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Bronze Age rapiers are long blades optimised for thrusting but still with a cutting edge, and a thick central rib down the length of the blade to make up for the relatively poor choice of bronze for a thin pointy weapon (it's too bendy). The handle were simple, literally a handle. They were very distinctive in appearance and in use from the shorter cut/thrust blades with leaf-shaped blades that are perhaps what come to mind when one thinks of a Bronze Age sword.

They share a name with the Renaissance rapier, which were longer, thiner, might not even have much of an edge, were made of steel, and had a complex hilt to protect the user's hand.

The similarity is they are both very much a 'stick them with the pointy end' sword, as distinct from a cut & thrust sword.

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On 9/14/2020 at 5:02 PM, French Desperate WindChild said:

Rapier in glorantha is different than scotish rapier ?

The best article describing Bronze age Rapiers (and other swords) is:

https://www.tf.uni-kiel.de/matwis/amat/def_en/articles/rapier_to_longsax/from_rapier_to_langsax.html

May not be the most comprehensive study but it goes directly to the points in a succinct way. Note that this is exclusively for Sword Structure in the British Isles.

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1 hour ago, FungusColombicus said:

The best article describing Bronze age Rapiers (and other swords) is:

https://www.tf.uni-kiel.de/matwis/amat/def_en/articles/rapier_to_longsax/from_rapier_to_langsax.html

May not be the most comprehensive study but it goes directly to the points in a succinct way. Note that this is exclusively for Sword Structure in the British Isles.

Hmmm... a bit out of date, and a bit off.

Bronze Rapiers are fine for cutting, just not very good in the defense (they were used with shields anyway). 

I'm not aware of any Roman spathae that were single edged. There was a "Roman" single edge sword (one of the eagle headed swords), but it was Gladius length. 

SDLeary

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6 minutes ago, SDLeary said:

Hmmm... a bit out of date, and a bit off.

Being old does not means is inaccurate (for most)... be off... sure... after all archeology is a science and as time moves forward things are revised and change... for effects of the conversation and as an answer to the question I think it was sufficiently effective to portrait the differences between a Bronze Age Rapier Vs a Scottish Rapier. For an updated and deeper discussion on bronze age weaponry: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10816-020-09451-0

6 minutes ago, SDLeary said:

Bronze Rapiers are fine for cutting, just not very good in the defense (they were used with shields anyway). 

Geometrically speaking cutting with a bronze age rapier is possible but also harder than other swords with broader blade such as broadswords or blades that are straight such as those in the gladius. I don't really understand why the statement of the rapiers not to be good for defense... in any sword combat you are bound to impact the enemy sword sooner or later regardless if you have shield or not. Again the article in the previous section shows some of the consequences of using your bronze weapon for parrying or impacting other weaponry/shields/armor.

By the end of the day... Glorantha is not a world of precise imitation of metallurgic techniques used in Earth. I am sure the swords used in Glorantha are radically better and will be able to resist abuse much more than the exact replicas here in Earth.

6 minutes ago, SDLeary said:

I'm not aware of any Roman spathae that were single edged. There was a "Roman" single edge sword (one of the eagle headed swords), but it was Gladius length.

Neither I am... yet... I seen a lot of one side edge weapons from German tribes that were either enemies of Rome or auxiliaries.

Thanks for the conversation !

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4 hours ago, FungusColombicus said:

The best article describing Bronze age Rapiers (and other swords) is:

https://www.tf.uni-kiel.de/matwis/amat/def_en/articles/rapier_to_longsax/from_rapier_to_langsax.html

May not be the most comprehensive study but it goes directly to the points in a succinct way. Note that this is exclusively for Sword Structure in the British Isles.

There is a lot more exhaustive material on the metallurgy of swords on that site which I advertised earlier.

I think the term "bronze age rapier" is used too loosely in that essay, and the discussion of the weird tongue-less blades was expanded on in that coursework. The contention remains that attaching a handle to such a tongue-less blade would not survive any hacking attack, and be hard put to survive slashes, which is why these were regarded either as mainly thrusting blades, or as mainly ceremonial ones. Wear on such blades may have come from sacrificing them or from use, and discerning these takes some experimental archaeology.

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26 minutes ago, Joerg said:

There is a lot more exhaustive material on the metallurgy of swords on that site which I advertised earlier.

YES... I am aware of the material science series of Kiel university... By the way, the article I posted is from the same university, the series on Defects in Crystals is really good and is in part the bases of the research on those swords of the British Isles.

If you want to dive on the deep end of bronze age metallurgy the list of books that follow are quite good (maybe not the absolute list...)

Metallurgy in the early bronze age Aegean by Peter M. Day and Roger Doonan

Metallurgical Production in Northern Eurasia in the Bronze Age by Stanislav A. Grigoriev

The Bronze Age of Southeast Asia by Charles Higham

Metallurgy in Ancient Ecuador Book by Roberto Lleras Perez

Archaeometallurgy in Global Perspective Methods and Syntheses by Roberts and Thornton

 

26 minutes ago, Joerg said:

I think the term "bronze age rapier" is used too loosely in that essay, and the discussion of the weird tongue-less blades was expanded on in that coursework. The contention remains that attaching a handle to such a tongue-less blade would not survive any hacking attack, and be hard put to survive slashes, which is why these were regarded either as mainly thrusting blades, or as mainly ceremonial ones. Wear on such blades may have come from sacrificing them or from use, and discerning these takes some experimental archaeology.

consider that the article was written in 1995... there is a LOT of new research on the matter... but as I said before and I will said it again... as primer for bronze age swords is a good and quick article with relevant information.

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When my players asked what Bronze Age rapiers were, I showed them Achilles' thrusting sword from his fight with Hector in Troy, (Brad Pitt & Eric Bana). 

Now this may not, technically be a rapier, but it helped define how broadswords (Xiphos & straight-bladed varieties) and rapiers looked in our game.

 

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