Greek sword types


  • Here Are 7 Greek Armor and Weapons From Mycenaean Civilization
  • History of Greek swords
  • Sword Types: Xiphos
  • 10 Prominent And Incredible Weapons Used by Ancient Greeks
  • Greek Swords
  • Here Are 7 Greek Armor and Weapons From Mycenaean Civilization

    Please check your inbox to activate your subscription Thank you! The second blade type to arrive in Greece was a single-edged weapon, more suited for close-quarters fighting. These pieces were again forged from a single piece of bronze for stability.

    Single-edged swords have a hooked handle suggesting they were hung directly from a belt. Greek weapons were revolutionized by the B. This design originated in Italy but then spread north into Britain and Scandinavia, only reaching Mycenaean civilization centuries later. Known as the Naue II type, these swords were markedly different from their predecessors. The blades tapered gently to a point, which improved thrusting ability.

    In the Mycenaean armies, sword bearers were lightly armored infantry. Their maneuverability made them suitable for undulating terrain and for carrying out high-risk tactical movements.

    Such acumen earned sword-bearers the title of promachoi, or champions. Mycenaean spearhead from Ialysus , B. This role continued in Mycenaean civilization. Boars were hunted for their tusks, used in helmets, while lions were hunted as a noble pursuit and to teach agility and discipline. In pursuing these dangerous animals, the spear was invaluable due to its flexibility and long reach.

    In the Bronze Age, the spear had another advantage — they used much less bronze than large bladed weapons such as swords and doubled-edged axes. This meant even lower class citizens could afford a spear, and it was easier to equip large bodies of men in times of war. The spearheads vary in size and form, from large leaf-shaped examples to much smaller blades with wings above the socket.

    These disparities likely reflect differences in combat styles, sometimes visible in artistic depictions. Longer spears would be wielded two-handed and used in a thrusting motion, visible in frescoes from Pylos. Shorter examples were used one-handed with a shield and could be thrown if necessary.

    A fresco from Akrotiri on Thera depicts spear and shield warriors in a close formation. This suggests the main component of Aegean armies were clustered bodies of armored spearmen, not dissimilar to the later Classical Greek phalanx. Simple bronze flat or flanged axes were used throughout Greece from the early Bronze Age onwards as utility tools and makeshift weapons.

    However, in the 15th century, the Mycaneans occupied Minoan Crete , which had collapsed due to the gigantic Thera eruption or a similarly sized earthquake. In Minoan society, the double-axe or labrys was a cult symbol with possible proto-Elamite and Egyptian influences. The objects were associated with a female Minoan chthonic deity possibly known as Ashera.

    Elaborate double-axes were mounted on large pyramidal mounts known as ax-stands, forming part of ceremonial and religious centers known from Nirou Khani and Knossos. The double-ax was adopted by the Mycenaean civilization in Crete for religious purposes.

    However, the form of the double-ax also made its way to mainland Greece. Simple undecorated forms have been found in Pylos, Mycenae, and the famous Tomb of Clytemnestra. These sturdy objects were likely pressed into service as weapons. They provided the flexibility of two cutting edges, and the added weight, whilst cumbersome enhanced any armor-piercing ability.

    An unusual purpose-built battle-ax is known from Vapheio. The object is semi-circular with two large holes — making it a light and deadly one-handed weapon. The Trial of the Bow by N.

    Wyeth , , via Philadelphia Museum of Art Bows had been used for hunting since the Paleolithic era, but archaeological evidence from Mycenaean Greece is scarce. In the powerful contemporary Bronze Age kingdoms of Egypt and Hatusha, the bow was a weapon of great importance. The desert expanses of the Near East favored open battles featuring large numbers of bow-armed charioteers.

    This was most famously seen at the Battle of Kadesh between the Egyptians and the Hittites in The rocky terrain of Greece was less suited to the bow, so it was likely less frequently used.

    Furthermore, the Greek climate rarely preserves organic material such as wood, unlike the arid conditions of Egypt. Bows are, however, frequently depicted on finger rings, drinking vessels and seals from shaft graves.

