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The Fulham Sword

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1883,0407.1

  • Title (object)

    • The Fulham Sword
  • Description

    Iron sword (Parazonicin) with bronze sheath. The greater part of the blade is almost parallel sided, although it splays out slightly just below the shoulders, which are straight and level. The tip, which is some 18 cm long, accounts for almost exactly one-third of the length of the blade. The tang is broken. This well-known sword was found in its scabbard, the frame, chape and two bronze plates of which survived. Both plates are decorated in repoussé. The upper one shows a stag attacked by two hounds, flanked by trees with Romulus, Remus and the wolf below, all within a simple border of elongated dots. The second and larger plate has a floral scroll, with birds and butterflies in the spaces, and a pair of hares (?) in the lower corners; the border is a narrow cable with dots on the lower edge.

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  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1stC(early)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 56.3 centimetres (sword)
    • Length: 56.3 centimetres (sheath)
  • Curator's comments

    Manning 1985
    Both plates may have been standard products, mass-produced for such sheaths. An even finer example of this kind of scabbard is the 'Sword of Tiberius' from Mainz in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities (registration no. GR 1866,0806.1).

    It is an example, apparently unique in Britain, of the type of gladius which was current in the first part of the first century AD, a type which, as its design makes clear, was intended primarily as a stabbing weapon. Günter Ulbert has called it the Mainz type (Ulbert 1969a), for the largest group, including the Sword of Tiberius, comes from the River Rhine at that city. Sometime before or around the middle of the first century this design was replaced by a new type with a blade of similar length (c. 50 cm), but with parallel edges which begin to converge about 5 cm to 10 cm from the tip to give a relatively short point. With a width of c. 5 cm they are slightly narrower than the blades of the Mainz type. This new form Ulbert called the Pompeii type, after examples found there (Ulbert 1969a, 97ff.).

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  • Bibliography

    • Lang 1988 bibliographic details
    • Hobbs & Jackson 2010 p. 32, fig. 20 bibliographic details
    • Roman Britain 1964 p. 71, fig. 36.5 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G49/dc6

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1883

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number

    1883,0407.1

COMPASS Title: The Fulham Sword

Unknown

COMPASS Title: The Fulham Sword

Image description

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Object reference number: BCB12979

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