Full Version: The Pouan Scramasax.
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
I've made a simple version of this weapon, with a bone and horn hilt unlike the original.

My question is, how was it worn?

I assumed suspended horizontally from a waist belt. But at 75cm long I'll need a wider waist Smile I could suspend it almost like a cavalry sabre slightly behind my sword, or even to the rear of my waist belt. I could wear it vertically to the left or right hand side of my body. Is there any iconographic or archaeological evidence?

Best wishes

I cannot remeber the chronology, but I´ve seen some evidences of "looongseax" Tongue wink:

I´ve spent the last two days filming a documentary about the "Chanson de Roland" and most people carried them on the left side, much like a sword. I made no questions about this, as we were too busy filming the battle... :roll:
Thank you for the reply, and I hope Roland got away safely. Smile

I suspect the term scramasax is misleading in this case. It certainly differs from even the early forms of seax. The form of blade is rare in the west, and this weapon seems closer to types of later pallash from south-eastern Europe. Something I know little about. Certainly the Pouan grave goods seem multi-cultural. perhaps some Goth on holiday had brought his favourite early pallash or long thin sword with him, suspended from two points hanging somewhere on his person.
Quote:The Pouan Scramasax.

The what, sorry? :wink: (I found a quote somewhere that seemed to indicate that 'scramasax' was another name for a type of javellin, otherwise known as a francisca..shurely shome mishtake?)

It was found with the sheath fittings in situ wasn't it? A nice gold/garnet mouth and chape and nothing else. Mouth, chape, length of blade and lack of any obvious suspension fittings (which, given the overall good reasonable state of preservation of the iron blades of both knife and sword, you'd have expected to survive) would lead me to summise that it'd hang down rather than being slung horizontally, perhaps with a two point adjustable suspension (there were several buckles found in the same grave, including at last one small one that has a nice curve to it that would allow it to fit neatly across the front of a shaped sheath, much as the lower point buckle from the Sutton Hoo sword does .
However, given that the sword found with it was simply suspended via two runners on the face of the scabbard, maybe the knife sheath was simply held in place in a loop in a belt, something that works well enough with a solid wooden (rather than soft leather) sheath.

The style and size of the mouth and chape seem to me to indicate that, like the sword, the knife was contained in a wood-cored sheath but I'm not aware of any publications detailing an analysis of either the blade or the fittings that might have given some indication as to the construction.

Go on then, show us a picture.
Michel Kazanski, "Deux riches tombes de l'epoque des grandes invasions au nord de la Gaule (Airan et Pouan)", in Archeologie Medieval, XII, 1982 pp25-33, and also Tombe d'homme (Pouan), L'or des princes barbares - Du caucase a la Gaule, Ve siecle apres J.C., exhibition catalogue (MAN-Reiss-Mannheim) 2000, p166. I'm working from Philippe Riffaud Longuespe's contribution to "Rome and the Barbarians, the Birth of a New World" ed Jean-Jacques Aillagon 2008 pp322-323.

Yes the scabbard fittings suggest a wooden core to the scabbard. But which buckle is curved? The 1866 copy of the Hunnic buckle?

So we have one vote for a vertical suspension system.

Any others?
Quote:A lot of stuff in french

And do any of them give any information on any sheath remains? I'd appreciate any info but suspect not; something found in the mid 19th C was probably cleaned back to the metal.

Quote:But which buckle is curved? The 1866 copy of the Hunnic buckle?

That's what comes of me being too lazy to wade through the french stuff. Do you mean that one of the buckles on display in the museum is a 19th copy? I know that one of the gold and garnet ones (the one with several garnets missing, analysed by Demortier in the 1980s) was repaired in the 19th C (at the point of articulation between buckle and plate...I bet that someone went "Oh look, it still bends...oops") but apart from that I thought they were all as found.

I saw it there years ago, before the advent (for me anyway) of digi-cams...I'll have to see if I can track down a picture of it online so that I can identify the curved one.
"I suspect the term scramasax is misleading in this case."

Almost certainly is -- it seems the term was only used once in the literature, by Gregory of Tours, I think, and he forgot to explain exactly what one was!


Quote:"I suspect the term scramasax is misleading in this case."

Almost certainly is -- it seems the term was only used once in the literature, by Gregory of Tours, I think, and he forgot to explain exactly what one was!
Yeah. I think "Langsax" is the more generally accepted term. Basically its a long seax.
All interesting points. But without wishing to discuss nomenclature, what primary evidence is there for how it was worn?

It is in effect the size of a small sword and wearing it with another weapon will be difficult. Perhaps it was worn by itself. If worn vertically was it worn on the left or right? And if worn hanging at an angle, from what side?

So for example the Frankish grave stone from Niederdollendorf shows a sax worn suspended from an angle on the left or in front of the body. But the scabbard doesn’t seem to parallel the Pouan find, so this probably isn’t relevant.

I’m hoping that somebody can point me in the direction of some iconographic or archaeological evidence. Perhaps linked to some eastern tradition?
"But without wishing to discuss nomenclature,...."

Of course you are right to focus on the main point of the discussion......but nomenclature is important!

I have no idea how the this weapon was worn.

Patrick Barta -- who has had a bit of hands on has given his, rather fetching, reproduction based on the Pouan a sword scabbard: ... view-v.jpg


Hi Paul,

I admire your honesty Smile I have no idea either.

Barta's reconstruction uses a scabbard slide to hang vertically, but no slide was associated with the weapon.

Graham Sumner used a horizontal suspension system for the weapon in his RMC Vol. 3. I'll try this method first, just tying the weapon at the point of balance on to a waist belt.

My version of the weapon is a poor one and my first attempt at a sword. It must have cost under £15 in raw materials so I don't mind. It was something to do while making and mending other equipment.
I've found this bit of art work which offers a solution.

[attachment=0:h9epqyjj]<!-- ia0 02king_v.jpg<!-- ia0 [/attachment:h9epqyjj]