    These objects were designed to be used conspicuously, and show that bows were still important objects and symbols of martial prowess. V-shaped top and Tanged bottom bronze arrowheads , B. These weapons could be made easily by a craftsman as long as suitable wood was available. The second main type is the recurve bow, with limbs curving away from its holder, this bow will loose arrows stronger and faster than a self bow.

    However, recurve bows are typically more complex to make, utilizing horns on the inner side of the bow to produce greater tension and energy. Arrows were as important as the bows themselves. Despite the emergence of bronze arrowheads, flint and obsidian examples continued to be used in the Mycenaean period for several reasons. Flint and obsidian were harder than bronze, produced sharper cutting edges, and could be resharpened.

    Heart-shaped variants with reduced weight became popular. Bronze arrowheads were utilized due to their flexibility, with an archer likely carrying several types. Narrow, v-shaped examples from Knossos would be effective at piercing bronze armor, while tanged arrows would be difficult to remove. Greek Armor From Mycenaean Civilization 5.

    Shields made of solid bronze did not appear until the later Bronze age. Mycenaean shields were produced in a long process involving adding from layers of hardened bull-hide onto a wooden frame. Bronze was sometimes used to make plates and bosses for reinforcement, and for shield rims.

    The composite nature of these objects meant they could be easily repaired, however, as organics, complete examples do not survive. Our knowledge about shields is based on remaining metallic components and depictions. Shields came in a variety of sizes depending on the role of the warrior. Skirmisher troops and light infantry utilized small shields of varying shapes.

    Heavier troops used three main types. Early Mycenaean soldiers used rectangular tower shields. These are visible on numerous frescoes from B. Bronze rims and staples survive in graves from Mycenae, Knossos and Haghios Joannis. These shields were very large, covering most of the body. This unique design is synonymous with Mycenaean Greek armor and consists of two pieces of curved wood with various supporting elements. The gaps were then filled with wicker before the layers of ox-hide were added.

    It provided greater protection than a rectangular or flat shield and most Greek armor. Archaeological remains of this type may be limited to a group of copper fittings for leather from Knossos.

    However, the design is well-known from martial scenes, and individual depictions, on frescoes, seals, and pottery vessels. Figure Eight shield imagery is known from the palaces at Tiryns and Pylos, and small votive examples are also known, suggesting the objects had prestigious ritual associations.

    The later Mcyeanaen period saw advances in Greek armor, including the development of widespread bronze pieces. These allowed soldiers greater protection without the encumbrance of tower and figure of eight shields. A lighter shield known as the proto-dipylon shield grew in popularity. Proto-dipylon shields lacked the cultural significance of Figure Eight shields, and are mainly represented in pendant form.

    However, they were the only variant to continue in use in the following Geometric period , where their design helped pave the way for the rise of the Classical Greek phalanx. Helmets Mycenaean boar tusk helmet with cheek guards , 14thth century B. The development of swords and recurve bows required advances in Greek armor. A helmet was vital for protecting the head, but could also be decorated to act as an identifier on the battlefield or to intimidate enemies.

    The technology to produce effective bronze helmets did not exist until later in the Bronze Age. Leather was easy to acquire and harden and formed the base for early Aegean helmets. Wild boar tusks were sewn on top, initially for decoration. However, they eventually covered entire helmets, and a 16th-century fresco fragment from Akrotiri shows tusks cut to cover cheek guards, short nasals, and plumes. Boar tusk helmets continue in widespread use until B.

    A15th-century ivory model from Crete and numerous Mycenaean seals suggest small bronze discs or studs were affixed to leather helmets used as alternatives to boar tusks. This is likely confirmed by the discovery of numerous pierced bronze discs from Shaft Grave IV in Mycenae, possibly from a degraded helmet.

    These objects are shown less clearly on Mycenaean seals, but it is likely real as numerous bronze discs with holes for fastening have been recorded from shaft grave IV in Mycenae, likely from a degraded helmet.

