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Just returned from a week in Belgrade as a guest of the Serbian military, on the last day of the trip they arranged for me to tour the Military History Museum located in the Fortress Belgrade, an ancienct stone fort that guards the confluence of the Sava and Danube Rivers. Great museum dedicated to not just Balkan but all European military with a large collection of arms and armor. A little off the beaten path, and a museum that I hadn't heard about before, but definitely worth a look if you are in the area.
The star of the section dealing with the Roman era is a gladius and sheath that was found on the banks of the Danube in the 40's. The museum has another in it's collection but I didn't see it on display. The one on exhibit appears to follow the "Mainz" pattern and has a well preserved scabbard, described in the museum guide as "wooden outer case reinforced by an iron foil coating bearing the inscription, shallowly incised in two rows in the coating, near the mouth of the sheath. The upper row features the name of the soldier who owned the sword and the lower one marks the military unit he served in. The inscription on the scabbard indicate the soldier was a member of a special light infantry unit which served as border guards in the part of the Danube Limes at the mouth of the Morava into the Danube."
The museum visit was an unexpected part of the trip, so unfortunately the only camera I had was a cheap disposable type I bought there. I did take some photos but I'm not sure how they'll come out. I'll post them if they turn out OK. The scabbard is very nice, the upper two thirds appear to be silver gilded or tinned with the faint inscriptions mentioned. I couldn't make out what the markings were but maybe the pictures will show more detail. The interesting part of the scabbard is the brass (not gilded) bottom part of the scabbard that covered the part of the scabbard that makes the "V" shape. It was pierced with holes in a very intricate pattern, hard to describe, but like a plant or vine with a single "stalk" up the middle and mirror image "branches" going off of it at close spacing.
Has anyone seen this gladius before and are there any photos of it that you can direct me too? A quick use of the search feature on this site did result in any info other than the one that mentioned 500 gladius found in Serbia earlier that disappeared. Google did not help either. I've in mind to make a replica of the scabbard, so any info would be appreciated.
Rick Rachal
I hope your pics turn out Big Grin D D ? hmm
Regards Brennivs Big Grin
Heh heh. Now that was a very lucky bit of Googling.... ... antika.htm

[Image: a2.jpg]

Gorgeous bit of swordage. Thanks for bringing it up.
WOW thanks Tarbicvs it makes the mouth water .I hope to see a better image one day especially the chape area Big Grin D D D
Regards Brennivs Big Grin
Now that would look nice on my Albion! 8) 8)
Good spot Rick- laudes! And one for a fine bit of Googling to you , too, Jim, when the system lets me...

The commentary is below. Any ex-military bods out there with a smattering of Serbian who can translate?

I think the inscription is "ANIVALVC L A IIII U", which could stand for "Aniuluc(us?) l(evis) a(rmatura) (legionis) IIII(Scythica)"- at least according to what I can make out from below. I've never come across that military description- but then I learn something new every day in this hobby.......

Mač -Gladijus 16072
Dubravica, bagerovanje Dunava, poklon Duž. 68 cm, duž.seciva 55cm, šir.sec. 22cm
Mač je naden zajedno sa kanijom cije su drvene korice bile ojacane oplatom od gvozdenog lima ciji je vrh ukraÅ¡en biljnim ornamentom izradenom u tehnici opus interrasile.Ukrasni delovi okova kanije izradeni su od bakarne legure. Poseban znacaj ovom nalazu daje natpis, koji je plitko urezan, oÅ¡trim predmetom na oplati od gvozdenog lima, u delu bliže ustima kanije. Tekst je urezan u dva reda : ANIVALVC L A IIII U gornjem redu natpisa na macu je komgomen vojnika kome je mac pripadao - Anivalus, odnosno Hanibal. U donjem delu je oznacena vojna jedinica u kojoj je služio vlasnik maca: l(evis) a(rmatura) (legionis) IIII(Scythica). Natpis sa kanijeukazuje i na to da je vojnik pripadao specijalnoj jedinici lake peÅ¡adije.koja je obavljala poslove pogranicne milicije na ovom delu Dunavskog limesa.
I-II vek nove ere.
Literatura : M.Vujovic, Gladii, Vestigatio Vetvstatis, Beograd, 2001.


