipped arrows. {77} The bronze Sword from Finland ‘with flanged hilt-plate and eight rivet-holes,’ {78} must have found its way there. {79}

We now proceed to the Keltic population of the ‘Home Islands of Great Britain,’ and find there evident offshoots of the Gauls. We have no metal remains of the pre-Keltic ‘aborigines’ (Iberians? Basques? Finns?) except their palæoliths; and the history of our finds commences with the two distinct Keltic immigrations advocated by Professor Rhys, the Goidels (Gauls) who named Calyddon or Caledonia (Gael doine or Gael dun = forest district) and the Brythons.

The authentic annals of England, says Mr. Elton, {80} begin with the days of Alexander the Great, that is, in the fourth century B.C.; the next historical station being the invasion of the Anglo-Saxons {81} in the middle of the fifth century A.D. He does not trace any continuity of race in Kelt or Saxon with the palæolithic men of the Quaternary Age, or with the short dark-skinned neolithics who succeeded them. The two were followed by a big-boned, round-headed, fair-haired family which brought with them a knowledge of bronze and with it the Sword.

Colonel A. Lane-Fox has summarised the four principal theories {82} concerning the source of bronze in Great Britain. Dr. Evans prudently finds ‘a certain amount of truth embodied in each of those opinions’; but he also concludes that No. 4 must commend itself to all archæologists. I quite agree with this view, provided that the common centre be Egypt, and that Western Asia be held only a line of transit. We have full proof of the immense antiquity of bronze in the Nile region, whence the art would radiate through the world. But the almost identical proportions of the alloy (nine copper to one tin) and the persistent forms suggest that a wandering race of metal-workers, somewhat like the Gypsies of a later age, are the originators of the Stations, the Fonderies, and the Trésors. The first step from Egypt would be to Khita-land and Phœnicia; and these ‘Englishmen of Antiquity’ would carry the art far and wide. Sir J. Lubbock opines that the Phœnicians were acquainted with the mineral fields of Cornwall between B.C. 1500-1200; somewhat niggard measure, for the Bronze Age in Switzerland is dated from B.C. 3000. On the other hand, Professor Rhys absolutely denies that there are any traces of Phœnician art in England.

Dr. Evans {83} assumes the total duration of the Bronze Period in Britain at between eight and ten centuries. He would divide this sum into three several stages, {84} and to the last, which produced the bronze Sword, he assigns a minimum duration of four hundred to five hundred years. This was followed by the Early Iron Age, or later Keltic Period. The metal may have been used in southern Britain, peopled long before Cæsar’s time by immigrant Belgii, not later than the fourth or fifth century B.C., the approximate date of the earliest iron Swords in Gaul. {85} Lastly, by the second or third century B.C. the exclusive use of bronze for cutting implements had practically ceased in Belgic Britain; the Roman historians do not lead us to suppose that the weapons, even of the northern Britons, were anything but iron.

It has been suggested that the bronze Swords found in Britain were either Roman, or at all events of Roman date. The discussion began as early as 1751, {86} on the occasion of some bronze blades, a spear-head, and other objects being discovered near Gannat, in the Bourbonnais. It opened with greater vigour between the German and Scandinavian antiquaries in 1860, and the late Thomas Wright was an ardent advocate of the ‘Italian view.’ {87} Dr. Evans, who has carefully considered the question, concludes: {88} ‘The whole weight of the argument is in favour of a pre-Roman origin for these swords in western and northern Europe.’ And he notices, apparently with scant respect, the three provinces to which the bronze antiques of Europe have been assigned. These are the Mediterranean with Græco-Italic and Helveto-Gallic subdivisions; the Danubian, including Hungary, Scandinavia, Germany, and Britain; and the Uralian, comprising the Russian, Siberian, and Finn regions. Finally he quotes the bronze socketed sickle, the tanged razor, the two forms of Sword, the shield with numerous concentric rings, with sundry other articles specially British, to show that Britain was one of the great centres of the bronze industry.

