Full Version: Evidene of Eagle head hilts on Parazoniums
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How much evidence is there for eagle head parazonia hilts? I have seen a bronze cast parazonium in Michael Fegueres' book that probably belonged to a statue that had an eagle head for a hilt. I have also seen an eagle head hilt on a parazonium that a Marcus Aurelius statue is holding and another statue in the Capitoline museum has the same ( the statue in this museum is a bald headed bearded man wearing a musculata...I do not know who he is)

However, at the same time I see hilts that look like those of a xipos. Now, I know that many people think that a Roman parazonium would have looked like a Greek xipos with respect to the blade also because the xipos appears to have been copied by Italics. All of the scabbard sculptures that I have seen appear to have the finial in a type of pelta shape just like actual Greek xipos that have been found.

So would it be plausible therefore,to make a parazonium scabbard with the typical Greek shape BUT have an eagle headed hilt as a modification to fit Roman taste?

Of course the Romans loving everything Greek could have left it with the typical xipos hilt. This is why I am asking for the eagle head evidence.

Any pictures would be appreciated.
At least two eagle-headed swords were found in Pompeii. They were found in small households, so were apparently no high-status weapons. The blades are more or less like falcatas.
Quote:At least two eagle-headed swords were found in Pompeii. They were found in small households, so were apparently no high-status weapons. The blades are more or less like falcatas.

This is totally new to me! Christian, is it possible to get some additional info on those swords?
You must wait for the publication of S. OrtisiĀ“s habilitation.
Interesting information. However, I was not implying that eagle headed swords were of high status. I was just asking if there is evidence of them on parazoniums shown somewhere......sculptures, frescoes, etc that were made by Romans.

When is this publication due out? I would like to see it. At least this is evidence that eagle heads were used on swords and are consistent with one sculpture of Marcus Aurelius where he has a parazonium with an eagle head. But again, this is only one sculpture that I know of. Are there others?
One of the better known depictions is that of the grave altar of the praefectus fabrum Q. Sulpicius Celsus


I completely forgot about this one. Thank you for the picture. What I find interesting here is that the shape of the sword is different tha most parazoniums found in other sculptures. Of course this may not be a parazonium but it does show that the Romans used eagle heads on their swords in this case the eagle headed sword is directly associated to a legionary officer.

Of course, it begs the question wether this is the true shape of a legionay officers sword since it is a sculpture of a personal panapoly versus the typical shape of officer swords in the Greek form of a xipos scabbard usually found in large friezes. Possibly those of friezes are stylzed for propaganda???
Didn't say that you suggested they were high status weapons, just thought it's a detail worth mentioning...

Book will be out as soon as the author is finished writing, as usual...

Thank you Christian for the information. I would like to reconstruct or have reconsturcted a parazonium. Most reconstructions give parazoniums no unique distinction other than an eagle headed pommel. The rest looks like a typical gladius but with extra decoration borrowed from existing gladii chapes, lockets, plates etc.

I was thinking of keeping with the idea that the Romans loved everything Greek and also other Italic. So being that Italic cultures were also influenced by the Greeks, I though about using a xipos for the blade, the scabbard shape as depicted in sculptures (the finial looks like some sort of pelta shape) but instead of using the typical xipos hilt, I though about using the eagle head to give it that Roman characteristic which is something they did as well.......borrow and make their own.

There also is a photo showing a Roman copy of Ares with a parazonium but the pommel is a lion head. I guess any of the animals important in Roman symbolism could be used for a hilt. It just so haplens that these animals are the same ones present on phalerae.