Almost certainly the most iconic sword of the ancient world was the Roman Gladius. This sturdy short sword was the arm of the Roman army for over 600 years and was seen from the Iberian peninsula to the eastern empire and from borderlands of today's United Kingdom to the northern coast of Africa.
Here is a video of a custom mainz style Gladius we crafted for a customer. Our rendition of this elegant sword is made with an ash and walnut hilt mounted on a hardened steel blade.
This style of sword originated with the celtiberian soldiers who were encountered fighting for Carthage by the Romans in the Punic Wars. The legionary soldiers of the Roman Army adopted this sword as their own and would proceed to use iot to great affect across the entire Roman world. Its compact design and serious fighting characteristics made it an ideal weapon and it was produced in mass.
Our rendition here is a standard version of good quality for a legionnaire. But the whole range from munitions grade to gloriously decorated versions exist in the surviving examples. Some of the hilts are made with other materials from bone and stone to elaborate metal work. They were truly a weapon that was used to conquer the Roman world.
This mainz style Gladius was not only a weapon seen in military use as the gladiatorial combat of the day also made use of this balde. So check out our video look at this exceptional style of sword.
Nathan Clough, Ph.D.is Vice President of Arms and Armor and a member of the governing board of The Oakeshott Institute. He is a historical martial artist and a former university professor of cultural geography. He has given presentations on historical arms at events including Longpoint and Combatcon, and presented scholarly papers at, among others, The International Congress on Medieval Studies.
Craig Johnson is the Production Manager of Arms and Armor and Secretary of The Oakeshott Institute. He has taught and published on the history of arms, armor and western martial arts for over 30 years. He has lectured at several schools and Universities, WMAW, HEMAC, 4W, and ICMS at Kalamazoo. His experiences include iron smelting, jousting, theatrical combat instruction and choreography, historical research, European martial arts and crafting weapons and armor since 1985
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