Lead-bronze, well known in ancient Egypt, is found extensively in Ireland, where some specimens of ‘Dowris metal’ have as much as 9.11 parts in 99.32. {89} The Phœnicians would certainly teach the use of an article which takes a fine golden lustre. Dr. Evans {90} notes the remarkable prevalence of lead in the small (votive) socketed celts supplied by Brittany. Professor Pelligot found some of them containing 28.50 per cent. and even 32.50 per cent. of lead, with only 1.5 per cent., or a smaller proportion, of tin. In others, with a large percentage of tin there was from eight to sixteen per cent. of lead. Some of the bronze ornaments of the opening Iron Period also contain a considerable proportion of lead; in the early Roman As and its parts the figures are from twenty to thirty per cent. A socketed celt from Yorkshire gives, copper 81.15, tin 12.30, and lead 2.63 per cent. In this case, Mr. J. A. Phillips expresses an opinion that ‘the lead is, no doubt, an intentional ingredient.’ {91}

Apparently the Roman invaders unduly depreciated the ancient Britons. Strabo {92} declares them to be cannibals; yet he includes amongst their produce gold, silver, iron, and corn. Cæsar {93} makes them use the ring money of Egypt, but Dr. Evans {94} has proved that England had a gold coinage in the first century B.C. It is an old remark that a people can hardly be savages when they employ the currus falcatus or scythe war-car, the ENIOM CANBAD or ‘Carbad scarrda’ of the Irish, the Welsh kerbyd, borrowed from the Gallic Kelts. {95} Pomponius Mela also assures us that they had cavalry, besides bigæ and currus. {96} Their works in glass, ivory, and jet, and their incense cups suggest extensive intercourse, commercial and social, with the Continent. During the ninety years which separated Julius Cæsar and Claudius, the Britons had made progress in letters, and had built important towns. The amount of Latin blood introduced into England has, perhaps, been undervalued by our writers; but the discovery of Roman ruins, which rapidly proceeds and succeeds, will draw the attention of the statistician, and that ‘new man, the anthropologist,’ to a highly interesting subject. {97}

The bronze Swords of the ancient Britons are of two kinds: the leaf-blade and the Rapier, both well cast. The total length of the former is about two feet, the extremes being sixteen inches to thirty, and in rare cases more. The blades are uniformly rounded, but with the part next the edge slightly drawn down so as to form a shallow fluting. The breadth appears greatest at the third near the point, and this would add to the facility of unsheathing. In almost all cases they are strengthened by a rounded mid-rib more or less bold; or they show ridges, with and without beading, or parallel lines that run along the whole blade or the greater part near the edges. Some combine mid-rib and ridges. The shoulders are either plain, notched, or flanged. In rare instances the outer part of the hilt is of bronze: Dr. Evans engraves {98} a specimen of this kind. The total length of the weapon is twenty-one inches, of which the globular pommel and the grip, made for a large hand, occupy five. The hilt has the appearance of being cast upon the blade: it seems to have been formed of bronze of the same character, and there are no rivets by which the two castings could be attached. The shallow crescent, whose hollow faces the mid-rib (fig. 293), is a characteristic feature, and endures for ages in the northern bronzes.

The handle of the leaf-blade usually consisted of plates of horn, bone, or wood, riveted on either side of the hilt plate. The latter differs considerably in form, and in the number and arrangement of the rivets, by which the covering material was attached. Some have as many as thirteen piercings; they seldom, however, exceed seven. The apertures are either round holes or longitudinal slots of greater or lesser extent. There is a pronounced swelling in the grip when the tang is of full length. At the end it expands, evidently for the purpose of receiving a pommel formed by the material of the hilt. This tang end is a fish-tail more or less pronounced. One illustrated by Dr. Evans {99} has two spirals attached to the base of the hilt, a rare form in England, but common in Scandinavia. Another {100} pommel-end has a distinct casting, ‘and is very remarkable on account of the two curved horns extending from it, which are somewhat trumpet-mouthed, with a projecting cone in the centre of each.’ This manilla-end appears to me Irish.

We have seen the rapier in Mycenæ and Etruria. {101} It re-appears in northern Europe, England, and France, perfectly shaped; and, though of rare occurrence in hoards, it seems to belong to the period when socketed celts were in use. There is no difficulty in tracing the intermediate steps between the leaf-shaped dagger and the rapier. The latter measures from twenty to twenty-three and a half, and even thirty and a quarter inches, with a breadth of five-eighths inch, widening at the base to two and three-eighths to two and nine-sixteenths inches. The largest have a strong projecting mid-rib, while their weight is diminished by flutings along either side. Another form of blade is more like a bayonet, showing a section nearly square; while a third has a flat surface where the mid-rib would be, a form not yet obsolete. Few are tanged; {102} mostly we find the base or shoulders of the blade provided with drill-holes or with notches, to admit the nails; and in some the wings are broadened for this purpose. {103}

During the Late Celtic Period the Britons, like the Gauls, were armed with gladii sine mucrone, which Tacitus {104} calls ingentes and enormes. These Spathæ must have grown out of the bronze rapier. A monument found in London and preserved at Oxford shows the blade to have been between three and four feet long. {105}

All history declares the Ancient Britons to have been of right warlike race; and Solinus {106} relates of them a characteristic trait. ‘When a woman is delivered of a male child, she places its first food upon the father’s Sword, and gently puts it to the little one’s mouth, praying to her country gods that its death may be, in like manner, amidst arms.’

The ancient Irish seem to have been rather savages than barbarians, amongst whom the wild non-Celts long prevailed over the Goidels or Gaels. Ptolemy calls the former Ivernii, and it has been lately suggested {107} that this may have been the racial name throughout the British Islands. The same savage element, which is still persistent, was noticed by Tasso, when speaking of the Hibernian crusaders: {108}

Questi dall’ alte selve irsuti manda
La divisa del mondo ultima Irlanda. {108}

The modern Irish, who in historical falsification certainly rival, if they do not excel, the Hindús, claim for their ancestry an exalted grade of culture. They found their pretensions upon illuminated manuscripts and similar works of high art; but it is far easier to account for these triumphs as the exceptional labours of students who wandered to the classic regions about the Mediterranean. If ancient Ireland ever was anything but savage, where, let us ask, are the ruins that show any sign of civilisation? A people of artists does not pig in wooden shanties, surrounded by a rude vallum of earth-work.

Ireland, like modern Central Africa, would receive all her civilised weapons from her neighbours. The Picts of Scotland would transmit a knowledge of iron-working and of the Sword to the Scotti or Picts of the north-east of Hibernia. {109} This is made evident by the names of the articles. CLAJDEAM or CLAJDJM, the Welsh kledyv, is simply gladius; and TUCA is ‘tuck,’ or a clerk’s Sword. So LANN, the lance head, derives from the Gaulish spear (lanskei) which Diodorus Siculus terms λαγκία, a cogener of the Greek λόγχη and of the low Latin lancea or lanscea, meaning either spear (hasta) or Sword.



WE have now assisted at the birth of the Sword in the shape of a bit of wood, charred and sharpened. We have seen its several stages of youth and growth to bone and stone, to copper and bronze, to iron and steel. When it had sufficiently developed itself Egypt gave it a name, SFET; and this name, at least fifty centuries old, still clings to it and will cling to it. In the hands of the old Nilotes the Sword spread culture and civilisation throughout adjoining Africa and Western Asia. The Phœnicians carried it wide and side over the world then known to man. The Greeks won with it their liberty and developed with it their citizenship. Wielded by the Romans, it enthroned the Reign of Law, and laid the foundation for the Brotherhood of Mankind. Thus, though it soaked earth with the blood of her sons, the Sword has ever been true to its mission—the Progress of Society.

In Part II. we shall see the Sword attain the prime of life, when no genius, no work of art was too precious to adorn it; and when, from a weapon of offence, it developed exceptional defensive powers. Here begins the Romance of the Sword.


Page numbers of form [p. 2xx] relate, for reference purposes, to the original page numbers of The Book of the Sword.