And the source document is "Gladii" there are definitely at least two gladii there.......

I've emailed a Serbian mate to see if he can get the chance to translate it. I know he's very busy right now, so it may take a bit.

I'm sure I also read somewhere they also have a helmet?
Thanks for all the kind posts, and really great job with the Googleing, Jim. Your search engine skills are far better than mine! Yes, there was a helmet in the Roman section, according to the guidebook I got from the museum it is from the Horreum Margi (Cuprija) archeological site. Not sure where that dig is in the Balkans or the time period of the site.
I wasn't very impressed with the helmet, and seem to recall it as just a simple iron bowl without adornement that had a vertical neck extension around the back, going close to the skin almost a straight line down from the back of the helmet with rounded corners, that probably would cover the entire back of the head/neck area. No cheek pieces, ear cutouts, visor, crests, etc. The neck plate looked like it was originally a seperate piece of iron that had been added to the bowl helmet by wrapping a band of it around the bottom edge of the bowl. Struck me as either a very late period helmet or maybe auxiliary, but the initial impression I had of it was that it looked like a medieval piece that wouldn't have been out of place among some of the helmets in the later period displays there, especially those from the Ottoman or Turkish areas.
Rick Rachal
Well, my mate just came through with the goods - beer owed methinks. I imagine 'case' mans 'scabbard'.

Quote:Sword - Gladius
Dubravica ( is a some place in north Serbia ), digging of Danube, present length 68 cm, length without the handle 55cm , width 22cm.

Sword was found together with KANIJOM ( the case) which has the wooden cover supported with the structure of iron plate with engraving around the top section with flower motives done in "opus interasile" technique.
Engraving for fittings was done later in copper. What make it special is the sign , which is engraved with sharp object on iron plate closer to mouth/ opening of KANIJA (the case) .
The text was written in two rows : ANIVALVC L A IIII . Frist row is solders KOMGOMEN ( no idea what is this) whom this sword belongs to - Anivalus , know as Hanibal.
In bottom section there is a sign of regiment-legion which this solder was a part of : I ( evis) A ( rmatura) Legionis) IIII ( Scythica).
Sign on KANIJA ( the case ) show as well that soldier was a part of special forces PESADIJA ( which is Serbian military word for ground combat division with light armament which task was to work as a border police unit in this Danube area.
Yes, there are 2 swords from Dubravica (Margum-between SIngidunum and Viminacium), held in Military museum in Belgrade. Another one has just small remains of scabard,
The blade looks to be in remarkable condition and I think that is one of the best examples of a full tang.

Is that the pommel nut on top? The picture ends right there, so it might be deceiving.

I would be interested in the metallurgical disposition of the blade, though I am not sure if that has been done or will be done. Does anyone know?

I find it that it is interesting that Legio IIII would be tasked/responsible for border patrol/security responsibilities. I would think that the local auxiliaries would normally be tasked with this mission.

Another fine example of the flexibility of the Legio perhaps? I did a quick scan through Spaul, and I could not find any auxiliary units with a name close to IIII Scythica in that part of the world.


Quote:I find it that it is interesting that Legio IIII would be tasked/responsible for border patrol/security responsibilities. I would think that the local auxiliaries would normally be tasked with this mission.
Why was the owner an auxiliary?

Quote:I did a quick scan through Spaul, and I could not find any auxiliary units with a name close to IIII Scythica in that part of the world.
Ritterling puts IIII Scythia in Moesia/Serbia in 33 AD. He also believes it to be one that Augustus took up BC some time, which all tallies perfectly with the type of gladius.
I concur that the owner was not an auxiliary. I just find it interesting that IIII Scythia is doing a border security mission, which while not beyond the flexibility of a legio, is interesting to note.

I hope I am articulating this properly. English can be such a second language to us Americans Smile

Sorry Mike, I'm not with it today and misread your post.

Alex's translation has the bit about them being specialists in border patrol. A legion was a big organisation that included specialists of all sorts, so perhaps border patrol was one of those.
Would seem part of the job for a Legion posted to a frontier area?
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