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Old 6th August 2017, 01:38 PM   #1
fernando
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Default Weapons of the Iberian Iron Age

For those who care for these things and didn't have a chance to appreciate them as they were dispersed in 'less topic' threads and posts, i thought i would upload here a series of images on these Iberian swords, scanned from a catalogue held in 2003 by Hermann Historica for the special auction of the impressive Axel Guttman collection; with an introduction included. The collection in auction was a vast one from this period; i am just concentrating on swords... so far.
Note that Falcata #064 has its blade intentionally bent, a ritual used to bury the deceased weapons in his tomb..


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Last edited by fernando : 7th August 2017 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 6th August 2017, 10:30 PM   #2
Philip
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Default Hispania celtibérica

Thank you, Fernando, for starting this thread. Such magnificent objects. Most people readily notice the Roman and Moorish input on Iberian civilizations, but the Celtic roots are not so familiar. Unless, perhaps, they have journeyed through Galicia and Trás-os-montes and have heard tunes played on the gaita, or have seen the large cult figures of boars carved in stone that grace the praças and courtyards of many a village and town (like the famous Porco do Pelourinho in Bragança).

If, as historians say, the ancestral homeland of the Celts is somewhere in Eurasia, can we look at the falcata and also see the prototype of the yataghan that we associate with a much later time in Asia Minor and the Balkans?
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Old 7th August 2017, 12:24 AM   #3
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The aparition of the falcata doesn't seem to have followed a Celtic immigration. How could a prototype of the yataghan have arrived to the Mediterranean area of the Iberic Peninsula? Is there a prototype of the yataghan from this period? The aparition of the falcata corresponds to about the 5th-4th centuries BC., long after the arrival of the Celts. The first thing we have to do is to establish where the falcatas came from. Did they emerge first more to the east of the Peninsula, on actual Spain? Where are located the older findings? Is there a Celtic weapon which can be pointed as ancestor of the falcata, or the prototype came from elsewhere? How this prototype was carried, by land or by sea? If the Celts were not the origin of the prototype, who was? It must be noted that the falcatas and the rest of the armament produced in the same context, involved sophisticated techniques of production. And we have to see if the rest of this armament produced in the same historical context, is aboriginal the the Peninsula, or if the prototypes came from elsewhere, how and from where. Giving answers to this questions is not a simple task, given the lack of sources and the scarcity of remains from this period.

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Old 7th August 2017, 08:28 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzalo G
The aparition of the falcata doesn't seem to have followed a Celtic immigration. How could a prototype of the yataghan have arrived to the Mediterranean area of the Iberic Peninsula? ...

Regards

Gozalo
The article seems to imply a Greek origin for the falcata/yataghan. I was always of the opinion that the falcata was derrived from the Greek Kopis which has a strikingly similar form.
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Old 7th August 2017, 08:57 AM   #5
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I would speculate that the falcata came from the ancient Greek kopis. It's been suggested that kopis originated with the Etruscans. The kopis may have reached Iberia with Carthage whose troops were equipped with Greek style arms and armour. Carthage also generally used foreign mercenaries and was allied with the Etruscans.
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Old 7th August 2017, 10:03 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victrix
It's been suggested that kopis originated with the Etruscans. The kopis may have reached Iberia with Carthage whose troops were equipped with Greek style arms and armour. Carthage also generally used foreign mercenaries and was allied with the Etruscans.


Yes, Peter Connolly in Greece and Rome at War, MacDonald Phoebus, 1981, London, pp. 63-99, mention that this weapon probably originated in Etruria, and was later modified in Spain and Macedon. He also says that examples from Etruria can be dated back to the 7th Century. But he does not gives references (bibliographical, online, whatever), about this findings, nor shows examples. He does not mention, either, that this weapon was carried also by the Aquemenid troops, as mentioned by Xenophon (Cyropaedia), and more specifically by their Central Asian Saka allies, who were mainly archers who used this weapon only in close range combat. At least, since the 6th Century, if not before. Later we can see this point, but an Italic weapon carried by the Carthaginians seems very probably, since the dates, the area where the falcata was devoleped first by the Iberians and the continuos presence of the Carthaginians in the eastern Mediterranen coast of the Peninsula makes it plausible. One of their colonies even became an important city that today has the name of Cartagena ("little Carthago" or "born from Carthago"?), which was called Cartago Nova and Cartago Spartaria by the Romans.