1 Florus, ii. 3. [p. 262]

2 Bronze, &c., p. 297. From Aarbög. f. Nord. Oldk. 1879, pl. i.

3 Bronze, &c., p. 298. From Bastian and A. Voss, Die Bronze-Schwerter des K. Mus. zu Berlin, 1878, p. 56.

4 Bronze, &c., p. 299, from Von Sacken and Lindeschmit’s Alterhümer. The first finds by Herr Namsauer in 1846-64 were 6,000 articles from 993 graves. [p. 263]

5 I have already noticed the copper Ensis and coppered shield attributed by Virgil (Æn. viii. 74) to the people of Abella, an Italian district under Turnus. [p. 264]

6 Bronze, &c., p. 277. The author also notices the small handles of bronze Swords, ‘a fact which seems to prove that the men who used these swords were but of moderate stature’ (Prehistoric Times, p. 22). He denies their being very small, and he justly believes that the expanding part of the hilt was intended to be within the grasp of the hand. I have already explained that the hand was purposely confined in order to give more momentum to the cut.

7 Bronze, &c., p. 297; taken from Gastaldi, Pellegrini and Gozzadini. The author remarks (p. 287) that some of the bronze daggers from Italy seem also to have had their hilts cast upon the blades in which the rivets were already fixed. This is not unfrequent with the Sword, and the object seems mere imitation; like the Hauranic stone-doors, panelled as if to pass for wood.

8 Bronze, &c., p. 283, we find that the British Museum contains a specimen. Catalog. Italy, p. 28.

9 Bronze, &c., ibid., quoting from Numm. Vet. Ital. Descript., pl. xii.

10 See chap. vi. [p. 265]

11 De Garrul.

12 De Ferro, i. 195.

13 Lib. xliv. 3. Martial also alludes (i. 49; iii. 12, &c.) to the metallic wealth of his native province.

14 Pliny (xxxi. 4, 41) also notices the Salo or River Bilbilis (Xalon); and the Celtiberian town of the same name, now Bombola, the birthplace of the poet Martial, is near Calatayud (Kala’at el-Yahúd = Jew’s Fort), or Job’s Castle. Of the Chalybes I have already spoken. [p. 266]

15 Roman Archæology, by Angelo Maio.

16 The words Κέλται, Γαλαται, Γάλλο (meaning Armati, pugnaces, Kämpfer, fighters), evidently derive not from Coille, a word, but from the old word Gal (battle), Gala (arms). The name suited their natures; they were never at peace, and their bravery was proverbial: the Greeks called it Κελτικόν θράσος = Keltic daring.

17 Cladibas or Cladias = gladius. I have noticed the shape when speaking of the Hallstadt finds.

18 Polyænus, Strategemata; Dion. Halicar. xiv. chap. 13.

19 Plutarch (De Cam. cap. xxvii.) also arms the Gauls, when attacking the Capitol, with the Kopis. ‘The first to oppose them was Manlius. . . . . Meeting two enemies together, he parried the cut of one who raised a Kopis (κοπίδα) by hacking off his right hand with a Gladius’ (ξίφος). I presume that ‘Kopis’ is here used for the pugio, dirk, or shorter sword. Borghesi Œuvres Complètes, vol. ii. pp. 337-387, says: ‘In use and form, in grip and in breadth of blade, the Kopis much resembles our Sciabla, (Sabre).’ But its comparison with the falx and pruning hook and a medal of Pub. Carisius suggest a substantial difference: while the broadsword is edged on the convex side, the Kopis had a sharpened concave. Count Gozzadini, like General A. Pitt-Rivers, compares the Kopis with the Khanjar or Yataghan, and quotes Xenophon (Cyrop. ii. 1, 9; vi. 2, 10) to prove that it was peculiar to Orientals. I have traced the word to the Egyptian Khopsh or Khepsh, and repeat my belief that it is the old Nilotic sickle-blade with a flattened curve. But, as might be expected in the case of so old a word, the weapon to which it was applied may have greatly varied in size and shape.

