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A most precious ancient sword. (Read 1157 times)
Mauro Fiorentini
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A most precious ancient sword.
Dec 19th, 2016 at 2:02pm
 
Hey guys, I always forgot to show you this replica I made last year.
It should be a short sword imported from Greece some 2600 years ago, that found its way to a rich Picenian prince's grave.
The grave has been dug in Matelica, a hundred kilometers from where I live, and contained a dozen weapons of different kinds, a couple of armors, some helmets, many horses and two war chariots, all this to serve their owner in the other world.

The sword I tried to replicate was one of the weapons and was most probably used during ceremonies.
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Its handle is made of ivory which was decorated with amber triangles and bronze buttons. A couple of ivory plates also decorated with bronze buttons were attached to the sword in a position that made clear the fact that they were decorating the hilt's opening.


This replica was intended for display purposes only, so I didn't lose time in forging and hardening an iron billet, trying to turn it into a reliable steel blade.
I just cut the sword's shape out of an iron plank, using electric tools:
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Selling or buying ivory is illegal in Italy, so I used the bone of a cow's leg to make the handle's plates. I love the smell of burnt bone in the morning.
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I then shaped a part of the bone in those zoomorphic figures (fighting lions?) that made the handle's pommel in the original:
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Dug 3 triangles on each of the bone's plates in order to insert the amber...
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...a following sanding made everything nice and smooth. I also prepared the holes in which I'd insert the bronze buttons:
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I then attached the handle's plates to the iron tang using 2 tiny nails, trying to make them the most invisible I could:
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Next step was to add the pommel, the bronze buttons and to give the blade a first polishing:
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It was time to think about the hilt, and I decided to give it a rectangular shape. Quite odd but still common in that context, so-called "bell-shaped hilts" were used in association to the Novilara type swords, a single-edged curved kind of short sword.
So I applied the bone plates and draw the lines I'd later scratch with a hot iron knife:
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And suddenly everything was done:
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It's the poor copy of the original: the craftmanship of that ancient Greek swordsmith is still out of my range even if I used a couple of electric tools (but all the filing, polishing and bone working was made with hand tools).
But I will keep trying.

The making of this sword took me eleven hours and various dozens Euro, that would have grown if I forged the blade.

The replica had quite an adventurous life, being use for a photo shooting session inside the ruins of a huge Roman town in Region Abruzzo (called Prate d'Ansidonia):
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It's now under restoration because a hyper-active kid dropped it on the ground, breaking the horns, but shift happens  Smiley
I'm using resin to repair it.
Greetings!
Mauro.
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kicktheotter
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Re: A most precious ancient sword.
Reply #1 - Dec 19th, 2016 at 3:14pm
 
Wow beautiful. It looks like you didn't choose an easy one to replicate so yeah great job Cheesy
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SlingerDave
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Re: A most precious ancient sword.
Reply #2 - Dec 19th, 2016 at 3:34pm
 
I can't see it. I want too see it, but I can't see it.  Shocked
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Morphy
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Re: A most precious ancient sword.
Reply #3 - Dec 19th, 2016 at 6:05pm
 
Looking good bro.
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vetryan15
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Re: A most precious ancient sword.
Reply #4 - Dec 19th, 2016 at 6:08pm
 
Great job. That looks amazing
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Mauro Fiorentini
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Re: A most precious ancient sword.
Reply #5 - Dec 20th, 2016 at 2:45am
 
Thank you so much  Smiley
Yes that was not easy plus I didn't use top quality materials - for example the bone was very old, all cracks and very dry, really prone to breaking, but let's say this was just a test, next one will be more accurate.
Dave you still can't see the images? Do you get any weird message?
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Mauro.

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SlingerDave
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Re: A most precious ancient sword.
Reply #6 - Dec 20th, 2016 at 6:55am
 
Can't see the sword on the forum, but I was able to borrow a Facebook account to follow the link that you have posted. It is a sweet sword!  Grin
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Bill Skinner
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Re: A most precious ancient sword.
Reply #7 - Dec 21st, 2016 at 3:34pm
 
I like your sword and it's great for the second sword you have made.  I have heard that the number 50 is how many of something that you have to make before you are considered an expert.   Cool   

And the reason you can't match that ancient Greek swordsmith is because you haven't made as many as he probably did.  So, get hot and start making more swords!   Grin

I'll find a good home for the next 40+ swords you make.   Grin  Especially if they look like the latest one.   Grin

PS, I really like that sheath for that sword, how did you get the metal lacing around the edge to get so uniform?  I can't get it to look that good with a 4 hole punch and soft lacing.

One last thing, could the animals on the hilt have been snakes?  Or dragons?  Instead of lower limbs, could the protrusions have been lower jaws?
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timpa
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Re: A most precious ancient sword.
Reply #8 - Dec 25th, 2016 at 3:34pm
 
Awesome!
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Mauro Fiorentini
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Re: A most precious ancient sword.
Reply #9 - Dec 26th, 2016 at 7:13am
 
Thanks! Bill, sorry for the belated reply, I had to eat all the Xmas cakes and such  Grin
Many thanks for the compliments, the lacing around the hilt is not metal, it's just beewaxed linen! But I will have to remove it and apply a spacer between the two halves of the hilt, because as it is now unsheating the sword require far too much strength! The leather I used is 5mm thick bull back.
You expressed my doubts as well about the animals on the handle! Original ivory resisted well to the passing of time, but it may have lost its legibility!

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Bill Skinner
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Re: A most precious ancient sword.
Reply #10 - Dec 26th, 2016 at 4:34pm
 
Trying to put our selves in the mind of someone from a completely different culture and belief system is hard.  We tend to interpret their images in our own context.

On the other hand, back in the day when that sword was new, everyone who looked at it knew what the animals were and what they meant.
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Mauro Fiorentini
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Re: A most precious ancient sword.
Reply #11 - Dec 26th, 2016 at 7:14pm
 
And they had to be important, sure: there's another sword in the same grave which is a perfect copy of this one - same measurements and shape. The only things are, it had a whittle tang instead of a scale one and the animals are made of iron instead of ivory  Shocked
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Mauro Fiorentini - 339-525
 
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