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From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: REPLY: Gallic manpower 2nd - 1st Century BC Date: March 26, 2010 7:17:28 AM EDT To: H-NET Military History Discussion List <H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU> Michael Mitchell comments on my earlier post-- > 6. Mark Hall wrote: > “Actual, their swords were overall of a better quality of low to medium > carbon > steel than their Celtic counterparts. The evidence of this comes from the > passage in Polybius where he details how they Celts had to withdraw to > straighten their swords and metallographic study. The Celts had a tendency > to make theirs of iron or low-carbon steel….” > > Actually, the “metallographic study” is much more complex than this. There > is a wide range of quality found among celtic swords AND among Roman > swords. Sure, but are we on a metallurgy list or one of military technology? While there are variations in quality, I would argue when you go through the published reports of Radomir Pleiner and his other colleagues that have looked at material from across Central Europe, the trend is that so-called "Cetic" swords are made from iron or low-carbon steel. And this cuts across Central Europe where the furnace technology ranges from bowl furnaces to variations of a shaft furnace. Ehrenreich's 1986 dissertation and _Oxford journal of Archaeology_ article, Scott's study of pre-medieval Irish iron metallurgy (_Early Irish Ironworking_),Tylecote's _Metallurgy in the British Isles_ and Stead's _British Iron Age Swords and Scabbards_ shows a similar pattern. For example, only 1 out of the 13 showed any sign of quenching (Grimthorpe). This is not the trend you see in published Roman and Romano-British material. My interpretation is based on Tylecote's numerous studies squirreled away in site report appendices, his volume with Gilmour, and a few other British scholars. > > Secondly, Polybius does not actually say the swords bent because the metal > was of bad quality – the swords seem to have bent because they were > *long*. Perhaps, but one can alternatively ask, would they have had the problem if they were made from a medium-carbon steel, particularly one that had been quenched and tempered? I would say it would have been much less of a problem. (Admittedly my days as a practicing metallurgist are over 15 years ago.) > Thirdly, note that Polybius is describing the battle of Telemon which is > separated by 1,000 miles and 150 years from Caesar’s contest in Gaul – why > on earth would anyone assume that the technology of the two forces would > be the same, simply because they were both “celtic” (whatever that means)? For whether good or bad, many archaeologists (though definitely not Simon James), see similarities in the material culture across trans-Alpine Europe and tie that to a common archaeological culture. For myself, I'll admit I wrestle with the issue from time to time, but admit to being both a "lumper" and a "splitter." Best, Mark Hall Independent scholar ----- For subscription help, go to: http://www.h-net.org/lists/help/ To change your subscription settings, go to http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=h-war -----