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originally posted by: peter vlar
a reply to: Marduk
well that's the first time I've seen a genuine roman artifact offered for sale on Linens and Things! Apparently that's the new front for antiquities smugglers
originally posted by: BoldAlligator
If anybody is interested in hearing more about the sword, the podcast Earth Ancients most recent episode has a little segment with one of the researchers..
They Are All "Copies"
It's clear that we've got a lot of swords now that were made from the same mold or are copies of swords made from the same mold. Here's a comparison of six brass/bronze swords plus the iron Design Toscano sword. (As an aside, I don't think the proponents of the "Roman sword from Nova Scotia" claim were at all prepared for how many of these things would surface once people were looking for them. If they had known that there were were a lot of copies floating around, they presumably would have been prepared for that information and not had to scramble to make up a sequence of baloney stories about Photoshop, plastic swords, the Emperor of Rome issuing a set of ten, etc.).
All the swords are "copies" in that they were all cast - the similarities in the figures make that obvious. Molten bronze, brass, or iron was poured into a mold that was created using some object. Even the very first sword, then, was a copy of some original object.
The "Roman sword" people say it's a ceremonial sword, either given away to those very special legion commanders so they can use its magical powers to navigate to Oak Island, or perhaps used in some kind of gladiator-related ceremony. Neither of those sound very likely to me, and I have yet to hear a Roman antiquities expert endorse either interpretation as plausible.
I'd like to introduce the possibility that the original was a hunting sword. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about hunting swords:
"A hunting sword is a type of single-handed short sword that dates to the 12th Century but was used during hunting parties among Europeans from the 17th to the 19th centuries. A hunting sword usually has a straight, single-edged, pointed blade typically no more than 25 inches long. This sword was used for finishing off game in lieu of using and wasting further shot. Adopted by many Europeans, and in past centuries sometimes worn by military officers as a badge of rank, hunting swords display amazing variety in design."
The "amazing variety in design" is important. Do a Google image search on "hunting sword" and browse through the results. You'll see some pretty plain swords, but you'll also see swords with very ornately carved grips, including some with human figures. Here's one with a carved ivory lion as a grip. Here's another ivory grip with a bunch of different animals on it. Here's one with Hercules cast in silver. These swords are functional, but their restricted use means they can be a lot fancier than their workaday military grade counterparts.
My friend Jeff Plunkett introduced me to the idea of a hunting sword when he emailed me with this description of of a hunting sword taken from page 242 of the National Exhibition of Works of Art at Leeds 1868: