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Velsen Pugio
#1
Hello,

Does anyone have high resolution photos of the Velsen pugio.

If not, in which museum is it located and perhaps they can send me a high resolution photo of the scabbard.

Thanks
"You have to laugh at life or else what are you going to laugh at?" (Joseph Rosen)


Paolo
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#2
As far as I know it is located in the "Rijksmuseum van oudheden" (Leiden - the Netherlands).

Click on the white triangle in the red square at the top of the picture to see the fallowing picture(s). Click on "download" to enlarge.

Nails
Part of the hilt
Dagger
Photo of the scabbard; second is a drawing of the scabbard

Unfortunately, these pictures are not that detailed...
(aka Niels)
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#3
Thank you Neils. These are very good to start with.

Paolo
"You have to laugh at life or else what are you going to laugh at?" (Joseph Rosen)


Paolo
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#4
The pictures are better than nothing, but they do not offer a good view of the scabbard (although they give a drawing). They do offer a photo service.
(aka Niels)
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#5
Thank you for the link. I will contact them.
"You have to laugh at life or else what are you going to laugh at?" (Joseph Rosen)


Paolo
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#6
If you check the literature you'll see an article:

Vgl. J.-M.A.W. Morel en A.V.A.J. Bosman, 'An early Roman burial in Velsen 1', in: C. van Driel-Murray (ed.), Roman military equipment: the sources of evidence. Proceedings of the 5th Roman Military Equipment Conference, "British Archaeological Reports", Int. Ser. 476, 1989, p. 167-191.

pages 177-188 deal in detail with the Pugio, Scabbard and belt. illustrated with excellent drawings.
Ivor

"And the four bare walls stand on the seashore. a wreck a skeleton a monument of that instability and vicissitude to which all things human are subject. Not a dwelling within sight, and the farm labourer, and curious traveller, are the only persons that ever visit the scene where once so many thousands were congregated." T.Lewin 1867
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#7
That article contains this drawing. Click on the link and then on the drawing to enlarge. I think that detail is usable.
(aka Niels)
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#8
Thank you both for the information.

I really appreciate it.
"You have to laugh at life or else what are you going to laugh at?" (Joseph Rosen)


Paolo
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#9
We were posting at almost the same moment and I edited my latest post, so I hope you have seen the final version.

Note that the upper two hooks that attach the scabbard to the pugio frogs were made from iron. The lower two hooks that are not attached were made from silver. That article mentioned by Crispianus provides very usable information on the scabbard (and other parts).
(aka Niels)
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#10
I thought I might add some more detail to accompany the above pictures, while you look for Morel and Bosman's excellent article yourself.

Firstly, the condition of the find. Due to some localised source of corrosion (probably acidic, as there was no trace found of oxide products created by the consumption of the missing parts) in the fill of the well the Velsen soldier was buried in, the lower part of the front plate is missing. although the terminal expansion survived as a separate piece. It is common to find the the terminal expansion has broken off type 'B' sheath plates and so it is possible that the terminal expansion broke off and became separated from the rest before the corrosion had set in and destroyed the much of the zone 4 area of the plate. The same or a similar corrosive substance acted on the handle and presumably destroyed the grip plates, the tang and an area between the shoulders of the blade, as no trace was found of the tang or the iron grip plates which would al;most certainly have been present originally. It has been suggested that the handle may already have been missing and thus the pugio broken at the time of the burial, but the presence in the well of the bone/antler top cap (found during sieving) strongly suggests that the handle was still there when the soldier was buried. How else, after all, would a small piece only connected to the rest of the rest of the pugio by being attached to the top of the pommel expansion get into the well?
The handle as shown in the reconstruction drawing, then, is conjectural, as we cannot tell what the original looked like, although the form of the top cap offers some clues. Two nails with globular silver heads remain in the top cap and a third such nail was also found.

As Latinitas states above, the upper suspension rings (not 'hooks') are of iron, and show considerable evidence of wear from usage, white the lower suspension rings are made of silver and (as we would expect) show no evidence of wear prior to deposition, which confirms that the pugio was worn in the same way all but one of the ancient depictions show. The short straps it is attached to the frogs by in the illustration are wrong however. All contemporary evidence shows the upper suspension rings positioned against the belt, rather than being suspended below it in any way, and usually they are shown almost in contact with the frog discs, probably being attached with tightly tied leather thongs. There is no evidence that the Romans ever used the straps that re-enactors often attach pugios by.

Both sets of suspension rings were made in several pieces (frame with outwardly curled ends pierced with silver rivets, crescent piece with internally curled ends pierced by silver rivets, and short tube to act as part of the hinge) and then soldiered together. They were then attached to hinge plates which were then covered with ribbed silver facia plates, soldered to the tubular part of each suspension ring. The hinge plates appear to have been inserted between the two wooden halves of the sheath rather than between one layer and the front plate. Each hinge plate is pierced by a single hole and was placed in between the top and bottom nail in each group of three, while the middle nail passed through the hole in the hinge plate and held in place. A ribbed silver plate was placed over each suspension lug before the mails were inserted.

The length of the nails up to the clenched ends gives the original combined thickness of the front plate and the now vanished wood (I don't have my copy of Morel and Bosmans' article to hand at this moment and cannot recall the exact length off the top of my head). They were not hammered flat as rivets at the back, but were clenched over instead. There was no evidence for there having been any metal plates on the back to act as washers, so it is likely that the sheath was made from well seasoned pieces of a densely grained, and probably hard, wood, with maple, oak and beach all being likely as possibilities.

The overall decoration of the sheath is a mixture of inlaid silver, niello, red enamel and yellow enamel, with decorative silver rivets around the edge and within the designs of all four decorative zones. The terminal expansion was also edged with decorative silver rivets and the decorative boss was attached with a nail with a globular silver head. The boss was made from a small silver 'dome' with a depressed centre which was pieced for the nail. Eight splits had been punched into the dome at regular intervals prior to the centre being depressed for the nail, dividing the boss into eight reasonably regular sections.

I hope that that proves useful as an aid to interpreting what you can see in the pictures.

Crispvs (in my celebratory 3000th posting)
Who is called \'\'Paul\'\' by no-one other than his wife, parents and brothers. :!: <img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_exclaim.gif" alt=":!:" title="Exclamation" />:!:

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#11
the blade looks like being made in an equal technique to the Auerberg and the Haltern blades: triangular core, two sections with a sort of piled strips and two cutting edges
Als Mensch zu dumm, als Schwein zu kleine Ohren...

Jürgen Graßler

http://www.schorsch-der-schmied.de
http://www.facebook.com/pages/AG-Histori...2642993872
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