For some strange reason, almost all the non-Spanish or non-Portuguese speaking people has been more interested in the origin of the falcata than in other, more important aspects of this weapon: morphology, mode of fencing, type of army corps that used them, manufacture and metallographical analysis, ritual uses, social context, etc. This was precisely the direction of the earlier studies made on this weapon by non-spanish and non-Protuguese authors, like J. Cartailhac (1886), P. Paris (1904) and H. Sandars (1913), according with Fernando Quesada Sanz, the most important researcher on the falcata to this day, though there are other good authors, like Leandro Miguel Lourenço Saudan Tristão, to whom I was acquainted by Fernando, the moderator of this sub-forum, and who began this thread.

It is impossible to give space to the many aspects involved in the origin, production and uses of the falcata, but we can make an intent to resume the more important, leaving aside the common -and fecuently wrong or imprecise- notions we can find on the web. The first element was already approached here: its origins. It seems that the Victorian education has left its imprint everywhere. In its proclivity for the so-called "classics" (Roman and Greeks), they seem to view the influence of the Greeks or the Romans, or both, everywhere. In this way, Burton stated that the kukuri was probably a some sort of derivation of the machaira, based on the implausible idea that, if Alexander the Great went as far as the Indus river, then probably the kukuri was the result of a Macedon influence...hight in the Himalayas. In the case of the falcata, it is more understandable the idea. But probably its origins are elsewhere...and probably the kopis-machaira even is not originally a Greek weapon. We can discuss this.



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Last edited by Gonzalo G : 7th August 2017 at 02:21 PM.
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Old 7th August 2017, 05:28 PM   #7
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Default Talking nonsense ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzalo G
... The aparition of the falcata doesn't seem to have followed a Celtic immigration... The aparition of the falcata corresponds to about the 5th-4th centuries BC., long after the arrival of the Celts.

What would be the criteria ? The Celts started the Hallstatt C iron culture between 8th-5th Centuries BC. Then we had the La Tene culture, one developed from the late Hallstatt, which lasted untill Roman occupation (1st century BC).
Then perhaps we should also consider that the Iberian smiths, themselves owners of great imagination, improved, adjusted, decorated and put up their own sword versions. So, freely speaking, we are simultaneously discussing late Hallstatt and la Tene antena swords (Gladius Hispaniensis), and Falcatas, either of imported infuence or actual Iberian, for the matter; don't you agree ? .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzalo G
The first thing we have to do is to establish where the falcatas came from.

This issue has apparently been discussed by countless academics, some in favour, some opposing and some even hesitating on the Gereek/Medierranean origin; what we may call discussing the sex of angels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzalo G
Did they emerge first more to the east of the Peninsula, on actual Spain?
Souther Peninsula, actual South Spain

Quesada Sans pretends that the first version of Falcata ( the Fronton type) arose in the South of the Peninsula (actual Spain) by the 6th-5th century BC, while by the 4th century BC large parts of the Peninsula were 'flooded' with Falcatas. This is consistent with countless findings, which extended to mid South Portuguese Alcacer do Sal, one of the largest amount of La Tene and Falcatas found, not in the open, but in a necropolis context.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzalo G
Where are located the older findings?

Follow the charts ... which you are aware of several .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzalo G
Giving answers to this questions is not a simple task, given the lack of sources and the scarcity of remains from this period.

Having all answers, is not so fun .


