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Frozen Gladius
Hi, everyone!

I know that perhaps this is a silly question, and that it may have been asked (and aswered) a thousand times, but I couldn´t find a thread about it and I´d like to know.

In the 2000 full of inaccuracies and errors movie "Gladiator", Maximus sees a chance to escape when his executioner gets his gladius stuck in its scabbard because it froze. Would that actually happen? Has anyone experience it?

I don't know about gladius' scabards specifically - but it can most certainly happen with more modern (20thC) bayonets for example - especially if naughty 'soldiers' use them for opening backed bean tins (sic); digging little holes to hide them - and not cleaning them afterwards.

I seem to recall my only 'show again' at Sandhurst one evening in early 1984 being my dissasembled scabbard - all now nice and shiny.

Dirt, general shit and even ice can cause a scabbard to foul. Let's not even talk about rust on the blade!
(03-11-2019, 03:30 PM)KLAATU Wrote: Would that actually happen?

I remember that scene in the film, and remember thinking that it was a nice detail - it seemed realistic, although I've never actually considered how true it might be!

A quick look on Google Books reveals that the Icelandic Sagas mention swords getting stuck in scabbards, although they don't (as far as I can see) say why... Otherwise there's nothing much.

I would think a sword would only freeze, though, if it was wet - as Mark says, putting a blade away dirty or wet will tend to cause problems generally. Normally, the blade of the sword would only be in contact with the wood or leather of the scabbard.

It may be one of those things that makes a sort of instinctive sense, but doesn't have any grounding in reality - but perhaps somebody with practical experience of swords in freezing temperatures could tell us otherwise?
Nathan Ross

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