20 Brennus is evidently a congener of the Welsh brenhin (the king). The Senones have left their name to Illyrian Segna, once a nest of pirates and corsairs, south of Fiume the Beautiful. I shall notice them in a future page. [p. 267]

21 Livy, xxli. 46.

22 Bell. Gall. iii. 13; vii. 22.

23 Lib. x. cap. 32.

24 Lib. v. cap. 30.

25 See chapters viii. and xii. Here the word is evidently applied generically to a straight two-edged broadsword, about 1 mètre long. In the Middle Ages the weapon gave rise to many curious varieties, as the Spatha pennata and the Spatha in fuste.

26 According to Vegetius (ii. 15) the Saunion was the light javelin of the Samnites, with a shaft 3½ feet long, and an iron head measuring 5 inches. Thus it would resemble the Roman pilum. But Diodorus evidently means another and a heavier weapon which could hardly be thrown. Meyrick and Jähns (p. 390) do not solve the difficulty.

27 Lib. iv. 4, § 3.

28 De Bell. Pers.

29 The Northumberland Stone in Montfaucon (vol. iv. part 1, p. 37) shows a Gaul wearing sword and dagger on either side.

30 In Athenæus, lib. xiv., the celebrated philosopher called the Apamæan or the Rhodian, a contemporary of Pompey and Cicero, left, amongst other works, one called Τέχνη τακτική (de Acie instruenda).

31 Lib. vii. cap. 10. It is evident that the Duello did not, as many authors suppose, arise with the Kelts. All we can say is that they may have originated in Europe the sentiment called pundonor and the practice of defending it with the armed hand. The idea was unknown to the classics; and, with the exception, perhaps, of the Arabs, it is still ignored by the civilised Orientals of our day, especially by the Moslems.

32 Lib. ii. caps. 28, 30, and 33. [p. 268]

33 Simply meaning Spearmen. Gaisate = hastatus from Gaisa (gæsum), the Irish gai, any spear. Isidore (Gloss.) translates ‘Gessum’ by ‘hasta vel jaculum Gallicè, βολίς.’ The word survives in the French guisarme, gisarme, &c. The Gæsum probably had a kind of handle and a defence for the hand.

34 Lib. xxii. cap. 46.

35 Lib. xxxviii. 21.

36 The naked bodies and narrow shields are well shown in the battle-scene on the Triumphal Arch of Orange (Jähns, Plate 29).

37 Borghesi (Tonini’s Rimini, &c., p. 28 and Tables A 3 and B 6) makes one of these gladii a ‘Kopis.’ [p. 269]

38 Lib. v. cap. 30.

39 The cavalry was organised in the Trimarkisia (three marka, or horses) composed of the ‘honestior’ (afterwards the knight), and the clients (squires). The host that attacked Hellas, under Brennus, had 20,400 horsemen to 752,000 foot.

40 The pattern is almost universal. Moorcroft found it in the Himalayas, and I bought ‘shepherd’s plaid’ in Unyamwezi, Central Africa.

41 The first use of tattooing was to harden the skin, a defence against weather. The second (and this we still find throughout Africa) was to distinguish nations, tribes, and families.

42 ‘Galli bracchas deposuerunt et latum clavum sumpserunt.’ Diodorus Sic. (v. 30) has βράκας; in Romaic βράχι; in Italian braghe, Germ. Brüche. Our word ‘breech-es’ or ‘Breek-s’ is a double plural; ‘breek’ being the plur. of the A. S. broc, a brogue. Aldus and other old writers mistranslate the bracchæ by plaid, or upper garment. Jähns more justly renders sagum by plaid (p. 431).

