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Can the Feltwell Spatha be used for a late 4th c./early 5th c. Roman re-enactment?
#1
Somewhat of a newb to re-enactment.

I've been reading up on the interpretations of the Feltwell Spatha and I've been getting some conflicting information about who may have used a sword like that. Sometimes I read that it was a "Roman" sword, picked up by the barbarians during the Migration Period, and sometimes I read that it was a sword shape adopted by the Romans from all the barbarian units that they brought into their army.

I am trying to represent a comitatensis or pseudo-comitatensis of the late 4th c. or early 5th century. Can this sword accurately represent the soldier and the time period?

https://www.celticwebmerchant.co.uk/en/f...ry-ad.html

Thanks!
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#2
Hello there!

The Spatha was developed from the Sassanian Swords of the 3rd century and the Roman swords of the 1st-2nd centuries AD.

The "Feltwell Spatha" possess a hexagonal (in hindsight I should have had Gagan make it a shallow fuller) Illerup-Whyl type blade and a Germanic Type-I handle, which makes it ideal for the Early 4th through Early 5th centuries AD. The scabbard chape, slider, and mouthband are also consistent with this time period.

So in short: yes.
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#3
(09-07-2017, 07:09 PM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: Hello there!

The Spatha was developed from the Sassanian Swords of the 3rd century and the Roman swords of the 1st-2nd centuries AD.

The "Feltwell Spatha" possess a hexagonal (in hindsight I should have had Gagan make it a shallow fuller) Illerup-Whyl type blade and a Germanic Type-I handle, which makes it ideal for the Early 4th through Early 5th centuries AD. The scabbard chape, slider, and mouthband are also consistent with this time period.

So in short: yes.

Thanks for your useful reply! I'm glad to hear the sword can work for me.

I'm just interested in finding out more info about what you told me. Do you think you can refer me to some of your sources?
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#4
(09-10-2017, 12:55 PM)Lucius_Aelius Wrote:
(09-07-2017, 07:09 PM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: Hello there!

The Spatha was developed from the Sassanian Swords of the 3rd century and the Roman swords of the 1st-2nd centuries AD.

The "Feltwell Spatha" possess a hexagonal (in hindsight I should have had Gagan make it a shallow fuller) Illerup-Whyl type blade and a Germanic Type-I handle, which makes it ideal for the Early 4th through Early 5th centuries AD. The scabbard chape, slider, and mouthband are also consistent with this time period.

So in short: yes.

Thanks for your useful reply! I'm glad to hear the sword can work for me.

I'm just interested in finding out more info about what you told me. Do you think you can refer me to some of your sources?

"Rome and the Sword" by Simon James is a good start.
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#5
Here is some general infomation on the sword itself Smile 
   
Regards Brennivs Big Grin
Woe Ye The Vanquished
                     Brennvs 390 BC
When you have all this why do you envy our mud huts
                     Caratacvs
Centvrio Brennivs COH I Dacorivm (Roma Antiqvia)
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#6
Not all of that is correct. The pommel cap and slider aren't original to the find, and the "guard and pommel" reconstruction are incorrectly proportioned.

Also he's talking about the Deepeeka version. Which admittedly I should have gotten Gagan to put a shallow fuller on instead of a hexagonal blade.
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#7
(09-11-2017, 10:29 PM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: Not all of that is correct. The pommel cap and slider aren't original to the find, and the "guard and pommel" reconstruction are incorrectly proportioned.

Also he's talking about the Deepeeka version. Which admittedly I should have gotten Gagan to put a shallow fuller on instead of a hexagonal blade.

Are there other versions sold online?
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#8
(09-11-2017, 10:29 PM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: Not all of that is correct. The pommel cap and slider aren't original to the find, and the "guard and pommel" reconstruction are incorrectly proportioned.

Also he's talking about the Deepeeka version. Which admittedly I should have gotten Gagan to put a shallow fuller on instead of a hexagonal blade.

