Custom Spatha by GGK *FINISHED!* Dec 23, 2020 18:24:45 GMT
Post by lebleuchevalier on Dec 23, 2020 18:24:45 GMT
As I stated in another thread, I just commissioned our friend Purna Darnal to make me a Roman-style sword. I decided not to go with a gladius, but with a reproduction spatha. The particular type of spatha I went with has not been reproduced to the best of my knowledge. This is the Nauportus spatha, which was found in Egypt in 2006.
Link to the academic paper regarding the find: dlib.nyu.edu/awdl/isaw/isaw-papers/9/
The sword has a rather dubious date of around 100 B.C., but it appears to be an earlier blade that was modified with asiatic style ebony hilt components, although only the pommel survives. It has a LONG blade (about 30 inches) and is uniformly thick at 5.5mm apart from the middle section, which is 4.9mm. So it must have been a stiff, stabby sort of blade with a diamond cross-section. It weighs 1.3kg with what remains of the hilt, so it must have been fairly heavy in it's prime.
I have elected to commission a reproduction based on what it ORIGINALLY could have looked like. It is unclear where the sword's point of origin was, but the archaeologists conclude that it was likely based on gladius Hispaniensis, which was the basis for the Mainz gladius. Hispaniensis was a sword type that many cultures adopted. What's unique about the Nauportus spatha is how waisted the blade is. It's 58mm at the widest points and 41.9mm at the most narrow, and the last third of the blade is the point.
Here is a look at the original:
Here is a sketch that attempts to reconstruct the sword based on its final appearance:
And here is Purna's sketch of a plausible reconstruction of what it originally looked like:
The hilt is not typical of the Hispaniensis swords, but is quite typical of the Mainz gladius types. I think the Romans took Hispaniensis and refined the hilt components to be more round or ovoid in shape, which is more comfortable.
The sword is interesting here. Purna's sketch is not as waisted as the archaeological find. You see, I have this silly theory, that the waisting feature on many of these swords may have been caused be reprofiling the blade retroactively. In other words, as the sword was used over and over and over again, the edge would be honed over and over again until it developed a waisted effect. I know this is silly and is purely an assumption, but I wonder if the effect was created SOMETIMES, not all the time, by reprofiling the blade after much use.
What do you think? Am I mad?