EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
The naming of swords seems to have been a practice of the times in general, and the references were with regard to what seems to have been the source of the names applied. With the European swords, it seems that the practice was known among the Vikings (N.Europe) in the sense that they often used heroic or powerful names and phrases to refer to not only thier swords, but axes and other arms as well. The totemic associations taken by warriors seem to have in some degree come into the equation, as with the berserks (bears etc.) but what is most interesting, and does seem to be somewhat in accord with what I was suggesting with the Islamic swords, are references to dragons or snakes as pertaining to the Viking swords.
As described by Oakeshott in his venerable "The Archaeology of Weapons" the snake allegory refers to the imagery of the pattern welded blades, whose patterning from the manner in which they are forged recalls the skin of the snake, also wonderfully described by Dr.Lee Jones in his "The Serpent in the Blade".
Here, once again, are references to metallurgic characteristics used in reference to swords, whether in naming them, or in describing them.
This artful and poetic analogy often lent well to the romantic literature that became popularly known, and has come through the ages in classic literature.
Perhaps, as I was noting earlier, the names of Tizona and Colada, may have been loosely applied to contemporary swords referring to the style in which the blade was made, or again, where it was made. It seems that I have seen references that refer to 'the tizona' or 'the colada' , which suggest possibly a descriptive term rather than specifically a singular entity.
The tizona term, as noted, has varying reference to burned wood, etc. and also of course might have been applied artistically as in 'the flaming sword'.
The colada term apparantly has numerous connotations but the two I found both applied to metallurgic characteristics. I am not sure whether these clearly different terms might have been used to define blades manufactured differently, but the possibility seems worthy of consideration. Naturally semantics, varying dialects and archaic application might all be conflicting in trying to determine how this may have been intended.
It does remain interesting that the interpretation of the names does suggest some possibility that these were descriptive terms rather than names for specific swords, which would still help in better understanding the references to them in the literature. I think this is important in evaluating the cases for the existing swords representing these extremely important artifacts.
Excellent observations Gonzalo!! I am really intrigued by this topic, and its great to have you join me in discussing this.
All the best,