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Was leather applied on wooden scabbards? Any evidence?
Salve Arahne,

There are numerous examples from the Danish Bog Finds where both the leather and the wooden core have survived. Most are C3rd or more, but a late C1st Pompeii-type short sword does survive with a Germanic scabbard.

Simon James' report from Dura Europas mentions a wooden scabbard with traces of a fabric covering - the weave ran in line with the scabbard so it was probably part of the scabbard rather than simply a cloth bag that the sword was preserved in. An iron chape also retained traces of leather.

Vale,

Celer.
The museums I visited recently in Germany, Switzerland and Italy seem to think scabbards were wood covered in leather as well as several books I have on finds from Germany.
Is there any evidence that there was wool inside the wooden scabbard?

I've seen an original merovingian sword with a well preserved scabbard that a friend of mine was conserving and it had wool inside the wooden scabbard and leather on the outside of the scabbard.

I've heard the theory that the lanolin retained in the wool would have greased the sword and protected the sword from the corosive acids that some kinds of wood contain.

Vale,
Salve Marcus,

The Sutton Hoo sword had a fleece liner inside the scabbard. Also one of the scabbards from Nydam had traces of a fleece lining as well.

The lanolin in the fleece would not last very long, so I think it was more likely that it was used as a reservoir for animal fat or oil - the blade was coated with a liberal coating and as the sword was sheathed it rubbed the fat into the liner, so every time the blade was put into the scabbard a new later of protective grease coated the blade.

Vale,

Celer.
The following threads are about almost the same question

link from old RAT
link from old RAT
Quote:Salve Arahne,

There are numerous examples from the Danish Bog Finds where both the leather and the wooden core have survived. Most are C3rd or more, but a late C1st Pompeii-type short sword does survive with a Germanic scabbard.

Simon James' report from Dura Europas mentions a wooden scabbard with traces of a fabric covering - the weave ran in line with the scabbard so it was probably part of the scabbard rather than simply a cloth bag that the sword was preserved in. An iron chape also retained traces of leather.

Vale,

Celer.

So a question, maybe the point is slipping over my head, but does that mean at least one scabbard out there (and probably more) were in fact covered with fabric as opposed to leather? Or would it have been a third layer, or the inside like some of the former posts also suggest?

It would be logical though, if your scabbard broke in the field and you made a replacement, you may not have leather readily availible or in fact, you may just prefer fabric for ease of construction, and could take the fabric from an old tunic or cloak.
Good to see you here Garrelt Smile

Garrelt is in fact the person who told me about the presence of wool inside the scabbards Big Grin I didn't know about it before.

@Horton III: what period are you asking about?
Salve Marcus,

:oops: well I'm not sure really. I guess I was speaking in generalities, if a scabbard broke anywhere, anytime in the field, especially if you were part of a vexillation that didn't include a professional specialist, would it not be reasonable to repair it using anything at hand? When I was a private in the field and something would break or wear out we didn't have instant access to replacement items. So I've seen alot of stuff like the use of army issue wool socks being cut up and made into straps for web gear, a chinstrap on a kpot made from a beautifully braided-into-shape shoelace, etc. And since this sort of thing has always been comon among armies, it seems the armies of ancient Rome would be the same way.
Quote:but does that mean at least one scabbard out there (and probably more) were in fact covered with fabric as opposed to leather? Or would it have been a third layer, or the inside like some of the former posts also suggest?
Linen - tough as nails especially if glued, easy to paint if you want some colour, easy to repair (just wrap another layer around).

Love the info on the wool on the inside, and the ideas about greasing the blade. Makes complete and utter sense.
Quote: Makes complete and utter sense.

Which is as good a reason as any to dismiss it given what we know already about the Romans :wink:
Quote:Love the info on the wool on the inside, and the ideas about greasing the blade. Makes complete and utter sense.

I love it too. My friend was looking at the Merovingian scabbard through a microscope and then she asked me to come and see because she thought she saw woolen fabric inside the scabbard. I looked too and was very surprised to see it was true.

I think I'll try it out for a deepeeka gladius I will make a scabbard for in a while Smile
Fabric covered scabbards are very common in the medieval period and while this offers no proof that it was around earlier, the materials certainly were available. Its also amazing with the more we learn how many things we thought were purely medieval innovations existed before and were just reintroduced.
As artefactual evidence is concerned:

A single undecorated leather scabbard (vagina) was unearthed in Vindonissa (Gansser-Burckhardt A., Das Leder und seine Verarbeitung im römische Legionslager Vindonissa, Basel, 1942, p. 73, Abb. 34c). A rare crimson-red painted leather example, with open-work design, was found at Masada, from the period of the First Jewish Revolt (AD66-73/4). It is included in the catalogue of militaria (Masada VIII) that is in print (at last) in this very moment.
Quote:A rare crimson-red painted leather example, with open-work design, was found at Masada,

Interesting. Do you know more about this? What kind of openwork design?

I'd love to see a picture of the leather scabbard found at Vindonissa.
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