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Anonymous

The Dutch ancient art dealer Stormbroek has for sale a number of artifacts identified as "Roman military iron battle axes":<br>
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www.stormbroek.nl/pagina'...litary.htm<br>
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These certainly look like ordinary woodworking adzes. Is there any evidence of their use as weapons? Of course the same site also offers a "military bronze casserole" -- so, perhaps their descriptions are not entirely reliable.<br>
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Regards,<br>
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John Hartwell <p></p><i></i>
John, some of these are definately Dolabra, which although used by Roman soldiers, certainly saw civilian usage as well. If found in the same site, the saddle horn, spurs, etc suggest a military site. The paterae/casserole and metal pails are of the type typically encountered on military sites. I suspect that on occasion, Dolabras as well as standard axes sometimes served dual purpose as weapons, particularly in a desperate situation as a camp attack where normally weaponless servants probably took up tools to fight with. Dan <p></p><i></i>
Those certainly look well aged. How reputable is the dealer? <p></p><i></i>
Rich,<br>
I think the seller is being a bit too "colorful" in his descriptions, calling the pioneering tools "battle axes" and the kitchen knives "daggers". But despite that, I would say that these are all authentic artifacts and are at typical "middle man" level prices for the European market. I would only caution that some of the tools could be of later date, such as adzes and hatchets, which are sometimes difficult to distinguish from Roman ones. A characteristic in these tools which usually suggests Roman though are the little "ear" flanges on the socket sides.<br>
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Roman stuff can hardly be considered "sacred relics" over here...... they are all over the place. I bought a huge amphora last weekend, coral encrusted and inscribed with a marker pen, "Elba 1970" (evidently a scuba diving souvenier) at the Frankfurt fleamarket for 20 Euros (about $18.00 U.S.) I find it cheaper to use some real Roman tools in our group, like hammers, and even fibula, than having copies made. Dan. <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

Dan & anyone who knows~<br>
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Are Roman relics seriously that available and cheap across the Atlantic? I've never been to Europe, so I've no idea. Aren't there antiquities laws? <p></p><i></i>
The Etruscans I believe may have used battle axes in earlier times, at least they were buried with them ceremonially, which is of course rather different. That's not to say that this has any bearing on these dolabra, but it could give a root to the idea of battleaxes in the Italian peninsula <p></p><i></i>
I don't know about his reputation as a dealer, but as he describes item 0700 as 'A Roman military iron spear' I seriously doubt his knowledge about these items. Item 0700 is a plumbatum, a throwing dart.<br>
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Robert Vermaat<br>
Vortigern Studies<br>
www.vortigernstudies.org.uk/<br>
Wansdyke Project 21<br>
www.wansdyke21.org.uk/<br>
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I have always been somewhat disturbed by the sale of such antiquities... most especially things like military diplomas. I realize that the majority are fragmentary to the point of uselessness, but it is the principle of the thing that bothers me. That is to say, things with possible value as references are entering private collections. There is also the destruction of the provenience of the artifact - where it was, in location and in relation to other artifacts and features. Just my two unciae. <p></p><i></i>
Julius, ancient Roman artifacts, (especially coins) are fairly common over here, much like "Indian arrowheads" in many parts of the U.S. Uninformed Americans do indeed think they are getting a great deal when they buy a corroded constantinian era copper coin for a "fiver" or so, but these were minted in their millions, and still found in their thousands. Though historically significant in their own right, they are extremely common, and therefore inexpensive. No, one doesn't find an original amphora for 18 bucks every weekend atthe flea market... that was a fluke....<br>
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Yes, there are antiquities laws in every european country (I imagine), but oftentimes they are not uniformly enforced, or vary considerably even from state to state in the same country. A case in point is a U.S. Army sergeant who was detecting in Bavaria and found several dies to mint Celtic gold stater coins. A Bavarian museum reputedly paid him DM 100.000 ($50,000). Now, if he happened to have found those dies 30 KMs west of there, in Baden Wurtenburg, he probably would have been fined, and arrested and not paid a penny for his efforts.<br>
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Most of the significant Roman military artifacts popping up today come from Eastern Europe. The people there are very poor, which stimulates the "looting" and the political situation unstable enough that sites are not protected. As I have mentioned on a previous thread, there is both good and bad to private collecting. On the good side, probably the majority of private finds would have never been discovered by archaeologists in the first place, so even without provenance, these objects contribute to our knowledge. On the bad side, sometimes archaeological sites are damaged by private collectors, and some pieces are never published.<br>
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I think it is a safe estimate to say at least half of the Roman helmets known today would have never been dicovered if it weren't for the "private" antiquities trade. Fortunately, many of these are still bought by museums or by archaeo-friendly collectors who have their pieces published and publicly exhibited. Dan. <p></p><i></i>

Guest

Salve,<br>
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Arrianus records battle-axes as the armament of Roman cavalrymen, both in the <i> Tactica</i> and the <i> Acies</i>.<br>
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<i> Tactica/Technè Taktikè</i> 4.<br>
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<i> ...hoi de kai pelekeis mikrous pherousi pantothen en kyklooi akookas echontas</i><br>
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'...some carry small axes as well which have edges all around'<br>
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<i> Acies/Ektaxis</i> 21<br>
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<i> ...hosoi de lonchophoroi è kontophoroi e machairophoroi è pelkophoroi eis ta plagia te hekateroothen hormoontoon kai to xynthèma prosmenontoon.</i><br>
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'...The javelineers, spearmen, swordsmen and axe-men must guard both flanks and await the signal.'<br>
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<i> Acies/Ektaxis</i> 31.<br>
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<i> ...Entautha dè emballontoon es autous hoi hippeis, mè akontismooi eti alla tais spathais autois sympheromenoi, hoi de tois pelekesin, hoi de Skythai gymnoi te ontes kai tous hippous gymnous echontes</i><br>
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'...In that case the cavalrymen must attack not with a missile shower but with swords and and axes. The Scythians being lightly armed and having unprotected horses.'<br>
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In Tacitus, <i> Annales</i> 3.46, Roman troops involved in putting down the Sacrovir revolt are described as using both <i> secures</i>, axes, and <i> dolabrae</i> to despatch the <i> ferrati</i>, heavily armoured gladiators.<br>
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Text<br>
Translation<br>
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Regards,<br>
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Sander van Dorst <p></p><i></i>
And there the names Livia and Messalina came up when you said 'roman battle axe' but I see I was mistaken.<br>
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As to collecting, I would love to be able to have original pieces, but looking for that stuff from all the way over here is daunting, and not dealing face-to-face seems a guaranteed way to get robbed. The topic of collecting could probably be another thread. It is too bad the EU can't agree on universal rules on artifacts, since unequal laws probably encourage thieves to take risks and discourage the reasonable sale from countries and sites that could use it to raise money for other worthwhile efforts, like the Carlisyle dig. <p></p><i></i>