43 Livy, xxxviii. 24.

44 Italy has declared herself Una. But without considering a multitude of origins, one for almost every province, she is peopled in our modern day by two races, contrasting greatly with each other. The Po is the frontier, dividing the Græco-Latin Italians to the south from the Gallic and Frankish Italians (Milanese, Piedmontese, &c.) to the north. The latter, originally Barbari, are the backbone of the modern kingdom: the Southerners are the weak point. [p. 270]

45 Bell. Gall. vi. 24.

46 Jähns (in his Plates 27-30) unites ‘Kelten und Germanien, Germanien und Kelten.’

47 De Mor. Germ., cap. 6.

48 So we find the god Tyr or Tuisco (regent of Tuesday), the Monthu or Mars of the North, figured in the Runes as a barbed spear  (resembling the planetary emblem of Mars). He afterwards became the Sword-god. From the Tyr-rune is derived  Er (= hêru, the sword), or Aer, which resembles the Greek άορ, and which Jacob Grimm connects with ’Άρης, æs and Eisen (Jähns, p. 14).

49 The older derivation is from ferrea. Jähns (p. 407) gives a host of others—Bram (thorn, bramble); Pfriem (punch, awl); Brame (a border, edging); ramen (to aim, strike), &c., &c.

50 Arms, &c., p. 419.

51 Annals, ii. cap. 14. [p. 271]

52 De Mor. G. cap. 6.

53 The steendysser of Denmark, dolmens of France, and cromlechs of England.

54 P. 416, Pl. xxviii. 4. In p. 417 he gives a list of many bronze-finds.

55 Tacit. Annals, ii. 14.

56 Cap. 42 and 6.

57 So the Longobards may be Long-halberts, and the Franks Francisca-men.

58 Vegetius (ii. 15) makes them use ‘gladii majores quas Spathas vocant,’ and Isidore (68, 6) says that the gladii were ‘utraque parte acuti.’

59 In Scandinavian, the noblest of the Germanic tongues, hjalt; in O. Germ. helza; Ang. S. helt, hielt, and in Mid. Germ. helze, gehilze (Jähns, p. 419). [p. 272]

60 Jähns (p. 419) has three kinds of hilts. The oldest is the crescent, noticed above (fig. 293); it is adorned with spirals and various figures. The second, which seems to be more general in the Sahs, or short weapon, has in the place of pommel a crutch or crescent, with the horns more or less curved, and either disunited or joined by a cross-bar. Here again spirals were disposed upon the planes: we shall see them highly developed in the Scandinavian weapons of a later date. The third hilt was a kind of tang, continuing the blade, and fitted with rounded edges for making fast wood, horn, or bone: it had generally a bulge in mid-handle. The pommel proper is little developed in these Swords.

61 ‘Sahs’ seems to have an alliance with the Latin ‘saxum’ (Jähns, p. 8, quoting Grimm). ‘Hamar’ (hammer) had the same meaning. From ‘sax’ we may probably derive the Zacco-sword of the Emperor Leo (Chronicle): ‘Item fratrem nostrum Ligonem cum zaccone vulneravit.’ The Laws of the Visigoths mention both weapons, long and short: ‘plerosque verò scutis, spatis, scramis’ (battle-axes?) ‘ . . . . instructos habuerit.’ ‘Nimith euere saxes’ (take to your knife-swords), said Hengist, and the oaths ‘Meiner Six!’ (by my dirk), and ‘Dunner-Saxen’ (thunder sword) in Lower Saxony, are not forgotten.

62 I have spoken of the Scramasax in chap. v. Demmin (p. 152) and others deduce ‘scrama’ (broadsword) from ‘scamata,’ the line traced on the ground between two Greek combatants(!). Hence, too, he would derive ‘scherma’ and ‘escrime’—fencing. Others prefer ‘scaran’ (to shear), which gave rise to the German ‘schere’ (scissors), and our ‘shears’ and ‘shear-steel.’ The word, however, is evidently a congener of the Germ. ‘schirmen,’ to protect, defend.

Jähns (p. 418) observes that the Sahs varied greatly in size. Some authorities make it a Mihhili Mezzir (muchel knife), a large cultellus. But the Frisian Asega-buch shows it to be a murderous weapon, forbidden to be worn in peace. The finds yield at times a dirk, and at times a broadsword; such, for instance, are the Copenhagen Scramsahs, 90 centimètres long, and that of Fronstetten, which, though imperfect, weighed 4.5 lbs. The British Museum contains a fine specimen of the Scramasax with engraved Runes.

