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Full Version: Non-Metallic Sheath Construction
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I was looking at the Commachio pics in the roman hideout, when i was stopped in my tracks.

http://www.romanhideout.com/images/it/comacchio/1.asp

This image looks very much like a fabric Gladius sheath covering with cross strapping. The proportions and size seem to be correct. Early Medieval imagery show similar sheath construction. So do we have examples of totally different sheath construction from metal framing and plates here?
Comments anyone?

Steve Pollack/Malleus
Hmmmm, I really don't think so. If there were any original depiction of any scabbard which even remotely resembled this item, I might be less dubious, but as far as I know every scabbard in Roman art looks exactly like the metal/leather/wood ones that have been found. Surviving textiles are very exciting, no mistake! But this could be from clothing, furniture, or something else entirely.

Matthew
Sheaths and Scabbards in England AD400-1100
Esther A. Cameron
BAR British Series 301
2000 publiished
Archeopress Publishers of British Archeological Reports
ISBN: 1 84171 065 2
www.archeopress.com

This BAR report is about the sheats and scabberds, where they and in which context in which they were found, and their construcion.
A bit out of period.
But helped me for my next project, scabberd for my spatha and semispatha(saex).
wrong link sorry
[url:16z2ewyp]http://www.archaeopress.com[/url]
Past threads such as this one, http://www.romanarmy.com/rat/viewtopic. ... =scabbards , make me believe all- organic scabbards existed. They could exist as cheap fittings of textile up to expensive suites with ivory fittings. The next question is what would they look like in this period. The examples shown would be some pretty odd furniture or pole-wrappings.
The find of a few pugio suspension loops without the rest of the scabbard is pretty slim evidence for the existence of non-metallic *gladius* scabbards from the first century! Sure, we know some later scabbards had bone or ivory parts, because we have found those parts! One might ask where their first century equivalents are, eh?

For the appearance of an all-organic scabbard, you'd have to look at Roman artwork, all of which (as far as I know!) shows what are most scientifically interpreted to be metal metal parts. Because we've found the parts! They are very common, and there is no reason to think that a "cheaper" alternative was necessary. As others have pointed out, there are places where lots of organic items have been found, but no metal-free scabbards so far.

I still don't see any reason to think those coth bits from Comacchio are scabbards. Since they're from a shipwreck, they could be cloth wrappings of certain parts of the rigging, for instance to prevent chafing. You see all kinds of things like that on a sailing ship. They would look a lot less odd as rigging, padding, furniture, or something else than they would as scabbards, since they do not resemble the patterns on any known scabbards.

Matthew