You can find the original Feltwell excavation report here its free:

EAA 31, 1986: Settlement, Religion and Industry on the Fen-Edge; three Romano-British sites in Norfolk, by David Gurney.

http://eaareports.org.uk/publication/report31/

It doesnt mention a fuller of any kind and the cross section given is not much help other then to suggest a flat blade.
It gives several potential reconstructions of the grip based on period swords, though I think theres better info available now, the grip itself has been identified as red deer antler probably.
and does say:

"The strap-holder which appears to belong with the sword
was found in 286, a layer of rubble and rubbish in the
frigidarium ."

My personal view is it could have been used by anyone...
Ivor

"And the four bare walls stand on the seashore. a wreck a skeleton a monument of that instability and vicissitude to which all things human are subject. Not a dwelling within sight, and the farm labourer, and curious traveller, are the only persons that ever visit the scene where once so many thousands were congregated." T.Lewin 1867
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#9
Quote:It doesnt mention a fuller of any kind and the cross section given is not much help other then to suggest a flat blade.

Matt Bunker has seen it in person, it's fullered.

Quote:It gives several potential reconstructions of the grip based on period swords, though I think theres better info available now, the grip itself has been identified as red deer antler probably.

It is. The Guard and Pommel belonged to the Germanic-Type 1 Spathae. Its closest parallels are probably actually going to be Gold hilt and Osterburken-Kemathen swords because of the Octagonal grip.

Quote:"The strap-holder which appears to belong with the sword was found in 286, a layer of rubble and rubbish in the frigidarium ."

According to Matt Bunker the "Strap holder" is completely unrelated. Besides it looks nothing like contemporary scabbard sliders.

Quote:Are there other versions sold online?

Off the shelf? No. Commissioned swords? Yes. Although if you're gonna go for a commissioned blade there's other finds than the Feltwell. Any of the Osterburken-Kemathen Spathae are great for Early 5th.
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#10
Matt Bunker has seen it in person, it's fullered.

Rather hear that from Matt, but it wouldn't suprise if it was.... though there are some AS swords that are thought to be wiithout fullers...

It is. The Guard and Pommel belonged to the Germanic-Type 1 Spathae. Its closest parallels are probably actually going to be Gold hilt and Osterburken-Kemathen swords because of the Octagonal grip.

Do the Osterburken-Kemathen type have Octagonal grips?, from what I can see there is no surviving furniture...

An article with Two swords from Osterburken

Gold grip swords would be later... second half of the 5th century on... certainly would agree though on the similarity not just in the grip either...

   

Swords are from top down:
Deutschland, Pleidelsheim (Grab 71), Sindelfingen, Entingen (Grab von 1927), Gültlingen (Grab von 1889 und Grab von 1901) From: Die Alamannen.(Stuttgart 2001)


According to Matt Bunker the "Strap holder" is completely unrelated. Besides it looks nothing like contemporary scabbard sliders.

Well you have the link to the report above so you can make your own mind up on that, I wouldn't rule it out given the quality of the rest of the fixtures but think its unlikely...
Ivor

"And the four bare walls stand on the seashore. a wreck a skeleton a monument of that instability and vicissitude to which all things human are subject. Not a dwelling within sight, and the farm labourer, and curious traveller, are the only persons that ever visit the scene where once so many thousands were congregated." T.Lewin 1867
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#11
Quote:Gold grip swords would be later... second half of the 5th century on... certainly would agree though on the similarity not just in the grip either...

Germanic Goldgrip Spathae are 460 onwards. Hunnish ones date from ~400 to I think roughly 550.

Quote:Do the Osterburken-Kermathen type have Octagonal grips?, from what I can see there is no surviving furniture...

Not none, but very little, mostly the guards. A decayed handle. AFAIK many of the 5th century Gold-Grips have Osterburken-Kemathen blades don't they?

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#12
Btw, I wonder why the Feltwell spatha isn´t included in Christian Miks´book "Studien zur römischen Schwertbewaffnung in der Kaiserzeit"?
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#13
Hmm... that's a good question. He includes myriads of late antique Germanic blades...
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#14
Yes, and I use the Feltwell spatha (blade , Paul Binns, antler and horn grip, Paul Binns and scabbard by Matt Bunker) in my 5th century Dorchester-on-Thames foederati impression.
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#15
There are some images from photobucket in Jyrki's and Caballo's posts that don't show (I am logged in to photobucket).. Perhaps some signature images that have lapsed guys.
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