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Old 7th August 2017, 11:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
What would be the criteria ? The Celts started the Hallstatt C iron culture between 8th-5th Centuries BC. Then we had the La Tene culture, one developed from the late Hallstatt, which lasted untill Roman occupation (1st century BC).
Then perhaps we should also consider that the Iberian smiths, themselves owners of great imagination, improved, adjusted, decorated and put up their own sword versions. So, freely speaking, we are simultaneously discussing late Hallstatt and la Tene antena swords (Gladius Hispaniensis), and Falcatas, either of imported infuence or actual Iberian, for the matter; don't you agree ? .


You don't seem to be aware that the Iberian and the Celts were a different peoples. The Celts carried their weapons, Hallstatt and La Tene weapons, which were diffused all over the Peninsula in due time. The falcata was developed among the Iberians and latter diffused to many areas. Their cultures were slowly integrating. The falcatas are not the result of Celtic cultural phenomena, even if they coincide with the second Iron Age in the Peninsula. That is why I spoke that the falcatas does not follow a Celtic influx.


Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
This issue has apparently been discussed by countless academics, some in favour, some opposing and some even hesitating on the Gereek/Medierranean origin; what we may call discussing the sex of angels.


Yes, I know this discussion, I only pretended to expose it here, especially when some of its aspects are not well known and the prevalent ideas seem to be inaccurate. But if you don't want me to do it, it is ok.


Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Quesada Sans pretends that the first version of Falcata ( the Fronton type) arose in the South of the Peninsula (actual Spain) by the 6th-5th century BC, while by the 4th century BC large parts of the Peninsula were 'flooded' with Falcatas. This is consistent with countless findings, which extended to mid South Portuguese Alcacer do Sal, one of the largest amount of La Tene and Falcatas found, not in the open, but in a necropolis context.


Follow the charts ... which you are aware of several .


Then again, I know the charts, I only wanted to set the problem in a way I considered an organized manner to develop the following exposition, which I planned to make in later posts for further discussion. My words were a sort of preamble. I also wanted to share some discoveries I made about the machaira and its presence in Central Asia, not as a Greek weapon. Maybe I choose the wrong way.




Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Having all answers, is not so fun .


No, but we never have all the answers. My personal experience is that new answers create new questions. Anyway, what is this forum for if not to answer some questions?

Thank you

Bye
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Old 8th August 2017, 03:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzalo G
... You don't seem to be aware that the Iberian and the Celts were a different peoples...

Oh, i am aware of that, even in a non scholar basis; i must have made a wrong punctuation in my approach to the subject .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzalo G
... The Celts carried their weapons, Hallstatt and La Tene weapons, which were diffused all over the Peninsula in due time. The falcata was developed among the Iberians and latter diffused to many areas. Their cultures were slowly integrating. The falcatas are not the result of Celtic cultural phenomena, even if they coincide with the second Iron Age in the Peninsula. That is why I spoke that the falcatas does not follow a Celtic influx...

Again i must have made myself misunderstood.
On the other hand, i would i reflect some perplexity about this whole issue.
I recall a question often posed (also here) on where the Falcata came from, which implicates that such weapon was not purely invented by Iberians as from zero square.
What an amalgama of races and tribes, Romans having one idea of how they mixed and were based in the territory and current academics having diverted perspectives.
Iberians and Celts were a different people yes, to a certain extent and timeline. Isn't it said that the Celts not only coexisted but also mixed with the Iberos in the Central Meseta, reason for the appearing of Celtiberos, a thing different from Iberian Celts. But ...didn't all these peoples miscigenate ? No surprise if the Iberians (also) handled swords of Celtic Hallstatt tradition while the Celtiberos (also) had falcatized swords ?
While not a surprise that the ratio of falcatas found in the Southern part of the Peninsula versus other swords is overwhelming (98%) it is nevertheless symptomatic that in the (now Portuguese) West Coast, necropolis findings denoted a slightly majority of falcatas versus La Tene antena swords.
I think of the Celts confederating with the Lusitanians of Viriato; which swords would then be in this so called 'Roman Terror' general's panoplia to push back the Romans; only La Tene type sword or also the Falcata ?
Still lots of ink shall be spent about this issue.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzalo G
...Anyway, what is this forum for if not to answer some questions ?...

By all means, Gonzalo; who said the contrary ?


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