63 P. 421. Pl. xxviii. 15. [p. 273]

64 The word is the Ang. Sax. dolc, a wound, which thus gave a name to the weapon that wounded.

65 Bronze, pp. 261-63. Figs. 329 and 330.

66 Germ. 6.

67 Jähns (p. 439) quotes Asclepiodotus (vii. 3) and Ælian (xviii. 4), who describe the cuneus as Scythian and Thracian, i.e. barbarous. Unfortunately Jähns also cites the ‘Boar’s head’ of the Laws of Menu (Houghton’s Manava-Dharma Shastra, vii. 187), in the eighth century B.C.; Menu being centuries after Tacitus. I have noticed that the disposal of our chessmen shows the Hindú form of attack, the infantry in front, the horse and elephants (castles) on either wing, and the Rajah or Commander-in-chief in the centre and not in front.

68 In its purest form the Standard-bearer stood alone at the apex, as Ingo in King Odo’s battle at Mons Panchei (Montpensier), A.D. 892.

69 ‘Quodque præcipuum fortitudinis incitamentum est, non casus, nec fortuita conglobatio turmam aut cuneum facit, sed familiæ et propinquitates’ (Tacit. Germ. 7).

70 Nat. Hist., iv. 14. [p. 274]

71 In Mario, 23.

72 In later times they were carefully cleaned for another object, to show their Runic inscriptions.

73 Malet’s Introduction to the History of Denmark.

74 Pliny, iv. 14. Precop. Bell. Vand. i. 1.

75 In O. Germ. Sper = hasta, lancea; Sperilîn = lanceola, sagitta; Ang. Sax. Sper, Engl. spear; Germ. Speer. The word seems to be a congener of Sparre, spar. Less commonly used is Spiess = hasta, cuspis; Scand. Spjot; O. Germ. Speoz, Spioz; Ang. Sax. spietu; Fr. espié, espiel, espiet, espieu; Ital. spiedo; Engl. spit. It seems to ally with the Lat. spina, and the Germ. Spitze (Jähns, p. 413).

76 The peculiar celts, chisels, spear-points, &c., extended over all the peninsula of Jutland, and as far south as Mark Brandenburg (Jähns, p. 6).

77 Neither Cæsar nor Tacitus mentions the use of the bow amongst the ancient Gauls and Germans, although the graves yield arrow-heads of stone, bone, and iron.

78 Dr. Evans, Bronze, &c., p. 299.

79 I reserve Scandinavian weapons for Part II.

80 Origins of English History (London: Quaritch, 1852). [p. 275]

81 The Sword amongst the Anglo-Saxons and the Franks will be described at full length in Part II.

82 These are:

No. 1. That Bronze-casting spread from a common centre by conquest or migration.

No. 2. That each region discovered the art independently, and made its own implements.

No. 3. That the art was discovered and implements were made in one spot, whence commerce disseminated them.

No. 4. That the art was diffused from a common centre, but that the implements were constructed in the countries where they were found.

83 Bronze, &c., p. 475.

84 Bronze, p. 473. I would notice that upon the subject of ‘Celts’ the learned author joins issue with the peculiar views of M. de Mortillet, before noticed. Bronze, &c., p. 456.

The three divisions are:

No. 1. Characterised by flat or slight flanged celts and knife-daggers, found in barrows with stone implements.

No. 2. Age of heavy dagger-blades, flanged celts and tanged spear-heads, such as those from Arreton Down. In these two the Sword is unknown.

No. 3. Palstaves, socketed celts (introduced from abroad); true socketed shear-heads, Swords, and the variety of tools and weapons found in the hoards of the old bronze-founders.

And a great peculiarity in Britain is the absence of nearly all traces of the Later Bronze Period in graves and barrows.

85 Dr. Evans, Bronze, &c., p. 300, quoting M. Alexandre Bertrand. For the condition of the Ancient Britons during the Bronze Period, see ibid. p. 487. [p. 276]

86 In the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres of Paris. (Dr. Evans, Bronze, &c., p. 20).

87 ‘On the True Assignation of the Bronze Weapons,’ Trans. Ethn. Soc. N. Ser. iv. p. 7).

