Full Version: Pattern welded late roman blades
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I can't seem to find any specific enough details. Were all the later Roman swords/spatha pattern welded? And were they pattern welded completely whole, or did they only have the center done, with a not pattern welded edging. I found this nice close up photo of a late roman spatha and it appears as though the whole blade is pattern welded, not just the center. Does anyone have any definitive info? I'm sure as with all Roman things there is not one clear answer.....

Pics would be nice Big Grin
Hmm, the tang is rivetted on.
Different steels welded together, the prominent pattern in the center, the hardened edges welded to it!?
Quote: I'm sure as with all Roman things there is not one clear answer.....
Exactly. Smile A large number of Late Roman swords was pattern-welded. For many originals we have, we nowadays simply donĀ“t know if they were made this way or not, since preservation methods well into the 1970ies made the patterns invisible. Only a very minute magnified X-ray can often tell in these cases, but these are usually not conducted, since too expensive. So in the future many blades of earlier swords will as well turn out to have originally been pattern-welded, such as Mainz gladii etc., for which we now only have few samples with evidence for pattern-welding. However, there seems to be a tendency to use always more complicated patterns from the early to the late imperial period, as well as a tendency to use more pattern-welding in general. Consult Miks to make yourself a picture Smile
I guess the main question really was if the whole blade was pattern welded or just the center. It could just be me, but for instance on that photo the pattern welded design (wavy lines) seems to carry on all the way to the blade edges, and not just in the center area. Did Roman blades actually have the entire blade pattern welded?
The edge was a hardened steel, welded to the fancy center sections, but probably had lines running through them too, as opposed to the flawless steel of today. IIUC

I have a photo of a blade from York that looks very similar to that one, sans tang though. I wish I had better pic though to see if there are rivet holes on that one too.
I think when I read about this picture, the rivet holes related to a repair of the tang, and was not believed to have originally been there.
I wonder though, I am sure I have seen a few with rivets in Miks.... :? Seems like a throw-back...
There was an old friend of mine named John Ansty who passed away some years ago, and he did a film on TV many years ago where he made a pattern welded sword from start to finish.
What he did was make the sword by useing five sets of iron strands in bunches he used three of these bunches and platted them for the sword centre, then he used the other two simply twisted and pattern welded these onto the others for the cutting edges.
This may just be what we are seeing here with this particular blade I wonder.
John was a very good blacksmith indeed and he also smelted iron in true Roman fashion, infact some of the blooms he did are still around amongst other friends of mine.
I think Tony has one, IIRC?