The Sword and the Crucible: A History of the Metallurgy of European Swords up to the 16th Century

Overview

The sword was the most important of weapons, the symbol of the warrior, not to mention the badge of an officer and a gentleman. Much has been written about the artistic and historical significance of the sword, but outside specialised publications, relatively little about its metallurgy, and that often confined to a particular group. This book aims to tell the story of the making of iron and steel swords from the first Celtic examples through the Middle Ages to the Early Modern period. The results of the ...

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Overview

The sword was the most important of weapons, the symbol of the warrior, not to mention the badge of an officer and a gentleman. Much has been written about the artistic and historical significance of the sword, but outside specialised publications, relatively little about its metallurgy, and that often confined to a particular group. This book aims to tell the story of the making of iron and steel swords from the first Celtic examples through the Middle Ages to the Early Modern period. The results of the microscopic examination of over a hundred swords by the author and other archaeometallurgists are given and explained in terms of the materials available in Europe.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789004227835
  • Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/3/2012
  • Series: History of Warfare Series
  • Pages: 292
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 6.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan R.Williams, PhD (1974) in History of Science, University of Manchester, now works as an Archaeometallurgist in the Wallace Collection, London. He has published extensively on the metallurgy of swords and armour and is the author of The Knight and the Blast Furnace (2003)
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Table of Contents

Preface vii

Part 1 The First Metals

1 The Extraction of the First Metals 3

2 The Smelting of Iron and the Production of Steel 12

3 Different Ways of Making Steel-Eastern and Western Steel-making 24

Part 2 The First European Swords

4 Celtic and Roman Swords 49

5 Pattern-Welding 62

Part 3 The "Dark" Ages in Europe

6 The Revival of Science in Europe 85

7 The Survival of Technology from the Ancient World 96

8 Viking-Age Swords and Their Inscriptions 116

Part 4 Steel Armour and Swords

9 The Invention of the Blast Furnace and Finery 187

10 Bloomery Steel and the Development of All-Steel Swords after 1400 202

11 The Mass-Production of Steel for Swords and Armour 210

12 The Decoration of Swords by Etching and Gilding 223

13 Medieval European swords after 1000 230

Further reading 287

Index 291

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