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Metallurgy and Roman swords
#1
Quote:If there is something we can accept, what is not historical, it is something we can't skip, like steel. Romans had used iron. Their "steel" was mostly side effect or forging. Spathas had had less than 1% carbon. Now, who's gonna find iron plate or ingot today? No one. That's why swords, armors and other stuff are made from steel, not carbonized iron and this is acceptable. But bracers, pressed helmets, not even slighlest knowledge about what are you doing is unacceptable imo.

This is wrong. Metallurgical analysis shows that by the late Republic and early imperial period almost all Roman swords were medium and/or high-carbon steel. Modern steel is the wrong steel composition, but the Romans were using steel.

See "Study of the Metallography of some Roman Swords" and "Metallographic Examinations of some Roman Republican Weapons from the hoard of Grad near Smihel."
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#2
(07-17-2016, 09:49 PM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: This is wrong. Metallurgical analysis shows that by the late Republic and early imperial period almost all Roman swords were medium and/or high-carbon steel. Modern steel is the wrong steel composition, but the Romans were using steel.

See "Study of the Metallography of some Roman Swords" and "Metallographic Examinations of some Roman Republican Weapons from the hoard of Grad near Smihel."

I did study roman metallurgy and as far as I know, Romans had used high carbonized iron or you can call it soft steel.
It has nothing to do with medieval steel becasue Romans did not have medieval's technology.

There is a reason by some high officers prefered bronze swords, becasue bronze was stronger than early steel.

We have even sources how the sword were acting. Ceaser writes than pilum bends after each use, jsut like sword during fight so you need to step on it and "rebind" it. That's not how steel works. That's carbonized iron.

Whole "steel" was made by forging and hammering so during this proces which was reapted X times, iron absorbed carbon and became "soft steel".

Yes, they could produce steel at some level but it was too expensive, they didnt have technology and it was uneconomical.

You could call it steel by romans standards but by out modern standards it wasn't steel like today or even if some pieces provides iron wirh 2% carbon, it's very uncommon and cannot be treated like normal thing becasue it isnt until medieval.

As for the spathas, like I mentioned, vast majority of them have less than 1% od carbon.
Damian
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#3
Quote:There is a reason by some high officers prefered bronze swords, becasue bronze was stronger than early steel.

I have never, EVER read anything like this. Hands down. In fact, Roman steel was so high quality we can't accurately reproduce it with known methods. See D. Sim and J. Kaminski's "Roman Imperial Armor" (not 100% the best book but good for the price.) Not necessarily in carbon content maybe, I couldn't tell you off the top of my head since my books are at home, but they usually had less than a 1% slag content and reproduced techniques can't achieve less than 5% without a blast furnace, etc.

Quote:We have even sources how the sword were acting. Ceaser writes than pilum bends after each use, jsut like sword during fight so you need to step on it and "rebind" it. That's not how steel works. That's carbonized iron.

That's because the Pilum is a long thin steel shaft designed to penetrate shields because the shaft is thinner than the wide pyramidal point allowing it to reach the enemy behind his shield rather than loose energy and stop due to the friction of the javelin grinding against the shield. Most people can bend a medium-carbon steel shaft of that thickness. I accidentally did it with my spiculum.
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#4
steel is today defined as Fe + 0,2-2% C, everything with more than 2% C is cast iron (which can not be forged but transferred to steel with the proper technique) so, technically, the romans used steel because most of the "iron" contained more than 0,2%C. no blacksmith with some knowledge in the Fe-C-diagram would use steel with more than 1%C (and no other (modern) alloys contained) for a long thin blade. why should one? the "ideal" C-content for hardening is around 0,8% C (if you have the skills to work with such a material which is not that easy), most blacksmiths use steel with 0.6-0,7%C which is a bit, but not much, over the average C content in early imperial blades. the way of producing the material might have changed but the physical and chemical parameters have not  Smile
Als Mensch zu dumm, als Schwein zu kleine Ohren...

Jürgen Graßler

http://www.schorsch-der-schmied.de
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#5
I'm not saying it was low quality or that they didnt use it (enough to say that some 3-4 AD spathas are insanely complicated) but lack of technology combied with huge expenses in steel making in ancient world led to soft steel. Of course, if you were damn rich, you could pay huge amount of gold for the best avaible sword but that wasn't common case.

If we use bronze sword, does it bend? Yes
If we use steel sword, does it bend? No.
If we use "soft steel" which has HV the same like bronze, does it bend? Yes.

And we have sources saying abut bending swords.

Steel making wasn't easy and every single way to make a steel with technology ancient could knew, is too expensive. Enought to say that romans couldnt make big steel plates opposite to medieval. That's enough to think about their steel technology.

Steel is not just steel. There are different types of steel, like low-carbon, not-heat threated and heat-threated steel. Only last one is stronger than bronze and until medieval it was very rare.

But the biggest rumour Ive see in the Internet about metals is that iron replaced bronze becasue it was better. This is the biggest rubbish ever.
Shame I don't remember where I found this thing about bronze swords but if I will again, I will post it.
Damian
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#6
why shold a steel blade not be able to bend? depends on the heat reatment, the construction and the geometry of the blade. and there are two types of bending: "elastic" = springy and "plastic" = the blade doesn`t move back to the form it had before bending. every material has a point to which it can be bent in the "elastic" frame. when more power is used there will be a constant deformation. even a blade with edges which today are considered to contain an ideal amount of C and which are properly heat treated can be bent without cracking of the edges. it is also quite easy (yet time- and resource-consuming) to produce bars of steel with a homogenous high carbon content by carburizing thin strips of low-C steel and welding them to a solid bar.

regarding Sim and Kaminski: just that these two were not able to produce such a steel in their experiments doesn`t mean that it`s impossible to do that today... there is a lot more behind proper forging with ancient materials than some experimenters without years of experience might know. it had and has a reason that a craftsman doesn`t stop learning for his entire working-life...
Als Mensch zu dumm, als Schwein zu kleine Ohren...

Jürgen Graßler

http://www.schorsch-der-schmied.de
http://www.facebook.com/pages/AG-Histori...2642993872
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#7
I split the thread beause it went away from the original subject like a rocket!


Gents, discussing another topic is OK, but please start your own new thread instead of hijacking an existing one!!
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#8
yeees master Angel
Als Mensch zu dumm, als Schwein zu kleine Ohren...

Jürgen Graßler

http://www.schorsch-der-schmied.de
http://www.facebook.com/pages/AG-Histori...2642993872
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#9
(07-20-2016, 04:18 PM)XorX Wrote: yeees master Angel

Goooood padawan. <(-_-)>
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Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#10
High quality bronze is better than mild steel, especially if not heat treated, but I have never seen a bronze sword made after eround 600BC and I wouldn't believe this without a good surce (first hand or archeological).
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