    Bronze conical helmet engraved with boar tusk designs, in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford Simple bronze conical helmets emerged in Greek armor in the 14th century, formed by hammering out a single piece of bronze. Leather was used as vital cushioning inside these helmets. Bronze, whilst resisting stabbing or slashing, could be easily crumpled without internal support. In the later Mycenaean period, bronze disc and solid bronze helmets received numerous adornments. Side A of the Mycenaean Warrior Vase shows disc helmets with two front-facing horns and arear-facing plume.

    Statuettes from Enkomi, Cyprus show helmets with incredibly large horns on each side, which would likely be a hindrance in battle if accurate. Unusual helmet types also emerge at this time. Hairy caps are seen on Side B of the Warrior Vase, likely made from untanned hide.

    Open-topped tiara-like helmets are known from grave finds from Portes-Kephalovryson and Kalithea Tiara. This variant may have originated with the Sea Peoples.

    History of Greek swords

    It measured around 36 inches with the blade curving forward and widening near the tip. It was longer than Xiphos, the other prominent ancient Greek sword. If it broke they used a short single hand sword known as Xiphos. The Xiphos had a double-edged blade that rarely measured longer than 20 inches which made it useful in close range combat.

    It was more martially versatile than the other prominent sword, the single edged Kopis. It was not loaded by pulling up the string. Instead it was loaded by resting the stomach in a concavity at the rear and pressing down with all strength. This gave it more energy than the one arm of the archer.

    It was a long spear about 3 meters in length consisting of a wood shaft with an iron tip. It was single handed like Xiphos allowing the user to hold the shield in the other hand. Dory enabled the hoplite to keep an enemy at a distance and was effective in phalanx shield-wall formation, allowing the first two lines to attack. It was made of tough cornel wood and weighed around 5 kilograms. Sarissa was considerably longer than its predecessor and this made it very effective in the Macedonian phalanx which was considered invulnerable from the front and could be only defeated if the formation was broken.

    Macedonian phalanx formation 5 Hoplon Soldier holding a Hoplon shield Hoplon was a large and heavy round shield about 1 meter in diameter and weighing around 7 to 10 kilograms. It was such an important part of the arsenal of the Greek foot soldiers that they were referred to as hoplites. Hoplon was a vital in the famous Greek phalanx formation which created a massive shield wall to make frontal attacks difficult for the enemy.

    It was also used to carry the dead and wounded from the battlefield. The ram comprised an underwater prolongation of the bow of the ship to form an armored beak, around six to twelve feet in length. It was driven into the hull of the enemy ship to sink it. Athenians outdid the enemy ships on speed and maneuverability.

    They used to ram the enemy and get out before their archers or marines could respond. With a range of yards it was the most advanced siege weapon of ancient Greeks. Although it was invented around B. Ballista was so ahead of its time that it was used till the middle ages. The greatest genius of ancient Greece, Archimedes, was given the task of defending the seaside city. Archimedes created a machine which is now famous as the Claw of Archimedes. It consisted of a hook system to lift and topple ships which approached the walls of the city.

    The Romans attacked Syracuse at night and the Claw machines sank many of their ships. The formula of Greek fire was a closely guarded secret which has been lost and remains a matter of conjecture among scientists. The mixture was heated on cauldron on the ship and thrown at the enemy with a giant syringe. It continued burning while floating on water. Greek fire was used by Byzantines in naval battles and was responsible for many of their military victories.

    The spearheads vary in size and form, from large leaf-shaped examples to much smaller blades with wings above the socket. These disparities likely reflect differences in combat styles, sometimes visible in artistic depictions. Longer spears would be wielded two-handed and used in a thrusting motion, visible in frescoes from Pylos. Shorter examples were used one-handed with a shield and could be thrown if necessary.

    A fresco from Akrotiri on Thera depicts spear and shield warriors in a close formation. This suggests the main component of Aegean armies were clustered bodies of armored spearmen, not dissimilar to the later Classical Greek phalanx. Simple bronze flat or flanged axes were used throughout Greece from the early Bronze Age onwards as utility tools and makeshift weapons. However, in the 15th century, the Mycaneans occupied Minoan Cretewhich had collapsed due to the gigantic Thera eruption or a similarly sized earthquake.

