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I've read that the Romans widely used "Noric steel" from Noricum to make their swords. Was this real steel, as in a iron with 0.2%-2% carbon content? Or was it just a fancy name for high quality metal?
I don't think the exact composition of Noric steel is known, but the Romans certainly had steel in general. Carbon contents for a few blades are given in Bishop & Coulston's "Roman Military Equipment", for instance. We also know that lorica segmentata plates are often a low-grade steel or "steely iron" (as Dr. Bishop has said). Note that steel quality varied widely! I've heard that Noric steel was valued for surgical instruments, but there were definitely a lot of swords that were not that good.

Vale,

Matthew
There´s a very good book about the ferrum noricum, which will answer all your questions in detail. And more. Smile
[url:9swksvpg]http://www.buchhandel.de/detailansicht.aspx?isbn=978-3-211-82789-5[/url]
Quote:I don't think the exact composition of Noric steel is known, but the Romans certainly had steel in general. Carbon contents for a few blades are given in Bishop & Coulston's "Roman Military Equipment", for instance. We also know that lorica segmentata plates are often a low-grade steel or "steely iron" (as Dr. Bishop has said). Note that steel quality varied widely! I've heard that Noric steel was valued for surgical instruments, but there were definitely a lot of swords that were not that good.

Vale,

Matthew
Thanks. That's quite surprising. I've always thought that forging of steel became only possible in the middle ages with the invention of water-powered bloomery, and only iron existed in the antiquity.
Quote:There´s a very good book about the ferrum noricum, which will answer all your questions in detail. And more. Smile
[url:2ed2k4hd]http://www.buchhandel.de/detailansicht.aspx?isbn=978-3-211-82789-5[/url]
Unfortunately I can't read German :oops:
.....Styria is part of the ancient Noricum.
As to the iron oar to be found there:
(From the website of VoestAlpine, Austria's major steel producers)
http://www.voestalpine.com/stahl/de/op2 ... orger.html
....last part of the info (marked with an asteriks):
(Roughly translated, of course :wink: )
"Remark for oar-emphatics:
Local oar deposits differ from imported oar mainly by their chemical composition. As opposed to imported oar, which consist of Magnetite (Fe3O4) and Hamatite (Fe2O3) throughout, local oar deposits contain Siderit (FeCO3) with a certain portion of carbon. [Ed.: ….and in a certain way of shape and distribution as far as I recall from school, later findings show that some iron oar samples from the Alps even contain Fe3Si (Gupeiit) und Fe5Si3 (Xifengit) which raised the question of a possible meteorite impact in the Chiemgau during ancient times.] Furthermore local iron deposits do contain a proportionally large part of slag-forming ingredients like Calcium (Ca), Silicium (Si) and Magnesium (Mg). This leads to a relatively minor content of pure iron in the local deposits (33%). Imported iron oars do have an iron content up to 66% by comparison.â€