88 Bronze, &c., p. 274. See also Introductory Chapter, p. 20.

89 See chap. v.

90 Bronze, &c., p. 417.

91 Bronze, &c., p. 421. The list of analyses shows lead chiefly in the Irish finds. [p. 277]

92 Geog. vii. 2.

93 Bell. Gall. v. 12.

94 Evans’s Coins of the Ancient Britons. I have not yet read the work.

95 Cæsar (iv. 33): ‘Genus lioc est eis essedis pugnæ;’ and he speaks again (v. 15) of essedarii. The scythe-car was known to Assyria, Jewry (the Faldat of Nahum ii. 3), and Persia, where Xenophon and Plutarch attribute to it the highest importance; even the pole ended in a lance. It became a favourite with all Keltic peoples. At Sentinum (B.C. 296) the Gauls almost defeated the Romans by suddenly throwing on a force of one thousand ‘esseda currusque.’ The Tectosages, when engaged with Antiochus Soler in Phrygia (B.C.), ranged in front of their attack 240 scythe-cars, some with two and others with four horses. Antiochus the Great armed his chariots not only with two scythe blades, but also with lances ten cubits long (?), laterally projecting (Livy, xxxvii. 41). The historian also notices the Arab dromedary-riders, ‘archers who carried their swords four cubits (= 6 feet) long, that they might be able to reach the enemy from so great a height.’ When the Gæsatæ crossed the Alps (B.C. 228) they were accompanied by a vast number of war-cars (Polybius, ii. 4, 5 says 20,000 άρμαμάξας καί συνωρίδας) which did good service at the battle of Telamon. Ossian’s Fingal offers a long description of the war-car and its uses. Many remains of these two-wheeled vehicles have been found in Keltic Europe (Jähns, pp. 394-96).

96 Geog. iii. 6.

97 I cannot but attribute to Italian blood the high and aquiline features which distinguish the Briton from the Northern German; the latter has been intimately mixed with the Slav race, as a glance at the Berlinese suffices to show. Portraits of the Cavalier period explain my meaning. In the Hanoverian times the ‘Roundhead’ again came to the fore, and hence the popular ‘John Bull’ portrayed in the pages of Mr. Punch. He is a good working type, but he has not the face to command or to impose.

98 Bronze, &c., pp. 286-87. It was found in the river Cherwell and it is now in the Museum at Oxford. The first notice was in the Journ. Arthrop. Inst., vol. iii. 204. [p. 278]

99 Ibid. p. 287. The author suggests that it may be foreign.

100 Ibid. p. 288.

101 I have already referred to the bronze dagger from Thebes, now in the British Museum, with its narrow rapier-like blade and broad flat hilt of ivory.

102 Dr. Thurnam considered the tanged dagger more modern than that which was attached by rivets in the base of the blade, and his classification is followed by Dr. Evans, Bronze, &c., p. 222.

103 The most perfect form of the bronze rapier is found in Ireland; of this and of the moulds I shall treat in Part II. [p. 279]

104 In Agric. cap. 36.

105 Montfaucon, Suppl. iv., p. 16; Smith, s. v. ‘Gladius.’

106 ‘Pliny’s Ape.’

107 Prof. Rhys, of Oxford.

108 ‘These men from horrid woods, a hairy band,
Sends far from earth divided Irish-land.’

109 The word ‘Pict,’ says Prof. Rhys, is first applied by a writer of the third century to the people beyond the Northern Wall and on the Solway. It evidently arose from their tattooing. He opines that ‘Scotti’ is of Brythonic origin having the same signification. This is better than the old SCJOT (Scjot), the dart which named the Scythæ and the Scoti. The Picts, both of Alban and Ireland, called themselves Cruithing—‘which an Irish Shanachie has rightly explained to mean a people who painted the forms (Crotha, Ir. CNX) of beasts, birds, and fishes on their faces, and not on their faces only, but on the whole of the body.’ Again we find ourselves in

—‘infinita, arcana Africa orrenda.’


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