    In Minoan society, the double-axe or labrys was a cult symbol with possible proto-Elamite and Egyptian influences. The objects were associated with a female Minoan chthonic deity possibly known as Ashera. Elaborate double-axes were mounted on large pyramidal mounts known as ax-stands, forming part of ceremonial and religious centers known from Nirou Khani and Knossos.

    The double-ax was adopted by the Mycenaean civilization in Crete for religious purposes.

    Sword Types: Xiphos

    However, the form of the double-ax also made its way to mainland Greece. Simple undecorated forms have been found in Pylos, Mycenae, and the famous Tomb of Clytemnestra. These sturdy objects were likely pressed into service as weapons. They provided the flexibility of two cutting edges, and the added weight, whilst cumbersome enhanced any armor-piercing ability. An unusual purpose-built battle-ax is known from Vapheio. The object is semi-circular with two large holes — making it a light and deadly one-handed weapon.

    The Trial of the Bow by N. Wyeth, via Philadelphia Museum of Art Bows had been used for hunting since the Paleolithic era, but archaeological evidence from Mycenaean Greece is scarce.

    In the powerful contemporary Bronze Age kingdoms of Egypt and Hatusha, the bow was a weapon of great importance. The desert expanses of the Near East favored open battles featuring large numbers of bow-armed charioteers. This was most famously seen at the Battle of Kadesh between the Egyptians and the Hittites in The rocky terrain of Greece was less suited to the bow, so it was likely less frequently used.

    Furthermore, the Greek climate rarely preserves organic material such as wood, unlike the arid conditions of Egypt.

    10 Prominent And Incredible Weapons Used by Ancient Greeks

    Bows are, however, frequently depicted on finger rings, drinking vessels and seals from shaft graves. These objects were designed to be used conspicuously, and show that bows were still important objects and symbols of martial prowess. V-shaped top and Tanged bottom bronze arrowheadsB. These weapons could be made easily by a craftsman as long as suitable wood was available.

    The second main type is the recurve bow, with limbs curving away from its holder, this bow will loose arrows stronger and faster than a self bow. However, recurve bows are typically more complex to make, utilizing horns on the inner side of the bow to produce greater tension and energy. Arrows were as important as the bows themselves. Despite the emergence of bronze arrowheads, flint and obsidian examples continued to be used in the Mycenaean period for several reasons.

    Flint and obsidian were harder than bronze, produced sharper cutting edges, and could be resharpened. Heart-shaped variants with reduced weight became popular. Bronze arrowheads were utilized due to their flexibility, with an archer likely carrying several types.

    Greek Swords

    Narrow, v-shaped examples from Knossos would be effective at piercing bronze armor, while tanged arrows would be difficult to remove. Greek Armor From Mycenaean Civilization 5. If it broke they used a short single hand sword known as Xiphos. The Xiphos had a double-edged blade that rarely measured longer than 20 inches which made it useful in close range combat. It was more martially versatile than the other prominent sword, the single edged Kopis.

    It was not loaded by pulling up the string. Instead it was loaded by resting the stomach in a concavity at the rear and pressing down with all strength. This gave it more energy than the one arm of the archer. It was a long spear about 3 meters in length consisting of a wood shaft with an iron tip. It was single handed like Xiphos allowing the user to hold the shield in the other hand. Dory enabled the hoplite to keep an enemy at a distance and was effective in phalanx shield-wall formation, allowing the first two lines to attack.

    It was made of tough cornel wood and weighed around 5 kilograms. All citizens of the time were required to be drafted to the army. After one year of service they were presented with a sword and a shield. During this time the Greeks began to develop their swords out of iron and this lead to the creation of the xiphos, makhiara and the polearm.

    The Hellenistic age is best known for Alexander the great, Alexander carried a makhiara with his men carrying polearms and xiphos. By B. The Greeks where masters in the art of warfare, they could conduct assaults with catapults as well as a strong defense based around the hoplites.


    Greek sword types